Meet Feedasoul, a newborn record label that has made quite an impact with its distinguished sounds and refined taste in house music. The label is based out of a small city, Byblos, to the north side of the party capital of Lebanon, Beirut. With the passing of the first year, the label sound found itself settled in a mixture of genres that derive from an electronic and organic root.
In brief, music that “FeedsYourSoul”, be it house music branching out to Soul, Disco, Funk, Jazz and everything that might sound as a punchier edition of an old record. A positive attraction through a raw, distinctive, dirty yet clean sound. A good track isn’t a banger rather than a track filled with certain elements that can capture and move certain human emotions.
We had a great time discussing all you need to know about Feedasoul with its founders Patrick Nakhle and Majd Alalam (aka Patch & Mayhm).
We’ve been seeing the name a lot lately and caught some of the hype, but we’re here to get it from the source. What is Feedasoul and what is its purpose?
Feedasoul in its simplest form is an independent House music imprint based out of Byblos, Lebanon. Our short-term aim is to release quality House music stemming from Jazz, Soul, Funk, Hip Hop etc., by artists local and abroad. In the long run, we would love to be able to help build a Lebanese sound inside of House music itself. Sure, it’s great to follow sounds like Chicago House and Detroit Techno, but we think what will best impact the scene is creating our own signature sound, or sonic palette if you will.
How did it all come to life?
Patrick: I’ve known Majd for the better part of 10 to 12 years. We’d been DJing around the same clubs since we were kids. Even though we were very close in a sense, we didn’t really know each other; and when it came to our sounds, it was kind of a clash so to say. Where I was more into the soulful side of House, Majd was coming in from the opposite end with a Hip Hop/Jazz influence. It’s kind of funny to us now because those two sounds combined are the basic entity of what Feedasoul is today.
A few years later, a common friend of ours and label family member (Jad) re-introduced us. Majd had just returned from New York after completing his degree in electronic music production. When we actually sat and talked, I discovered he had a very distinct and unpredictable (some might call it crazy, but he surely doesn’t) approach to music, and that he’d also been thinking about creating a platform where we could put out his music.
Majd: What people need to realize and few of them know, is that Feedasoul did not happen overnight, and it was definitely not based on self-satisfaction or some weird ego trip or anything of that nature. Feedasoul started where in my opinion any record label should start, with sound. We noticed at some point that the predominant sound in Beirut, be it by clubs, artists, DJs, producers or labels, didn’t really reflect us nor our background. That being said, of course the Lebanese scene has always been awesome; we just didn’t really fit in, so the next logical step was the birth of Feedasoul.
Who are the people behind Feedasoul, and how are you contributing to it as artists and as supporters of others?
Patrick: Well, it’s funny you should say that because not everybody behind Feedasoul is an artist. I mean we’ve had so many people help us along the way and if I were to name everybody, the list would be too long plus I wouldn’t want to leave anybody out. So to whoever helped us, you know who you are and you’re already part of this family.
Majd: I’d like to add that our main goal is purely to help artists in the easiest way possible. People outside of the business don’t really know this, but it’s not always easy for an artist to release on a label, especially if you haven’t met the people behind it. I mean we’ve had releases from people in South Africa, Berlin, UK, Russia…and we always try to make the process as swift as possible, because at the end of the day, somebody is handing us their art and we treat it respectfully as such.
What are your criteria for other artists to join or release on your label?
Patrick: Well, there isn’t much to it, artists send in their EPs and whoever is in the office whips out a big mechanical device with a red button on it, presses it, and suddenly the Feedasoul crew assembles, kind of like a Power Rangers thing (you should really see Jad in pink tights). We sit down, take a listen, if we like what we hear and get along with the artist, we’re good to go. I’m glad to say that up until today, all the artists we’ve signed like Wurzelholz, Never dull, Modecai, Flex (Italy), b0n, Jeff Tuts, Etur Usheo and Hadi Hosri are amazing at what they do and very humble, plus their tracks pack a punch; so those are the elements we look for.
Majd: Dusty, jazzy, soulful, wonky and slightly un-quantized. I’m going to quote here an article I recently read, “Who wants to fuck like a quantized Ableton robot”? I mean if your track doesn’t have groove or lacks that little bit of swing, then it’s an immediate turn off for me. In my own experience, I’ve had a lot of DJs say that it’s impossible to play my tracks, but I don’t really care because to me, if it sounds good, it sounds good, plain and simple.
You guys have chosen a specific sound to highlight and focus on. What is it and why this very particular sound?
Patrick: I mean I don’t want to sound cliché or anything, but “let me tell you something about house music, it’s not just a groove, house…is a feeling and when you feel it, you will understand that house music is freedom”.
Lebanon is brimming with talent, what is your take on the scene in Beirut?
Patrick: I’ll start with the second part first. The scene in Beirut right now is amazing; we have at least 4 international artists coming in weekly to one small city, so I think Beirut is exactly where it should be at the moment. As far as talent goes, there’s a lot of it going around, and the way it’s going with all of the fresh faces is amazing. There are so many different sounds and so many artists putting their all into their craft, from a DJing and production standpoint.
That being said, and in light of recent events and a few Facebook posts, we’ve come to realize that certain matters need to be addressed, and we thought we’d be the first to do so: If it wasn’t for the guys that came before us, there would be no us. The likes of Ronin, Rami O, Nesta, 3lias, Madjam, Rodge (jokes) and many more.
Majd: Rest in peace Rap Base and Sweet Little DJ.
Patrick: Those guys paved the way to the scene that we all love today, so for that, they have all our respect.
Who are the Lebanese gems that are already on board? And who do you look forward to collaborating with?
Patrick: We have a few local collaborations that will be revealed in our upcoming VA “Souls on Acid”, can’t really say more than that until then.
Majd: Rolbac, the guy is a badass, and if he ever jumps on the House train you’ll probably see a collab there.
What are your future plans and how will you stand out in such a busy & crowded scene?
We try not to overthink it too much. Everyone has to realize something; the more the underground scene grows, in all its directions, the better it is for all of us. As far as future plans go, we have a lot of releases lined up for 2018, in addition to some small gatherings that have been going on since the beginning. But most importantly, we plan to stay true to our sound: soulful, and backed by a solid groove.