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Days over Egypt

By Felix Mensah | 21 November 2016

Known by those ‘in the know’ as a member of the global ‘trance’ collective Operation Sunshine,  Haytham Kamal is eager to move into much more soulful territory. The Cairo-based producer/remixer/DJ devotes a spare moment to talk to Black Sheep Magazine as he prepares to venture into more soulful climes, as he reveals he has his production ambition focused squarely on a soulful South Londoner with that old school vibe.

Would you please like to introduce yourself to the readership?

First off thanks for Blacksheep Magazine's interest in knowing more about my music and myself to start I am Haytham Kamal of Cairo, Egypt,  i wasn't born here though i had my fair share of travelling around with my family when i was young till i ended here...

Egypt?....You must have had interesting musical influences?

I've had a lot of influences from Asia to Europe and America and thats where i got to taste the originality of music and grow to who i am today starting from Paul Van Dyk and Robert Miles and going all the way back to  Bee Gees and the Beatles and a lot of rock / dance artists that sort of had the same musical feel and complexity that i like to work with today...

How long have you been producing, writing and DJing and who gave you your first real big break?

Well it all started in college when i heared some of the early Benny Benassi and Deadmau5 early stuff also ATB was really going strong back then and i decided to look for a door and go for it,  i think it might have been fruity loops 3 trial edition or something it was about 2004 when it all started i kept learning by asking a lot of the huge djs on social networking a long time ago like Mike Koglin or Leon Bolier and Mark Sherry who actually mastered my first track... And a lot of DJs around and gave me all sorts of feedback on my work... I have played gigs in Cairo and on the beaches of Dahab but nothing too commercial till now

What song would you have considered to be your first break?

My first big break was with Operation Sunshine and my first track, “Flying” written by my dear friends Beamy Jeffries and Pippa with myself on the production and mixing side, it was a great trance tune that people talk about till today actually.

Is there anything to look forward to coming from you?

Well i have a lot of work actually cooking i have 7 tracks with reputable UK and US artists and that i have produced this year alone pending release some of them are pop or dance genres some are trance and I am working on a future bass track with local talents here as well i cannot wait till they are all out!

What do you think of the music being produced at the moment?

As for my opinion about today's music i think they address stuff thats been talked about a million times or they are going with the hash tag flow but a few achieve originality in their music, the artists out there are uncountable nowadays and the competition is fierce so people don't spend much time on originality anymore i guess and they go with what works... Admirably underground deep house and new rap staples like Panda and others are doing really well nowadays and on the dance scene you can’t find that soul anymore unfortunately except with people like above and beyond or Skrillex though they might be a bit mainstream but the never fail to deliver.. Well to succeed you need great music not just music, these guys have worked hard and they have found the fruits of their labour i wouldn't say i wont do the same but no two artists are the same at this point... What works for one may not work for another... So i have my own road to pave at this point

How big are the club scenes over in Egypt?

The club scene in Egypt is quite dull to be honest like everything else it is stuck in a creative rot and i dont think it will get out of it soon we have had some local talents rise nowadays but they are so far away from this scene, as there are some society issues with clubs over here.

Are a lot of DJs turned producers have been breaking into the mainstream would you someday like to replicate the global success afforded to the likes of Mark Ronson & Calvin Harris?

That would be nice , I mean were all artists some projects work and some don't and we move on

Have or would you ever consider taking the reality show option to promote yourself?

Well i would really like to have a reality show based on artists way of living actually because people tend to misunderstand the way we live and what drives us also it would create lots of new friendships for sure so yeah why not

If you have a fantasy collaborator you’ve always wanted to work with but have yet to, whom would it be?

I don’t think i would have just one collaborator to work with i would say i would love to collaborate with artists like One Republic or Coldplay or Above and Beyond or Seven Lions or Virtual Riot or Skrillex or Mat Zo... This list unfortunately will be left open as it is too long haha..

Imagine if a serious game changer to produce a multi-artist album similar to the aforementioned Ronson & Harris collaboration projects came your way – who would hold enough interest for you to work with on such a project?

Without doubts I would go with Rumour Castro for starters, he is an English soul singer and as I seen him singing a cover song of Sam Cooke “A Change Is Gonna Come”... Liked that performance and I really like that particular song by Sam Cooke – it has a really nice vibe to it and importantly its got soul however i would give it the works... Something unexpected….but with Rumour if he is reading this, available and is interested as much as I am we could hook up in the future to do a totally new original song with that soulful vibe.

Anything else that you care to add as this interview closes?

I would like to add one last thing please support your local talent because you dont know who might be the next big thing and it might be all because of you! Thanks for having me and hope you like what i have in store for you guys! Oh this has been a delight

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