ABOUT DAR DISKU
It’s hard to pinpoint the exact moment ‘Dar Disku’ was born, but that’s probably because it grew into something that resembles very closely what it is today, even before it received a name.
Growing up less than a mile apart in Bahrain with a shared fascination with discovering new music, the duo quickly bonded over digging for unheard rarities and burning mixtapes to show friends and strangers, and this is something that’s never really changed. Whether at a house party, over a meal or at a local underground gig, chats about music would always spiral from one artist to the next and back, but more and more, talks about music turned into talks about culture and soon enough; home.
‘Dar’ is a literal translation of the word ‘home’ in arabic, and all together ‘Dar Disku’ translates into ‘home of the disco’. The name comes from an independant 1970s Egyptian pop culture magazine of the same name. The motivation to start a label, to perform as DJs and to start an art collective dedicated to MENA music came rather surprisingly after leaving the Middle East. Mazen and Vish left home with pockets full of Radiohead, Aphex Twin, Daft Punk and Benga. But looking back across the water, the music their parents played on dusty turntables, the art and culture that surrounded them their entire lives became more than nostalgic, it became hypnotically fascinating. From learning about the microtonal arrangements in Farsi music to learning south Indian polyrhythms and the almost forgotten 1970s punk rock and psychedelia movements in Egypt, Lebanon and Iran, they couldn’t help but think, what comes next? Both have spent the last few years discovering incredible sub-genres such as Dabke, Rai, ArabiDisco, Habibi House, Afrodisco, Sawt and Khaliji and within 12 months, Dar Disku has shared the stage with artists such as Habibi Funk, Nabihah Iqbal and Awesome Tapes From Africa, Esa and played iconic venues and festivals across the world (Lisbon, Dublin, Mumbai, Istanbul, Paris, Bahrain, Lovebox Festival, Le Mellotron & more). Dar Disku have also been featured on Nabihah Iqbal's BBC Radio residency, for which they curated a guest mix inspired by night time drives in Bahrain and have recently been named as residents on the iconic Worldwide FM.
The label's first release 'DD 001' featured a heavyweight edit from label collaborator 'Moving Still' and has received critical acclaim from the likes of Resident Advisor, Clash, Mille World and i-D. Fast forward into summer 2019, Dar Disku Records have released DD002, a Moving Still edit of 'Sidi Mansour' by Algerian pop star, 'Cheba Yamina'. The edit has been played on dance-floors from London to Lisbon, Mumbai to Moscow and Amsterdam to Amman by the likes of our favourite DJ's such as DJ Seinfeld, Esa, Job, Palms Trax, Hunee and more. With two releases already under the belt, they continue to dig deeper into the forgotten crates of the middle-east. The track was also named one of Resident Advisor's tracks of the year.
Today, Dar Disku is a label celebrating music from across the MENA region. Founded by Mazen Almaskati and Vish Mhatre in 2018; the label encompasses all things Funk, Soul, Psychedelia, Hip-hop, Disco, old and new, strange and pure. The label was inspired by hip hop imprints in the 90’s such as Def Jam, Death Row Records and Bad Boy Records. In a similar fashion, Dar Disku was born to celebrate a thrilling new awakening of music in the Middle East, championed not by record executives or big business, but instead by the people who have opened their own doors to host art exhibitions, painted on the city walls and sung on street corners. It’s with these people in mind, gathering in the open air, dancing at block parties, boomboxes and home-cooked food in hand, that we start to witness something truly special begin to unfold.
FOR ALL THINGS STRANGE AND PURE.