Meet Polyswitch, the Artist Pioneering Morocco’s Electronic Scene
With the current climate crisis blasting at full force this week, Moroccan artist, Polyswitch conveys his timely message of hope and unity to a generation coming of age in a period of decay and collapse, with his latest musical release ‘Praise the Sun’.
The two-year project emanates from the adoration he feels towards the natural energy of his hometown Casablanca - a “city full of cities” carpeting part of North Africa with its rich culture and electrifying diversity.
Delving beyond Morocco’s landscape comes its rising creative and electronic scene, where Polyswitch has found his influence as one of the most prominent figures in the electronic music scene, amplifying a new cultural sound. As part of our Take Off series, which spotlights a dynamic new wave of exceptional global talent, we sit down with Polyswitch to chat about all things Casablanca, giving us an insight into his album and ‘taking off’ his career within the Moroccan music scene.
Congratulations on the release of PRAISE THE SUN on vinyl. The album centers around the themes of harmony, hope and unity. What was the inspiration behind this?
I’ve always wanted to create music with a deep connection to my actual life, and PRAISE THE SUN boldly portrays the ethos. Over the previous months, times were quite tricky for all of us, and as per my belief, Art, in all its sorts must be serving a purpose, In my case, the decimation, and aching caused by the pandemic has prompted me into an unprecedented need of hope and unity.
Opting for a physical release in 2022 and more precisely Vinyl is a form of preservation, I believe music consumption should be regarded as an experience, just like going to the theatre to watch a movie, music must be consumed in a noble way. When musicians ideate, write and record, the least they envision, is having their material being shuffled and skipped through DSPs, not to say that technology has shifted things for the worse, but it’s all about finding and maintaining a balance between the foundations and the tech.
What's your personal relationship with the sun like?
A vital relationship, on so many levels. It’s the energy source that’s always allowed me to reach my most potential.
How would you describe Casablanca to someone who has never been?
The real face of Modern Morocco, a city vast in area, never had any real boundaries but just kept expanding, sunny, surrounded by beaches from 10 miles away, massively populated, cosmopolitan, lavish and poor at once.
You could look at it as the yin and yang, the duality is like no other, it all depends on what you like and value. Casablanca is a city full of cities.
What's the music scene in Casablanca like compared to the rest of Morocco?
The scene is in full swing at present, thanks to the Hip-hop community that’s been booming for the last couple of years. The new generation of artists and collectives have managed to firmly position Casablanca and Morocco under the international limelight without compromising its identity, which is a great thing to witness. Many have understood that taking pride in our rich cultural heritage and therefore infusing it into what's being done nowadays can lead to a more genuine output, I’m eager to see things transpose in a similar fashion on the electronic music scene.
Can you give us an insight into how it's progressing and who is with you at the forefront of it?
The whole ecosystem is still nascent as we speak, but in the grand scheme of things the progress is owed to every individual who’s made creative efforts, I see it more as collective motion. The evolution is yet limited to hip hop and pop music, but a slight pivoting and more curiosity from the audiences could do other musical territories significantly good. Seeing how the youth care more about music nowadays is promising and would surely lead to a phenomenal outcome in the future. From my end, I'm on a continuous journey trying to manifest a different sound, a sound that doesn't necessarily speak to the masses which consequently positions me in a niche, I’m in a very quiet playground, and that's a situation I'm very content with actually.
How would you describe what you are building with Astrofever Records?
It’s a family-run initiative that took place out of necessity. The creation of the label came as a natural progression after realizing there was so much of a gap to bridge. Also, I feel like my music doesn’t sit firmly under a category, and therefore handing it to other labels might not do it justice. Home to my musical works in the first place, with my older brother Anis, who deals with the creative side of things, we’re currently solidifying the foundations for a future roster involving the local talents with whom we’d identify ourselves artistically for a broader output and hopefully a musical legacy that’ll stand the test of time.
How has travel impacted your creative process/ artistry?
Traveling has always been a major component of my creative process, although wandering far can feel uncertain at present, I've always fed on the images, scents, and encounters held with my previous trips, to me It’s a mindset refresher. Being around new people, and experiencing new places has always helped me unlock new scopes and propelled me into executing new ideas.
As a songwriter and producer who goes by the name of POLYSWITCH, how do you want people to remember you?
A free-spirited and generous musical human whose ability to transport on a journey is palpable and without artifice or pretense.
What’s next for you?
Currently studying a project involving an Australian psyche rock band fusion with a Moroccan Gnawa master, but before attacking this, I’d need to rejuvenate first, a change of scenery is imminent to cure the emptying caused by the relentless work pattern the album has entailed.