Had you not follow your mother to weddings in Morocco, would you still have started playing drums? Why or why not?
I don’t think so. (laughs) That was such a big influence. I was so young. It was so nice to see all those women smiling, dancing and having fun. That was the reason why I’m a drummer. If I didn’t have that experience I probably wouldn’t be a drummer. But who knows?
Tell us about the book that you have written ‘African Rhythms and Independence for Drumset’. What was your main objective?
I live in France. In Europe there’s many books for rhythm but mostly western stuff. We have so many rhythms in Africa. The “mother earth of rhythms”. But we don’t have that much books. I wanted to write some ethnical rhythms and make them more popular. So even French people, German people, whoever, can understand the groove and play it as well. So that’s when I decided to write this book.
Of the list of prestigious musicians you’ve worked with, which was the most memorable to you and why?
Well, there is not one musician that is more memorable than the other, because I learned something from everyone I played with. I was so happy to play with them. It was a big opportunity for me. It makes me improve myself musically and also mentally. Music is not just about playing. It’s also about the relationship you can have, conversations you have during tours. All of them had something special about them. In this instance, I just have to mention Salif Keïta who comes from West Africa like me. His music is so deep and to me he’s just so amazing.
Tell us a bit about your band Mossan. Do you still perform with them?
Mossan is actually the name of a song. The band’s actually called Dounia. After Malaysia I will go back to Paris, then we have rehearsals and such, and then we start touring Morocco, Spain, Algeria…. So a lot of concerts are happening with the band.
How about coming to Malaysia again?
Well, if someone invites me, I will definitely come. This is the first time I’m in Malaysia. I love it. I’m surprised by the kindness of the people. I’m looking at you and looking around, the people here are “mixed” and it’s just like me. My mother’s from Morocco, my father’s from Senegal. It reminds me of where I come from.
Why No Black Tie?
Because you know what? We must be free!