Ahmed Eid, one of the most popular DJs in Egypt, made history when he became the first Egyptian to perform in the famous club, Pacha, in Ibiza last April. So what’s the story behind this digital music genius who’s spreading his wings far on the global music scene? Enigma caught up with Eid at the start of Egypt’s busy summer season on the North Coast, where his fans flock to listen to his beats every weekend.
Ahmed Eid had a passion for music since he was in school, where he learnt to play drums and base guitar. He would DJ at parties, and by his last year, he was seriously exploring becoming a professional DJ.
He went on to study architecture in Cairo University, and his DJ gigs kept growing. He graduated as an architect in 2004, but he never stopped being a DJ at the same time.
“I’ve been an architect for 13 years now, but I’ve been a DJ for 20 years already,” says Eid. He recalls how things were not as easy as they are today for DJs. “When I started as a DJ, I had to teach myself what I needed to know, including how to work the equipment, which was very complicated. It was also very difficult to get our hands on music. I have bags and bags of CDs, which I used to use long ago. Now, everything is on a flash memory stick. You can also learn how to use today’s equipment with a simple tutorial. I’ve actually been giving DJ tutorials to others for three years now. Some people come to learn for fun, others to become professional DJs.”
A look at the music scene in Egypt shows that the DJ field is quite fluid, with many new entrants every year. Part of the reason is the ease with which people can now download music from the internet. The equipment needed is also relatively easy to obtain. Recalling how things used to be, Eid says, “Finding DJ equipment in Egypt was very difficult in the past. Today, what you need is basically a mixer and two multiplayers which can work with any device. Still, this is not an easy hobby, and many DJs drop out every year.”
According to Eid, “To judge a DJ, you have to listen to a whole set of his music. The sequence and flow of the tracks from beginning to end is very important. A good DJ must also have a certain synergy with the crowd. That doesn’t mean he should play what the crowd wants, but he should engage them and have them enjoy what he’s got for them.”
Marking a highlight in his DJ career, last April Eid was invited to DJ in Ibiza at Pacha, one of the top five clubs in the world. As he recalls, “Playing at Pacha in Ibiza to about 3000 people, with my name blazing on the screen behind me, was an amazing experience! We were five DJs that night and I was the only Egyptian. The difference between here and Ibiza, is the crowd. There, they understand what a tough job it is to DJ, and that you need to remain focused. Here, they come up to make requests, which disturbs the DJ because he is concentrating on the flow that’s in his mind.”
Eid’s Ibiza invitation was in the context of a collaboration with an outfit called Ibiza. This summer it will be the turn of his Ibiza friends to play with him on weekends on Egypt’s North Coast. He will be back in Ibiza later this year. Feeling proud of what he’s achieved so far, he explains, “For the rest of the year I have many destinations outside Egypt where I will be playing. After my Ibiza experience, I became stronger. I have a stronger portfolio to show others and this gives me the occasion to play elsewhere. I look forward to an exciting year.”