Interview: Zahed Sultan | From Kuwait to Earth

The first guest of the interview series is Kuwait-born alternative multimedia artist Zahed Sultan.

Having a special connection with music since his childhood, Zahed Sultan has been continuing his production works since college. At the age of 22, he first presented his works’ result.

Now known as alternative-electronic multimedia artist and music producer and artist at Red Bull Music Academy, he released his first debut album, “Hi Fear, No Love”, in 2011 and his song “I Want Her But I Don’t Want Her” earned a significant success. In addition to these, Zahed’s music was licensed by the TV institutions and he took part in the American programs like MTV Iggy.

1- Thanks for accepting this interview! Recently, we saw each other in Istanbul, what you have been doing since then?

We did indeed for the RBMA stage at Babylon Soundgarden. Since then, I have been working on the campaign around the release of my second album eyeamsound, a debut multimedia experience in London at the Barbican Center for the Shubbak Festival, pre-planning the editing process for my first music documentary shot earlier this year in Jamaica (which I will work on in Berlin) and a music festival I will be playing in Montenegro in August (Lake Fest). This list goes on but I will stop here!

2- In your former interviews, your life in Kuwait was mentioned a lot. How did you start to be so close with the music in a city without almost no-music?

Access to music was limited in general in a pre-internet era. I used to buy tapes once upon a time, which then evolved into buying cds and vinyl. Once I made the decision to pursue music seriously, the mediums to access music had evolved (via the internet) so access to music was simpler – though finding my direction and format as a multimedia artist is an every-evolving journey.

3- You are known as “alternative/electronic multimedia artist” in the world of music. Can you explain this to the people who don’t know you that well?

What this basically means is that I use various mediums (coupled with music) to reach out to and connect with people. I have a keen interest in merging analog and digital technologies to be able to make people ‘feel’ within a live context.

Photo Credit: Steve Howse
Photo Credit: Steve Howse

4- We worked together at Babylon Soundgarden Festival, have you been to Istanbul before? After the festival what was your impression about the city?

Yes. This was my 4th trip to Turkey, but my first to perform music live. There is obviously a vibrant scene in Istanbul, it’s just a matter of finding a good fit with my sound to connect with the local scene and emerging ‘sub-culture’ in your city.

5- You have been working with the Red Bull Music Academy, how did this story begin, can you tell us a little about it?

I was approached by Red Bull a couple of years ago to explore a partnership as a performing artist within the Middle East region. Since then, it has been a fruitful journey that includes performing in various cities around the world, hosting the inaugural RBMA – Kuwait Session and launching an alternative Arab music festival entitled ‘Kuwait Rising.’

6- With your new album “eyeamsound” you invite us on an audio-visual journey. That sounds really exciting! How is this different from your other releases?

The primary difference is that I set out on this album / release to connect with people in a physical realm – through having a constantly evolving live format and sharing emotive content (audio, video, image) that is relatable.

Now it’s time to fill in the blanks.

– Without vulnerability I wouldn’t feel that strong in my musical journey.

– When I listen to a new track, what I first pay attention to is the groove.

– If I had to choose between visual or audio I would choose audio.

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