Continuing the DMCWORLD one’s to watch series, we check in with the 19 year old Eauxmar. Hailing from the Netherlands and roots in Morocco, he honours his heritage by incorporating the raw organic instrumentation into an electronic undertone including hard and birdsong. Drawing inspiration from James Blake, Four Tet, Burial and even Kanye West, he also moulds 90s R&B samples to great effect coming together for dreamy sounding works…with a huge twist to the norm….
Tell us about you background from Morocco, and where you are based now. Are there any other Moroccan electronic music artists of note?
So, my mother and her family is from Zaio, a small municipality in the north of Morocco but they are originally from a nomadic tribe called Ouled Settout. My mother and her family moved at a young age to The Netherlands as guest workers. Even though having a Dutch father, I was mainly raised up with Moroccan values. However, I didn’t grow up with other second-generation Moroccan peers because there weren’t a lot of others in my school or neighbourhood. And so, I kind of got disconnected from my roots more and more because of that, but right now I’m starting to learn a lot more about my roots and culture, which has been an amazing experience. Besides Red One there aren’t many other Moroccan electronic producers that I know of, which is kind of a bummer because I’m sure that there are a lot of great potential artists out there. For me that is also one of the main reasons to stick more to my roots and try to make my fellow Moroccans proud.
Where do you find inspiration for making music? Is it around town, around the house, what sparks your ideas and creativity?
Usually my inspirations come from my own personal experiences. I am a pretty observational. I look around a lot and try to find interesting things. What also gives me inspiration is just a walk in the super park/forest across from our home, it is one of those parks that has no maintenance and so the nature stays really pure there which I love. Other than that, I don’t have a lot of moments where I feel like I’m inspired, so usually I just start working on music and then it flows really well or not. The key for me really is not to overthink, which is a struggle.
You like to use samples from a range of media including film, TV, and literature to make your music more personal to you. Do you do this to pay tribute to what inspires you or as a journal of what you were watching or reading at a certain time to cement a memory?
Yeah so for me I see the sampling as a collage. Getting bits and pieces that are attached to my life and transforming them into musical harmony. I also like to sample a lot of music due to my love for early hip-hop records, sometimes those records have such a distinct feeling to them that inspires me to also create some sort of emotional bond with the samples.
‘Given Away, Given Back’ starts very whimsically and then crescendos into a bouncing beat. Was this inspired by the sample you use on it?
Yeah, so for me I see the sampling as a collage. Getting bits and pieces that are attached to my life and transforming them into musical harmony. I also like to sample a lot of music due to my love for early hip-hop records, sometimes those records have such a distinct feeling to them that inspires me to also create some sort of emotional bond with the samples.
You use chopped up samples in a lot of your tracks, it’s becoming part of your style. Without outrightly giving it away, could you give any clues as to where the sample on “Given Away, Given Back” is from?
Well I already made the beat without the samples you hear in it. However, I felt like the transition from the intro/verse to the chorus needed a good bridge, so I thought it would be really cool to have this early 2000’s dramatic sounding choir ballad outro. After a long time of digging, I found the perfect sample. From there it was just a matter of making sure it would fit smoothly in the track of course.
You like to use ‘organic’ instruments to pay tribute to your Moroccan heritage, what instrument is the most evocative of your sound? Which instruments do you prefer to work with the most?
I actually started looking on a bunch of super old hip-hop sampling blog websites from like 10 years ago. I usually go ‘online crate-digging’ there and I try to look for a certain type of sound of a certain era that fits my taste. The randomness of finding a certain sample that fits perfectly or has great potential is one of the best feelings ever! With this particular song I’ve used an instrument called an ‘Oud’ and ran it through a bunch of effect pedals to create this dreamy picking sound for the background. I also used a flute called a ‘Nai’ that I pitched up a lot that that is also played in the background throughout the track. Both are Moroccan or Arab instruments.
Other than producing, do you play any instruments yourself?
Yes, I play piano and I’m starting to pick up my guitar lessons again!
I think it’s wonderful you seek to inject your heritage into your music. Are there any artists or musicians who inspired you to do this or is it a motif you wanted to explore yourself?
I think it’s a combination of both. But there some artists that I feel like pay homage to their culture in a unique way. For example, when Jai Paul used that Indian sample at the end of ‘Str8 Outta Mumbai’, I was blown away of how weird but good it sounded. Another artist that does this incredibly well is Paria Farzaneh, she is a menswear designer from Iran, and she has one of the most amazing designs out there using a lot of references and patterns from here country and culture.
You’ve had the chance of DJ’ing at some great events and festivals, which has been your favourite so far and why?
I liked playing at Eurosonic Noorderslag the most. Technically it was not a DJ set but a live show instead. I loved it because I finally able to play all of my music and really express myself fully for the first time that day.
Some people may be familiar with you from your collaboration with Caius on Kitsuné Musique. How did that collaboration come about? Are you interested in working with any other artists?
Caius is such an amazing producer! I think I met him through my manager, but I already listened to his stuff. From there we just started sending over beats and eventually got together in Amsterdam to work on it together.
Everyone is handling the current pandemic differently. Are you taking the time to relax or are you finding you’re doing more work than usual?
Sometimes it’s hard to stay inspired so I make sure I don’t overwork too much. But it’s pretty hard balancing taking a break from music and wanting to finish music.