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INTERVIEW: Carl and The Reda Mafia

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How lucky do you have to be to form a band in October 2014, then open for Bon Jovi in front of 25,000 fans under a year later? As lucky as four-piece progressive funk band Carl and The Reda Mafia, apparently. The Dubai-based group, the first band to sign with UAE studio White Cube, next headline for rapper J Cole at this month’s Beats on the Beach in Abu Dhabi (Friday November 27), and we figured we ought to get to know them better before they get too inaccessibly famous.

How did all of you meet, and when was the moment you knew it’d work out?
Carl: I met Tarek Reda through a friend. I was a massive fan of his style and ability. Chris, our bassist, was in a band with Tarek at that time, and Bims, our drummer, I found on LinkedIn. We all had met for the first time at a jam space and went with the flow. We knew then that this was going to be special.

We all come from extremely different styles – Reda comes from a classic rock and rock’n’roll era, Chris from a metal background, Bims from gospel, and I come from Motown and country music. You might think we’d find it difficult to find common ground, but to be honest, the diversity in our influences is what makes our sound so fresh and unique.

You call your style “funk jam”…
Reda: The diversity in our influences formed a genre, which has primarily funk elements with rock n roll, blues-rock and pop fused in. It’s a fused genre that would appeal to the rocker, the raver and the pop lover. Immediate musical influences include the John Mayer trio, Jonny Lang, and Dave Matthews band.

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