INTERVIEWS

Exclusive Interview with Hazem Beltagui

FSOE Artist Hazem Beltagui discusses new album 'VIVID'

Hazem Beltagui

Egyptian-DJ Hazem Beltagui grew up fascinated with the world of music. It was not until his early 20s when he was introduced to trance in particular from the likes of Tiesto, Armin van Buuren, and others. With the support of his mother, Beltagui diverted all of his attention to producing music.

As part of the Future Sound of Egypt record label, Beltagui released progressive house songs, such as “We Are”, with recognition from top-tier artists. After making his breakthrough on A State of Trance in 2013 as well as creating a new genre for his sound called “Melotrance”, Beltagui has since been gaining traction as an up-and-coming DJ sensation.

Interview

OneEDM sat down with recent Beatport #1 trance-placeholder Hazem Beltagui fresh off the release of his new album ‘VIVID’. The DJ chats about everything from which tunes he wants you to hear first, to which artists he wants to hit the rewind button on.

The FSOE heavy-hitter took his time with the production of ‘VIVID’ with acclaim across the globe. Beltagui has even recently announced his place on the Tomorrowland roster later this year. As the VIVID tour ramps up, we all are excited to hear what else the melodic master has in store for us.

OneEDM: How would you describe your sound?

Hazem Beltagui: I have different styles and sounds ranging from the deep and proggy stuff to the faster stuff. If I have to describe the main common aspect between all of my projects, I would definitely say that my music is emotional.

I could include euphoric and lovely moods, but also sometimes very dark and melancholic motifs. I approach new tracks and remixes from a songwriting perspective rather than just dance music for clubs. So in short, I would describe my music as emotional electronic music that takes the listeners on a journey, be it happy or sad.

Do you prefer to DJ or Produce? Which is more important in your opinion in the industry?

I come from a producer background. I started producing music and then later on started to play DJ sets. For me, both are very important aspects of the evolution of an artist. They are both essential. Playing live makes you a better producer at the studio and producing your own music makes you a better DJ. Both technically and in terms of originality are important in my opinion.

With that being said, I think it is all about phases in your life. For some time, you might want to play live as much as possible and sometimes you only want to spend your time in the studio. Right now, I think I want to hit the road for a while since I have been working on this album for the past year or so.

Who is your favorite up-and-coming producer at the moment?

To be honest, I have not been listening to any electronic music over the past year. I did not want the album’s creative process to get influenced by any of the trends or whatever other artists are doing. I know it sounds weird, but I think that is how I would have come up with the album as original, authentic, and personal as it ended up. However, I will try to catch up on what I missed as soon as possible.

Who was a favorite DJ or producer that you no longer really see but wish you did?

I have a lot of favorites that I wish were still making music the way they did a couple of years ago. For example, Leon Bolier, Mat Zo, Tiesto, and Airbase.

For you, what is the most important aspect when creating music?

I would definitely pick creativity and originality. For me, this is what makes or breaks an artist nowadays. This is what makes you stand out from the huge amount of music released every day, and this is why I wanted to take music as a career in the first place. I wanted to express myself in an original and creative way.

Was your mother involved in music in any form on her own? Do you have any family that may have passed down the desire to work in this industry?

Actually, none of my family members are or have been involved in music. They all are casual listeners but that is basically it. You can imagine their reaction when I told them I am going to throw away my degree in physics and pursue music as a career.

If you could only speak to two tracks on VIVID, which would they be and why?

Definitely “Dreamers” and “Only You.” The first one is all about hope and chasing your dreams, which is how the melody speaks to me. The whole structure and sound is also kind of a wink to the old-school trance sound. The latter is all about modern driving emotional trance-music and is dedicated to the love of my life.

Did you have a plan for VIVID when you set out to produce an artist album? Were there roadblocks or changes? Did each track start and end as you originally envisioned, or was the album largely different than expected?

I kind of had a vision for the whole project but did not really have a plan. I wanted to convey my state of mind during the whole creative process, yet make this in a very timeless way so that people could always connect to the music 10 years from now. When I sit and start a new project, I never know how it is going to sound when it is done. I only know what kind of emotion I want to channel through the piece of music. When it comes to music, I think more in terms of emotions and moods rather than styles and sounds.

If you could not make or play music, what aspect of the industry would you like to work in?

Probably management or event organizing.

Outside of music, do you have inspiration that one might not expect?

I draw inspiration from everything around me. I think artists are creatures who feed on inspiration in all of its forms and shapes. For some reason, I always find myself inspired and in awe with night time. It is very lonely and dark, yet comfortable.

Anything we should keep our eyes open for?

We are working on the VIVID world tour right now and hopefully, we will be announcing dates soon. I am also trying to finish a bunch of remixes to play during my sets this year and might be starting to write a new album soon!

You can catch Beltagui later this year at Tomorrowland, or at FSOE in  Machester at the world famous Victoria Warehouse on September 29. Stay alert as more dates are being announced.

Grab a copy of ‘VIVID’ here!

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Samantha Scroxton
Sam is a trance fanatic that prides herself in being a veteran of the scene, with a new found love for techno. Her experience includes working with multiple music blogs, PR at 5AM Artist and Management and spearheading the NYC non-profit The Locals Project, providing a free party for fans while featuring local DJs in the tri-state area and beyond. Whether at her desk checking out the new Coldharbour release or jamming out to an international FSOE line up, she’s always ready and willing to seek out the next big thing in dance music. You’ll find her covering events all across the world, from intimate private events in NYC to massives in Miami during WMC, and even at the Temples in Egypt.