Propulsive grooves and breezy house tunes by OOST resident Fafi Abdel Nour.
We’re putting it out there – Fafi Abdel Nour is one of the absolute nuggets cruising our home circuit. With a residency at Groningen-based venue OOST, he has been transmitting good vibes and vibrant atmospheres by way of his quality house blends and progressive fusions for a number of years now. Always striking with a silky smooth panache for sought-after sounds. Steadily building momentum, as well as community, with his regular HomOOST evenings, and securing slots at Is burning, Lente Kabinet and Dekmantel Selectors, next to being included in their class of 2020.
Operating with the kind of flair that we dig, we’re pumped to welcome the talented youngster on the platform. Busy at work on his masters thesis, we reached out to hear about his studies, the importance of family, navigating difficult times and things to come. In addition, he contributes a high-energy mix of euphoric-laced house groovers.
Hey Fafi, good to have you on! What’s happening over your way? We see that you’re fresh from playing at one of the first Fieldlab test events in Holland? How did all that go down and can tell us a bit about the energy there?
Actually, I felt a bit uncomfortable at first when I heard about the events. It was weird to imagine myself dancing and playing at a festival in the midst of a pandemic. For a moment, I even forgot what it was like to be at a festival. Also, my anxiety kicked in immediately. The thought of being surrounded by so many people after a year of social distancing was frightening. Luckily, I started to get that good old feeling back and the excitement grew while I was preparing my set. The energy at the festival was unbelievable. They say that you miss the things that you don’t have anymore. Well, it’s true and everybody felt that. Everything went down great, except for the massive hangover the next day… really didn’t miss that.
We know you’ve been keeping busy with writing a masters thesis on depression among youth and adults in correlation to the current pandemic. With more and more people urging attention to this subject, can you tell us about the importance of this and, more personally, how you’ve navigated the situation so far?
Writing this thesis feels weird but good, as I’m also battling some demons myself. It’s not a nice feeling to suddenly come to a standstill and to constantly be confronted with yourself. The loss of various daily activities also meant a change in daily structure. The restrictions are especially hard for young adults, as they go through a period of physical and psychological change. During this role transition, young people often disconnect emotionally and financially from parental support and relationships with peers and like-minded people become increasingly important.
Due to the lack of social contact, young adults can become lonely and anxious and could develop depressive symptoms. People that face depression often want to isolate, but when the world around you is already in isolation it’s possible that these people can get stuck in vicious circles even further. To get back to the question: I think my navigation took some wrong turns over the past year, because I got mentally and physically lost. Fortunately, therapy does wonders and a day-by-day mindset keeps me running.
You recently shared a post on Instagram with some very cute and heartwarming footage of your mother. Having previously talked about the importance of your family, can you tell us about the personal connection you share together and what your mother’s roll is in becoming who you are today?
That post was soooo cute, but it’s not my mother. It’s my grandmother! Her style and class can be deceiving for some, so you’re not the first one to fall for it! Back in the day people would think that my mom was my sister. I’ve always felt that having family around was so important. It’s a scarring experience when you unwillingly have to run away from everything you know and understand. I can’t even imagine what It must’ve been like for my parents when they had to pack their bags and leave. Life wasn’t always easy peasy for us, even after our arrival in The Netherlands. You build a certain bond with people when you all go through difficult times together. I’ve learned so much from my parents and in the past few years they’ve also opened their eyes for my way of life!
Your HOMOOST has contributed to some of Groningen’s most community-oriented and inclusive parties in recent years. How has it grown and evolved from the outset, and what have been some of your favourite moments along the ride?
In the years growing up as an adult, I started losing the connection with my hometown. Discovering the bigger cities of The Netherlands and it’s nightlife pulled me away from Groningen. Throughout the years, gaybars and clubs closed their doors and communities diluted into the mainstream. We began HOMOOST due to the lack of queer communities and safe spaces in Groningen. In the beginning, we focused on disco to keep the party accessible to everyone, also for first-timers. As the community grew, we were able to experiment more with genres. I don’t think I have favourite moments, I just feel a general sense of happiness and excitement when I think of all our previous parties. HOMOOST gave me a reason to stay in Groningen!
Touching on community and inclusiveness.. it seems there has been a positive uprising of community-focused platforms pushing diversity and equality among artists and line-ups. United Identities and Minor AM being good examples of that locally. How do you see this development and what do you think needs to be done moving forward, especially with an eye on nightlife returning in the future?
Looking back at my childhood, there were no role models that looked like me. It made me think that certain jobs or positions were just not meant for everyone – If you don’t see it, then you don’t aspire to be it. I’ve never understood this inequality, but I just dealt with it while growing up. If you do your best to integrate in a country that gives you a future, you kind of close your eyes for all the bad things that come with it and become silent. Only since a couple of years did I start speaking out to my environment on issues like diversity and equality. It’s so good to see that more and more initiatives are rising up to fight for equality in the nightlife, but it’s important that everyone keeps speaking up.
Although 2020 had its hurdles, you managed to clock in some sick gigs. One of which being a special set with Sandrien as part of Dekmantel Connects. How did that go down? Playing in this new collaborative format with 8 CJDs and 4 mixers, we’re curious to hear how you stepped into that one and went about preparing for the performance?
We decided to meet up the night before for a sleepover at Sandrien’s. We had a lovely dinner followed by hours of listening to each other’s music! It was so nice to have that moment together before playing. I think our energies transcended into the stream that day. Playing with this kind of set-up needed a bit of getting used to, as you have to be focussed constantly and communicate well. But in the end, it was so nice to play b2b while facing each other! We both had the same feeling that we were really making something together because of that.
What kind of energy are you bringing us with this mix today?
For this mix, I wanted to bring back the vibe that we all miss. That euphoric feeling when you hear house music blasting through a big sound system on a hot summer day. It’s a prospect of the possibility of having a summer without restrictions!
Finally, what do you have coming up on the horizon?
My main focus for the near future is trying to stay sane during the (hopefully) last phase of the pandemic. In September, I will start my last year in pharmacy school before finally graduating. I’m excited for the brighter days that will come, but I don’t want to get my hopes up too high for possible gigs in case they get cancelled again. If everything works out, we can start to make these twenties roaring again.