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.


Baby boy born in Arafat holy site during Hajj

Updated 9 min 31 sec ago
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Baby boy born in Arafat holy site during Hajj

JEDDAH: A baby boy was born at a holy site in Saudi Arabia while Muslim pilgrims were performing Hajj rituals on Monday.

A Saudi Press Agency report said a Jordanian woman gave birth to the baby at the Jabal Al-Rahma Hospital in Arafat .

Arafat, about 20 kilometers southeast of Makkah, is where Muslims performing Hajj go to pray on the ninth day of the month of Dhu al-Hijjah in the Islamic calendar for the most important part of the pilgrimage. 

The father named the child "Wadah" after the director of the hospital for his kind care and attention, the report said.

It added that the hospital's medical staff provided medical care for the child and his mother, who are both in good health.