Dealing with Unexpected Advice

Kuwaisiana band photo in their practice space, The Maze in New Orleans.
This is our practice room – we took this photo during our video shoot for Bara7a (2019)

Hello my lovelies, so I have been reaching out to different DJs and producers and asking them if they might be interested in remixing the newer KUWAISIANA songs. Through this outreach, I ended up getting advice from someone I emailed.

One of the acts I reached out to has a manager and he was so pained in seeing how hard I’m working and how little I’ve gotten in return (do I smell pity?) that he ended up calling me to give me a piece of his mind (and this advice was coming with the best intentions btw). He spoke very bluntly and came from a place of having good knowledge of the industry. We spoke for a little under an hour.

When it comes to criticism, one should take everything with a grain of salt, but I think it’s very important to listen to outsider voices, especially when a) it’s with the intention of bettering the band and b) comes with experience.

– Anyways, here are the key things he wanted to tell me: Nice flow but no hook: he felt like our songs weren’t catchy enough; specifically, they are without hooks! This came up because usually when a song is being re-mixed, the hook is everything. Keep in mind I’ve pitched our tracks to 10+ DJs and producers at this point, and they all felt our music is material they can work with. When I think about what I take away from a KUWAISIANA song, most often it’s a horn or lyric melody. Do you think KUWAISIANA songs are catchy? If so, what about them catches you?

– Focus on audiences in the Middle East rather than burning yourself out trying to crack the Western market. He sincerely believes that this music can make waves in the Gulf Countries but I have to aid that process considerably. Of course, this makes economic sense because the US market is so saturated.

Much of our lyrics are already in Arabic, so that’s great but he suggested doing a cover of an old Kuwaiti song. The goal of this isn’t to simply do a cover but to select a song that speaks to everyone from the rich to your average person and introduce them to our sound. The idea is to start by casting a wide net, ideally with a single, and then you can expand and do what you want. The single doesn’t need to be directly connected to the album, but it’s more about conveying our energy/sound/ethos.

We always appreciate taking the time out to give us advice and feedback. Feel free to reach out with your two fils & let us know what you think of our music!

Categories: News

Music & Lyrics

Chapter 2

Sink your teeth into Kuwaisiana’s Chapter 2 release, a 5-track exploration of Khaleeji and Arab-American identity. Working in Arabic and English, Kuwaisiana is a full-bodied band producing a danceable, dynamic sound that draws on world music and indie rock. Led by Kuwaiti singer-songwriter +Aziz, the 6-piece blends funk, rock, ska with New Orleanian jazz, adding a unique twist to what Indie Arab Rock can sound like.

Born out of +Aziz’s desire to explore parallels between American and Khaleeji cultures, Chapter 2 is the band’s followup EP to Chapter 1, which was released through Universal Music MENA. This 22-minute EP deepens the band’s exploration of the day-to-day experiences of Arab-American youth and the evolving viewpoints of Khaleejis living in the Arabian Peninsula. It will be self-released on Bandcamp and then published to streaming platforms.

Lyrically, +Aziz explores the cultures he knows so well through his metaphor-rich lyrics, which sustain a tension between conversational and a more evocative, poetic perspective. Kuwaisiana is making progress at a time when so much of the world is in flux. Give the EP a listen!

Chapter 3

This EP was recorded at Marigny Studios in New Orleans (2021) right before +Aziz’s relocation The 25-minute EP presents a full-bodied sound, mixing funk, rock, ska with New Orleanian jazz, adding a unique twist to what Indie Arab Rock can sound like. As the pandemic wore us all down, the band leader relocated to Seattle to push forward with his vision.

Chapter 1

Kuwaisiana’s, Chapter 1, is an awesomely interesting release by an equally intriguing band from New Orleans with bridges to Kuwait who combine the vernacular of topics between there and the US southern region. They cross bread everything from Cajun to Pop music in their combination of styles that never leave out the two areas in which they’re grounded, yet they have a universal appeal in the process. Chapter 1 wins on that premise alone.” James McQuiston, Editor at NeuFutur

Drawing fitfully from their surrounds, the septet’s sonics are bolstered by bursts of brass and the lilt of (apparently synthesized) accordion, conjuring a rootsy, Cajun vibe around +Aziz’s raw, DIY-rock approach. At the best moments, a barn-storming, street-party abandon overcomes these slightly flat, self-produced recordings… But there is a potent spice found amid this audio stew. Split into two “sides” — the first in Arabic, the second English — the lyrics on “Chapter 1” carry subtle weight as a reflection on the modern Arab experience.” Martin Wingham, Arab News

Given the current banal state of popular music, an album and a band like Kuwaisiana are just the tonic that is needed… So here’s to Kuwaisiana for treading new ground and charting a new path. In a musical landscape that sometimes feels too cookie-cutter and too safe, Kuwaisiana are paving new ground, and hot damn, it is awe-inspiring.” Greg Robson, Step Inside This House