With inspiration taken from his Egyptian-Australian heritage, Moktar’s music tells many tales. He first came to light via Mall Grab’s Steel City Dance Discs in 2021, with an EP that fused strains of broken techno, house and electro with the sounds of traditional Arabic music. It got love from DJs across the board, while the single ‘Silk’ hit the No.1 spot as community radio’s most-played in his suburban hometown south of Sydney.
Last year, he delivered a follow-up for the label, an EP named ‘Immigrant’ that further explores his heritage and upbringing, consciously weaving in SWANA influences, and delving deeper into his beliefs and experiences. “I learnt a lot about the town my family is from in Cairo, called Al Duqqi, which has been a lovely journey. I named one of the EP tracks after it,” he tells DJ Mag.
Moktar grew up in the Sutherland Shire in the southern region of Sydney, Australia. “My upbringing was equally as difficult as it was amazing,” he says. “The Shire is one of the most beautiful places in the world, but it was also once a really scary place for anyone POC or ethnic. Being one of the only brown kids around, I always felt like I had to be quick and smart to survive.”
The nightlife in the Shire was limited, but it was when he ventured out of the suburbs into the city that he discovered clubs such as Goodgod Small Club: a now-shut venue that was once the back room of a Spanish restaurant, which made some of his earliest clubbing memories. Moktar’s musical inspirations come from across the board, including British rapper, dancer and poet Blackhaine, a multi-disciplinary artist with a strong aesthetic across all his work.
In 2021, Moktar relocated from Sydney to Melbourne amid the on-and-off lockdowns. “Despite Covid being around, it still didn’t change how inspiring it was to surround myself with other creatives, which is a huge motivator for me. I really thrive in a city with a great nightlife. I definitely have a soft spot for Melbourne.”
He still has a strong connection to Sydney, and as well as returning there to play he’s also been cultivating a dedicated following in Europe, with a tour last summer that saw him play London, Berlin, Amsterdam, Paris, Dublin and more.
Moktar has big aspirations for the year ahead, and there’s a debut album in the pipeline. “I also have a live music background, and my father is a renowned Egyptian conductor and composer, so I’d love to bring in more live elements at my shows,” he reveals.
He’s dedicated to his art, putting time and effort into his production processes, and constantly honing his sound. “I’m really striving to head into more of a lively direction with my next releases, as the first two have been more introspective,” Moktar says. “I’m constantly trying to think of ways to develop my sound as I progress into new projects, with lots of trial and error. I’m also quite a visual person when producing, and often imagine certain visuals, or watch videos when making music to fuel my creativity.”