How did you get started in music? What was your first musical memory, and when did you realize that composing music was something you could do and wanted to do?
I started playing music at the age of 13 with my oldest brother, Salim. I started playing the drums to his guitar. My first musical memory is lying on the floor with my brother taping songs off of the radio. I didn't even think about writing songs until I was 29. Up until then I'd always been content to play Salims songs. At the time I took up writing, it was just something I needed to do, and not at all a "planned" move.
One thing I've noticed about the songs on Problematico is that they have an orchestral feel, in the sense that they seem to cry out for a more symphonic arrangement. Do you hear larger arrangements for your songs? Would you like to work with an orchestra?
I'll post one of my "Casio Classics" for you on my website! I work with limitations because I record at home on a 16 track. I'd love to have the budget to not be so "budget" at times, but there are other things that you gain in that trade-off.
How do you write a song? Do you keep a tape recorder for middle-of-the-night flashes of songwriting inspiration?
My songs are almost all and always recorded spontaneously. They are usually committed to tape within minutes to an hour of being written and afterwards forgotten. Since 100% of my recording is done in my home it enables 100% "freshness." My only recorder is "The Recorder!"
You released two records last year-what are your plans for this year? Any new records coming out?
Yes, there is a vinyl 45 coming out soon on Apartment Records, and there is going to be an exciting rerelease of The Nourallah Brothers first album including a whole new bonus album sometime this fall. Currently I'm working with Salim on a official second Nourallah Brothers album tentatively titled "Constellation."
When it comes down to it, which one of your songs do you consider your favorite or best, and why?
This one’s tough! I have a lot of favorites off all the records I've done, so it's hard to narrow down to one Supreme Favorite or Proud Moment! Milestones for me would be “Christmas Time” off Nourallah Brothers’ debut (first recorded song), The Road off of I Love Faris (perhaps the best example of me and a piano) and off Problematico it would be a toss-up between “A Day to Remember” and “Problematico”. “A Day to Remember” kicked off those sessions so is a favorite, but I think I might like “Problematico” the best. I need more time/distance to asses the last record!
You're known as quite prolific. When you write, do you have a daily writing routine, where you think, 'I'm going to write a song a day?'
No, no routine at all. I just don't do much of anything else besides music. I'm usually either thinking about it or playing it.
Finally, what do you think is music's greatest power? Do you ever comprehend the magic that is music?
Music has many powers/facets. It can be as deep as "dig this political thought" or as simple as "dance to this," and everything in between. All is valid. Each person is going to draw something different from music. That being said, I would be hard pressed to name music’s one great power, except on a purely personal level. For me, it would be to find the place where I feel most comfortable and in control, where I can say anything to anyone and be anything.