RIYADH: On Friday, Desert Sound Entertainment came back with yet another unique Techno Therapy lineup, headlined by Lebanese British record label founder, radio personality, DJ and producer Nicole Moudaber in Riyadh.
At the Diriyah Biennale Foundation, the event welcomed Saudi crowds into the venue well past midnight in anticipation of Moudaber, one of the biggest names in the electronic music industry.
Moudaber mesmerized audiences with deep house dance and electronic music, leaving the crowd chanting for an encore. Her performance was preceded by local DJs B-Hydra, Psykey, ANT, DishDash and Moses playing back-to-back with Don Edwardo.
“We’re actually playing with the best techno DJs in Riyadh alongside the legend Nicole Moudaber. It’s an honor, to be honest, to be in such a lineup as this,” DJ B-Hydra, Mohammed Bahaidrah, told Arab News.
The techno DJ and producer kicked off the evening in his second public performance with Desert Sound, playing back-to-back with fellow DJ Psykey.
Bahaidrah said he was pleasantly surprised by the turnout during the opening performance.
“People love something different, they love something unique. Techno has many sounds. For me, I see techno as more of a way of expressing yourself, and I think that’s why people love it. It’s different,” he said.
While the electronic music scene is only recently being showcased in Saudi Arabia through different platforms and events, the passion for it is anything but new.
Bahaidrah, through his podcast “The Quantum Singularity,” spotlights various DJs, with a focus on local talent within the Kingdom.
“Every DJ has a different kind of sound, in techno or any other genre,” he said. “That’s why the focus of the podcast is to introduce different talent coming up here in Saudi. The world needs to see that.”
Fellow DJ Psykey, also known as Hussam, started his music journey in 2006, venturing into psychedelic trance music before discovering the various subgenres that techno has to offer.
He adjusted his sound to find a unique medium, psy-chill, that caters to the taste of the Saudi public. “I found that the crowd here in Riyadh doesn’t like psy-trance. They’re into electronic, like techno or house or groove, some dark music, but not as dark as psy-trance. So, I created a new sound, mixing techno with psychedelic sounds,” he told Arab News.
Bolstered by various entertainment aspects, including live graffiti art, festival makeup stations and music publicity platforms, Techno Therapy aims to expose the Saudi public to local and international talents and create opportunities for cultural exchange.
“There are many hidden talents here, but what we’re seeing now is the door being opened for them, introducing them to the public,” Psykey continued.
“I’m sure there is more coming for the future of the techno scene,” he said.
Desert Sound Entertainment’s initiative, following their premiere Mars Escape event in May, aims to create communities through art, culture and music by presenting once-in-a-lifetime experiences.
Dedicated to shedding light on electronic music in Saudi, the company’s owner Ayman Al-Zurayer collaborated with the art hub Diriyah Biennale. He said that the community around it is what keeps people coming back.
“I’m actually looking forward to the future, and hopefully we become one of the strongest and biggest entertainment companies here in Saudi Arabia,” he told Arab News.
After experiencing the techno scene abroad, Al-Zurayer hoped to someday bring it back to his home country, Saudi Arabia. The organizer was an electrical engineer prior to leaving his job to pursue entertainment.
“Going through this journey, there are ups and downs that you face, and it might hurt sometimes. It actually makes you go harder, to learn from the people and the experiences. You build up and you keep going.
“Hopefully, one day, we’ll do something here in Saudi everyone will remember,” he said.