FLOMINE, UNTAPPED SOUNDS OF CASABLANCA
5th of May 2021.
Growing up in the urban corner of Casablanca in Morocco, FloMine, real name Amine Benjdiya, a creative music producer living in London, has come a long way since the days spent in the desert, but he is full of appreciation and respect for his roots, which is seen through his style and approach to making music. We catch up with FloMine this week in an exclusive interview to bring you his inspirational story and hear about his unique style.
Tell us about your journey FloMaine, how did you get here?
” I was born in Casablanca in a predominantly poor area, the great thing was a sense of community, people had no money but there was integration, sharing of stories, ideas and groups of people coming together sharing laughter, food and creativity.”
“Coming from a difficult background means you gain the type of character to create the best from the little you have. If you can make quality things with nothing you gain real talent and appreciation. I began making music with a group of friends on a second hand borrowed laptop and from there started building my production name. “
“I came to the UK only 6 years ago as a student with the little I had I would buy music gear second hand and resell to gain money to purchase my own equipment. I spent hours, days, weeks and months perfecting my production then moving on to mixing and mastering skills as we could not afford to pay outsiders. I collaborated with international artists, world music musicians, people who played Gnawa music, like the Arfoud Brothers and those who played different African drums and sitar. “
“I wanted to create a sound that reminded me of home but modernised and fused with my love of house music. I opened E11 Studios in 2019, the first Leytonstone professional studio and started to want to build an empire for all creatives.”
Who is your biggest influence ?
“I would say House producers, such as Tchami and Malaa, Don Diablo, all the way to Bob Marley, Quincy Jones and Prince. I am an avid follower of the Moroccan and London music scene, following tand working alongside artists such as DIzzy Dros, Snor, EL Grande ToTo, Small x, Excep, Soufiane AZ.”
How would you describe your style?
“My style changes but mostly comes from growing up in Morocco, travelling to the Middle East and southern Morocco, spending time in the Sahara desert and with musicians who play for love, not fame, success or money. They grow up playing, there’s some precious learning from those who play instruments and sing for political freedom, or pain or sing or play with the spirit and roots of their ancestors. Anything from Gnawaw, Moroccan and BerBer music mixed in with being in London exposed to the house music and drill music scene. My now style incorporates and fuses them all, my motto being ‘No RULES’ “
Your fashion style is reflective of your heritage with a twist, tell us about the look you created and how you made it recognisable to you.
“I have always been a great followers of fashion and again wanted to keep it traditional with a modern twist, the Fez hat is a very historical and famous style of the Moroccan culture, it was handmade by Jenny from Arfound Brothers and Hassan Hejjaj (Moroccan fashion photographer), it was made with several beads and jewels from both modern moroccan designs and historical berber jewellery. A piece of Moroccan Amazigh (Imazighen) history mixed with modern colours and styles from European and African influences. The clothes were a reflection of my own culture and the music I was making, so wearing the hat helped people to connect FloMine with Morocco and Gnawa sounds then connect to E11 and so on.”
What elements of the Moroccan traditional music do you feel has been the most influential?
” The raw elements of the music has influenced and the realisation that certain sounds and lyrics can liberate people, heal people, bring happiness, motivation or sorrow. Listening to people’s stories through their sound helped to understand that I need to make music that moves and inspires people. “
Who is your favourite traditional musician and why?
“Arfound Brothers – Gnawa Music – Very spirtual musican with a incredible voice and incrediable musicanship, a group with no EGO just creativity very rare breed,”
You have an amazing sample pack of sounds on sale, how did you develop the sounds, what was the process?
“The greatest thing about making my sample packs is the absolute jam sessions that came with this, I bring the artists I usually work with to E11 Studios and we have Moroccan tea, cakes and had a proper jam session, which resulted in creating some amazing sounds, just from vibe-ing and good feelings, that then comes together as a sample pack. All the sounds are played live, original and not because the artists had to do a job, but it came from the freeness of jamming and creating.”
“The vocals on the Gnawa pack have an incredible feeling and probably can never be copied and redone as it was the music and vocal being made in that moment that was captured really creating an individual sound for everyone to benefit from. “
What do you think the future is for the music industry in Morocco following the pandemic?
“Artists are incredibly supportive of each other in Morocco and are taking things into their own hands, photographers, stylists, influencers, videographers are all working together with singers, rappers to create futuristic, collaborative and cultured music and using online platforms to help it grow. Traditionally Morocco has always been a very live music scene and the profit for creatives is through festivals however the pandemic has forced most people online exploring other ways to find audiences internationally and make music, keeping the independence and success of Moroccan music alive.”
WHERE TO FIND FLOMINE?
Buy his exclusive Moroccan & Gnawa music production sample pack here.
‘Boundless’ is a regular editorial by Aywa Kidah, dedicated to raising the profile of creators from North Africa and the Middle East, with the aim of sharing with the world the boundless talent and stories to inspire. Let us know what you think to our ‘Boundless’ features here.
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