Music, art, and community

I spent well over a decade deep into the west coast music, art, and performance arts scene. I went to my first underground “rave” when I was fifteen and the rest is history. With the magnificent community of brilliant artists, I developed my skills in multimedia design and production, networking, brands, event production, and of course – music.

The beginning

When I moved out on my own after my mother was transferred to a nursing home (long story), I moved one block off of Broadway in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood. This neighborhood, near downtown, was the epicenter of Seattle’s music and creative scene – it still is to some degree. I quickly fell into the heart of Seattle’s electronic music and performing arts movement populated by some of the most talented people I have ever met — many remain my closest friends. I joined a music collective called Seelie Court when I was seventeen. With this collective (and its offshoots) we threw dozens of underground events across the Northwest in warehouses, deserts, forests, beaches, and two of Seattle’s most well known underground venues – Artificial Limb Co. (OSEAO) and the Lish House (Columbia City Theater). I must stress that these events went far beyond “all night dance parties.” We elevated the popular rave scene into something of pure magic. We were not about the money. We were about the community.

The advent of dj advent

I began dj’ing as dj advent. I quickly grew tired of spinning house and drum and bass and began looking for my own sound. I discovered and pioneered South Asian and Arabic inspired electronic music. I played my first gig in a 21+ club when I was nineteen with Cheb I Sabbah — one of the founders of the sound. From there my dj career took off. I mainly performed in the underground scene and developed music for/with belly dancers, fire performance troupes (most notably Pyrosutra), and other performance groups. During this time I donated my services to dozens of fundraising and community events.

I evolved out of the underground scene when I signed with Six Degrees Records (one of the world’s most successful world music labels) and began promoting and performing at club events with Darek Mazzone (dj), James Whetzel (sarod and dumbec), and Deepayan Acharjya (tabla and dhol). We rotated between monthly and weekly events for the next two years. Later, I joined up with Sounds of the East — the biggest Bollywood and Bhangra event promoter in America. I played sold out venues with Sounds of the East until I started school full time. Throughout this time I was playing the biggest music festivals in the NW and the US, as well as other club nights, private parties, art galleries, museums, fundraisers, and underground events. I have performed at over 250 events (for several years I was playing three times a week – easily).  I have held, long term ( 4+ months) weekly or monthly residencies at the following venues in Seattle – Tost, Nectar, Chop Suey, Contour, Last Supper Club, Cobalt Room, Capitol Club, Heaven, and the Mirabeau Room (all of these are/were in Seattle and top tier venues). I’ve performed at empty rooms to the nations largest music festivals with thousands of people; from run down industrial warehouses to cutting edge multi-million dollar music venues; from boring run of the mill pop events to beautiful outdoor events. When I was twenty-seven was the year I began working at the historic Columbia City Theater — a multi-million dollar recording studio and event space. I worked at an amazing recording studio, managed a popular event space, and was dj’ing all around town — my music career could not have gotten any better.

Moving into academia

I accomplished all I set out for (except being a world famous jet-setting dj). Reaching my goals and seeing how much fun my girlfriend (now wife) was having in school  – I decided to go to school myself. My influence in making the world a better place was limited to fundraisers and creating magical moments for those who listened to my music or attended my performances. I wanted to do something of significance.

So began my long and rewarding journey in academia.

Since 2008, I have only performed around a dozen times. When I was a big dj I never recorded a single mix because I didn’t want to create a static experience – you had to come to my shows. However, over the last decade I developed another unique sound that I call Broken Grooves. My new sound focuses on jazz, blues, old standards, and other traditional musics of the West blended with electronic music — mainly downtempo, trip-hop, and instrumental hip hop. My ideal performance spaces would be sophisticated lounge settings, dinner parties, art galleries, museums, and those dance spaces where people want to get down to music that is intelligent, sophisticated, and steeped in culture.

When I began school full time in 2006, I began reducing my amount of gigs.  Dj’ing is not a 9-5 job, but a 10pm-3am job and a lot relies on nightlife networking to keep the shows going.  By 2007, I only was playing out a few times a year at special events and that is when I began making these mixes.  So, they don’t reflect, entirely, the genre’s I performed publicly. The Orientalism series focus on Arabic and South Asian influenced downtempo, ambient, breakbeats, and experimental sounds. This was my specialty back in the day. The dj mixes For Someone, Heden St. Lounge, Cabaret Le Couer, City Soleil, and Old Time Jukebox, and the other Broken Grooves mixes move outside of what I played out and instead portray downtempo/instrumental hip-hop with elements of jazz, swing, tango, blues, among other world instruments.  This is now my signature sound.  After almost a decade of careful consideration and development, this sound is ready for public consumption.  Please enjoy and let me know what you think.