Zaid Edghaim is a Toronto-based DJ and producer, part of both the Hushlamb crew and Thoughtless, who has been playing primarily in Toronto since 2008. For this week's segment of NORTHMIX, Zaid delivers a set that is equal parts driving and ear catching, with tracks to zone out and groove to. This is the perfect soundtrack for the patio sessions ahead. He gave us some insights into what makes him tick and why music really is his life.
THUMP: What was it about electronic music that initially captivated you?
Zaid: My cousin bought me Sasha & John Digweed's Northern Exposure: Expeditions CD back in 1999. I was around 12 at the time and was blown away. I would go and visit, and he would sit me down and make me listen to all kinds of electronic music for hours. The rhythms, the melodies, the journey within the sounds… it just did something to me. I was captivated early on by DJ proper sets that told a story, sets that took you on a journey in your mind, the kinds that give you chills. Electronic music just speaks to me.
Where did you grow up, and has it influenced your sound in any specific way?
I grew up in the Middle East, Saudi Arabia specifically. It wasn't a place sprawling with nightclubs and electronic music, so my influences stem more from the traditional instruments of the Middle East and their unique rhythms. The Oud, The Qanun, Tablas, Zills. Traditional Arabic music is something dear to my heart; growing up I used to spend hours listening to my grandfather's old Palestinian tapes. I can't help but be influenced by those sounds, whether I intend to or not.
What cities have great music scenes that you would love to check out?
I have yet to visit Berlin, although some of my favorite artists live there. Actually, I think I'm about to base my answer on where my favourite artists live, so I'll have to say Cordoba, Argentina. The minimal crew that lives there is jaw dropping. And Lisbon, Portugal, for the same reason. And Detroit… I would love if Rick Wade would just take me around and show me the scene. One can dream.
What types of sounds are you drawn to when you produce?
I got really into field recordings. The world is the best synth really; it sounds cheesy but its true. Everything from nature sounds to heavy machinery; it truly is an endless list. I use field recordings quite a bit in my productions. Also hi-hats.
What have been the top three shows that you've ever played?
Hard to say, I've been playing out publicly since 2008. The Toi Bar gigs with Hushlamb have been, and still are, my all time favourites. Toi Bar was a small space in Little Italy, with a small dance floor that was just so intimate. Those were the days! In November of 2010, we had Bruno Pronsato—that was beyond brilliant. In April of 2011, we had Tom Ellis who is such an incredible talent. The Cherry Beach Thoughtless Music party we had that got shut down early a few summers back as well. And of course playing with Zeina at the Sound in Motion festival was incredible, or the Bike rave Sound In Motion did the year after. My favourite gig this year by far though was spinning the sunrise set with Zeina at the Hushlamb party at the end of March in Montreal. I fuckin' love DJing, there have been too many amazing gigs (thankfully) to specify just three.
What are your dream labels to be signed to?
I have a deep love for Canada and the Canadian electronic music scene. I want to see it thrive, and of course, would love to be a part of that growth. We have an incredible selection of Canadian labels. I have always wanted to be on New Kanada. Archipel, Grain Records (I hope they come back) and once I get more analogue gear, Obsolete Components.
Who were your original influences?
DJ sets and podcasts for the longest time were my main influence. John Digweed's Kiss 100, Hernan Cattaneo's Metrodance mixes, and Audiofly's early Flying Circus podcasts. Those changed my life. These guys made me really listen to sets and break them down, try to figure out when the next track comes in, how it came in and really understand their overall themes. Today it's more artists: Villalobos, Pheek, Cleymoore, Knowing Looks, and labels like Unoiki, Doma Musique, 31337 and Klangsheiben.
Who doesn't get enough attention for their productions?
I am a little bit biased, but I feel generally the whole minimal scene is underappreciated. Montreal's crew definitely needs more attention; Ana+one is such a brilliant DJ and has FANTASTIC productions. Alicia Hush is in the same boat. Zeina, Claire, Stefny Winter—same thing. In Toronto there are a few as well, but Cee Cee Cox aka Colourblind (aka Siavash Ghanbari) is one of the most underrated producers and his works deserve a lot more recognition. There are way too many artists in this world who don't get acknowledged, so to those music lovers out there, please keep searching and supporting these beautiful people.