We’ve been living off the buzz and excitement of hearing that a Bahraini got accepted into the Red Bull Music Academy class of 2015, and it’s only grown exponentially since we found out that that Bahraini is Esam Hammad, or, artistically: Cosmo.
I got the chance to talk to Cosmo before he boarded his flight to catch RBMA in Paris, and jumped at the opportunity to poke his brain and find out what exactly set him apart as an RBMA applicant. Regarding his musicianship, Cosmo noted that his “main instrument is the guitar. I’ve been playing guitar for over 15 years, that’s how I learned music theory, scales, and chords. I used to spend 5 to 6 hours a day, easily, messing around with music.” He laughed, “There were no Youtube tutorials at the time.” Although his lifetime dedication to music is impressive, it’s not his guitar-playing skills that took him over the edge into a Paris acceptance; it’s his usage of a guitar-based knowledge to transition into a wider range of genres through music production and electronica.
“The transition happened when I moved abroad to study in Austin, Texas. There was a very hip and massive guitar scene for the blues and rock bands, and there was also a lot of eclectic music. I really got into the indie underground scene, and slowly shifted into electronica.” Any musician can tell you that electronic music provides a wide range of subgenres, so when asked to specify the attributes of his own electronic music, Cosmo emphasized that he leans towards indie-electronic music, avoiding hardcore dance floor anthems and focusing more on dreamy and nostalgic undertones. Think Kraftwerk and Jean Michel Jarre.
After having learned more about Cosmo’s nature and musical foundation, I shifted to the matter at hand: RBMA 2015! “I’ve never taken part in anything like this; it’s a very unique experience for any musician. Since I’m not a full-time musician, there’s always this kind of thirst that’s never been fulfilled, and RBMA gets pretty close!” Although the music producer has no idea what to expect, he definitely has one goal he wants to fulfill at RBMA, “Collaboration. I’m definitely going to try to collaborate with the participants, and naturally, by doing so, I’m going to have first-hand exposure to the other artists’ approach. While I’ve collaborated before, having played in a band, I need to do more!”
Cosmo is the second Bahraini to get accepted into the Red Bull Music Academy, after Hasan Hujairi in 2010, unsurprisingly, based on his eclectic musical choices and musical experimentations. It was Hujairi, actually, who had inspired Cosmo into applying to the academy. “I discovered through the website that Hasan was a participant in the 2010 London session. I’ve also heard of the info session he hosted, encouraging people to apply. He told me all about his experience, I then read about it and realized it was the perfect opportunity!” We can’t wait to see, or hear, everything Cosmo brings back from his trip to Paris and the musical development he’ll illustrate upon his return.