November 04 2015

Mayssam's Next Move

New York-Le Bain
From Lebanon to New York via Montreal, Mayssam just joined NYC's label Sheik 'N' Beik. We sat down before she plays in Le Bain's skyline, Saturday, November 21st.
LE BAIN: You recently moved to NYC, but made your name as a DJ in Montreal. What was the trigger to move here?
I lived in Montreal for about 7 years and it shaped my musical ear. I was surrounded by some of the top producers and DJs and they helped me work on the skills. It was simply time for me to make a change and explore what New York has to offer. I lived in three different countries prior to my move here and I’ve been musically influenced by all these cities I once called home. It’s been quite the journey and now is the next chapter.
Sheik 'N' Beik Floatcast with Mayssam

Compared to New York, what’s the best thing about Montreal nightlife?
There’s a wide array of events that liven up the city throughout the year and inspire Montreal’s musicians. My favorite is the Jazz festival. There’s also Mutek, Igloofest, Piknic Electronik, Nuit Blanche and the list goes on…it’s the diversity, its authenticity, openness. Eclectic crowds united in the same venue.

You describe your style as ‘minimal and techno’. If you had to pick, would you choose Berlin or Detroit as your main influence? 
I would say a mix of both. Detroit is a hub for jazz, blues, and soul which is my musical foundation. Most of the artists who have influenced me originated from Detroit: Robert Hood, Juan Atkins, Jeff Mills, or Derrick May. I’ve been religiously attending Movement Electronic Festival for years now and I can safely say Detroit music runs deep. It’s these industrial sounds that resonate through their music and you can feel a historical richness in the air. You can feel how the city impacted music, and vice versa. 

OTD podcast by Mayssam 

What about Berlin?
I’ve recently visited Berlin. For me, it's the city of Techno 2.0. The atmosphere is as raw as Detroit. Electronic music, techno, is rooted in the culture. There’s a diversity in the sound; Techno, minimal, tech house, etc. There’s a club for everyone. 

You come from Lebanon. How is the dance music scene there? 
We have a national Lebanese dance, called Dabke. It’s been carried through generations. It has a lot of drums and percussion. It’s only normal people who get into electronic music! I’ve recently played at The Garten in Beirut. It was one of the best places I’ve played. Lebanon’s population is unfortunately fragmented by various religious communities. There are raising conflicts in the region. You never know when the country could declare a state of war. I’m proud to say that the music and dance music scene bring people together. People put aside their political differences and get together for the love of music. There still can be a sense of community.

Saturday, November 21st, Le Bain presents Sheik'N'Beik featuring Mayssam and Andrew. Doors 10pm. The Standard, High Line.