Hailing from Alexandria, the ancient capital of knowledge and learning, Youssef Owais is redefining the Egyptian electronic scene. Like his ancestors before him, he is quite versed in the Arabic art of storytelling. His productions illustrate a gateway between the past and the future. Where the sounds of the east meet the west, you'll find the best in Owais.
“The beauty of Egypt lies within its diversity of cultures and influences that can be seen and touched within its art," Owais expresses. “However, when it comes to the Egyptian EDM scene, it's lacking in diversity." Despite the rise in global recognition, the music setting is “limited" and labeled.
Enter the well eclectic-equipped ear Owais has developed since he was a pre-teen. Since discovering electronic music, he's been “obsessed by how diverse" dance music reflects. From tech-house, bass, and touches of trance in between, he adds that he's “never limited to a certain genre." Additionally, “It's intriguing because it gives insight into mixing and matching elements from [other] genres to create something mildly different."
Owais captures his culture by keeping flickers of Arabian influences within his love of modern electronic music. “Ramadan Gana," “Mafish Rozz," and “Bakkar" are just a few of these ripples making waves “without ruining their legacy." Although he's dubbed them “a bit challenging, it's important to make something new out of these." Moreover, he states, “I'm always humbled when people still talk about them."
Beyond his homage, constructing music has also given Owais an “ability to mentally transcend to another universe." The composition of “Kyoto in December" also became a search for a suitable visual sequence. “Kyoto has always been one of those cities on my bucket list," he states with admiration. “I had this scenery playing in my head of snow falling in the beautiful streets." His avid search for the perfect music video led him to a Kyoto-based videographer titled Film ADK. “[He] had exactly what I had in mind, and he was nice enough for me to use his footage."
“Music introduced me to a whole community that I would have never been lucky enough to meet." Backed by the internet and the information age, the pandemic allowed him to revisit early tracks and bring them new life. His latest EP, “Those Were the Days," was first birthed in the summer of 2019. “I initially started working on the club mix, but the '5 AM mix' came one sleepless night, and I felt the two complimented one another."
Reworking “Remember Me," originally released in 2014, was fueled by the future bass craze movement of the times; however, Owais decided to revisit the melody four years later. “By 2018, I was deep into drum and bass, and it came together almost overnight." Unfortunately, the rework wasn't hitting the anticipated audience volume and almost scratched from his discography. Yet one positive email from London Elektricity encouraged Owais to repost the rework on SoundCloud. Since then, it's had a massive swell of support from international artists Rameses B, Flowidus, and Boxplot, who featured it in his Amsterdam live set.
Photos by Youssef Owais
Outside of producing, you’ll find Owais deep in visual art and graphic design, yet music means “everything" to him. “This has been an important aspect of my life for the last ten years, during many different phases." Through the challenges of self-creation of “visual assets, content calendars to networking and submitting press releases," the value of the “positivity effect" is priceless.
This self-taught musical engineer is already well on his way to a global guestmix, an honorable position among the EDM community. His music captures the essence of stories among the desert sands and the human experience overall and catapults them into sensational synths. Whatever your musical palate, Owais provides an oasis for emotions that are unable to attach to words.