Mohammed AlAwadhi aka BAFOORY is an Emirati Rock musician who’s become a fixture in the UAE indie music scene, with both solo and group performances under his belt. Among his performances include Mother Of The Nation Festival, TedX Youth, and the UAE National Day. Since the pandemic hit, that’s shifted to more intimate venues – whether his social media accounts or small shows here and there.
Mohammed spoke with Creativity Undefined about being an indie artist, working with his band on their upcoming album, and staying creatively active during the pandemic.
Tell us about your creative journey. When did it first begin and how has it evolved until today?
I started [getting] involved in music when I was probably 12 years old. I started with the piano because I was influenced by the band Coldplay for about three years at the time, then the singing came along. In 2011, I started playing the guitar and was a solo artist from 2014 until 2018 [before founding] my band, “Bafoory”.
How many instruments do you play? Do you have a favourite one? Why?
I know how to play four instruments: piano, guitar, bass guitar, and the drums. I can’t really say which one is my favourite because it depends on [my] mood but whenever I have an idea, I pick up any of those instruments and try to implement what’s in my head.
Are you planning on learning a new instrument? If yes, which one and why? If no, why?
At the moment, there’s no plan to learn any new instrument but in future I would like to try to learn the flute because I just love how it sounds.
Who are your musical heroes?
I’m mostly influenced by rock bands like Creed, Alter Bridge, Linkin Park, Metallica, Blink-182, Green Day, and the list goes on.
How did BAFOORY come together? What’s the meaning behind its name?
We all met through multiple open mics throughout the UAE and we started jamming. I don’t want to say what the band name means exactly because I want people to interpret it however they like. What is important is the music we create. Not the name of the band.
What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced together and how did you overcome them?
The [biggest] challenge that we faced was not getting a lot of gigs in the beginning so we said to ourselves that we’re going to keep on creating music and putting music videos out there and hopefully one day we’ll get lots of gigs. Thankfully, we now have fans all over the world as well as local fans.
What’s an achievement of BAFOORY that you’re proudest of?
Playing gigs all over UAE
Are you currently working on something together? Can you share some details?
We are currently working on our next album, which is called Echoes in Eternity. It’s going to be released sometime in mid-2021, I would say mid-May hopefully.
When did you begin acting? What’s your favourite project to date?
I began acting in college in 2015. My favorite project is a comedy sketch show we did called “7abka” and it’s on YouTube.
You’re also the co-founder of 432Hz, an indie performance platform. What inspired you to create it? Can you share some more details about it?
We wanted to have an open mic of our own in Abu Dhabi because at the time all the open mics were in Dubai and GoPlayTheWorld [the region’s first dedicated platform to promote, engage and reward UAE-based musicians] has just ended and Mr. Abbo (the founder) had to go back home to his family in France.
Why did you choose this name?
Our co-founder Christina Awad came up with that name [because] 432hz is the frequency that the earth rotates in.
What challenges did you face establishing it?
Alhamduliah, there weren’t any challenges during its establishment because we had the support of all the artists in our local art scene.
Have you hosted any virtual sessions during the pandemic? Why?
No, we didn’t because everyone was busy dealing with loss that Covid-19 brought to our businesses or jobs.
Do you plan on re-starting them once this is over?
Yes, of course, we have plans to come back in 2021.
What do you think of the UAE’s indie community, especially Emirati creators? What more can be done to support and grow it?
I think we need more support from events holders, companies and government. We need the space provided for us and equipment etc.
Since the pandemic began, many artists have shifted to posting performances online. How do you think that has impacted their presence or helped to raise awareness about them and their work?
I think doing online gigs and performances for some artists has worked well for them and I’m happy for them. We need them to make people feel happy again because for most of 2020 we were cooped up in our homes doing nothing most of the time.
Do you think this shift is something that will remain once the pandemic ends?
How has the pandemic affected your playing or any other creative outlet? Why?
Yes, it did affect me and the band because we hadn’t performed from March until November.
What are you looking forward to once this is over whether a private individual, musician, or actor?
One the time comes I’ll figure it out. At the moment im living in the present and not thinking about the future.