Name: Julmud
Nationality: Palestinian
Occupation: Producer, percussionist, keyboardist, vocalist, music researcher
Current release: Julmud's album Tuqoos is out March 30th via Bilna’es. For a premiere of the track "Haras El Jabal" head over to Soundcloud. Or check out The Wire's Julmud special on Mixcloud.
Recommendations: Dimi Mint Abba feat. Khalifa Ould Eide - Yar Allahoo; Ana Bashaa El Bahr - Nagat Al Saghira

When did you start writing/producing music - and what or who were your early passions and influences? What was it about music and/or sound that drew you to it?

I've learned the piano and tabla as a young kid by ear. I had a piano growing up so I used to always jam on it and I played the tabla for the school choir for almost three years as a kid, I think that helped me alot to get into rhythm and melody.

Arabic and regional music in general is mostly what I am influenced by and it's what shapes the many sounds I create, levantine, iraqi, khaliji, yemeni, maghrebi.

For most artists, originality is preceded by a phase of learning and, often, emulating others. What was this like for you: How would you describe your own development as an artist and the transition towards your own voice?

As I got into electronic music and DAWs, it opened a different door for me as in how I think about the construction of a beat. And it gave me space to experiment with different sounds other than the acoustic realm and to sample most importantly.

How do you feel your sense of identity influences your creativity?

I am a Palestinian living in a region full of culture. I think my everyday life is a direct reflection of the music I make, whether it's people I interact with or places I spend time at.

My constant physical and web research for old and new music from the region that will forever inspire me and keep fresh ideas coming.

What were your main creative challenges in the beginning and how have they changed over time?

I think the main challenge for me was becoming adept at the software and the gear I was using until I became versed in it. It was then that I could execute the ideas that I had in my head.

As creative goals and technical abilities change, so does the need for different tools of expression, be it instruments, software tools or recording equipment. Can you describe this path for you, starting from your first studio/first instrument? What motivated some of the choices you made in terms of instruments/tools/equipment over the years?

I started out with a laptop and an Aiwa hifi system, then got an MPK25. After that I wanted to record and mix properly so I got a microphone, soundcard and monitors.

From there I concentrated on bringing a richer sonic quality and a different approach to my productions. So I have a Sequential Prophet Rev2 (which has Arabic tuning which is really helpful for my productions), Moog Grandmother, Roland JX-3P, Yamaha YS200, a set of percussive eurorack modules, Synthstrom Deluge, Octatrack MKII.

Have there been technologies or instruments which have profoundly changed or even questioned the way you make music?


Collaborations can take on many forms. What role do they play in your approach and what are your preferred ways of engaging with other creatives through, for example, file sharing, jamming or just talking about ideas?

I think most of the ideas come when I am jamming with someone. It's the best way to brainstorm and get to know the other artist better.

Take us through a day in your life, from a possible morning routine through to your work, please. Do you have a fixed schedule? How do music and other aspects of your life feed back into each other - do you separate them or instead try to make them blend seamlessly?

I do not have a fixed schedule and I believe my daily life and my music are directly connected because I am inspired by what's around me every day in every detail.

There are many descriptions of the ideal state of mind for being creative. What is it like for you? What supports this ideal state of mind and what are distractions? Are there strategies to enter into this state more easily?

My creative state of mind comes from my surroundings. And regardless of whether it's good or bad, it always has an interesting outcome.

Music and sounds can heal, but they can also hurt. Do you personally have experiences with either or both of these? Where do you personally see the biggest need and potential for music as a tool for healing?

From my personal experience, music only healed me, and I would recommend every human being to get into music because it's a way to connect.

Art can be a purpose in its own right, but it can also directly feed back into everyday life, take on a social and political role and lead to more engagement. Can you describe your approach to art and being an artist?

My sound represents where I am from and what my cultural and geographical background is, which is socially and politically complex.

That said, I believe my music inspires everyday people like they inspire me.

What can music express about life and death which words alone may not?

I believe music exposes you to different feelings and realms one can’t explain in words. It makes you dive deep into the elements of nature and creates this spiritual and elevated connection with physical and metaphysical things. It unravels different levels of existence that one definitely cannot describe or tell just like any other art.