“Bazoga is: living in foreign countries + the idea of a meeting + the natural awkwardness of our language + the autobiographical childhood elements + the violence of all this mixed together.” Bazoga, a musical collaboration between Moroccan art students and brothers Salim and Tayeb Bayri, features a hyper electronic mash of Moroccan trance darbeats, darija poetry, and other samplings found online.
With one brother in Strasbourg and the other in Budapest, Bazoga’s location is more of an abstract location than any real physical space. The group started “offline, online and IRL,” says Salim. “I think the first time we made music was in an asynchronous manner: Salim recorded simple sentences in darija or simple chi’ir in Arabic which he uploaded on Soundcloud. They were so funny/nostalgic/fresh I wanted to make music out of them.”
But their music is far from restricted to an online format. Salim says, “Actually, the best tracks we’ve made have been specially produced for a live experience. I see the tracks we make as preparation for the next meeting, a kind of common ground to build on.” In fact, Bazoga usually schedule their visits around gigs, getting a few days of real life practice in before a show. “We like tough deadlines,” Tayeb jokes. “Our first start was online with the song we made on Soundcloud. The second was in 2012 when Salim came and visited me in Strasbourg from Barcelona. We made Radar and l7jer And, we found our name, Bazoga.”
So what does Bazoga mean exactly? Tayeb says the name comes from a brand of chewing gum from the brothers’ childhood, while Salim says it was named after a rocket. Either way, Tayeb says, “we like this idea of a small sweet fun thing that can become violent.” The description certainly fits their music, which takes non-sense Arabic recordings or quiet, elegant old music recordings and transforms them into fidgety, high-energy loopy recordings begging to be danced to.
The brothers’ hyperactivity lent itself to the name of one of their most popular tracks, Treytamusic. “When we were kids, my brother Salim couldn’t stop jumping around and turning upside down: at lunch, while playing, all the time. You would always hear around him: “baraka men tretya”, which means “stop jiggling and jumping.”
Salim and Tayeb’s childhood in Morocco seems to play a formative role in their music. “Bazoga is a chance to rediscover the music which always surrounded us [in Morocco], allowing us to better understand it,” says Tayeb. “The music of our parent’s generation, chaabi, the music of the Middle Atlas, doukkala …” Salim adds, “…if you asked us to choose where we actually started, I would have to say Casablanca, because it’s the one place that we both share. It represents a kind of ‘mixture before departure’, an expression of some energy that, sooner or later, would have to come out.”
Their physical location in Europe has meant that, up until recently, their main fan base has been much more European and North American than North African. But more Moroccan listeners may be right around the corner, Salim says. “Tayeb is going back to Morocco by the end of December. We’re planning to make a big entry in Marrakech next February, playing live with people who make the music we try to remake. It will be huge!”
“Casablanca. It’s the one place that we both share. It represents a kind of ‘mixture before departure’, an expression of some energy that, sooner or later, would have to come out.”