Tous les articles par Oussama Melouani

A random linguistics student who likes to write about music, or am I?

N3rdistan In Meknes: A Concert To Be Remembered

It all started when a friend of mine sent me a picture of the concert’s poster. I was already bummed for not being able to go to L’Boulevard, specially that I really wanted to see the likes of JadaL and Betweenatna. As soon as I saw who’s coming to play, I had a rush of excitement just like a kid in a candy store. Not surprisingly, people came from all over Meknes to be there. The French Institution’s Theater barely held the number of fans who came to see the band. And let me tell you, they had a reason for flooding it. The concert was pure awesome. Even people who didn’t know who they were listening to  finished the concert screaming: N3RDISTAN, N3RDISTAN, N3RDISTAN…

The band started with a Nizar Qabbani inspired track, it was almost like Walead was reciting poetry in the most artistic manner you could possibly imagine, when everyone thought that was it, the beat started and the crowd went wild when a more rap-y version of the poem  emerged from the band’s amplifiers.
The next two tracks were also from what I’d call ‘The Gods of Arabic Poetry’, Ahmed Matar and Gibran Khalil Gibran. When I asked the band about the reason why they chose to take their lyrics from such great poets, they responded by: These poets are the same ones who gave our forefathers the strength to  change their communities. These pieces of poetry are still relevant today, for example, Irhalo by Ahmed Matar or  Hawaamish ‘Ala Daftar An-Naksa by Nizar Qabbani are basically the unofficial anthems of the Arab Spring. It really comes natural to us to take inspiration from them.

Taken by: Mohammed Mehyaoui

Next thing on their playlist for us was The Whistling Voice of A Nightingale by Al-Asma’i. The witty lyrics and the combination of Walead and Houda, AKA T Queen, rapping their way through one of the most twisted pieces of Arabic poetry ever written, accompanied by a sick drummer is way beyond anything I’ve seen in awhile. It kinda reminded me of their weird name, N3rdistan.  When I asked Walead where did the name really come from, he took it very humorously and stated: Well, i was walking one day, at about 6:45 (Sebâa L’lareb was his actual description) and I saw an N and an S, somehow along the way, that turned into N3rdistan, and here we are today, playing in Meknes.

After a couple more tracks, the band hit us with what Walead calls ‘Eletro 9bi7‘.  It was an over-compressed mixture of Drum&Bass and Rock, plus some sampled voice covers called Occupy. When questioned about how they categorize themselves in terms of genre, the band haven’t really much to say: We call it N3edistan Haha. We don’t really follow certain parameters or a certain genre. If we liked a beat or a combination of strings, we’ll go along with it. I, myself, had some past experience with Rap, Metal and Electro, other members like African Music, Reggae, Drum&Bass and so on. We really just try to merge everything together and come up with something that we like.

Taken by: Mohammed Mehyaoui

After that ‘Eletro L9bi7‘, things settled down a bit with a clearly political track that was, and I quote: A message to every political institution out there. The track Mirage Policy (Siyassat Sarab) is a full-on rage attack on every political figure I could think of. Talking to the band, they said jokingly : Well, the only place that isn’t really concerned about this track is N3rdistan itself Hahah. but seriously, it’s a message to every political institution out there, in and outside of Morocco. We do not support any political figure or entity, as by definition, they stand by everything we fight against.

Taken by: Mohammed Mehyaoui

At The end of the concert, the crowd went all crazy and begged for a another track. ‘Encore, encore, encore…’ everyone screamed. the band complied and they sang The Whistling Voice of A Nightingale again. The track didn’t loose its charm one bit.
When Walead was introducing the band members, the multi instrumentalist  took the mic and told us that it’s Walead’s birthday. To his surprise, no one got out of the theater till they sang happy birthday, his reaction was PRICELESS to say the least.

I did catch up with the band after the show, like I’ve mentioned before, and they happily answered everything I had to ask. Besides from the answers above, we had this mini conversation.

OM: How was the concert? did you like the crowd?
N3rdistan: It was one of the most energetic gigs we had in awhile, the crowd was insane and responsive and that’s the way we like it.

OM: Are you planning on coming back anytime soon?
N3rdistan: We hope so, we liked the crowd and the whole thing was just a bless.

OM: let’s talk about you guys for a bit, when did the band, in it’s current form, start?
N3rdistan: In 2014, we just got together and started making music. (Houda’s speaking now) I just saw a lighted room with good music coming out of it and came in Haha.  I got in after the idea was already formed by Walead and here we are.

OM: Speaking of making music, what’s the typical studio day for N3rdistan?
N3rdistan: We just hang out there, brainstorming till something comes up.

OM: Do you guys have any albums or tracks coming out soon?
N3rdistan: Yeah, We have a 4 tracks  EP coming out in October, and an album coming out in 2016.

Taken by: Mohammed Mehyaoui

Undoubtedly, The concert was one of the best I’ve been to and the band is just amazing and down to earth. Hopefully we’ll see them soon at Visa For Music.

AURORA: A Young Emerging Artist.

Aurora‘s talent in writing and singing are as obvious as her young age. This up-and-coming artist has already established her fanbase, which is basically everyone who listens, listened or will listen to her. As soon as one listens to one of her tracks, falling in love with her is just an action waiting to happen. Her dark interpretation of music and her heavily meaningful lyrics will compile  anyone to bookmark her name in their emerging artists chart.
I’ve got a hold of Aurora to ask her a few question about pretty much anything I could think of, and she happily and calmly answered every single one with as much passion as she usually spends is her performances. Ladies and gentlemen, without further ado, I give you, AURORA.

VM: Hi Aurora and thank you for the interview, We would like to know more about you. Tell us who Aurora Aksnes  really is.
AURORA: Well. My name is Aurora, I live in Norway, a few hours from Bergen. I’ve been writing songs since I was 9, I love to tell stories.

VM: What got you into music? did you want to be a singer your whole life?
AURORA: I didn’t want to be a singer, and even now I considered myself more a musician and a storyteller than a singer. I’ve loved writing songs since I was 9, mostly for myself. I didn’t really want to be on a stage… I just needed to write songs. And then MADE management found me, and here I am.

I considered myself more a musician and a storyteller than a singer.

VM: In other interviews, you’ve pointed out that you’ve been playing piano since a very young age and fell in love with it. who or what pushed you to learn how to play it?
AURORA: my older sister used to play piano – before she stopped. And that was when I started to play. nothing pushed me to learn it. I think that is the reason why I love it so much. My parents never pushed me into doing anything. But they supported me. I think I just loved the sound of it so much that I just kept playing.

VM: What is the typical studio day for Aurora?
AURORA: Well, it depends! Every day is quite different actually! But music is always being created, and it’s wonderful. I really love being in the studio.

VM: Concerning your songs, you go from the romantic but uniquely unusual ‘In Boxes’ to the very artistically lyrics-ed ‘Runaway’. do you think there is any different between the two? how would you describe each one?
AURORA: Well, I think all of my songs have a certain darkness to them. And of course they are different! All my songs are different stories, and they deserve to have their own style. In boxes is a bit more morbid and creepy, and runaway is more longing.

VM: Your latest single ‘Murder Song’ just came out, and I have to say the acoustic version is one of my favorite songss by you. The lyrics are moving and it looks like there is a story behind it. would you care to give us a little insight on how the song came into existence?
AURORA: I wrote it one year ago, I can’t remember how it happened, but I remember it happened very fast. It was meant to be written!

VM: Your Discogs page describes your music as Pop, We like to believe that it’s a more of an acoustic version of Indie Rock. how would you describe it?
AURORA: Dark art pop.

VM: Where did you perform your first live show and how did it go? Do you have any future plans to perform here, in Morocco?
AURORA: The first real show with a band I did in Bergen – February 2014! It was very scary. That’s the thing I remember the most about it. and I don’t know yet – but I think one day I will come to Morocco and play!

VM: What are your plans for the near future? What can we expect from you?
AURORA: I’m finishing my first album, it will be released in the beginning of next year, I’m super excited.

VM: Give us an interesting fun fact or a weird incident that happened to you while you were performing live.
AURORA: Well, it’s hard to remember, weird things often happens on stage!!!! I sometime forget the lyrics, and one time I think I swallowed a tiny fly while singing ‘awakening’. That was quite weird.

VM: Finally, do you have anything to say to your fans or simply for the people who wanna discover your music?
AURORA: Well, I want my fans to know that I love them! I wouldn’t have been able to do what I do without them! They are being so nice to me. And for the people who haven’t discovered me yet – if you like emotional music, you’ve come to the right place. I have lots of stories to tell.

To hear more from Aurora, be sure to check out her Spotify or Soundcloud.

A special thank you to AURORA’s PR team for facilitating this interview, especially Helga Luedy.



Indie Music: The Blurred Lines Genre.

Most of us music lovers have listened to Indie music and haven’t even realized it. The genre is so broad and its lines are so blurry that we can put The Beatles and Iron & Wine under the same roof. (I know, that’s almost unacceptable, for BOTH parties.) By its own definition, the genre is basically unboundable. There is just no way one can know for sure what to look for when it comes to this relatively new genre. Continue reading “Indie Music: The Blurred Lines Genre.” »