Making it big in the music industry is hard….but things are changing. Arab musicians, particularly independent artists, now have the chance to promote their music as the industry expands globally due to the move to streaming and technology’s vital role. Several independent musicians from the Middle East have utilized this new direction to mesmerize us with their works. Now, we have a new emerging musician who aims to provide people with sounds from a variety of genres, including jazz, indie, rock, and punk. His name is “Hybrid Monkey,” (not wanting to reveal his own name) and he’s here to create some timeless melodies.
First I was curious to know why Hybrid Monkey refused to reveal his real name when we first started the interview. His response was something I never expected! He asserted that he believes that “some musicians today are valued not only for their music but also for their lifestyle and personal decisions.” On the contrary, Hybrid Monkey is just trying to focus on his music without distracting people with his personal life.
To get more into his music, he was kind enough to invite me to his studio so I could observe how he constructs his own songs from scratch. The instruments in his studio, he claimed, “are not always of the highest caliber, but the most important thing is that they allow me to put my thoughts into melodies and open the door for creative ideas.” However, when I looked into the instruments he plays, I discovered that he is a killer on the guitar, drums, bass, and keyboard. He plays each instrument separately and records them to create a spectacular song.
The name “Hybrid Monkey’ is also a reference to the musician’s aptitude for writing songs that draw inspiration from a variety of eras, from the 1960s to the present. He also fuses classic and contemporary music with vintage and retro funk, which is how the “Hybrid” was created. “Monkey”, on the other hand, relates to his impromptu approach to music; he does not see himself as a professional musician, but rather as a passionate artist with the desire to provide people with fresh special tunes.
We got the chance as well to discuss the opportunities that lie ahead for independent artists in the region to showcase their talents. Hybrid Monkey claimed that “there are very few places, particularly in Egypt, that make use of independent artists’ skills and there aren’t many gigs for them to play as well.” Some people may disagree as the independent music industry is booming nowadays in Egypt with places like Zamalek Theatre and El Sawy Culture Wheel providing a safe haven for artists who want to put their music out to the public.
He also talked about how listening to different genres can open the doors for more people to listen to different musicians and not restrict themselves to just mainstream artists. He continued, “People can seek out other genres and venture outside of their comfort zones. This is something that we as a society can learn to do step by step.” Once we as a society can accomplish this sense of venturing outside of our comfort zone, Hybrid Monkey claimed that “more people will be able to discover timeless songs that resonate with them individually over time and explore new genres.”
Hybrid Monkey’s goal is to create music and gradually evolve. He said: “I want to constantly improve and create new tunes that I would be satisfied with,” he added. We understood then that he is not focused on being the billboard’s number 1. Instead, he is just creating music that can connect with people and play some solos along the way.
Additionally, in the future, he aims to collaborate with more musicians and play live gigs.
Music is a potent weapon that has the ability to lead us all on a path of self-discovery. Hybrid Monkey’s message is that music serves as a means to demonstrate that being different can actually be empowering and once we leave our comfort zones, we can then explore new genres, and connect with the music that we actually love.