Berj comes from an artistic and musical family, with his father being the Artistic Director & Principal Conductor of the Lebanese Philharmonic Orchestra, and his grandfather being a renowned Lebanese actor and theatre director. He started gaining interest in the drums at age 6 and started playing at age 12.
His musical palette ranges from Rock, Hip-Hop, and Jazz-Hop all the way to Reggae and Ska. He also started producing Lo-Fi and Hip-Hop music at the age of 17. His production is complimented by a knack for selecting and manipulating soul-moving jazz samples. He also has a very eerie, unusual way of producing songs, which interests the listener more.
What would you be doing today if not for this interview?
I’d most probably be practicing and learning new songs on the drums. Just heading down to my studio and challenging myself to learn and create something new everyday is therapeutic for me. I could end the day by knowing that I achieved something new. I’d also listen to some new soul and jazz music to chop and experiment to create something new.
If you were to introduce your music and genre to someone unaware of your music, how would you?
I always give the example of coming back from a long day of work and lying down in bed, and enjoying the calm vibes. I even tell them it’s focus music. Just some melodies to smoothen the process of thinking. It’s more in the relaxing and chilling section, rather than the “Pumped Up” vibes.
Tell us something about your latest single.
The song carries an ambient texture around it which is very mellow and soft yet emotional, accompanied by chill electric guitars layered on top of it giving it a dreamy vibe. This song talks about a journey of finding someone very precious who is lost somewhere into the abyss. A Dove represents multiple things like love, peace, and freedom. I challenged myself to make a calmer song than the usual ones that I make, and Eleven (Prateek) immediately understood and felt what I wanted and we made it happen pretty quickly!
How has the artwork evolved into speaking the language of the track?
The girl in the cover is searching for freedom and peace with Doves around her, foreshadowing that she has almost reached there. The scenery is also very colourful and calm.
How did you decide who is going to collaborate with you on this project and how content are you with the end result?
I had listened to Prateek’s music before I even started producing. When i decided I wanted to make an extremely calm and warm song, I said to myself, “let me give it a shot and see if he’d answer and is down to write a song”. And we ended up making it exactly how we wanted it to be.
One artist you’d like to collaborate with, but you know it’s not the right time now.
Oof, that’s pretty difficult because as a producer, I would love to collaborate with Earl Sweatshirt. He’s someone I look up to, and motivates me to think outside of the box all the time.
According to you, what does it take to earn the acclaimed badge of “Established Artist”?
Having an “Established Artist” badge is huge. I personally think that the artist should have a following and be represented by good galleries and command the professional respect of other artists and art professionals. They should also have a strong recognizable signature style, and more than one body of work.
Your Highlight performance till date and why so?
Well since i’m a drummer as well, it has to be the last performance at Expo 2020 in Dubai. It was emotional. We all realised the amount of effort, and hard work we put in from September to March. I remember we looked around at each other, and just said “Wow, that passed pretty quickly!”
What was the first ever instrument you played? How did it inspire you?
The 1st instrument I played was the Piano when I was 6 years old. I thought I would like it since my family’s history is full of art and music. I tried it for a couple of years and just fell out of it eventually because drumming has always been inside of my heart. Eventually, I started learning the piano again and got encouraged because my love towards making music and expressing myself through harmonies and melodies grew.
An artist’s Best Friend is?
Well it’s always my Akai MPC Live II. It’s an absolute monster. The workflow on it is incredibly smooth and easy since its standalone drum machine/sampler.
A piece of equipment that has been absolutely pivotal in onstage performance?
Drumsticks. Fellow drummers, please take a pair of drumsticks with you anywhere you go. Your phone might be ringing anytime, anyplace, and once you tell them that you can’t make it to the gig, sadly it’s bad sign.
How has your place of Origin been an influence on your music? And how much local support you garnered during the nascent stages?
I was luckily born in an artistic family with my grandfather “Berge Fazlian” being a renowned Lebanese actor and theatre director, and my father “Harout Fazlian” being the Artistic Director & Principal Conductor of the Lebanese Philharmonic Orchestra. My father is my role model and has a huge impact on my music and my thought process towards creating something.
How are the psychological rewards in this career you have chosen?
It just makes me more hungry to make something better than the previous song that I made. Whether its my solo music, or producing for someone. I always know I can be better than yesterday and just continue the hard work because I know it’s going to pay off at some point.
An artist whose music according to you is attracting international attention which is going to propel the industry’s growth.
My dear friend Jai Bedi, also known as “Opollo Heights”. The amount of hardwork, countless hours of experimenting, and using everything on his to create his own signature style is paying off. I produced his first EP “Hip-Hop For Lebanon” which was a collaboration between the both of us, gained international recognition. He is bound to become one of the most respected, and prolific rappers. Keep an eye on him. He has amazing music coming out, and I’ve gladly produced some of them.
Well, thank you once again for spending time with us, giving us valuable insight into your career. We wish you all the very best of luck in your endeavors. See you soon at a Concert.
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