Get to know Somnii, the new collective flying the flag for trap in Marrakech
We premiere the video for Loop, the first single from new collective Somnii.
Morocco’s burgeoning trap scene continues to grow, producing new and variant forms on the now dominant sound of the American south. Alongside the likes of Casablanca’s Issam, new collective Somnii are proving to be one of the most vital forces in the country.
Founded and led by brothers Yazid and Fattah Bezaz, and based in Marrakech, the collective encompasses rappers, producers, sound engineers, photographers and beyond, giving Somnii total creative control over their work. Having officially formed earlier this year, today Somnii share the video for their first official single together, Loop.
Featuring MCs/vocalists Amyn and Sygma and produced by in-house beatmaker A.Boi, it’s a slice of woozy trap that takes the familiar Auto-Tuned croonings of artists like Travis Scott and twists it, injecting new life into the sound. The new video, directed by Yazid and Grégory Turbellier, casts Amyn and Sygma in psychedelic red and blue light, mixing shots of Marrakech with desert scenes. In honour of its release, we caught up with Yazid to get up to speed on Somnii and what the future has in store for the group.
When did you start Somnii? Why did you start it?
We started Somnii officially on 1 February 2020. We both have a strong background in music and love to collaborate. So we thought developing artists from practically scratch would be interesting since it’s a journey of creativity and collaboration which we find rewarding.
What were you doing before?
Individually, I was mainly working with artists and managing them as well as working as a producer in Morocco. Fattah has produced music for seven years and just completed his bachelor’s degree in physics last May. We always talked about collaborating on such a project but the time was never right, so when Fattah finished university we decided to do it.
Who is in Somnii? What is everyone’s role within the collective?
Somnii consists of: Amyn (artist), Daxin (artist), Sygma (artist), A.Boi (producer), Fattah (co-founder, sound engineer and manager) and Yazid (co-founder, creative director and manager).
We also work with some other producers: Taemintekken from France – who is a great experimental trap artist – Anasx from Morocco, and Kosei from France. They all have similar backgrounds to us, being North African, which is important in the music.
Somnii (clockwise from top: Yazid and Fattah Bezaz, Sygma, Amyn and Daxin) © Ismail Zaidy
How did you all meet?
Our first signed artists, Daxin and Amyn, were our neighbours whom we grew up being around, so working with them was a natural progression. Yazid’s first video – ana 3ami9 – which was shot over a couple of hours in the apartment complex that we lived in at the time and styled from his closet, received much attention in Morocco and has spiralled them into popularity. Our third signed artist, Sygma, approached us to sign to our label by sending us some demos, and we have worked with him ever since.
What do people outside of Morocco need to know about the country’s music scene?
There is a lot of talent in Morocco, and people are starting to experiment more with sound and visuals. In the future we see Morocco playing a big role in international music.
Does the success of Moroccan rap artists like Issam inspire you?
What inspired us were people like Naar (Mohammed Sqali and Ilyes Griyeb), who contributed heavily to Moroccan trap and Issam’s current aesthetic. Also, artist and mentor Hassan Hajjaj has been a huge inspiration for us in terms of pushing what we have here in Marrakech into the bigger picture.
What does the next year have in store for Somnii?
This year we plan to continue building our platform and discography with the artists. We also want to collaborate with more artists from the UK, France and elsewhere.
Loop is out now. Somnii appear at the Beat Hotel Marrakech, 19-22 March