As if it were clandestine fate, Abdo Eleish, an Egyptian-American Artist currently living in Cairo, and Dojo, the Chinese-American Producer based in L.A., link together over their latest Summer-nostalgia jam, "Tang."
It's a cut from the budding Duo's catalog that's oozing with moody ambiance and adhesive excitement while still consolidating into their celebrated new-age Hip-hop rhetorics and saturated electronic arrangements.
What does it take to make a track? Sometimes it's a narrative and a life experience that manifest into a melody and song structure. But for these two sonic Maestro's, it was as simple as resounding over a single word to manufacture the inspiration behind their intoxicating banger, "Tang." Here, over a rolling measure that cruises buoyantly amongst beefy subs and muted metallic percussion, Dojo and Abdo croon over their respective stanza's, reminding us to keep our wits about us for the upcoming hook. The top-line creeps up level-headed and eventually overwhelms with its moody spell, "drum that always poppin, speakers too loud for em, I don't let em sound for me, they gotta pay twice for me." As if the half-stepping hook was squeezing at our hips, we feel utterly inebriated with the vibes. And as the sounds of heavy breathing festoons, the expanses of this New-wave mix with a shot of solid cadence, the producer Duo's instrumentation induce a primal urge that makes us want to hunch over and swerve our heads to the tempo of the audacious beat.
When we think back, it's not unusual to see the type of ingenuity that this Duo produces when putting their creative minds together. And with "Tang" landing on our favorites playlist after the first play, we're already jonesing for more from the masterful sonic catalog of Abdo and Dojo.
What were the sentiments and emotions both of you had to channel to get the perfect aesthetic for the performances featured on "Tang"? Dojo: “It all came down to a lot of the conversations we had. We wanted to create a high energy track that felt laid back so that it wouldn’t come off as too aggressive.“ Abdo: Yeah we definitely wanted to make a hype track that makes you want to dance with a smile, so we were chasing that fun happy vibe. We were feeling excited about making music and pushing it out so just, in general, we were hyped and that was what naturally brought out the vibe of “Tang.” When you think about it, did the recording and writing process behind "Tang" teach you anything about yourselves as collaborators, or even as individual Artists? Abdo: For me going into music professionally I set very specific conditions for myself and one of the major conditions is that I will only make clean songs. Coming from a background of freestyling where you say the first thing that comes into your mind this was very new to me because I had to change my entire approach to song-writing to keep the song clean. This was the first song I wrote with this new approach so it took a lot more time than it normally would’ve because we were over-thinking the lyrics and that can easily kill the vibe. There was a lot of back and forth communication about the lyrics but we were finally able to get it down by changing the cadence in multiple parts of the song as well as switching to different rhyme schemes by breaking up syllables within some words. On the recording side of things, since most of my experience in rapping and singing was just free-styling out loud, there was a lot of recording I had to do on my end and throughout this process, I learned a lot about comping vocals. As a team, I think we have pretty good chemistry as we listen to different kinds of music so our collective taste covers many genres which is great and we’re also able to be honest with each other if we think a creative choice doesn’t work because at the end of the day we were both trying to make the best song we could. Dojo: I think the biggest learning curve was trying to figure out a unique structure and cadence to the performance — coming up with ways to transition between verses that offered something fresh. Working with Abdo is always a fun time, but I think I tend to overthink lyrics on my end which makes the writing process sometimes a bit longer. Also, working in different time zones was definitely not easy, but this song helped us figure out a groove as we proceed onto our next songs. Collaboration is all about listening and bouncing off one another, and I think the biggest thing I learned about myself was that there’s never one approach or right way to go about things, as long as everything we write fits the intended vibe of the track. Can you explain some of the backstories behind the conceptualization of this track? We know it started with the word, "Bang" but how did evolve into this magnetizing banger? Abdo: We were working on another track and we hit a creative roadblock and sometimes when I’m stuck creatively I just freestyle random ideas that come to my head because overtime I’ve realized how important it is to not judge rough ideas and let them flow out of you because even though most of the time they’re not good ideas, sometimes that practice leads to great things! This time around I started whispering “bang, bang, bang” rhythmically and Dojo said “oooooh that’s fire” then he went off and made a beat for that. We changed to to “Tang” because “bang” was too aggressive and that title dictated the vibe of the rest of the song because Tang reminded us of our childhoods and the fun times we used to have before the responsibilities of adulthood kicked in. After we had the title and theme down I freestyle about twenty times on the track and went through those freestyles to find the good parts, then worked with Dojo to figure out the structure and change some segments to elevate the track and once that was done I went back into the studio I built with mattresses and recorded “Tang” over and over again until we hit the vibe and vocal texture we felt fit the song well. Dojo: On the production side of things, I felt that if the track started on some intro melody that incorporated humming, the 808s and drum pattern would hit much harder when the beat switched because it would come out of nowhere. We came up with a couple of variations of melodies, and I ended up chopping it up to create the intro, which we also used as a bridge. Where do you see yourselves moving Artistically after this single? Can we expect to see a Video-feature soon, or maybe another addition to this vibe you've outlined in "Tang?" Abdo: We actually just released a music video for “Tang” that I shot on my phone and a broken tripod. I had a lot of fun doing it because coming from a filmmaking background I’m used to working with big teams, but for this, it was just myself and my cousins with my mom and aunt operating the phone camera as I ran back and forth in front of and behind the camera to make sure I was in the shot while performing. I also edited the video so I was able to match the energy of the cuts with the energy of the song. Dojo: After this single, I think we are going to continue to push out a number of other songs, definitely a variation of vibes and styles. “Tang” is an interesting song for sure, and I think that it is a style we can revisit after we put out some other tracks with different concepts and emotions. As a producer that doesn’t stick to a particular genre, I would love to provide a slate of different songs that incorporate elements from all kinds of music. Abdo: We definitely want to be able to create a diverse body of work and test our abilities as well. I definitely want to make more hype and fun tracks because that’s the energy I tend to lean towards, but each track’s direction will start from the vibe of the production and follow it to where it naturally leads us. Since I am an Arab-American artist, I want to try collaborating with Arab trap artists and possibly create something along the lines of the Arabic version of Reggaetone. If there were a few words you could give your audience as a Prologue to this track and its intended experience, what would you both say and why? Abdo: This is gonna be a different style of rap, don’t expect it to sound like what’s currently on the radio. Also, please listen when you’re in a good mood, are excited, or want to celebrate in some sort of way. If you’re looking for a fun song to sing along to at the top of your voice in your car with a friend this is it. Dojo: Get ready for something different. We are both aspiring artists striving to be different, and incorporate our styles and tastes into the music we make. We’ll never know if it works, or how people will respond, but it’s worth a shot trying to deviate a bit from the trend.