Music, art, and community

I spent well over a decade deep into the west coast music, art, and performance arts scene where I was a fixture. 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 at fifteen, after my mother was transferred to a nursing home, 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 and still is to some degree. I quickly fell into the heart of the electronic music and performing arts movement populated by some of the most talented people I will ever meet. 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). These events went far beyond all night dance parties. We elevated the scene into something of pure magic. We were not about the money. We were about the community.

The advent of dj advent

I began learning to beat match with house and drum and bass and started looking for my own sound. I specialized in ambient for the first couple of years and played chill rooms. I then discovered, and subsequently pioneered, South Asian and Arabic inspired electronic music (aka Asian Underground, Asian Massive, Arabtronica, etc.). I played my first gig in a 21+ club when I was nineteen with Cheb I Sabbah — one of the pioneers of the sound. From there, my dj career took off. I mainly performed in the underground scene and developed music for belly dancer and fire performance troupes and other performance groups.

I evolved out of the underground scene when I signed with Six Degrees Records (at the time, 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. 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.

The Orientalism series focus on Arabic and South Asian influenced downtempo, ambient, breakbeats, and experimental sounds. The dj mixes For Someone, Heden St. Lounge, Cabaret Le Couer, City Soleil, and Old Time Jukebox, and the other 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.