Artist of the month of March: Nanofunk

Meet Nanofunk, the innovative DJ and sound designer who creates unique electronic music using a Gameboy console. Nanofunk has been making waves in the music industry with his distinct style. It combines old-school Gameboy sounds with modern beats and rhythms. His music is a fusion of retro and futuristic elements. It’s no surprise that he has gained a loyal following among fans of electronic music. With his talent for manipulating sounds and beats, Nanofunk has carved a niche for himself in the world of music, and his creativity knows no bounds. In this article, we’ll explore more about Nanofunk’s background, his music, and his journey as a sound designer.

Tell us a bit about you and Nanofunk and your musical  background in general? 

My name is Jalal aka Nanofunk and I am a Dj, producer, beat maker and sound designer.

My musical background was formed first, by digging Rap beats on tape cassettes, and then by discovering Rock and Metal music during high school and after which I started my own band. Later on I discovered Electronic Music and it had the most important impact on my musical career. I started learning to make my own beats and tracks, sound designing and producing music on DAW with a lot of passion. I very much enjoyed making and discovering sounds from sampling Moroccan rhymes into old cartoons music.

If I think about it, I was doing this probably the whole day long without getting bored, so everything started for fun.

I bumped into Drum and Bass music and it instantly became an inspiration to me, so I started my first solo musical project mixing Drum and Bass music with African and Saharan rhythms and melodies. The project was called The Machinix , and it was my first show in Generation Mawazine back in 2010 .

How did you get interested in audio design and music-making and how did that lead you to where you are today?

Throughout the years I became a big fan of all that is analog and vintage such as vintage synthesizers, drum machines and retro gaming consoles that we loved to play with back in the days when we were kids.

As this nostalgic feeling kept growing in me, I found myself collecting these vintage gaming consoles, then came the idea of combining both my love for retro gaming and Electronic Music production. And that was the birth of my musical concept Nanofunk.

It is then a mixture of analog live music that is made through the use of these abandoned old retro gaming consoles such as Gameboys, yes GAMEBOYS!. And through a live sampling and sound FX to create a unique experience of sounds that would take you back to that nostalgic feeling of vintage video games and 8 bit music such as Atari, Sega… The end result is a combination of vintage video games sounds and modern Electronic Music.

I’m very pleased that i managed to bring this concept to many renowned events, art spaces and festivals. And to stream my music in local and international electronic music platforms and radios such as Radio Last Floor- Italy, Radio Hara, Radio Flouka, Loose FM, La Confiserie Sonore and Micromusic Italy, as the only African Arabian artist to create this unique musical combination.

How do you build your tracks? Does your inspiration come from playing or do you usually have a concept in your mind? 

It is a 100% analog process which I enjoy very much and find very creative. I love making music on DAW, but I feel more myself when I start jamming and discovering sounds along the way. So through many consoles, I am using different sounds or games that are connected to a mixer, a sampler to sample sounds during live performances and a  sound Fx to add some crunchiness to my music.

I usually start with an idea in my mind. But I always end up with something I had not expected, and that is what I truly love and enjoy. I just follow the Bpm and try to sync everything together with my ears and feelings!

The hardest part is that I have to be fully focused so I leave no room for mistakes when I am performing live to an audience.

What is the proportion of your creative process that involves experimenting with settings and adjusting controls to achieve a desired sound effect, and how much of it is knowing EXACTLY what to do to create the sound you want?

Playing live is definitely fun and creative but also a bit challenging. During my performances, I am always discovering the sounds that I end up making along with the audience. It’s challenging and I need to be quick to change rhythms so as not to get stuck into monotony. 

I always like playing with Fx, adding more samples, changing filters and melody octave and of course also playing with the BPM so that the audience doesn’t get bored. I can start with an experimental drone ambient sound and then delve into Drum and Bass with a higher BPM. People love that!

The scary part is that since I am only using Gameboys, which are very limited gadgets and can crash at any time during the shows. It is very challenging. The key though, is pushing this limitation into creation. That is what I call the beauty of limitations and which I think is the essence of NanoFunk.

How would you explain your job and passion to someone who is older than 60?

I play with Gameboys, but on dancefloors!

Famous last words?

No Limits!

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