How did you get into rap music?
We started as listeners and we really liked the music between the early ages of 15-16. Then we started memorizing songs rapping them out in clubs, until we wrote our first rap in college.
Where did you come up with the name Asfalt?
We rap about the streets and the daily life of the average person, and asphalt (which translates to tar) is in the streets, and so I came up with Asfalt. In the beginning, we wanted an easy name that sounds almost the same in all languages, in case we had to perform overseas, and Asfalt served that purpose.
What was the initial reaction to your music when you guys first started out?
It’s hard to tell. When we first started, the internet wasn’t as popular, so we got feedback from our friends, which was supportive with little hints here and there. There was only one website were you could post your songs. It was a struggle. Now you can tell if people like your song in a day or two. Pretty ironic.
Between the two of you, how does the process of creating music happen?
It’s actually both of us. We have a process when it comes to creating new songs but we still keep room for spontaneity. For example when it comes to writing, sometimes we write together and sometimes we write separately and then we get together and go over what we wrote. As for music, we deal with a lot of producers. Once we settle on the music, we record a demo and we listen to it for like a week and then get together to see how we feel, or if we want to change something.
How do you think rap fits into the Arab world?
Rap fits like other genres do, it’s in movies, trailers, soap operas, ad, it should be treated and dealt with as other genres. But still some people think it’s an outside or an alien genre. That’s why as Asfalt, we try using musical instruments that people in the Arab world are familiar with, like oud, tabla, etc…
What’s been the reaction to your music from Arab audiences?
Our main supporters are Arabs. Thanks to them, we are still making music. I think that sums it up.