Keemo Rahman is an electronic, mixed-genre musician who embraces folk and cultural music in his songs. He has just released his latest album, Ministry Of The Dance Floor and its first music video, Disco Dancer. We took the time to have a good talk on his career, life and plans.
And for the more comfortable reading, listen to Disco Dancer by Keemo Rahman while you are at it, it’s a good one!
Music Authentic: Welcome to Music Authentic! Let’s begin with our site-traditional question: How did you sleep last night?
Keemo Rahman: Hi Music Aunthentic, it’s good to be here and thank you for having me today. Urmm…, I had a very late sleep last night as I was having a video call with my music video director and had a thorough discussion on the next project – all thanks to the technology. Later on though, I did have a very good sleep, after expressing and sharing creative ideas with the director, yeah…
Music Authentic: Artists, musicians all need to charge up, some do it through reconnecting to the Nature, others meditate and there are the ones who visit pubs or party. What about you?
Keemo Rahman: I read a lot and I listen a lot. I love good books and currently I’m reading ‘The Wish’ by the American novelist Nicholas Sparks. I just love to get and to be inspired moreover I appreciate all kind of arts. Talking about music: I listen more of the ’90s dance music, like a club remix from Frankie Knuckles and many others. Also, I love to experiment on the new beats which I do from time to time. Good books and music really help to charge me up.
Music Authentic: If I think of Borneo, lush forests and smiling people come to my mind. You love your hometown and your island, even wrote a song you’re your debut album last year, “Delicious Borneo”. What is it like for you, especially after the last almost two years?
Keemo Rahman: Oh yeah! Delicious Borneo. When it comes to places and delicacies, Borneo should be come first to my mind. We have lots of good places, the hidden gems are everywhere, you can find good food everywhere in Borneo. My hometown is Kuching City, in Sarawak; located in the Borneo Island. The diversity in Borneo is rich in cultures, colors and music; those had inspired me to create Delicious Borneo. And thank God, it was well-received and even being picked up by the local radio station. People might not know, the original title was ‘Gostoso Borneo’, as its beat was mixed with Latino reggeaton. However, due to technical requirements, I was asked by my music distributor to change it so I named it as simply ‘Delicious Borneo’. After almost 2 years, it is still delicious,.. yeah, people still listening to Delicious Borneo and that song comes to their mind when they hear the name of Keemo Rahman.
Music Authentic: Telling stories only by instruments, arrangements and melodies might be a challenge. Listening to your songs, it feels you like giving a positive vibe and time to dance. Have you ever thought of adding some vocals?
Keemo Rahman: Ye,s I do and I believe everyone does the same. Giving positive vibes, chilling up, and dance. Yeah, I do have some tracks containing vocals in my previous release and in this new release, too. When I think of adding vocals, I trust on poetically good lyrics and of course good vocals. At the moment, I like experimenting on beats and music. I mean, I still enjoy making experimental instrumentals. I let the listeners have their own creative ways to add up their own ideas of vocal or humming while listening to my music. Even TikTokers nowadays love to experiment with the instrumental dance music to fit to their dance videos. And talking about vocals on my dance music tracks: on Ministry Of The Dance Floor, I did a collaboration with talented ‘Malaysian Music Classic Star’ Hijrah Yahya on my track called ‘Land Of Unity’ and a Sarawakian Rapper ‘Paksi’ on Mambo Electro. As I do love to push other peoples’ buttons, I challenged them to blend their voices and share their creativity with my dance music on Ministry Of The Dance Floor, and the results are magic!
Music Authentic: You were a DJ and dancer earlier on. In your visuals like “Tribal Galaxy” or the latest “Disco Dancer” both are in the focus. What does music and dance mean to you?
Keemo Rahman: Music and dance are both artistically meant so much to me as I was starting out as a modern dancer, a modern dance choreographer and music remixer at the same time. Life was so much fun and simple back in the days. And, I still remember when I was a dancer, teaching modern dance to my group, mixing and prepare the music at night for our dance practice in the day and for the public performances. It was kind of fun, memorable and I miss it so much. For my new release, ‘Disco Dancer’ is my favourite track in Ministry Of The Dance Floor and I was inspired by ‘I Feel Love’ by our Queen of the dance floor, the late Donna Summer which I decided to release it as the first single with the music video accompanied.
Music Authentic: Listening to your latest album “Ministry of the Dance Floor”, it feels you still like visiting new and different substyles and folklore – aside from the dancefloor hits. What are your most favourite cultures past and present?
Keemo Rahman: Yeah, when you listen to Ministry Of The Dance Floor, it is a kind of travel around the world. It has an Indian tunes, Chinese, Arabian theme, but still the focus is on dance music. I am blessed for being part of the best airline in the world, which is Malaysia Aviation Group or MAG. It has given me a good chance to see other parts of the world and to be inspired by other cultures, music, places, to meet and to see other peoples. I do love both: past and present, and my favourite of course an Arabian, Indian and my own Malaysian cultures. I love getting sightseeing, writing of what I see and transformed it into beats and music when I’m on my laptop back at home.
Music Authentic: “No Courage Without Fear” is close to hyper-pop, yet, borrows from some ‘90s arpeggios and drum themes from the ‘00s. Which is your favourite musical era and scene?
Keemo Rahman: ‘No Courage Without Fear’ happens to be my current favourite. When I created that track, it was like ‘being possessed by the dancer spirits’, late at night right in front of my music PC sets, it was just happened right on. I was thinking of previous club scenes like in the year of 1999, or early 2000 hypes. It sounds so millennium. That era is of course my most favourite one. The ’90s dance music is still going on nowadays and so everlasting. Watching people dancing in the club during that era is my favourite scenes, and now people still enjoy the 90s dance music so much. And I can tell you that 80s, 90s dance music is much more alive… Yeah, I love it!
Music Authentic: What is the big dream for you: winning a Grammy, writing a film score, touring in festivals?
Keemo Rahman: My big dream is to have my dance music ‘infecting’ the whole world. Just joking! It would be lovely if all the people listened, appreciated and enjoyed my dance music. If given a chance to write a film score, yeah why not!
Music Authentic: Let’s have some fun! The newly built human settlement on Mars invites you for a set. What would be in the playlist?
Keemo Rahman: Urmmm… of course Disco Dancer, Wake Up Call, Delicious Borneo.. or should I just put all my music in the playlist?
Music Authentic: Back to Earth: electronic music is the fastest growing and speeding these days, mostly via atypical distribution channels. On the other hand, tens of thousands of new songs are being uploaded to “traditional” streaming services every day. How can you be heard? What does it take not to be lost in the crowd?
Keemo Rahman: Just like in the good old days, I would definitely have my music being played by the DJ or have a dance performance with my own music. There will be always an alternative ways to reach out to all the dance music lovers out there.
Music Authentic: What was the greatest experience you learned on your way to become a recognized artist?
Keemo Rahman: The greatest experience is the hardship and when I was struggle to become a good dancer, to have people to recognise and to acknowledge my abilities. It was full of ups and downs, being rejected, being accepted but in the end of the days, I realized who I am, and I don’t need other people’s approval. I am standing on my own and blessed to know who I am today. I am thankful to all those who acknowledge my abilities and believe in me to entertain and to inspire other people.
Music Authentic: Your music is about joy and forgetting everyday struggles. Do you think music also can heal?
Keemo Rahman: Yes, of course, music is therapy. You know, when you feel down after hectic days. You lay down on your bed after shower, put on your headphones, turn on your favourite music. It is something like a good metaphor, some kind of soothing and relaxation. I do that, and it helps.
Music Authentic: If you met your younger self, what advice would you give?
Keemo Rahman: Urmm, just do what you wanna do, stop being scared of what other people might say. Just go on and have fun!
Music Authentic: Now this year will soon be over. What are your plans for 2022? Touring, clubbing, new album, music video, concerts?
Keemo Rahman: I never stop of being experimental and I do love of giving surprises! New album, new collaboration, maybe? and who knows only time will tell ya!
Music Authentic: Before we go, are there any encouraging and inspirational words to your readers, sympathizers, fans?
Keemo Rahman: There’s No Courage Without Fear. Do what you think and what you like. As life is too short to be better, don’t care of what other people say, just move on, you just go on, have fun and work it out, yeah!
Music Authentic: It was good to listen to your songs and get to know you as an artist a little bit more. We wish you a good audience for your new album and don’t forget to send your new materials later on!
Keemo Rahman: Oh yeah, once again my thank you to Music Authentic for your good wishes and it was fun to be here. For those who love dance music, ‘Ministry Of The Dance Floor’ is an album you won’t to be missed! For the dance music clubs, dance music lovers, workout or gym goers, let’s have this album as your essential playlist.
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