You were born in Amman, and raised in Ramallah.
Have you played in Beirut before?
Yes I did. I partied much more in Beirut but I finally officially played there last year.

In your interviews, you talk about the problematics of being a Palestenian DJ. Getting booked because you’re a woman, and getting booked because of the Arab-electro trend; which you refer to as an exotic trap. Do you find this present in Arab countries?
Yes, I do find it present here. They started booking me just because I’m a girl. I think they were hoping I dance around and wear a bikini or something, never happened.

Hahaha. What about other cities in the Arab world?
It’s getting better now. After 10 years of just being stubborn it actually paid off, they know my music now and they know I won’t change or act girly. Other cities in the Arab world just never booked me until Europe did, which is sad because we don’t give credit to our people until the west does bas Allah bi3een. Hoping we get out of that loophole of trying to be the West.

You were in the UAE just yesterday, and in France and Palestine a few days ago, and you’ll be in Lebanon in just a few hours for your gig at The Ballroom Blitz tonight; do your relationships play out in this setting in any way?
My friends are my ultimate support, and most of them try to come to all my gigs when they can.

Some questions about the music scene in the Arab world: Let’s start with Ramallah. Can you describe the scene there since you’ve started?
Since I’ve started? As in Hip hop 15 years ago or as in Techno in the past 10?

The Techno scene is getting bigger and stronger. We have more parties and more DJs happening- and they are good. It’s very different from the rest of the Arab world, it’s extremely underground and community based which I find beautiful and intimate.

That is beautiful. Beirut has a bit of that community based thing with Frequent Defect’s parties. Have you heard of them? They take place outside Beirut, their communication isn’t widespread and their gigs are quite impressively radical.
No I haven’t but I remember when I was living in Beirut 11 years ago it was more of a community. Especially with the after parties at Wonder Bar. I miss 2008. Our collective still does it by emails, no Facebook events or anything.

Is there a reason for that?
If it’s a private family and safe party then it’s by emails only sent to our community, we did that for New Year’s Eve, for example, because we wanted it to be extremely safe and free- and it worked. If it’s a small event created to get more people in the community then it would be announced as a party.

That sounds so good, do you wish it to remain this way or grow so it becomes more public?
I think I just wish it would be a bit more legal and they would allow us to open a club or something. I just got to the airport by the way, so late! I’ll text in a bit before I board.

Sama, how was your gig last night in Dubai?
Last night was insane, there was a queue from the roof to the street! Haha that’s never happened to me and the crowd was amazing- it was full and crowded until the last second. I never wanted to even visit Dubai and now I’m loving it.

Wow. What are you expecting or hoping of tonight’s gig in Beirut?
Beirut, I guess, is one of the hardest places to play for. I believe people in Lebanon have a good ear. There is such high standard in Beirut that the local DJs are better than the pros in Europe. The expectations are high, I weirdly fear playing in Beirut more than in Berlin.

:) Can you name a few of the DJs from Beirut you talk about?
My ultimate love is Jason Kaakoush, I think he’s one of the best DJs in the region. You have also, my boy, Rise 1969. Tab3an other than Gunther & Stamina, and Ronin & Nesta whom I literally danced infront of over 150 times. Ziad Ghosn too, I remember he was incredible. Jade also, and I’m pretty sure I’m missing so many people as my brain is not functioning properly right now.

Sama, what did you have for breakfast today? I’m joking- How did you start getting gigs in Europe?
Nothing for breakfast still! I’m getting tea with milk right now as we speak. I seriously got to the airport 10 minutes before they closed check-in. Hahahaha.
I started getting gigs in Europe with huge luck. I applied with my album to a festival called Palest’In & Out, in Paris, for Palestinians in and out of Palestine. I got accepted, I showcased and met my beautiful ex manager who helped me with the parties following this one until I played in Babel Med Festival (which she got me as well). Babel Med was the opener of everything I got in terms of booking deals from agents, and I got booked to Fusion Festival and Sziget Festival from there, then my booking agent took over. I got a residency to work on my album at Cité des Arts which helped me relocate to Paris, and that was central for my career, and then it was easier for people to book me I guess and everything started going from there.

Sweet story. I’m going to send you photos, can you send me a one line description for each? It can be anything, from the mood to the crowd to the location or completely random. Think of it like a caption. Ok?
Eshta yalla beena.

1. Because you mentioned playing in a bikini never happened.

Haha one of the worst beach parties I have ever played at. That was my teacher and I playing back to back.





The revolution of music







Hahahahahaha, my early modeling days. I’m joking- I had a fully burnt arm and a bruise on my eye.

Scheize. Are you currently working on an album?

Can you tell us a little about it?
It’s supposed to come out by summer, let’s keep our hopes up haha. Give me a bit of time I need to walk to the gate.

Hahaha ok.
Since the internet is out and I’m on the plane, let’s move here.
The album is a bunch of collaborations with different artists from the world so every track features 1-3 artists that do something very far from techno, and we remix them. So, for example, one track has a Palestinian buzuq player and an Egyptian Sufi singer which I turned into techno. Another uses an Ethiopian wedding and a 1/4 note trumpet and oud. Another one is based on a Pakistani street seller.

Will you let Studio Safar design your next album?
Who is Studio Safar? I haven’t even thought of the artwork, I’m still trying to figure out finishing the album haha I need to move on that soon. I’m always late.

Studio Safar is the studio that did the Ballroom Blitz’ identity and currently does their artwork. It’s also the studio I co-founded.
Yalla beenaaa :) Let’s do it, I’ll give you an album sneak peek.
The plane is moving, see you tonight at the Ballroom Blitz? Can’t wait, here we go. Wil3et.

Yes! See you tonight.