Something special / by Ahmed Gallab

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Writing “Mean Love” was a pretty amazing process. I was having so much fun exploring my favorite musics and, one day, discovered a connection between all of them. Reggae, Funk/Soul, African, Country-Western seemed to relate by a shared feeling of oppression coming from the people who founded those genres. Poor black/white folks in the States, Jamaicans, Africans all felt oppressed and used music as a vehicle to express their feelings. This was the understanding that made me relate to all of them. I figured that it would be interesting to experiment with combining elements from all of these styles to see what might come of it. I’d ask myself, “what are the spiritual sounds of each of these music styles?/what elements of these sounds make me feel happy or sad?” And off I’d go. Funny enough I found that a lot of these musics are actually connected! Everybody knows about the r&b and reggae connection. But less know about how influential Country music was on reggae and vise versa. Not many people know about the Country music scene in Nigeria in the 70s. Or (at the time) the psychedelic sounds of African music that were influenced by the African influenced music from the US. That sounds like a mouthful, doesn’t it? Zamrock, Afro Rock, and most notable, William Onyeabor. This was the meat and potatoes of the music of “Mean Love”. Lyrically, at its core, the album was inspired by Existentialism. @gregisaccurate and I would talk for hours about this stuff. We thought we were so smart. “Yeah, and we’ll say things THIS way and people will think about it and go ‘A-HA!’ This is so brilliant!” No one got the deeper meanings. 


We spent almost every day on the phone. I’d tell him stories then send him demos with me singing mumbo-jumbo and hackneyed Arabic. About a week later I’d get an email with lyrics that fit almost perfectly and phonetically to said gibberish. You can’t make an Ahmed without breaking a few Gregs. 


Every morning we’d drink several cups of espresso and, at the end of the day, we’d head to my favorite bar Lowlands and I’d make Sazeracs. 


When we finished we realized that we had something special. What’s your fav song from this album? #hardcoretourstories