Jugurtha is a project we started about two years ago. We both have different backgrounds, yet with similar influences.
Yassin: “I grew up in Tunisia, where traditional music is culturally everywhere, flowing social rites and practices. This made my ear sensitive to Arabic music, and helped me comprehend all the subtleties in oriental musicality years later.
I guess I understood music was my path when I started playing all the melodies I would hear on my first little synthesizer, moving onto the flute, and then to piano; I was so happy playing instruments, I knew I had to continue doing just that growing up.”
Samir: “When I was a kid, my mom bought me an old second-hand piano to use as decoration in my room. I started being interested in this new companion, and soon became curious with music theory; not too long after which I was admitted in music school. My passion for musical techniques grew stronger from there.”
2. What would be your ultimate aim in the industry?
We cannot really say we are aiming at the music industry per say; we want to use its purest form of strength to engage in the bigger picture, where music is part of our growing need for spreading knowledge and culture to an array of different communities.
Nonetheless, our goal is to bring back music’s original values to the front: transmitting ideas and messages, which now unfortunately have been put aside in the industry for business purposes.
3. How long have you been writing your own music?
We both have been writing music for about seven years, attracted in the early stages by the creative phase, and the possibility of message perspectives.
“Orientation”, our first album as Jugurtha, has been in the works for over a year, and has been a project we have been working on actively in the past two years.
4. Who are your top three influences and why?
Jugurtha, where we get out name from, was a Numidian king, whom was able to emancipate himself from the oblivious Roman Empire, and resist against it for many years.
Claude Levi Strauss, because he understood that the best way to approach another culture was to put one’s own aside, be completely immersed, and not judge but try to understand.
Zyriab (9th century), for he was able to spread cultural and musical diversity around the Mediterranean Sea, diffusing Greek, Persian, Arab, Muslim, Jewish and Christian knowledge to others. He alone impersonates the entire cultural heritage of ‘Al Andalus’.
Music-wise, I guess we really enjoy some more underground artists, such as Burial, whom we found is really profound in his music-making, he has his own flow and universe, trying to connect with his audience and transmit his ideas through R’n’B voice samples.
5. Is there anything you would like people to know about your current release?
The album was intentionally produced to inspire, rather than entertain. We are hoping this album will be a key trigger in bringing together different worlds and harmonize our current musical environment.
6. Where are you based and what’s your local scene like?
We both moved a lot and are now based in Paris. Techno is growing pretty big these days, and new clubs, events and promoters are jumping in the band-wagon. It’s pretty interesting to see how the night crowd has evolved in the past two years, from an unknown and less popular techno-scene, to a rising underground community with local and international-level DJs getting booked frequently.
Although we enjoy the occasional night out in unconventional places for partying (catacombs, warehouses, squats), we also like to attend Jazz concerts (New Morning…), gallery mixes of art and music, etc.
7. Who else can you recommend from your local scene for people to have a listen to?
Mohamed Abozekry is a young Egyptian instruments master, whom formed his band ‘Heejaz’, which tries to transcend oriental virtuosity into western paths.
We’re keeping an eye out for artists such as producer Mister Kindhoover, or Pun Collins, whom has really interesting electronic music experimentations.
8. Give our readers a roundup of where they can find you online and hear more of your music.