Qwamii and Nas Suhaili fuse traditional melodies with modern music to bring their music into uncharted territories.
But it’s not about getting lost in the unknown. Mixing genres that come from different sides of the world is something that Qwamii and Nas Suhaili do on a regular basis. For the most part, it all comes out quite nicely for the Bruneian duo. Who would’ve thought that traditional music could be fused with EDM (electronic dance music) together with R&B singing?
We sat down with the duo and asked them more about their music and the inspiration behind their sound.
Listen to his latest song ‘A Little Bit of Hope’ on Progresif Radio> On Demand> Locals Only. Download the Progresif Radio App on Google Play and the App Store.
Hello guys. Do introduce yourself.
Qwamii: My name is Qwamii but my real name is Ehsan.
Nas: And I’m Nas Suhaili, my real name is Nooratiqah Syazwani Hj Suhaili. Nas Suhaili is just a stage name.
How did you guys get together?
Qwamii: I was already producing my own music for a while, and then I bumped into Nas. We found that we worked really well together so we decided to collaborate.
Nas: We’re both musicians. I write songs, and there’s this one song I wrote which I’m interested in working with Qwamii. Coincidentally I found out she needed a singer and so we decided to meet up, and here we are.
Which artists do you think you sound like?
Qwamii: I’m not sure if I sound like anyone because I’m trying to find my own sound. But I do get inspiration from Virtual Riot or The Chainsmokers.
Nas: A lot of my friends told me that I kind of sound like a soulful Amy Winehouse. Amy is a jazz singer, while I’m more into soul R&B, so we don’t sound exactly the same but we somehow connect.
Who are the major influences on your sound?
Qwamii: From time to time it changes, but as of late, my current influences are Lilium, Kill The Noise, Virtual Riot, and of course the Chainsmokers.
Nas: My inspiration in singing are Sia, Beyonce, Rihanna and several other R&B singers. Locally, I’d say Fakhrul Razi, because he’s really out there right now, he’s been performing in Indonesia, Malaysia and India. So I want to be like him in a way.
Do you have a pre-gig ritual?
Qwamii: I drink coffee for almost every creative session. When I get nervous, my heart beats faster and so I get my caffeine fix to heightens my senses to a point where I’m no longer nervous.
Nas: I have to restrain myself from a lot of things, like not drinking fizzy cold drinks, spicy food and sweets. So I have to restrict myself either a few days before the gig or on the day of the gig itself. That’s my only ritual before singing.
What are your upcoming projects? And do you have any plans to work together again in the future?
Qwamii: I’m currently working on an EP and an album. One of it is called Modernised Traditional, in which I fuse Brunei traditional music with the modern genre. So it’s traditional melody with a twist of modern music.
Nas: Coincidentally, I am a part of the traditional gulingtangan band with my sister and I sing and play the guitar for them. I also sing traditional songs. So I’m hoping that I would produce more music with Qwamii because I find his music really interesting. I’ve never heard many Bruneians play or create EDM music like Qwamii.
What does the word ‘progressive’ mean to you?
Qwamii: To me, being progressive is about moving forward and creating new opportunities for yourself.
Nas: It means to always be improving. And this is something I’m seeing in the creative scene in Brunei. There’s a lot of talented local creatives and musicians.