I was born
into a musical
family with my
dad and his
Performing from small club venues to festivals here and abroad, to sharing the stage with famous multi-platinum artists.
Musivv caught up with Carl, the band's frontman, to find out what's brewing in their audio kitchen. Dig in.
I was always surrounded by music and always knew someday I'll have a band of my own. Fast forward a couple of decades and the journey with CNRMafia started in 2016 when I met Tarek Reda and showed him a few songs I had written.
We arranged a jam [session] and tried some of those songs with other musicians, and it worked. A couple of weeks later, we entered a 'battle of the bands' competition here [in Dubai] with all the top original bands in the UAE competing. We won.
I was always surrounded by music and always knew someday I'll have a band of my own.
That was the perfect start for us as a band here in the UAE. Since then we've shared the stage with legends like Bon Jovi, Sting, Uriah Heep and pop stars like J Cole, Bastille and many more.
indie now |cnrmafia : serving a full platter of funk jam63
what do you think of the music scene in dubai? how challenging is it to start a band here?
Still young. A lot of talent but lack of support or stages [to perform at] to really celebrate [music] and hence the lack of the organic indie music-loving crowd.
Right now the scene
is young with much
young talent supported
by big brands and
[if you] put those artists on a major stage or festivals outside the country, it'll be a reality check. What's missing here are venues that help bands evolve from the underground music scene, like garages and backyards, which helps build core indie audiences - which in turn become their biggest critics. It prepares these local musicians/bands to face the bigger stage.
There used to be Music Room when we started off, and it was always the place we tried our new material, but since its closure, we are yet to find somewhere we could just jam for an open-minded audience.
Time Out Best Original Artist 2018? How did that feel like?
The fact that Time Out brought in a category for original acts itself was a big step for the music scene.
We were happy to be the first recipients of the Time Out Best Original Artist award.
And of course, a massive honor for us to be the first to receive it. Besides that, [performing] at India's Biggest Music Festival NH7 on the main stage was a high we haven't been able to match yet.
indie now |cnrmafia : serving a full platter of funk jam64
what's your typical day like?
A typical day during the season would be hectic for us.
We would meet at my place in the afternoon. My self and Reda with jam with our guitars and find possibilities for new songs.
We record anything we find interesting so that I could write the lyrics for it later. We then meet with the whole band at a studio for a quick jam. Then off to the gigs in the evening.
indie now |cnrmafia : serving a full platter of funk jam65
What separates you from other artists?
Our music. We have a style that really helps us stand out. We have those long extended jams, but we still keep the hooks relatable and straightforward, and that's about it
Tell us more about it funk jam as your band's style of music.
It's funk with those bright hooks and easy to remember choruses. But it's also complex in terms of musicality, chord progressions and time signature.
We have a style
that really helps us stand out.
Who do you look up to?
Snarky Puppy, Vulfpeck, Jamiroquai, Sting to name a few.
How do you see yourself in the next 5 years?
Still playing festivals around the world, we hope. That's the goal.
First song you wrote?
The first song we wrote as a band is 'Live Today' which is on our first album 'What The.' Reda and I took around a day to complete that song.
Favorite song we wrote would be a song called 'Drown With Me' only because it was a fast process with great output. We needed one more song to complete our first album and we had 4 hours to deliver. It was a result of a quick jam really.
indie now |cnrmafia : serving a full platter of funk jam66
scenes and play
those tiny clubs
to see where
indie now |cnrmafia : serving a full platter of funk jam67
Favorite song by another artist?
Seven Days by Sting.
What would you advise aspiring artists?
Play those small venues as much as you can. Travel to countries with vibrant music scenes and play those tiny clubs to see where you stand. Trust me. It'll push you as a musician and keep you humble.
What's the biggest dream?
One massive hit on the charts. And Glastonbury
Play those small venues as much as you can.
CNRMafia has made a name for themselves. Without a shadow of a doubt, their infectious style of music that easily captures one's musical taste buds will surely leave the rest of the world hungry for more.