Dia Sharaf is an upcoming electronic music producer from Yemen– and in this interview with us, he shares some thoughts about his influences, his inspirations, and how they all came together to make his debut track, “Yementronica”, possible. Keep reading for my thoughts and for Dia’s take on this song!
The song, in itself, is an eclectic blend of elements that range on the spectrum from traditional Middle Eastern instruments, to electronic synths and elements that come together to create an enthralling sound that definitely stands out, and piques your interest from the start to the end. There are a lot of elements like the prominent synths and the clear dancehall focus of this song, which, I will note, is challenging given that so few people have managed to make ethnic instruments truly work in electronic music, and it’s done rather beautifully here! Don’t just take my word for it, delve into Dia’s creative process and inspirations here:
1 – Could you share your musical background and what motivated you to pursue a career in electronic music?
I’m a self-taught musician who initially composed for orchestras. However, my passion for electronic music drove me to explore this genre, as I recognized its broad appeal and reach. My journey in electronic music began with my first track, Yementronica.
2 – Yemen isn’t typically associated with electronic music. How has your Yemeni heritage influenced your approach to music?
Yemeni traditional music offers a wealth of musical elements that can be fused with international styles, making it an ideal fit for merging with electronic music. The rhythmic Bara’a style, designed to be played loudly, aligns well with electronic music’s characteristics.
3 – Who are some electronic music artists who have influenced your style, and how have they impacted your music?
I’m drawn to music that defies categorization and incorporates various influences. “World” music, rich in diverse musical elements, has been a significant influence. I started with Yemeni traditional music as the foundation for my unique musical style.
4 – Your debut single features distinctive sounds. Can you walk us through your production process and the tools you used?
It all began with collaborating with Bara’a player Molataf Homidi to plan rhythmic phrases for execution with percussion instruments (Tasa and Marfa’a). We recorded these phrases and incorporated them into the Pro Tools program. I added instruments like pads, techno chords, bass, and more, using the Pro Tools program’s compressors and EQ. The final touch was mixing and mastering by my friend Joël Dollié in France, resulting in the birth of the Yemenitronica track.
5 – Could you share some of your favorite tracks or projects that have influenced your musical journey?
I draw inspiration from a wide range of music genres rather than specific tracks, making it challenging to list them all. However, my musical influences span from classics like Bach’s “Air” to contemporary pieces like “Finale” by Madeon.
6 – Collaborations are common in the music industry. Are there any artists or producers you aspire to work with in the future?
I have a strong desire to collaborate with Redon and Ludwig Göransson in the future.
7 – What challenges did you encounter when entering the music industry, and how did you overcome them?
The music scene in Yemen poses several challenges, including the absence of music institutions, limited academic resources, inadequate venues, and limited support for artists. To overcome these obstacles, I believe in continuous self-improvement and unwavering dedication to my passion, using available online resources to reach my musical goals.
8 – Can you describe your creative process when producing electronic music? Do you employ any unique techniques or find inspiration from specific sources?
My creative process revolves around experimentation. I pursue ideas, striving to refine them by employing various techniques, tools, and programs. Inspiration comes from my surroundings, whether it’s nature, human emotions, or cultural heritage, offering a rich source of ideas for my music.
I wish Dia Sharaf the very best in his musical journeys, and it has only begun with “Yementronica”. Stay tuned, and check out the track here: