We were blessed to have JOUMANA as our second Big Blue Session. Joumana's set was the first one where we had a live musician to jam along. She played alongside our production engineer, Sam Harvey who was playing piano and analog synths. It was an incredibly unique and special set where everyone was in the zone. Joumana and Sam were connecting and jamming through music- such an incredible process to witness. My heart felt so full after this set and every time I listen to it again, I get goosebumps and feel renewed. Thank you Joumana for coming to Big Blue Studios and for sharing and thank you Baptiste for joining us in the dancefloor!
listen to her set on SoundCloud here
view on YouTube here.
What are the origins for your passion for music?
I've always been interested in music. As a child, I used to take piano lessons, then I was super interested in taking singing lessons, so I was doing both until I decided to focus on singing. That's a little bit about how I was introduced to the music world.
Then when I was a teenager, I was really into reggaeton, dancehall. I was always looking for new tracks, trying to find new music. My friends were always like "Joumana, you have the best music, where did you find it!?" (laughs) I would go on these special websites to find brand new tracks, so I guess it has always been in me. I like to say that I’ve always been drawn to the rhythm. My love for dancing led me to wanting to start and pursue DJing.
You started DJing electronic music just a few years ago, how did you get into that?
I got into the scene by listening to electronic music in 2016, then one night, my friends brought me to STEREO. That’s when I knew I wanted to explore the electronic music world in depth. It was very different from what I was used to, and I really loved the vibe there. I felt free and people were so friendly. It was amazing, so then I started listening to more electronic music. When I began taking DJ lessons, my teacher told me: "I hope you don't want to learn to mix hip-hop music because it's not really my thing". He mostly plays techno and minimal, deep tech. I told him that I just wanted to learn, and that I was open to playing any genre. Finally, it all worked out, electronic music turned out to be my favorite. I started looking for tracks from different electronic music genres. That's how it all began. I didn't even question it, I just went with it.
This year was a big year for you, and it's coming to an end. Could you share some of your highlights?
I have to say playing at STEREO and StereoBar were my main highlights of 2019. Playing at Piknic Électronik this summer was an achievement for me. When I began DJing, I told myself I wanted to play there, and it happened, so I was very happy about it. AIM Festival, PY1 and Illusion Festival were also highlights of 2019. Each one of these gigs brought a different experience to my journey: I played on the biggest stage yet at AIM Festival, I played for the biggest crowd at PY1, and I played at Illusion Festival surrounded by nature.
I made my debut at StereoBar at the end of the summer. It was at Les Beaux Dimanches with Lebaron. It definitely was one of my best sets so far, and a perfect way to end such a wonderful summer. I felt ecstatic after it, and will always remember that moment.
What do you think was so mesmerizing, special about that night?
I usually go into my gigs feeling a little bit stressed, but I felt more confident than usual that night. It’s like I knew it was going to be a good one. All the elements were there: the sound system, the firy energy from the crowd, the venue itself, and the music I played are what made this night such a special one.
What are you looking forward to in 2020?
2020 will be a ‘‘stepping out of my comfort zone’’ year. I will be moving to Prague for a couple of months for the last semester of my Master’s degree, and it’ll be the first time I’ll be away from Montreal for so long. Since I’ll be in Europe, I'm definitely trying to plan my first Europe tour. We'll see what happens. I would love to see how people in other cities and countries react to what I have to share.
That is so exciting!
Yes! Here in Montreal, I kind of know what music people are into but not in other places, so I’m hoping it works!
On that same line of thought… how is it to be a DJ in Montreal? Or what can you say about the crowd?
I’m honestly very glad to be in Montreal. We have a place for different genres, and that’s what I like about this city. The crowd is very open, and brings the best vibes a DJ could ask for. We are also lucky to have a supportive community, so I’m grateful to be here.
I feel like it is a special place for electronic music.
I do too!
I am so excited for your move to Europe and the sound you are going to bring back afterwards!
Me too, can’t wait to share!
Do you have a favorite label at the moment?
This question is always hard to answer. (laughs) I mean, there are so many labels, and every day you discover a new one or a new artist! Honestly, there are so many talented artists, but I would say that some of my favorites labels at the moment are Halaken Records, Ready Mix Records, Harabe Records, and Aluku Records.
What type of set did you share with us today? How did you feel playing with a live musician?
I really enjoyed it! It was my first time playing a set with a live musician, and it was very interesting. I usually know what to expect because I know the tracks I play, but today was different because Sam was adding layers to those tracks while I was playing them, so it was a very cool experience. Lately, I've been more into downtempo, melodic, relaxing music, and today, I decided to go for a groovy, energetic, melodic set.
Last question: I wanted to know more about what you are trying to communicate with your music or what emotions do you want to evoke in your sets?
I think it would be "Freedom." I play sets that are full of melodies because I associate music with emotions, and I would love to convey these emotions to the listeners. I see that as some kind of freedom, a way to lose yourself to music, to just listen and enjoy.
Joumana is one of Montreal’s fastest rising artists in the electronic scene right now. Originally from Lebanon, her musical journey started as a child playing the piano. Her passion for electronic music emerged when she discovered its magnetism in 2016, ever since then her commitment and talent has carried her on to play at some of the best venues and events in Montreal. Some of these include Le Salon Daomé, Stereo, Newspeak, Velvet Speakeasy. This summer she has played at the renowned Piknic Électronik, PY1, AIM Festival and Illusion Festival.
Joumana’s energy behind the decks is luminous and contagious, her ability to adapt to the crowd’s energy is what makes her sets captivating allowing listeners to immerse themselves in cultures and sounds from around the globe. When asked where her dream venue would be, she affirmed that as long as the crowd is there for the music and is open receiving the energy she puts forth, it would not matter where she plays. This commitment to her sound allows her to stay humble and true to herself and tribute some artists she loves which include Mercan Dede, Hrag Mikkel, and HAFT.
Follow JOUMANA at: https://www.instagram.com/joumana__dj/
Listen to JOUMANA at https://soundcloud.com/joumanadj