Secrets of a Saudi one-man band

Known to his fans as ‘Agent Whiskers,’ Essam Al-Ghamdi has been creating music for the past 15 years. 
Updated 05 February 2018
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Secrets of a Saudi one-man band

RIYADH: Making music and getting it out to the public once required a full range of instruments, a recording studio and a distribution deal. Essam Al-Ghamdi is proof that all you need is a laptop — and talent.
Known to his fans as “Agent Whiskers,” Essam has been creating music for the past 15 years, much of it from his bedroom in Riyadh.
He is a multi-instrumentalist with a unique mix of specializations: Electronic music, rock, metal, and orchestral arrangements.
He discovered his musical talents upon receiving his first guitar as a teenager, a gift from his father, inspired by his love of 1990s nu-metal bands. He began experimenting with it on his own, successfully recreating the riffs from some favorite songs, and continued teaching himself with an ease he himself found astonishing. “The music came easy,” he said. “From the very beginning, I felt like there was something there.”
His interest piqued, he moved on to a software application for the PlayStation: MTV Music Maker. The program, though basic in nature, is what he credits for teaching him structure. By tinkering around with preset sounds, he was able to create his very first tunes. That was when he realized he had an affinity with electronic music, one that would stick with him long afterwards.
Though he has remained passionate about electronic music, Essam also has a deep appreciation for metal and grindcore.
Along with friends Fawaz and Talal Al-Shawaf, he went on to form the band Creative Waste in 2002. The band achieved substantial success and acclaim, touring worldwide and playing at various metal festivals around the globe. Though he parted ways with Creative Waste to go in the direction of electronic music, as he said himself: “I will forever cherish my days with CW.”
Fast-forward to today, and Essam has released four official albums, multiple singles, and has composed music for video games such as Atomic+ and Gravity Error. Though he admits he initially faced a lot of resistance when he started out as a musician, he has hope for the future.
“There’s plenty of opportunities for representation for creatives now,” he said.
As for advice, Essam had this to say: “I don’t have a studio; I’m proud to say that all my music is made in the comfort of my bedroom with nothing more than a laptop. Pursue your passion, and don’t think about the negatives. What’s the worst that can happen if you’re doing what you love?”
Essam’s music can be found on SoundCloud, Spotify, Apple Music, and Bandcamp.


Saudi Arabia FM: Khashoggi murder investigations will continue until all questions are answered

Updated 22 min 14 sec ago
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Saudi Arabia FM: Khashoggi murder investigations will continue until all questions are answered

  • Saudi Arabia is committed to holding those involved in the murder accountable through the judiciary
  • Al-Jubeir insisted that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman had nothing to do with Khashoggi’s death

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s public prosecutor is still seeking answers to a number of questions in the investigation into Jamal Khashoggi's death, Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir said on Thursday.

The Kingdom is committed to holding those involved in the murder accountable through the judiciary, and investigations into journalist’s killing will continue until all questions are answered, Al-Jubeir said.

Al-Jubeir added that the defendants and the victim in the Khashoggi case are Saudis and that the incident took place on Saudi land. He continued by saying that there has been an attempt to politicize Khashoggi’s case, and that this is regrettable.

Al-Jubeir insisted that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman had nothing to do with Khashoggi’s death.

“The Qatari media have launched an organized campaign against Saudi Arabia and are exploiting Khashoggi’s case,” Al-Jubeir added.

He said there is a difference between imposing penalties on those accused and holding Saudi Arabia responsible for Khashoggi’s death.

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Bahrain said Thursday that it rejects the politicization or internationalization of the Khashoggi case. 

The Secretariat General of the Arab League praised the seriousness of the steps taken by Saudi Arabia in the Khashoggi case, and said that the measures show the Kingdom's interest in identifying those involved in the crime. 

Hours after the public prosecurtor's statment, the US placed punishing economic sanctions on 17 Saudis allegedly involved in Khashoggi's murder.

"The Saudi officials we are sanctioning were involved in the abhorrent killing of Jamal Khashoggi," Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said. "These individuals who targeted and brutally killed a journalist who resided and worked in the United States must face consequences for their actions."

The Secretary-General of the Gulf Cooperation Council Dr. Abdullatif bin Rashid Al-Zayani said the details of the investigation released Thursday “confirm the Kingdom’s commitment to complete the necessary procedures in order to continue the investigation away from the politicization sought by some malicious parties.”  

Meanwhile, France's foreign ministry said Thursday that the investigation by Saudi Arabia's public prosecutor into the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi is a “step in the right direction.”

Egypt also praised Saudi measures taken with regards to the Khashoggi case and called on countries to avoid politicizing it.