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Interview: Introducing Qatari Techno Dynamo Deus Deserto

Deus Deserto

Fast-rising out of the Middle East, Qatari techno artist Deus Deserto comes with backing from some of the genre’s most respected tastemakers, including ANNA, Maceo Plex, Joris Voorn, Enrico Sangiuliano, Richie Hawtin and many more. Following his recent appearance on the much-respected Awakenings podcast series, Deus Deserto steps into 2024 with an impressive label debut on Victor Ruiz’s increasingly popular VOLTA imprint. Spanning two individually captivating club tracks, Deus’ ‘Explode’ EP offers a variation of enriching vibes for Techno lovers worldwide. Download it via Beatport from 26th January 2024.

To mark his latest release, we welcome Deus Deserto for an immersive interview as we dive into the world of one of the Middle East’s brightest emerging stars.

Thanks for joining us today. Where are you writing to us from?


Thank you for having me on. I am writing to you from my Hometown, Al Wakrah, Qatar. Which is 10 mins away from the Capital, Doha.

Tell us about your journey into music and what led you to this point. Has being based in the Middle East caused more challenges when getting your name into the international world of Electronic Music? 

My first journey into music started back in middle school. I attended a military boarding school in Qatar, where we stayed on campus during weekdays and went home on weekends. After school, my classmates and I would hang out in the computer room, and they would start playing music through YouTube. They exposed me to hip-hop, rock, and electronic music. You can guess which one stayed with me from the music I produce. 

Mind you, I grew up in a conservative Muslim household where my parents did not expose me to much music. My only memories were from second grade when my dad used to play Michael Jackson, Jackson 5, Mohammed Abdo, Umm Kulthum, and Fairouz. 

Since then, I've made multiple attempts at producing, but they all failed. I lacked discipline back then, and I was scared of failing. In college, I started DJing and throwing house parties with my friends. For me, that marked the beginning of understanding music better and establishing a proper connection and grasp of it. Fast forward to five years ago; I moved back from the US after finishing my bachelor's, and I had to stop DJing because I got an office job. I wanted to focus on my career. A year and a half later, struggling to acclimate back to Qatar, I found myself in a dead-end job, having lost my purpose in life. I was really depressed and was struggling in every aspect of my life. At that point, I sought help in therapy.

One thing I didn't realize at the moment was that music was the only thing I enjoyed, and my therapist highlighted it. I started reading articles about music production again, and this time I understood what it takes to learn a DAW, music theory, and finishing music, including the inevitability of failure as part of the learning process. I started my journey into learning how to produce from then on. At the beginning, it was just for fun and to help with my depression, which thankfully it did. I realized that I was getting good at it, and from there, I sought some mentoring about how to take my music to the next level from my first mentor, Michael Hooker. He helped me get my first release, 'Amsy,' on his label. The track received support from Nicole Moudaber, and to me, that was a calling sign.

Regarding my current situation, I would say yes and no. Yes, I am still struggling to get gigs outside of the Middle East, and Europe seems to be a challenging market for me to enter right now. However, no, because the international market is starting to recognize that the Middle East is a growing market. Artists like me are getting opportunities to release on EU and US-based labels, hence the release on Volta, putting a huge spotlight on the region and its artists.

How do you effectively promote yourself as an artist?

This is hard one because I am still trying to figure that out as I go, what seems to resonate with people is when I am being funny, genuine and showing parts of my culture. I have started to embrace these things about myself more recently.  

Tell us about your upcoming release ‘Explode’ on Victor Ruiz’s label VOLTA.

'Explode' serves as a dancefloor stomper, delivering a fresh and original blend of techno and hip-hop. This project is truly a labor of love, commencing in October 2022 with the collaboration of the Suwaidi brothers. The inspiration struck me while watching a Victor Ruiz stream. Despite my track not being selected during that session, I took the opportunity to absorb the featured music, realizing my aspiration to elevate my production skills. The lyrics of 'Explode' narrate my life's journey, encapsulating my past, present, and future.

On the flip side, 'Implode' is a hypnotic and melodic ear candy of a track. I crafted this piece during the existence of the 'Overlap' studio in Qatar, which focused on hardware gear, including modular equipment. Utilizing samples from my drive, I experimented with the studio's MPC and modular gear at 'Overlap,' searching for a unique sound. It wasn't until the studio owner shared a trick with me that the enchanting, hypnotic melody emerged, marking a turning point for the track. My goal was to craft something exceptionally original, a goal I believe I achieved with 'Implode.' This track remains one of those pieces that I never tire of. I am genuinely thrilled and proud of this release.

Can you tell us more about the collaborations on this release, is it important for you to work with local talents from your home country?

We initiated 'Explode' because I had been impressed by many of S.A.A.D’s tracks, and I was a fan of his vocal style. Having known the Suwaidi brothers since middle school, working on this project felt like a reunion. SwayDee sent me some samples he was working on to kickstart the track. I took those samples, manipulated them to suit my taste, and crafted a simple bassline.

During our initial meeting, as we caught up on life—having not seen each other since high school graduation—S.A.A.D suddenly stood up and said, "I got it." In just 5 minutes, he had finished writing the lyrics.

Collaborating with local artists holds great significance for me as it contributes to the growth of the local scene and influences future generations. This collaboration aims to set an example of how such partnerships can be successfully executed and how they can reach an international level. Not to mention having Katara Studios by my side recently supporting my career has been nothing short of amazing for me. An entity of this standard and international reach and recognition will for sure able me to brush shoulders with key people in the industry but will also allow me to harbor the local need for collaborating and nurturing it to a level that can have its own sound, place and identity within my industry.

How do you take care of your mental health?

Engaging in activities that I love significantly contributes to my mental well-being. A substantial part of this involves working out, practicing yoga, incorporating breath work, making music, and reading. Additionally, I consciously take breaks from social media since extended periods online can trigger anxiety.

I also derive comfort from long drives, allowing me the space to reflect on my life, and from extended runs. Sometimes, playing video games proves beneficial as it redirects my mind, preventing it from reaching a point of stress.

Talk us through your creative process, does this different when working on a collab like the tracks on this release?

Certainly, each project I undertake follows a distinct approach, especially when collaborating with vocalists. Generally, when collaborating with other artists, I prefer to establish a connection and gauge the chemistry between us. S.A.A.D, SwayDee, and I clicked right away, given our longstanding acquaintance, and the collaboration flowed effortlessly. I've also collaborated with artists outside of Qatar, and in such cases, we would initiate a Zoom call to familiarize ourselves, share our work, and determine if there's a creative synergy.

In the case of 'Explode,' we began the project from scratch. However, in some other collaborations, we might exchange a project with potential, where I might have difficulty maximizing its full potential, but my collaborator could bring it to fruition.

What advice do you have for other artists?

Embrace failure as a stepping stone to success, be persistent even the doors close in front of you, and be original. Do not get sucked in by the trends and hype. Seek mentorship from artists you value as I did with Michael and Victor Ruiz, these artists have been in the industry for a long time and they so much knowledge that can take you to the next level as an artist. 

What is your biggest goal this year, and how close are you to achieving it?

I would have to say breaking into the EU market and organizing a tour are top priorities. The opportunity to perform in countries like Germany, Spain, or the Netherlands would be truly incredible. Securing a booking as an opener for a major European festival is an even more significant goal for me, and I believe I am on the verge of achieving this milestone.

Deus Deserto


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