Interview: 5 minutes with Khaled Hejira

Growing up in Vitry-sur-Seine, a city near Paris, during his adolescent years, Khaled Hejira encountered the active hip-hop scene with an adventurous yet ambitious mindset, and a burning desire to find that “perfect sound”. From early ‘60s Electronica, to ‘90s hip-hop and it’s current incarnations, Khaled Hejira also cites artists such as Steve Reich, Ryuichi Sakamoto and Joni Mitchell as influential, as well as Guitar-based jazz, Japanese film & video game scores, and all of the un-joyful material by late French composer François de Roubaix.

Inspired by natural environments, abandoned places and dystopian landscapes, Khaled Hejira has shaped these influences into something unique and personal, creating electronic music to mimic acoustic sounds and merging together inspiration from all sects of life, metamorphosing into Hejira’s now developed, flourishing resonance.

We caught up with Khaled Hejira to speak about inspiration and audio manipulation:
(Be sure to check out latest single ‘Arrivée’ by Khaled Hejira set for release on December 15th via Neo Atlas)

Set the tone for us. Why the arts?

I always felt the need to create since I was young. This is also why I studied graphic and interactive design which is my line of work

Which comes first when you’re producing – the sound or the idea?

Many years ago I was starting with the sound production and percussion as I have no musical education. With the time I felt stuck in the process with loops I was not able to transform in songs. So I forced myself to start each songs by the melody and harmonies. It allowed me to improve myself in composition.

What’s on your current playlist?

Kelela – Take Me Apart (album)
Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith – To Feel Your Best
Clark – Aftermath
Young Thug – Oh Yeah
The ‘Good Time’ soundtrack by OPN, the film was very good as well !
Also ‘The Centennial Trilogy’ by Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah

What techniques do you experiment with to get your original sound?

I like to manipulate audio by stretching and chopping. When I deal with virtual instruments I often consolidate them into their audio form so I can experiment.

What gets your creative juices flowing?

I listen to a lot of music. I’m actually re-enjoying the ECM catalog who recently came in the streaming platforms. Also movies, video games and stories get me inspired, particularly the ones in dystopian settings.

Breakdown the news for us: what can we expect from you this year?

A video’s coming soon for my single ‘Arrivée’. Then I’ll return working on the album.

For more information follow Khaled Hejira on Facebook