Mustafa Kamel Mohamed aka Beatz By HYPE is a Dubai-based DJ and music producer who draws on his cultural and lived experiences in Dubai, Cairo, and Portland to create songs that have an urban flair with a touch of uplifting nostaglia. He also founded WASTA Radio, which features interviews with artists as well as showcases music by indie musical artists.
Creativity Undefined spoke with Mustafa about his musical journey, pivoting during the pandemic, support for indies in Dubai, and fun stuff in between.
Was there a specific moment in your life that triggered your musical journey? If yes, what was it? If no, then how did it begin?
I am having a flashback moment to the first time I saw Michael Jackson on TV. That’s when I started my love for music. After that moment, anything musical would resonate with me from Pop to Hip Hop.
What’s the biggest challenge that you’ve faced so far and how did you overcome it?
My biggest challenge was collaborating with artists and, to be honest, I overcame it simply with mind-set. Not all artists are the same, but that’s the fun part – getting to know different types of people.
What would you prefer to focus on: DJing or creating music? Why?
Creating music for sure. The process for me can have many levels, it can be a very immersive experience, and I lose myself to it completely.
Is there a stereotype or misconception about DJs or musicians that frustrates you the most? What is it/are they? Why?
As a DJ: My style involves pushing pads to do a live remix, I don’t think its cool to be catagorized as a button pusher.
As a Music Producer: The final product may seem easy to do but there’s a lot that goes into creating music. I don’t appreciate that people only support a big name vs local talent, even though the process of creation is the same and quality of sounds might be similar.
What’s your favourite work that you’ve created so far? And your favourite experience – whether as a DJ or musician? Why?
My song Jawab; it took a long time to make and a lot of memories and emotions went into it so I had to dig deeply within myself.
My favourite experience was entering beatmaking competitions and winning first place back to back. That was definitely a milestone that’s given me an edge.
Do you have a favourite collaboration? With who? Why?
Yea, I have two favourites. [The first one] is my first collaboration, Vibración, with the rapper Reazon in 2020 and my second favourite collaboration is Wrist Watch Stuck with rappers Chyno & MK1 and singer Nadina in 2021 (This was my first collaboration through the Clubhouse app, organized by @clubhouse.colab).
Is there any specific artist or anyone from the music industry that you’d love to work with? Who? Why?
Yea, I’d love to work with DaBaby, D Smoke, Common, Talib Kweli, Timbaland, Swizz Beatz, Scott Storch, Larry Oh & Cymatics…because I watch them closely and their stories inspire me.
What equipment do you use to create your music?
I use the Maschine Mikro2 & Arturia 61Key Keylabs Essential.
Is there a new piece of equipment that you’d like to use?
Oh Yeaaaaah! I want the new Maschine + & Roli Song Writer Kit.
Is there a musical instrument that you’d like to learn? Which one? Why?
I would like to learn the Saxophone or Bass Guitar. I’m intrigued by those sounds.
Have you had to adjust anything since the pandemic began? What? Why?
Yea, I’ve become more organized and productive. Feels like the lockdown and staying home motivated me to make more music.
Has the pandemic affected you creatively? How? Why?
Not really, the creativity is the same. The productivity just increased to make sure I kept my mind sharp and occupied away from news.
What advice do you have for indie musicians or musical artists who are using social media to build awareness about themselves and their work?
Keep doing it and do not worry about where you will be. Enjoy the process, when you’re ready to monetize your craft then learn the business side and go for it.
What do you think are the short-term and long-term implications on the music industry post-pandemic?
The prediction I have is more artists will use new tech like NFTs and develop their own following through new apps like Clubhouse.
Are there are new trends or techniques that you liked or didn’t like that emerged as a result of the pandemic? What are they and why?
I’m not a fan of livestreaming festivals. [It] feels like a bunch of people [simply] performing in their bedrooms. I fell for it, but it didn’t do anything for me as an artist.
How do you think indie musical artists have had to adjust since the pandemic hit?
I think lack of performances hit them hard, but it should be venues’ role to figure out new ways to do shows and not the artist.
Do you think these pivots/changes will last after the pandemic is over? Why?
Pivots happen all the time. I think its healthy to have constant change [because] it pushes people to come up with solutions, thus evolving the sound or even the experience.
Do you think there’s enough support for the indie music community? What can be done to support artists further once the pandemic’s over?
Not so much support for Indies or any Artist/Entertainer in Dubai. Changing this needs to be initiated by Dubai Culture to enrich the diverse culture that exists in this city. [For example,] during [the] pandemic, we could host shows in movie theaters with social distancing and [this] could be an awareness for Covid Prevention. After [the] pandemic, [we can have] incubators and workshops for artists in places such as Youth Hub or Foundry to develop artists and educate them on how to manuever in the Dubai market, thus producing better talent who are proficient in what they are passionate about.
What’s a big goal that you’d hope to achieve in the next few years? Why?
- I hope that soon I can reach my first Million Dirhams from streams.
- I want to be what Timbaland is to me to the next 3rd Culture Dubai kid.
- Start a business that provides services by Music Labels but for independent artists.
- Make a classic hit that will forever be playing for years to come.
I want that and more but the reason why is simply because I haven’t reached these milestones yet, I’m excited to get there.