Interview: Hazem Beltagui


With that being said, I think this album is a proper way to make a statement that there is more to trance music than the usual banging stuff, trance is about a feeling for me not the bpm or the style.

~Hazem Beltagui


EDMNYC got the chance to sit down with the FSOE’s very own, Hazem Beltagui. Fresh off his newest artist album- VIVID, which was officially available for purchase on April 20th. We chatted about how the album came to fruition, what Beltagui does (or doesn’t) do outside of creating and playing beautiful music, and of course we discussed some important topics on where he feels his influence lies in Egypt.


EDMNYC: VIVID was three years in the making, what went into this timeline?

Hazem Beltagui: I’ve had the intention to do an album since 2014, unfortunately I’ve always felt something was missing, maybe not the right inspiration, maybe i didn’t feel like the sound I’ve been doing back then would do the album justice. I’ve always been very eclectic when it comes to music and I am a firm believer in diversity, so by early 2017 i felt i was ready to finally sit and finish this album. I think part of this was due to the fact that I’ve wandered away the trance scene for over a year and fully focused on doing deeper and more experimental music and i think this is reflected in the final form of the album, in terms of styles and sounds.


EDMNYC: You chose “The Paradox” as the first single from the album, why?

HB: Having the album released on such a huge label, FSOE, we had to pick a single that represents the label; also “The Paradox” is one of the first tracks [that was completed]for this album. I guess it’s been finished for over two years now so we decided to go with this one as the first single and keep the rest of the album a surprise for the fans.


EDMNYC: Do you have a message you’re trying to portray with the album? Or do you have a message in each song?

HB: I think I’m better at writing full albums than I am with singles to be honest. I’m more into taking people on a journey rather than just give them what they want, again that also reflects on my DJ sets, I’ve always had people come to me after my set telling me that they didn’t expect to be taken on such a journey and that they usually wouldn’t listen to the tracks I’m playing but that they would put some extra effort from now on to look for more unknown tracks and this is for me the job of a DJ, we have to educate people.

With that being said, I think this album is a proper way to make a statement that there is more to trance music than the usual banging stuff, trance is about a feeling for me not the bpm or the style.

EDMNYC: If you could pick just two tunes from VIVID that either mean the most or have a full story behind them what would they be?

HB: Two of my most favorite tracks on the album would be “Dreamers” and ” We Will Live Forever.” For me those two tracks embody all of the elements of my definition of trance music: an epic melody that gives you goosebumps; and pure emotional energy, one that is focused on the emotions rather than the usual big and in your face type of sounds.


EDMNYC: Which tracks on vivid would you love to hear in the club?

HB: For me the whole album is made to played in clubs, some tracks are more suitable as warm up tracks and some are peak time moments and a couple are more like closing tracks for extended sets when I get to play till the sun starts to shine. For me this is a full club music album.


EDMNYC: Being raised in Egypt, how have you seen music, especially electronic music, progress? Do you feel this progression influenced you at all? Do you hope to help continue to mold/grow the industry in Egypt?

HB: In all honesty I’ve always been detached from the Egyptian electronic music scene. My main goal was to breakthrough to the international circuit, so my music had to keep up with what artists have been doing across the globe. Now I feel we have a solid team of producers and DJ’s in various styles, so we have a duty to shape a proper electronic music scene in Egypt. I, for myself, I’m always trying to educate the crowds here about deeper and more progressive sounds whenever i m playing.


EDMNYC: When its time to start the next project, do you think you will continue on the same journey? Do you have plans on something already?


HB: I am planning on starting to write my second artist album soon actually, as I said I enjoyed working on this project more than anything I have done in the past, so I guess I will continue on trying to educate people on my vision of trance music with as many influences as possible.


EDMNYC: What is your favorite part of producing music?
HB: My fav part is always coming up with new sounds and writing melodies and atmospheres, I usually do that before starting the arrangement process which is my least favorite, believe it or not.


EDMNYC: When not listening to electronic music- what are you listening to? Do you have any hobbies?

HB: You’d be surprised if I tell you that I don’t have any hobbies outside of music. When I m not working on a project or a track or a remix, I just like to play around with synths and patterns, that’s what gives me joy in life. I usually don’t listen to electronic music on my free time, I am a huge fan of movie scores from the likes of Hans Zimmer, Junkie XL and Clint Mansell and i’m also an avid fan of Olafur Arnalds with his ambient and emotional pieces, I personally value simplicity and minimalism in music.







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