Name: Chouaib Omary aka Omary
Occupation: Producer, composer, DJ, label founder at Ostowana
Current Release: Omary's Soul of Winds is out via Ostowana. It features a cast of guests including Mehdi Nassouli, Kawtar Sadik, Idd Aziz, YADEE, OSENS, Amine Mlal, Soulzak, Roxteel and Martine labbé.
Recommendations: For music lovers I recommend to listen to Discover the history of house music with the great DJ Producer Frankie Knuckles.
Then I strongly recommend to listen to the album St Germain by St Germain which reflects a great musical variety original between Jazz, Afro, Deep, French House which is perfectly original.
If you enjoyed this interview with Omary and would like to stay up to date with his music, visit his official website. He is also on Instagram, Soundcloud, and Facebook.
When did you start writing/producing/playing 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 grew up in a family that loves music a lot, lives with music. My entire family sings classical Moroccan music and classical Arabic music. From a young age I was very influenced by what my family listened to, including artists such as Oum Kalthoum, Fairouz, Warda, Ibrahim Alami, Maati Ben Kacem and many other music icons.
My older brother was a young boy who went out a lot to events. We will say that today largely what I became happened thanks to his influence. He bought a lot of CDs of House music from a provider of sound systems from the neighbourhood. A few days later, I start going there myself to get him those CDs. I was too attracted to the sound equipment I found in this store. It just seemed huge to me (laugh).
And as luck would have it, I started to manipulate the material I found in this store until I found myself mixing at one of the biggest medical school parties in Casablanca.
When I listen to music, I see shapes, objects and colours. What happens in your body when you're listening and how does it influence your approach to creativity?
So, this is quite a story. When I listen to music it makes me travel in a universe far from any obstruction. When I listen to music, I disconnect with the whole world and I connect with myself.
This feeling is unique and it influences a lot my creativity in two ways. The first is when I am out performing live, I am sometimes so in tune with myself that I close my eyes in the middle of the set and I connect with myself. This, in turn gives off a certain energy towards the public that allows us to connect all together. It’s a magical feeling!
The second case is when I produce my music. For me, everything is a matter of feeling. This feeling allows me to produce my music as I feel and as I wish, without making it look like anyone else, and only look like myself.
How would you describe your development as an artist in terms of interests and challenges, searching for a personal voice, as well as breakthroughs?
I’ve been in the business for almost 15 years, and I continue to learn and develop my career. In our field, learning and doing research will never stop.
Music allows us to connect to different cultures of the world, different musical universes of the world. Every person I meet in the profession - DJ, producer, musician, singer, promoter, cultural actor and many others - we always have to learn from each of these people.
Every day, I challenge myself to learn something, and share my knowledge with anyone that wants to receive it. It is very important to acquire new resources and share in return.
In fact, we noticed this on my latest album Soul Of Winds which is the result of many years of research that allowed me to create an electronic music album which highlights particular traditional wind instruments from around the world.
Tell me a bit about your sense of identity and how it influences both your preferences as a listener and your creativity as an artist, please.
As a listener, music for me is a lifestyle.
I listen to music any time I’m awake. I don’t listen just to listen, every single, every album, every style of music I listen to is a matter of feeling for me. I listen to music that makes me dream and moves my feelings. I can also listen to different styles of music, from blues, jazz, r&b to classical Arabic, Moroccan and African music.
As an artist, I am the kind of person who can be both calm and reserved but I can also be very social and very accessible. It depends entirely on where I am but especially whom I am with. I express these characters with the creation of music. I transform every feeling I have into music, each feeling with its own range, its own melody, its own bass, its own structure and especially its own style.
I have a rather varied musical universe.
What, would you say, are the key ideas behind your approach to music and art?
For me in general it always starts with a particular mood. So the approach changes depending on that mood. In some cases, I'll embark on a project that expresses a mood that is dark, sad or filled with rage. But I can also produce music with a state of mind of serenity and positivity.
On my last album Soul Of Winds, both these scenarios occurred. Hence the difference of instruments used. Some are more sad and others are more joyful. But we also find this in the structure and style of each single.
How would you describe your views on topics like originality and innovation versus perfection and timelessness in music? Are you interested in a “music of the future” or “continuing a tradition”?
Times change, generations, sounds and music change, too. I am not someone who likes routine, and in the musical environment also always need to be innovative and creative.
Taking the example of my album Soul Of Winds, there are 13 singles on the album whose common point is that they all make use of wind instruments. However, the structure differs from one single to another. I don't want the album to feel monotonous, so people who listen to my album will say that it is not worth finishing because everything sounds the same. I therefore chose to diversify all singles from another in order to have a certain creativity and innovation on the whole album.
I encourage any artist to perfect in innovation instead of perfecting in routine. After all, the classics will always remain classics and it is time that controls this aspect with future generations.
Over the course of your development, what have been your most important instruments and tools - and what are the most promising strategies for working with them?
The most important instruments and tools that I used in my career are percussion instruments that will be the subject of my second or third album and African sounds. In all my productions and my sets, I use these instruments as the basis for my music. But sometimes I also allow myself to make solos.
Personally, I have been playing the ‘Darbouka’ instrument since I was very young, and I still have in my possession this instrument which grew with me. I also play a little ‘Djembe, Congas, etc. Other important tools are my MIDI keyboards and musical instruments that are indispensable to my music productions.
Take us through a day in your life, from a possible morning routine through to your work, please.
In general, it always starts with a protein breakfast, but especially with a good full-bodied black coffee to start my day. Then I make sure to take some fresh air before getting to work in my office. I always start by reading and replying to my emails first, then I carry out any administrative tasks to be performed regarding the management of my music label and also the management of my artistic career.
Then I do a listening session to listen to the musical novelties of the day, and take care of some calls with different artists to discuss various projects. To rest my ears a little bit I take a lunch break long enough for me to afterwards attack the musical production and advance on the various projects that I have to realize.
On the other hand, the morning routine differs every day depending on where I find myself. As I am a DJ who often plays out, I find myself in different cities of the country as I'm travelling. So I have a second morning routine that turns out to be enlivened by train stations, airports and motorways (laughs).