Numéro: You were born in Jordan in 1990 but grew up in Ramallah. Is that where you organised your techno parties in 2010 ?
Sama Abdulhadi: The first party I did in Ramallah was totally crap. No one understood what I was doing, and everyone went home. After three failed attempts, I ended up getting involved with the electro scene that was just emerging at the same time in Haifa in Israel. Maybe those Haifa party promoters would have eventually come to Ramallah if I never started there. One thing’s for sure though, there was no electro scene before I started. There were musicians playing alternative music, like reggae and rock, people needed to break free from the traditions of previous generations and to experience this newness embodied by techno. It was when I went to university in Beirut in 2008, that I really saw DJs from around the world who came to mix every weekend. It was a complete revelation, I’d never heard anything like that in Palestine. I didn’t really finish my studies, but my father reminded me that I’d always wanted to mix and encouraged me to go for it. I followed his advice and did a year of audio engineering in Jordan and then went to the SAE Institute in London.
What kind of music did you listen to when you were a kid?
My parents listened to Michael Jackson non-stop at the house. I listened to hip-hop, rock, rap and a bit of pop, but no Arab music because I never liked it. In Palestine there is no production going on of any Palestinian artists, and the musical culture is very commercial. And it was only after my studies in London, when I went to Egypt in 2013 that I discovered a whole underground side to Arab music that I really liked. I discovered artists like Tamer Abu Ghazaleh, Maryam Saleh, Mohammed Sami, Ahmed Omran, Dina El Wededi, Nancy Mounir, Maurice Louca, Nadah El Shazly, Shadi El Hosseini, and Fathy Salama. Egypt is the heart of Arab artistic, cinematic and musical creation. Since then I’ve tried to do more and more projects by mixing up these diverse influences.