New Music, Classic Sounds: Kumarion Paves The Way for the Next Wave of Drum and Bass
The COVID-19 pandemic allowed artists to take a break from the norm and experiment with new sounds and ideas, and Seattle-born producer Omar Kadmiri, also known as Kumarion, was no different.
His experiment, the bass-heavy, sultry single, “Want It” came out of left field in 2020 and the results blew the socks off of electronic music lovers worldwide.
The track was played on dozens of live streams, gaining massive attention in the EDM scene, including from prominent bass music artists like CloZee. Notably, the song put him on the radar of a brand new audience.
“I don’t know what happened there,” Kumarion laughed, looking back at his rise to stardom. “It’s so funny because ‘Want It’ was a totally one-off tune. It’s one of the only songs I’ve ever written like that, so when that tune blew up, people just assumed that’s the music I do, but it never was. I was always writing D&B.”
Two years later, as his signature sound has evolved, Kumarion continues to stand out. He was recently mentioned on Billboard’s 10 Dance Artists to Watch in 2022 and his new single, “Back Talk” is already causing a buzz. The only difference now is that unlike experimenting, where hypotheses and results vary, we’re absolutely certain Kumarion will blow our minds again while he carves a path for himself in this next wave of drum and bass.
Before his drum and bass obsession, Kumarion was heavily influenced by ska, punk, and reggae, the parent genres of jungle music, one of the styles that birthed D&B.
“If you know anything about these scenes, it’s that jungle music derives from them,” he explained. “My taste in music has always been pretty linear, so jungle was the next natural step forward for me. And that’s where modern drum and bass came from.”
Kumarion explains how these genres were prominent in the EDM movement of the 90s and were the reasons why he got into producing music to begin with. He can even recall the exact moment he chose to pursue it all — when a stranger nonchalantly took over his laptop and made him watch the Dutch trio Noisia’s music video for “Shellshocked.”
“I started doing jungle music around 13 years ago, but I didn’t really care about chasing this whole thing until I found out about Noisia, that’s what really inspired me,” Kumarion said.
The D&B and jungle sensation may have dimmed since the 90s, but the flame never went out. It’s been existing in the underground, waiting patiently and perfectly timing its return in a big way. Kumarion thinks that time is now.
“I think people are getting tired of the same sound, and even though this music isn’t by any means something new, there’s been a rebirth and it’s making some noise here in America that it hasn’t done in the last 20 to 30 years,” Kumarion said.
“People in the States might be a little bored and are looking for something different, and I think that’s why drum and bass is rising. Halftime is coming up, too, which is really cool to see.”—Kumarion
Kumarion also credits his love for drum and bass to his Moroccan heritage, fondly looking back at memories when his dad played the doumbek drum when he was a kid.
“It’s a Middle Eastern drum,” Kumarion explained. “When I say Moroccan music, I mean traditional, percussive Arabic music in general. It’s very rhythmic in nature, as opposed to traditional western music which is mostly melodic and harmonic. That really inspired me, along with belly dancing music.”
As he said, Kumarion’s taste in music is pretty linear, and after listening to the dramatic percussions in Arabic music, it makes sense as to why D&B was yet another natural step to take. He even wrote most of his early electronic work in Arabic scale, combining Moroccan traditions with new, industrial sounds.
MP3 MAG asked if listeners can expect to hear more Arabic influences in future tracks and he certainly plans on it, but after months of touring, Kumarion is ready for a break, both to rest and to brainstorm.
“I definitely want to drop either an LP or EP this year,” he said. “I’ve been trying to write music on the road, but I require a lot of isolation and tend to write during the middle of the night. Doing that on the road is difficult, but once I get a solid break in, I’ll get some ideas together to figure out my next move.”
As for touring, Interstellar Music Festival in Cincinnati is already locked and loaded for August, alongside friend and fellow DJ Reaper for a mind-blowing back-to-back set.
“I’m trying to figure out which ones I can talk about,” Kumarion laughs as he scrolls through a list. “I do know there’s a ton coming up for this year, a lot of them are B2Bs with my homeboy Reaper, so keep a look out.”