There’s no one else like Garmiani. The Kurdistan-born DJ grew up in Sweden addicted to West Coast hip-hop. His love extended to techno, trance, reggae, and dancehall as well which he fuses together for a unique sound unlike anyone else. Whether you listen to his music, see him spin live, or just read the interview below, you will be moved by his energy that will literally give you life. Saying that the DJ brings the party may sound trite, but in the case of Garmiani, it’s just the honest truth.
RS: Is Garmiani a Serbian name?
Garmiani: It is a Kurdish name but it sounds Italian, everyone keeps asking me if I am Italian but it is Kurdish.
RS: What does the name mean?
Garmiani: It is a city in Kurdistan called Garmin and Garmiani means the people that are from that city. I think that a bunch of generations back we came from there.
RS: So you were born in Kurdistan and you grew up in Sweden right?
RS: Do you ever get back to Kurdistan to DJ?
Garmiani: No because they don’t have clubs there and I never had the chance to go back. I would love to go back but there are a lot of wars and Isis so it is not safe.
RS: Understood. On the opposite side of things, let’s talk about the music, what was it like to work with Snoop Lion on “Youth Dem”?
Garmiani: That was definitely a dream because I grew up on West Coast hip-hop music. I am still a huge Death Row, Snoop, Dre and Pac fan so it was definitely a dream come true. Even though it was Snoop Lion and not Snoop Dog, I am still a huge fan of reggae and dancehall music. I have been to Jamaica and you hear a lot of reggae and dancehall influences in my music.
RS: I am a complete moron, isn’t Snoop Lion the same person as Snoop Dog?
Garmiani: Yeah it is, he released a reggae project under the name Snoop Lion and the track that he did with Steve was made during that period so it is a Snoop Lion collab and not a Snoop Dog collab.
RS: So it is the same person just the name is different?
RS: Okay cool, I can be an airhead sometimes. So when you made “Jump & Sweat” did you have any idea it would become so big?
Garmiani: No. I was expecting to get weirder comments like “what the hell is this” because it’s different from all the other EDM music. It has a lot of the Caribbean influence that I love and it’s happy in the break. I never made happy music but the vocals and the chord progressions are happy. People love it and it has been doing really well on Beatport and it’s doing great on Spotify.
RS: It is a great track. So you started as a rapper and you ended up in reggae and EDM, how did that happen?
Garmiani: I just don’t care man, whatever music I love, I love. I was actually talking to this other guy before you and I told him the same thing. You shouldn’t care about boundaries or rules or what genre you are in. I grew up on hip-hop, R&B, reggae, dancehall, trance and techno and there were no other kids where I lived that liked it all. I just mashed up all those influences. I love mashing up all my influences into one big pot of energy.
RS: Energy. Energy. I have seen some of your videos on stage and you will be spinning and doing some rap on top of it and then jump up on the decks, that is scary! How do you keep all that going and keep your sanity?
Garmiani: It’s a party, lets party! Imagine you are in the house and you play a Drake mashup, you are probably going to sing along so why not do it on stage? I am just being me, it’s a party, let’s have fun and spray champagne, jump in the crowd and do whatever you feel like.
RS: So you started DJing when you were 15 or 16 right?
Garmiani: Yeah I started DJing at clubs when I was 17, so I was DJing in the clubs before I was legally allowed to be in the clubs.
RS: If you could go back and talk to yourself at age 16, what advice would you give yourself?
Garmiani: Don’t care about what people think. When you are young you are more vulnerable to what people think. I don’t care now because I am a grown man but when I was younger I did. I grew up in a town with a population of 100k so it was a small city and there was myself and five other guys that were making hip-hop music, so we were outcasts. I would say to myself don’t mind what people think or say.
RS: Does you red feather have a special meaning?
Garmiani: Not at all, it’s just dope.
RS: It is dope and you are dope.
RS: Are you following Elliphant, the Swedish reggae, rapper, singer?
Garmiani: Not so much but I saw her live at a festival in Sweden last year and she was nice. That was when I discovered her so it was late as hell.
RS: I could see the two of you doing some sick shit together.
Garmiani: That makes a lot of sense bro!
RS: If you had the chance to work with Armand Van Helden on a track, what would you do?
Garmiani: Oh shit, I don’t know, that would be so dope. He was one of my early influences because he combined house and hip-hop and that is why his music really spoke to me. When you look at his videos they were hip-hop dudes with hip-hop gear on but it was house music. I thought that was so dope because I could relate. I would love to make some stuff with him, he is a legend.
RS: I totally agree. What is coming next from you?
Garmiani: I am going to put out some stuff that sounds a little different from the stuff I have been putting out. Not that different, but I am going to introduce my fans to a broader sound. I have made the same genre for the last five singles. I have been mixing in some dancehall influences and I think that it is time for a little bit of hip-hop influences. I have this one track that I am working on, it’s not big room, it’s just hard electro, like mean, aggressive electro. It will be dope to put some gangsta rap vocals on that one and make it really hard.
RS: Instead of G-House it will be G-Electro.
Garmiani: I love G-House by the way.
RS: When they do the movie of your life, what actor is going to play you?
Garmiani: That is a dope question, Armand Van Helden.
RS: What is the strangest question that you have ever been asked in an interview?
Garmiani: I haven’t had any strange questions so I think that it’s time. It is always the same questions about my influences and stuff, which is great, but I think it’s time for a really weird question.
RS: How about this, what question would you like to be asked?
Garmiani: I don’t know maybe something about food or sex or food and sex combined, that would be really weird.
RS: Traveling the world as much as you do what is your favorite cuisine to eat?
Garmiani: That is a good question because I am a food junkie. My favorite cuisines are Lebanese, Thai food and Middle Eastern food like Kurdish, Persian and Turkish. I think Middle Eastern food might be my favorite.
RS: In Sweden, where is the best place to get pad Thai?
Garmiani: I don’t know but I definitely know the best place to get shish kebabs.
Garmiani: Amida, shout out to my dudes there, I am a regular! Amida Kabob in Stockholm city, you should definitely check it out if you go there. It is like a fast food joint but the dude that made the Nobel Peace Prize dinner was influenced by their kabobs
RS: Why do all DJs wear black?
Garmiani: I never wear all black, it is actually the first time that I wore all black. I usually wear shirts with patterns or a white shirt but I thought it would be dope to wear all black and a red feather.
RS: That works, that’s a look. What would you like to say to all of your fans out there?
Garmiani: Thanks for your support because I would be nothing without you.
RS: You are so freaking cool Garmiani, I love your music and you are just as cool in person as your music is, it fits!
Garmiani: Thank you.
Interview conducted March 2016 during Winter Music Conference.