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faQ

(pronounced /fək/)

As answered by Farees himself while recording GALACTIC AFRICA and writing some other new shit in the bathroom

It’s me. Hi.

I’m a poet, singer-songwriter, producer, guitar player, keyboardist, a funky drummer, African percussionist, and I guess a lot of other things too. We are too many things for a single definition. We constantly change and create new things. I really don’t know what I am able to accomplish and I don’t think any of us know. What’s probably more important, is to be a change maker, a healer, and an inspirer. We are all healers, change makers, and inspirers as long as we’re able to listen to what’s inside of us. I don’t wanna live in no box or genre. I don’t like borders nor boundaries. I’m me just as you are you. That’s what’s matter. To really be ourselves fully.

I’m mixed. Basically I’m African from my mom’s side and white on my dad’s side. Mali, Algeria, Italy, and Germany. Multiracial is the term I guess. I’ve been called a nigger countless times, but I’ve also been called a cracker a couple of times. I’ve been insulted for being a muslim, and many other things. I’ve experienced rejection and people trying to outcast my ass from both sides. But mostly the rejection came from white people. All kinds of micro-aggressions and subtle shit. It’s crazy to find yourself in the middle of this racialized and tribalized world. And when you’re racially ambiguous it’s even weirder. I didn’t know what I was growing up. I had to figure it out. This is the problem with Identity. You don’t get to tell me what I am. I’ll tell you what I am. You should just ask people and they’ll tell you who they are. To just assume what people are based on their looks is bullshit. Anything based solely on looks is bullshit. Black is not a color. It goes way deeper than that. You could be dark as hell and give zero fucks about blackness or Africa. Vice versa we had a lot of light skinned folks who made history in regards to that. Both in Africa and the West. You should not judge a book by its cover. Read the book first. At least 25% of it. Then you judge. Identity is a complex matter. I know I’m privileged, I can even pass for white sometimes. I use my privileges for the advancing or BIPOC. But that’s not the point here. Let’s just recognize the fact that in 2022 going around telling people what they are is not acceptable anymore.

Simply because I don’t believe in brushing problems under the rug. I talk about reality. First we have to talk about the problem, then we may come up with solutions. Racism is everywhere and we still live in a colonial society. No color-blind BS please. Let’s be real. Those are the words people use. We all know that race is not real. That all those words people use are only in their minds. But if something is in one million minds, it becomes real and it affects reality. Shit is complex. I don’t believe in races myself. But I believe in ancestors. Ancestors guide us and protect us. They influence us in many different ways. And there ain’t no such thing as good or bad ancestors. We all have the good stuff. It’s how much you’re able connect with them, that’s the only question.

I’m closer to a dog than to all those other epithets. Like a dog, everything I do comes from love, empathy and openness. But if you’re trying to fool me or to fuck with my personal space, I’ll bite your ass. Dogs are great and we should learn more from them. Seriously, I’m not the bearer of absolute truth. I’m just trying to bring about change. We don’t need another Guru, believe me. But I’m not a dog with all Bark and no Bite. I’m a doer. And I do bite if you’re an asshole.

I listen to everything from mainstream pop to the most obscure shit. I like ‘Umbrella’ from Rihanna (especially Passenger’s version). I may listen to The Weeknd and to Elisio Vieira or Jethro Tull in the same evening. I dig Logic, but I may listen to Snoop Dogg and 50 Cent too. I listen to everything really, it just depends on the mood I’m in. Sometimes I don’t like the lyrics or the message but there’s always something to learn production-wise or sound-wise. People start all these crusades against things like Auto-tune or Reggaeton or Trap. Auto-tune is just an instrument, it depends how you use it. And it’s not that easy to sing live with auto-tune in the studio, you gotta sing wrong notes right In order for it to work properly. There’s all kinds of purists but good music is good music. Doesn’t matter where it comes from or what genre it is. Dance music is for dancing, Reggaeton is great for that. Everything has its own purpose. Trap or Hip Hop or Reggaeton are not the problem. The problem is bad Trap, bad Hip Hop and bad Music, shitty quality in general. We should raise our standards I think. The problem is this subjective culture we live in. In movies and literature they’ve got standards. They’ve got movies and books that everybody has to see or read first in order to understand how the medium works and its history. With popular music it looks like there’s no education and everything is just subjective. So if I like the sound of a sampled fart over a 4/4 click it becomes acceptable. We should find a way to educate the people more about good music. Instead of just feeding them crap and pretending that it’s great art.

It means let’s all fuck with each other until we become the same color. Nah I’m kidding, although some people told me the logo made them think of sexual stuff. The logo comes from an ancient Berber symbol, and it represents unity, universalism, internationalism, anti-colonialism and all the ideals of our project. It represents our utopia, a world where every human being has the same opportunities. Regardless of birth place, passport, features or sexual identity. It’s really an anti-racist, anti-colonialist, anti-tribalism logo.

If I need to explain this to you, you’re in big trouble. It used to be a big thing up until the 90’s. Musicians where accused of selling out in the press, the media, you know, the public was watching them. I love cancel culture. I’m all for it man. Although I prefer to call it call-out culture. ’Cause ain’t nobody being canceled anyway. But it’s good to put pressure on public figures, they have a responsibility and the public has the right to intervene when somebody lacks coherence and integrity. I hope call-out culture becomes stronger and stronger. The paradigm is about to shift. Selling out is all about coherence. It’s not about style or genres. Good people can’t stand posers. Just say what you are upfront and be coherent. You wanna make easy-listening pop music for kids? Fine. You wanna make money, have a lot of sex, drugs, and fame? Cool. You wanna make music for elevators? Nice. Just say it and you’re good. Be honest. But if you say you’re a freedom fighter or an activist, or you talk about revolution, or the Black Panther Party, or you act like you’re a change maker, then be that change. But if you then just turn around and make records with major labels and pose in underwear, sell dumb shit and talk and act shallow, and most of all you take no risks and you don’t change shit, you’re in trouble. People will notice, and will criticize you. And that’s the least I expect from a woke public. There ain’t nothing wrong with dance music, having fun, partying, selling a product or being all about profit and capitalism. But just say it and leave the revolution to real revolutionaries.

I am a creator and I need to create. I write every day. People say I am a prolific artist. I don’t know if that’s a good definition. That’s just another shitty aspect of the present day music business in my opinion, the fact that most artists only release singles, 2-3 singles per year or so. I love records myself. I love vinyl. I love stories and concepts. It’s hard to convey complex messages with only a couple of songs per year. Personally, I need to explore more and I don’t wanna limit myself to fit into this model. I love double LPs, concept albums and that kind of old school thinking. I’ll be publishing all kind of things and I could be releasing 2 or 3 albums per year. If I feel like it. Or maybe a vinyl tee shirt you can play on your turntable.

It’s called GALACTIC AFRICA. It’s a from-the-roots-into-space kind of idea. I tend to orbit around Africa when it comes to writing music and creating. Rhythm always comes first for me. But I travel a lot with sounds and compositions, in other galaxies and planets as well. The definition of GALACTIC AFRICA goes like this: “A composition of blue notes that can’t be written, learned or taught, only given out in quotes. Built upon a huge wall of groove. So that y’all can think, while your asses move”. Sticking to traditional genres is not my cup of tea. If you stick to genres you won’t come up with anything new, something that really represents you. But you can find a lot of influences and citations in my music. As artists we all learn and are inspired by creators that came before us. Then we come up with our own styles and ideas. My main influences growing up were Jimi Hendrix, The Meters and Stevie Wonder. But also cats like Bob Marley & The Wailers, Toots & The Maytals, Frank Zappa, Wes Montgomery, Donny Hathaway, Ray Charles, Ben Harper, and countless other artists that have influenced me. I was also a lot into Latin stuff like the Fania catalog, but also traditional music in general, Fado and Flamenco and all that. I was always curious. And of course I was always surrounded by Tuareg music, Saharan styles, and West African music in general. I saw the connection all American music had with Africa since I was a child. I thought those black cats playing the Blues were Tuareg Immigrants. And I felt like Cubans were stealing our rhythms Lol. You could say I play Rock, Blues, Jazz, Folk, Afrobeat, Reggae, Funk, Soul, Rap, Salsa, Bossa Nova, Spoken Word, Hip Hop, Alternative, Pop, and you probably wouldn’t  be wrong. But I don’t think we should limit ourselves to genres anymore.

A lot. But we tend to forget that instruments are just instruments. “Find yourself first, and then your tools” Jimi used to say. It’s not the instrument that plays, it’s you. Coming from Africa, and having learned music there, I have a simpler vision. We are used to making music with what we have and focus on the player. We give way too much value to instruments now, $10k guitars, $50k pianos, $7k amps. There’s too much focus on instruments rather than on the player. If you have a vision and you’re connected with your spirit, it may be Auto-tune or a Talkbox or a Fender Rhodes or a Clavinet or a shitty digital keyboard, a Squier guitar or a Vox practice amp. A Ukulele with a broken string or an old mandolin. You deliver because you are you. Ain’t nobody like you. That’s more or less the way I think of instruments.

I go by a very simple rule. Music always comes first, money always comes second. And that’s not how this industry works unfortunately. It’s a corrupt system. Look into it and you’ll see for yourself. Read blogs, interviews, and books, get informed. Managers and labels indoctrinate artists and make them play and do things they wouldn’t do if they were free. What’s art if it’s not the manifestation of one’s true spirit? A tribute band is easier today for promotion and profit than an original artist. Especially if you’re doing something really new and original. They’re scared of risking. But what’s an industry that takes no risks for innovation and research? A dead industry. Think cars, pharmaceuticals, new technologies. They all take risks and invest in research and new ideas. Otherwise, there’s no progress. The industry folks are really dumb as far as entrepreneurship, ‘cause they only think short-term. If you invest long-term and give artists the spaces and budgets they need to give shape to their ideas, then you’d have longer careers and more cash flow. We’d have more money and better music. Short-term thinking doesn’t take you anywhere. That’s why they always pick the quicker and easier aspects to produce quick hits, easy listening shallow stuff that usually only appeals to libido and shit. I’m outta that thank God.

The term music piracy makes me think more of recording contracts and major labels, or BS independent labels. Rather than somebody enjoying some free music online. Those are the real pirates to me. I love the way the Web has changed and freed up the music game. Music is more accessible to more people, especially in poorer countries. Africa needs music. You think they can afford vinyl or CDs? People only think in terms of rich countries and privileged folks. I think global. Fans nowadays are more fans of the artists than of the music itself, and that’s good. It builds healthier relationships. They have to really dig you as a person and respect your ideals, otherwise they won’t spend no money on your stuff. They’ll just listen to that single song that they may like on YouTube and move on. We now have access to billions of songs, rare stuff and shit. It has benefited everybody, artists, creators, and fans. Free music is the future.

Yes, I’m bald and I’m proud.

I don’t know. I guess I’m decent? But shouldn’t we listen with our hearts and ears? That’s another issue with pop culture. You have to be good looking and not too bright. Come on. Let’s try not to be so fucking shallow all the time. Appearance, appearance, and appearance all the time. Where has all the substance gone? How can we move forward if we still stuck in an only-by-the-looks game?

There we go again. Vaginas and penises! I have nothing against porn for the sake of itself. I am no puritan. Nudity is not a problem. The problem lays in the eye of the beholder. Porn has of course many issues. Sexism, conveying a certain version of sexuality which is very dangerous, especially for youngsters. Some of them think violent sex is what every woman enjoys or that the shit they see on screen is real. But porn is part of nowadays culture, it influenced everything and there’s nothing we can do about it. My problem is when it invades other areas and fields. Like art and music. Music is not porn. Music is one thing, porn is another. I see too many music videos and artists that just appeal to the libido and sexual arousal. If your song and video only has the goal of producing arousal in the listeners/viewers, then it’s porn. It’s not music. This is the kind of stuff I talk about when I criticize pop culture and the industry culture. Everything from the lyrics to the images looks more like porn than music. And I’m also concerned with the women’s image they are promoting. There ain’t nothing feminist about it. You know, that dick-riding ass-bouncing tits-floating shit we see all the time. Objectifying women. Telling me in a song that you fucked all night long and now she’s walking bow-legged, or that you fucked three chicks at the same time while having substances and shit.  If you are into gangbangs, I’m happy for you bro, congrats! But that’s not the message we need right now. Penises and vaginas are doing pretty good, they’re not oppressed. Matter of fact they’re all over the place. They pop up on your screens when you’re supposed to be thinking of work or something else. Everybody uses them for views and clicks. Let’s use our lyrics and songs for more important and relevant stuff. We don’t need more profanity or more nudity today, at least not in that particular objectifying way. Do we really need songs like that? So many of ’em? Always focused on dicks and sugar walls and big-asses. And believe me man, I love me some ass. But that’s not the point here.

You can boycott Spotify, then Amazon or some other big corporation will take its place. You can boycott McDonald’s, then Burger King will take its place. So what? We live in capitalistic oligopolies. Why don’t you create an alternative, even a small one? Why don’t you invest your own budget and your own money in creating other possibilities and new paths? Instead of bragging about “I erased my Spotify account” or “I stopped eating at McDonald’s”? I don’t believe in boycotts. This method has proven itself completely ineffective when it comes to bringing about change. As I told you, I’m a realistic radical and I’m always looking for real change. Maybe if we boycott something for 20 years you’ll see the product sales drop by 15%. Maybe. And that’s not the kind of improvement I think of when I think change. I don’t have 20 years to wait, especially for such a small result. Boycotts are for radical chic people. They do it so they can pretend they’re doing something. Boycotts are only effective psychologically, for the ego of the boycotter. They give you the illusion that you are participating in changing the world. If you look into it, modern day boycotts, like some branches of Veganism, some anti-multinational boycotts, or so-called fair trade, aren’t changing shit.  But people that do them brag about it, they think they’re cool. Veganism hasn’t done shit for animal rights. Animals live the very same shitty existence as before Veganism. McDonald’s is doing really well, as is Spotify and Amazon and all of them multinationals. You really think they care about a few consumers changing their habits? Look at the “Risk Formula” in the Maneefesto. There ain’t no change without risks. Boycott implies no risks. You aren’t risking shit. And if you aren’t risking something, then it must be too good to be true. Real change comes from risks, taking a stand against your boss, refusing to take part in an immoral work initiative, forcing organizations you work for to be fair, or else you will talk to the press. You know, using tactics, not boycott. Tactics means doing what you can with what you have. It’s all about power, and risks. To leverage a shift in power dynamics you have to take risks. Also, these boycott radical chic would-be progressives don’t seem to grasp how the capitalistic system works globally. They only look at it from a narrow westernized view. Because Veganism is the new trend in the West, the Third World had to shift to different agricultural models, and it’s causing harm to those societies. Rather than progress.

I am. But I’m an open-minded Muslim. And I don’t participate in any religious community. I think of myself as an individual. It’s between me and Allah. Religious communities are very dangerous and they’re no place for free spirits. I question, I doubt, and you can only find God if you question things first, otherwise you’re just repeating what someone else told you. Imitating rather than truly understanding. As I say in some song, Freedom is the beginning, it’s the first step. If there’s no freedom at the beginning there’s no freedom at the end. They indoctrinate people with promises of a future freedom or future salvation. Personally I always try to remember about the first step. I evaluate spirituality by that rule. There’s no understanding without freedom and questions. And freedom is in the first step.

That’s not for me to say. What I can say is that I try my best to bring something new to the table rather than cloning, copying and write some easy familiar stuff. Art is creation, not imitation. There’s this thing most musicians say today, that everything has been done, that you can’t invent anything new. That’s bullshit. And that’s an excuse. Create, invent, build new paths, new rhythms and new dances. We can do it and it’s an artist’s responsibility. Don’t be discouraged. Do it.

You may speak 5 languages. But if you ain’t got nothing to say, you’ll say nothing in 5 languages.

Depends on the climate. For winter time I like to stay warm and wear trousers, have a jacket on and maybe a beanie. For the summer I’d rather go with shorts and a tee. But it really depends on which part of the world I’m in. I dig sneakers. And hoodies. I love hoodies cause they keep your neck warm. And I love clothing with slogans on them.

I love them and respect them, they’re my brothers and sisters. I’m cisgender and heterosexual. And I tend to be cautious about things I don’t know firsthand. Too much queerbaiting around these days. Those themes are trendy now and we have many artists and brands hijacking them just for the sake of self-interest. I’m not a member of this community, but I am an ally in their struggle for justice and equality. I’ll surely end up writing something about it. There’s a general sensation of uprising that I really love. People are fed up with the status quo. There are new words now, or old words used in new ways. To make the bigots understand that they’re outdated. I’m glad to see that. Words like neopronouns, white fragility, mansplaining, male gaze, white gaze, covidiot, herstory, ourstory, gaslighting, toxic positivity, LGBTQIA+, critical race theory, rainbow washing, intersectionality, ableism, intersectionality, BIPOC etc. Gotta love these new words.

“I’m a pessimist because of intelligence, but an optimist because of will.” /Antonio Gramsci

“I’m not upset that you lied to me, I’m upset that from now on I can’t believe you.” /Friedrich Nietzsche

“Being black is not a matter of pigmentation – being black is a reflection of a mental attitude.” /Steve Biko 

“To be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.” /Nelson Mandela 

“When you separate yourself by belief, by nationality, by tradition, it breeds violence. So a man who is seeking to understand violence does not belong to any country, to any religion, to any political party or partial system; he is concerned with the total understanding of mankind.” / Jiddu Krishnamurti

 “Definition of rock journalism: People who can’t write, doing interviews with people who can’t think, in order to prepare articles for people who can’t read.” /Frank Zappa 

“The most bitter anti-white diatribes that I have ever heard have come from “passing” Negroes, living as whites, among whites, exposed every day to what white people say among themselves regarding Negroes – things that e recognized Negro never would hear. Why, if there was a racial showdown, these Negroes “passing” would become the black side’s most valuable spy and ally.” /Malcolm X

New things always look scary. Or weird. But change is the way nature and life itself evolve. Humans have all these thoughts and ideas and images that have nothing to do with life. Images and ideas are like pictures. Pictures are dead things. They’re not the real thing. We have an image of ourselves, images of the people we know, ideas of how something should be. And usually we deeply crave for it to stay that way. But reality changes, it’s alive, we change all the time and we still struggle to accept that. We age, our bodies and minds change all the time. Living beings die. Society changes all the time. We should accept change as healthy and natural. I know many things I say sound weird or extreme. But that’s the very nature of new things, new ideas, new paths. I’m used to swimming upstream. This paradigm has to change. To use our energy to keep things the way they were or the way we think they were or the way we think is good for our ego, is a waste of energy. I talk about change ‘cause I would love to see people accept what’s new and work with it using their energy to build a better society, a better world. Instead of using energy to lock themselves in or to hang on to the past. We dwell in the past too much. From a spiritual point of view, it takes a whole lotta energy to nourish images and privileges and self-interest, rather than using that energy in a more connected, natural way, to work with reality.

I always had BLACK LIVES MATTER stickers on my guitars and cases. Since back in the day when nobody cared. I’m talking pre-George Floyd, it wasn’t so cool back then. That’s a really great sentence. Simple, true, effective.. Black lives matter, it’s crazy we have to state the obvious in the 2020’s. The BLM movement sucks tho. They’re full of shit. They get millions of dollars from white people and they don’t spend it to help black folks. They are not about black liberation but profiting off of the suffering of black people. I think “defund the police” and “abolish the police” are slogans that are counterproductive to getting people to accept the cause. They’ve fucked up. That’s not how real revolutionaries and radicals act. It’s going nowhere really. They should’ve funded programs for the people and worked more under the radar to really change society and fight racism. From a politically, socially, economically, and revolutionary point of view, they make no sense.

None of the Above. Although the Sahara, especially where my mom came from, looks a lot like Tatooine.

If you have a specific phobia, an irrational fear and shit, like gerascophobia or cynophobia or aquaphobia, or islamophobia, negrophobia, transphobia, fatphobia, you should definitely look for professional help or treatment. Your life can and will be better. You’re not alone and seeking help is the first step towards healing.

Diversity and uniqueness are beautiful. I hate it when they advertize saying that it goes to charity. They publicly pat themselves on the back for supporting the underdog. You have to be credible on duty, not off duty. Am I one of those please-everybody-all-the-time clowns? Nope. Open-source revolution? What about a new global movement? Do we need it now?  Everybody is being too nice these days. But niceness is not courage. It takes courage to challenge the status quo. The default of the current system is that it is reproducing inequalities. Schools and institutions are very good at this.

If you are a change maker you have to make people uncomfortable. You have to question them and yourself, too. Interrupting patterns of injustice or racism takes courage, risks. Think about white fragility. Just bringing up the subject of racism is perceived as not so nice. I can only imagine how they perceive real revolutionaries. No, I am not a purist.

Yeah, I know that I don’t know. We’re all ignorant to some extent. Life is a learning experience and learning never ends. If you think you’re not  ignorant, you’re probably a huge ignoramus. And you’re fucked. Cause there ain’t no growing from there. To know we don’t know gives us the right perspective and openness.

Fuck them. I hope they will run out of fools soon. It’s ridiculous how we are moving backwards as far as governments and politics. It’s crazy. Imma go cry in my room now. Leave me alone. I was happy before this question.

To become a fully independent artist took a lot of time and effort. It was a process of liberation. I’m able to release at my own pace now and distribute worldwide, and I intend to stay independent. And I’m not going back. No way. The web has given us the tools man. You’ll never see Farees publishing with labels or compromise with the industry again. It’s my own way, or fuck it.

Who is Farees?

It’s me. Hi.

I mean, can you introduce yourself to the listeners and explain what you do as an artist? 

I’m a poet, singer-songwriter, producer, guitar player, keyboardist, a funky drummer, African percussionist, and I guess a lot of other things too. We are too many things for a single definition. We constantly change and create new things. I really don’t know what I am able to accomplish and I don’t think any of us know. What’s probably more important, is to be a change maker, a healer, and an inspirer. We are all healers, change makers, and inspirers as long as we’re able to listen to what’s inside of us. I don’t wanna live in no box or genre. I don’t like borders nor boundaries. I’m me just as you are you. That’s what’s matter. To really be ourselves fully.

What is Farees’ ethnicity?

I’m mixed. Basically I’m African from my mom’s side and white on my dad’s side. Mali, Algeria, Italy, and Germany. Multiracial is the term I guess. I’ve been called a nigger countless times, but I’ve also been called a cracker a couple of times. I’ve been insulted for being a muslim, and many other things. I’ve experienced rejection and people trying to outcast my ass from both sides. But mostly the rejection came from white people. All kinds of micro-aggressions and subtle shit. It’s crazy to find yourself in the middle of this racialized and tribalized world. And when you’re racially ambiguous it’s even weirder. I didn’t know what I was growing up. I had to figure it out. This is the problem with Identity. You don’t get to tell me what I am. I’ll tell you what I am. You should just ask people and they’ll tell you who they are. To just assume what people are based on their looks is bullshit. Anything based solely on looks is bullshit. Black is not a color. It goes way deeper than that. You could be dark as hell and give zero fucks about blackness or Africa. Vice versa we had a lot of light skinned folks who made history in regards to that. Both in Africa and the West. You should not judge a book by its cover. Read the book first. At least 25% of it. Then you judge. Identity is a complex matter. I know I’m privileged, I can even pass for white sometimes. I use my privileges for the advancing or BIPOC. But that’s not the point here. Let’s just recognize the fact that in 2022 going around telling people what they are is not acceptable anymore.

Why is Farees always talking about race?

Simply because I don’t believe in brushing problems under the rug. I talk about reality. First we have to talk about the problem, then we may come up with solutions. Racism is everywhere and we still live in a colonial society. No color-blind BS please. Let’s be real. Those are the words people use. We all know that race is not real. That all those words people use are only in their minds. But if something is in one million minds, it becomes real and it affects reality. Shit is complex. I don’t believe in races myself. But I believe in ancestors. Ancestors guide us and protect us. They influence us in many different ways. And there ain’t no such thing as good or bad ancestors. We all have the good stuff. It’s how much you’re able connect with them, that’s the only question.

Is Farees a Guru, a Leader, a Politician, or a Dog?

I’m closer to a dog than to all those other epithets. Like a dog, everything I do comes from love, empathy and openness. But if you’re trying to fool me or to fuck with my personal space, I’ll bite your ass. Dogs are great and we should learn more from them. Seriously, I’m not the bearer of absolute truth. I’m just trying to bring about change. We don’t need another Guru, believe me. But I’m not a dog with all Bark and no Bite. I’m a doer. And I do bite if you’re an asshole.

Is Farees a musical snob?

I listen to everything from mainstream pop to the most obscure shit. I like ‘Umbrella’ from Rihanna (especially Passenger’s version). I may listen to The Weeknd and to Elisio Vieira or Jethro Tull in the same evening. I dig Logic, but I may listen to Snoop Dogg and 50 Cent too. I listen to everything really, it just depends on the mood I’m in. Sometimes I don’t like the lyrics or the message but there’s always something to learn production-wise or sound-wise. People start all these crusades against things like Auto-tune or Reggaeton or Trap. Auto-tune is just an instrument, it depends how you use it. And it’s not that easy to sing live with auto-tune in the studio, you gotta sing wrong notes right In order for it to work properly. There’s all kinds of purists but good music is good music. Doesn’t matter where it comes from or what genre it is. Dance music is for dancing, Reggaeton is great for that. Everything has its own purpose. Trap or Hip Hop or Reggaeton are not the problem. The problem is bad Trap, bad Hip Hop and bad Music, shitty quality in general. We should raise our standards I think. The problem is this subjective culture we live in. In movies and literature they’ve got standards. They’ve got movies and books that everybody has to see or read first in order to understand how the medium works and its history. With popular music it looks like there’s no education and everything is just subjective. So if I like the sound of a sampled fart over a 4/4 click it becomes acceptable. We should find a way to educate the people more about good music. Instead of just feeding them crap and pretending that it’s great art. 

What does Farees’ logo mean?

It means let’s all fuck with each other until we become the same color. Nah I’m kidding, although some people told me the logo made them think of sexual stuff. The logo comes from an ancient Berber symbol, and it represents unity, universalism, internationalism, anti-colonialism and all the ideals of our project. It represents our utopia, a world where every human being has the same opportunities. Regardless of birth place, passport, features or sexual identity. It’s really an anti-racist, anti-colonialist, anti-tribalism logo.

What’s a sellout?

If I need to explain this to you, you’re in big trouble. It used to be a big thing up until the 90’s. Musicians where accused of selling out in the press, the media, you know, the public was watching them. I love cancel culture. I’m all for it man. Although I prefer to call it call-out culture. ’Cause ain’t nobody being canceled anyway. But it’s good to put pressure on public figures, they have a responsibility and the public has the right to intervene when somebody lacks coherence and integrity. I hope call-out culture becomes stronger and stronger. The paradigm is about to shift. Selling out is all about coherence. It’s not about style or genres. Good people can’t stand posers. Just say what you are upfront and be coherent. You wanna make easy-listening pop music for kids? Fine. You wanna make money, have a lot of sex, drugs, and fame? Cool. You wanna make music for elevators? Nice. Just say it and you’re good. Be honest. But if you say you’re a freedom fighter or an activist, or you talk about revolution, or the Black Panther Party, or you act like you’re a change maker, then be that change. But if you then just turn around and make records with major labels and pose in underwear, sell dumb shit and talk and act shallow, and most of all you take no risks and you don’t change shit, you’re in trouble. People will notice, and will criticize you. And that’s the least I expect from a woke public. There ain’t nothing wrong with dance music, having fun, partying, selling a product or being all about profit and capitalism. But just say it and leave the revolution to real revolutionaries. 

Isn’t Farees releasing too much stuff?

I am a creator and I need to create. I write every day. People say I am a prolific artist. I don’t know if that’s a good definition. That’s just another shitty aspect of the present day music business in my opinion, the fact that most artists only release singles, 2-3 singles per year or so. I love records myself. I love vinyl. I love stories and concepts. It’s hard to convey complex messages with only a couple of songs per year. Personally, I need to explore more and I don’t wanna limit myself to fit into this model. I love double LPs, concept albums and that kind of old school thinking. I’ll be publishing all kind of things and I could be releasing 2 or 3 albums per year. If I feel like it. Or maybe a vinyl tee shirt you can play on your turntable.

What genre is Farees’ music?

It’s called GALACTIC AFRICA. It’s a from-the-roots-into-space kind of idea. I tend to orbit around Africa when it comes to writing music and creating. Rhythm always comes first for me. But I travel a lot with sounds and compositions, in other galaxies and planets as well. The definition of GALACTIC AFRICA goes like this: “A composition of blue notes that can’t be written, learned or taught, only given out in quotes. Built upon a huge wall of groove. So that y’all can think, while your asses move”. Sticking to traditional genres is not my cup of tea. If you stick to genres you won’t come up with anything new, something that really represents you. But you can find a lot of influences and citations in my music. As artists we all learn and are inspired by creators that came before us. Then we come up with our own styles and ideas. My main influences growing up were Jimi Hendrix, The Meters and Stevie Wonder. But also cats like Bob Marley & The Wailers, Toots & The Maytals, Frank Zappa, Wes Montgomery, Donny Hathaway, Ray Charles, Ben Harper, and countless other artists that have influenced me. I was also a lot into Latin stuff like the Fania catalog, but also traditional music in general, Fado and Flamenco and all that. I was always curious. And of course I was always surrounded by Tuareg music, Saharan styles, and West African music in general. I saw the connection all American music had with Africa since I was a child. I thought those black cats playing the Blues were Tuareg Immigrants. And I felt like Cubans were stealing our rhythms Lol. You could say I play Rock, Blues, Jazz, Folk, Afrobeat, Reggae, Funk, Soul, Rap, Salsa, Bossa Nova, Spoken Word, Hip Hop, Alternative, Pop, and you probably wouldn’t  be wrong. But I don’t think we should limit ourselves to genres anymore.

How many instruments can Farees play?

A lot. But we tend to forget that instruments are just instruments. “Find yourself first, and then your tools” Jimi used to say. It’s not the instrument that plays, it’s you. Coming from Africa, and having learned music there, I have a simpler vision. We are used to making music with what we have and focus on the player. We give way too much value to instruments now, $10k guitars, $50k pianos, $7k amps. There’s too much focus on instruments rather than on the player. If you have a vision and you’re connected with your spirit, it may be Auto-tune or a Talkbox or a Fender Rhodes or a Clavinet or a shitty digital keyboard, a Squier guitar or a Vox practice amp. A Ukulele with a broken string or an old mandolin. You deliver because you are you. Ain’t nobody like you. That’s more or less the way I think of instruments. 

What does Farees think about the music industry?

I go by a very simple rule. Music always comes first, money always comes second. And that’s not how this industry works unfortunately. It’s a corrupt system. Look into it and you’ll see for yourself. Read blogs, interviews, and books, get informed. Managers and labels indoctrinate artists and make them play and do things they wouldn’t do if they were free. What’s art if it’s not the manifestation of one’s true spirit? A tribute band is easier today for promotion and profit than an original artist. Especially if you’re doing something really new and original. They’re scared of risking. But what’s an industry that takes no risks for innovation and research? A dead industry. Think cars, pharmaceuticals, new technologies. They all take risks and invest in research and new ideas. Otherwise, there’s no progress. The industry folks are really dumb as far as entrepreneurship, ‘cause they only think short-term. If you invest long-term and give artists the spaces and budgets they need to give shape to their ideas, then you’d have longer careers and more cash flow. We’d have more money and better music. Short-term thinking doesn’t take you anywhere. That’s why they always pick the quicker and easier aspects to produce quick hits, easy listening shallow stuff that usually only appeals to libido and shit. I’m outta that thank God.

What does Farees think about music piracy?

The term music piracy makes me think more of recording contracts and major labels, or BS independent labels. Rather than somebody enjoying some free music online. Those are the real pirates to me. I love the way the Web has changed and freed up the music game. Music is more accessible to more people, especially in poorer countries. Africa needs music. You think they can afford vinyl or CDs? People only think in terms of rich countries and privileged folks. I think global. Fans nowadays are more fans of the artists than of the music itself, and that’s good. It builds healthier relationships. They have to really dig you as a person and respect your ideals, otherwise they won’t spend no money on your stuff. They’ll just listen to that single song that they may like on YouTube and move on. We now have access to billions of songs, rare stuff and shit. It has benefited everybody, artists, creators, and fans. Free music is the future.

Is Farees bald headed?

Yes, I’m bald and I’m proud.

Is Farees handsome?

I don’t know. I guess I’m decent? But shouldn’t we listen with our hearts and ears? That’s another issue with pop culture. You have to be good looking and not too bright. Come on. Let’s try not to be so fucking shallow all the time. Appearance, appearance, and appearance all the time. Where has all the substance gone? How can we move forward if we still stuck in an only-by-the-looks game?

What does Farees think of porn?

There we go again. Vaginas and penises! I have nothing against porn for the sake of itself. I am no puritan. Nudity is not a problem. The problem lays in the eye of the beholder. Porn has of course many issues. Sexism, conveying a certain version of sexuality which is very dangerous, especially for youngsters. Some of them think violent sex is what every woman enjoys or that the shit they see on screen is real. But porn is part of nowadays culture, it influenced everything and there’s nothing we can do about it. My problem is when it invades other areas and fields. Like art and music. Music is not porn. Music is one thing, porn is another. I see too many music videos and artists that just appeal to the libido and sexual arousal. If your song and video only has the goal of producing arousal in the listeners/viewers, then it’s porn. It’s not music. This is the kind of stuff I talk about when I criticize pop culture and the industry culture. Everything from the lyrics to the images looks more like porn than music. And I’m also concerned with the women’s image they are promoting. There ain’t nothing feminist about it. You know, that dick-riding ass-bouncing tits-floating shit we see all the time. Objectifying women. Telling me in a song that you fucked all night long and now she’s walking bow-legged, or that you fucked three chicks at the same time while having substances and shit. And so on. Gang bangs and shit. I mean, I’m happy for you bro, congratulations! But that’s not the message we need right now. Penises and vaginas are doing pretty good, they’re not oppressed. Matter of fact they’re all over the place. They pop up on your screens when you’re supposed to be thinking of work or something else. Everybody uses them for views and clicks. Let’s use our lyrics and songs for more important and relevant stuff. We don’t need more profanity or more nudity today, at least not in that particular objectifying way. I love the beauty of women, I’m really into asses, also vaginas and tits, as I’m not queer. But do we really need songs like that? So many of ’em? Always focused on dicks and sugar walls and big-asses. And believe me man, I love me some ass. But we should really stop thinking of sex as body parts. This pop-porn culture. Like zooming in on asses or tits like women (or men) were just an ensemble of body parts. Frankenstein and shit you know what I’m saying.

Farees, shouldn’t we boycott Spotify and McDonald’s? What about Veganism?

You can boycott Spotify, then Amazon or some other big corporation will take its place. You can boycott McDonald’s, then Burger King will take its place. So what? We live in capitalistic oligopolies. Why don’t you create an alternative, even a small one? Why don’t you invest your own budget and your own money in creating other possibilities and new paths? Instead of bragging about “I erased my Spotify account” or “I stopped eating at McDonald’s”? I don’t believe in boycotts. This method has proven itself completely ineffective when it comes to bringing about change. As I told you, I’m a realistic radical and I’m always looking for real change. Maybe if we boycott something for 20 years you’ll see the product sales drop by 15%. Maybe. And that’s not the kind of improvement I think of when I think change. I don’t have 20 years to wait, especially for such a small result. Boycotts are for radical chic people. They do it so they can pretend they’re doing something. Boycotts are only effective psychologically, for the ego of the boycotter. They give you the illusion that you are participating in changing the world. If you look into it, modern day boycotts, like some branches of Veganism, some anti-multinational boycotts, or so-called fair trade, aren’t changing shit.  But people that do them brag about it, they think they’re cool. Veganism hasn’t done shit for animal rights. Animals live the very same shitty existence as before Veganism. McDonald’s is doing really well, as is Spotify and Amazon and all of them multinationals. You really think they care about a few consumers changing their habits? Look at the “Change Formula” in the Maneefesto. There ain’t no change without risks. Boycott implies no risks. You aren’t risking shit. And if you aren’t risking something, then it must be too good to be true. Real change comes from risks, taking a stand against your boss, refusing to take part in an immoral work initiative, forcing organizations you work for to be fair, or else you will talk to the press. You know, using tactics, not boycott. Tactics means doing what you can with what you have. It’s all about power, and risks. To leverage a shift in power dynamics you have to take risks. Also, these boycott radical chic would-be progressives don’t seem to grasp how the capitalistic system works globally. They only look at it from a narrow westernized view. Because Veganism is the new trend in the West, the Third World had to shift to different agricultural models, and it’s causing harm to those societies. Rather than progress. 

Is Farees a Muslim?

I am. But I’m an open-minded Muslim. And I don’t participate in any religious community. I think of myself as an individual. It’s between me and Allah. Religious communities are very dangerous and they’re no place for free spirits. I question, I doubt, and you can only find God if you question things first, otherwise you’re just repeating what someone else told you. Imitating rather than truly understanding. As I say in some song, Freedom is the beginning, it’s the first step. If there’s no freedom at the beginning there’s no freedom at the end. They indoctrinate people with promises of a future freedom or future salvation. Personally I always try to remember about the first step. I evaluate spirituality by that rule. There’s no understanding without freedom and questions. And freedom is in the first step.

Is Farees an innovative artist?

That’s not for me to say. What I can say is that I try my best to bring something new to the table rather than cloning, copying and write some easy familiar stuff. Art is creation, not imitation. There’s this thing most musicians say today, that everything has been done, that you can’t invent anything new. That’s bullshit. And that’s an excuse. Create, invent, build new paths, new rhythms and new dances. We can do it and it’s an artist’s responsibility. Don’t be discouraged. Do it.

How many languages does Farees speak?

You may speak 5 languages. But if you ain’t got nothing to say, you’ll say nothing in 5 languages.

What’s Farees favorite clothing style?

Depends on the climate. For winter time I like to stay warm and wear trousers, have a jacket on and maybe a beanie. For the summer I’d rather go with shorts and a tee. But it really depends on which part of the world I’m in. I dig sneakers. And hoodies. I love hoodies cause they keep your neck warm. And I love clothing with slogans on them.

Why doesn’t Farees speak for the LGBTQ+ community?

I love them and respect them, they’re my brothers and sisters. I’m not queer tho. I’m not gay. And I tend to be cautious about things I don’t know firsthand. I am not an appropriator. Too much queerbaiting around these days. Those themes are trendy now and we have many artists and brands riding them just for the sake of self-interest. I don’t wanna be one of those, you know. But I’m following everything closely and we share the same struggles. Justice. Equality. I’ll surely end up writing something about it. There’s a general sensation of uprising that I really love. People are fed up with the status quo. There are new words now, or old words used in new ways. To make the bigots understand that they’re outdated. I’m glad to see that. Words like neopronouns, white fragility, mansplaining, male gaze, white gaze, covidiot, herstory, ourstory, gaslighting, toxic positivity, LGBTQIA+, critical race theory, rainbow washing, intersectionality, ableism, intersectionality, BIPOC etc. Gotta love these new words.

What are Farees’ neopronouns?

He/Him.

What are some quotes Farees loves?

“I’m a pessimist because of intelligence, but an optimist because of will.” /Antonio Gramsci

“I’m not upset that you lied to me, I’m upset that from now on I can’t believe you.” /Friedrich Nietzsche

“Being black is not a matter of pigmentation – being black is a reflection of a mental attitude.” /Steve Biko 

“To be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.” /Nelson Mandela 

“When you separate yourself by belief, by nationality, by tradition, it breeds violence. So a man who is seeking to understand violence does not belong to any country, to any religion, to any political party or partial system; he is concerned with the total understanding of mankind.” / Jiddu Krishnamurti

 “Definition of rock journalism: People who can’t write, doing interviews with people who can’t think, in order to prepare articles for people who can’t read.” /Frank Zappa 

“The most bitter anti-white diatribes that I have ever heard have come from “passing” Negroes, living as whites, among whites, exposed every day to what white people say among themselves regarding Negroes – things that e recognized Negro never would hear. Why, if there was a racial showdown, these Negroes “passing” would become the black side’s most valuable spy and ally.” /Malcolm X

Why is Farees always talking about change?

New things always look scary. Or weird. But change is the way nature and life itself evolve. Humans have all these thoughts and ideas and images that have nothing to do with life. Images and ideas are like pictures. Pictures are dead things. They’re not the real thing. We have an image of ourselves, images of the people we know, ideas of how something should be. And usually we deeply crave for it to stay that way. But reality changes, it’s alive, we change all the time and we still struggle to accept that. We age, our bodies and minds change all the time. Living beings die. Society changes all the time. We should accept change as healthy and natural. I know many things I say sound weird or extreme. But that’s the very nature of new things, new ideas, new paths. I’m used to swimming upstream. This paradigm has to change. To use our energy to keep things the way they were or the way we think they were or the way we think is good for our ego, is a waste of energy. I talk about change ‘cause I would love to see people accept what’s new and work with it using their energy to build a better society, a better world. Instead of using energy to lock themselves in or to hang on to the past. We dwell in the past too much. From a spiritual point of view, it takes a whole lotta energy to nourish images and privileges and self-interest, rather than using that energy in a more connected, natural way, to work with reality. 

What’s Farees opinion on Black Lives Matter?

I always had BLACK LIVES MATTER stickers on my guitars and cases. Since back in the day when nobody cared. I’m talking pre-George Floyd, it wasn’t so cool back then. That’s a really great sentence. Simple, true, effective.. Black lives matter, it’s crazy we have to state the obvious in the 2020’s. The BLM movement sucks tho. They’re full of shit. They get millions of dollars from white people and they don’t spend it to help black folks. They are not about black liberation but profiting off of the suffering of black people. I think “defund the police” and “abolish the police” are slogans that are counterproductive to getting people to accept the cause. They’ve fucked up. That’s not how real revolutionaries and radicals act. It’s going nowhere really. They should’ve funded programs for the people and worked more under the radar to really change society and fight racism. From a politically, socially, economically, and revolutionary point of view, they make no sense.

Why does Farees pretend to be black, and why does he play African music and talk black, if he’s white? 

Fuck you, I’m black. 

Is Farees Arab, Middle Eastern, Oriental, Asian, South American, or from Tatooine? 

None of the Above. Although the Sahara, especially where my mom came from, looks a lot like Tatooine.

What’s Farees’ opinion on islamophobia?

If you have a specific phobia, an irrational fear and shit, like gerascophobia or cynophobia or aquaphobia, or islamophobia, negrophobia, transphobia, fatphobia, you should definitely look for professional help or treatment. Your life can and will be better. You’re not alone and seeking help is the first step towards healing.

Is Farees a purist?

Diversity and uniqueness are beautiful. I hate it when they advertize saying that it goes to charity. They publicly pat themselves on the back for supporting the underdog. You have to be credible on duty, not off duty. Am I one of those please-everybody-all-the-time clowns? Nope. Open-source revolution? What about a new global movement? Do we need it now?  Everybody is being too nice these days. But niceness is not courage. It takes courage to challenge the status quo. The default of the current system is that it is reproducing inequalities. Schools and institutions are very good at this.

If you are a change maker you have to make people uncomfortable. You have to question them and yourself, too. Interrupting patterns of injustice or racism takes courage, risks. Think about white fragility. Just bringing up the subject of racism is perceived as not so nice. I can only imagine how they perceive real revolutionaries. No, I am not a purist.

Does Farees know that he doesn’t know?

Yeah, I know that I don’t know. We’re all ignorant to some extent. Life is a learning experience and learning never ends. If you think you’re not  ignorant, you’re probably a huge ignoramus. And you’re fucked. Cause there ain’t no growing from there. To know we don’t know gives us the right perspective and openness.

What does Farees think of Donald Trump, Matteo Salvini, Boris Johnson, Front National, Vox, Orban, Eric Zemmour and such?

Fuck them. I hope they will run out of fools soon. It’s ridiculous how we are moving backwards as far as governments and politics. It’s crazy. Imma go cry in my room now. Leave me alone. I was happy before this question.

Why did Farees not publish any material for a time gap of two years?

To become a fully independent artist took a lot of time and effort. It was a process of liberation. I’m able to release at my own pace now and distribute worldwide, and I intend to stay independent. And I’m not going back. No way. The web has given us the tools man. You’ll never see Farees publishing with labels or compromise with the industry again. It’s my own way, or fuck it.