What’s Still Happening With You? Jerome Silsby

Mustafa’s images were of peaceful, positive, optimistic scenes.

I really enjoyed the process of making a track following a series of images and a zoom chat with Mustafa and Mahoud.

Mustafa’s images were of peaceful, positive, optimistic scenes Mustafa had been inspired by. Rivers, flowers, a bridge, a bicycle and red phone boxes, mostly in great natural light. Discussing these with Mustafa and Mahoud we were looking for an Arabic word that captured some of the feeling that those scenes and images Mustafa had taken embodied, they arrived at ‘Alrida’, which I understood to mean a peaceful, contented kind of happiness. This became the hook of the track and shaped the overall emotion of it.

Mahoud used to play Oud as a child, so we discussed using this in the track in addition to dumbek & darabuka, percussion instruments both used in Syria, alongside elements from ‘Old Town Road’, Mustafa’s current ‘favourite’ track, (as a sort of generational bridging), which I took inspiration from for the additional electronic drums and synth bass.

Melodically I came to a riff on an oud immediately after the conversation with Mustafa and Mahoud, which I then added lyrics to inspired both by the images Mustafa had taken, and the thoughts and feelings that emerged within the conversation with Mustafa and his Dad Mahoud.   

After mixing the track I collated a video of scenes I had filmed followed Mustafa’s reference images, in particular the river.

Listen/Watch “Alrida” below –