Tarek Musa: A Conversation on Music Production, Collaboration, and Creativity

Tarek Musa is a music producer and mixer renowned for his dynamic approach to sound. With a background steeped in songwriting and extensive touring across continents, Tarek brings a wealth of experience to every project he touches. At the heart of his creative ethos lies a dedication to realising artists’ visions, coupled with a strategic mindset honed through years navigating the music industry. From his collaborative ventures to his solo project, Dead Nature, Tarek’s journey is a testament to his unwavering passion for music. Join us as we explore Tarek’s artistic journey and his role in shaping the music scene.

How would you describe your creative practice?

I see myself as a music producer and mixer first and foremost, with tonnes of experience as a songwriter who has toured extensively throughout the UK, Europe, Australia and North America. Juggling many hats depending on what’s in front of me. Sometimes I’m working on a record with an artist, and I’m there to get it to sound the way they’ve envisioned, and other times the artist comes to me for a certain flavour. I find that 9 out of 10 times I’m not only there to assist musically and sonically but strategically too. A lot of artists I work with can relate with the fact I’ve been in their shoes, that I know and understand the ups and downs of the music industry from the perspective as a touring artist and someone who spent a long time self-producing their own songs in the past.

You work on a lot of collaborative projects, what do you enjoy most about collaboration?

Projects that bring a certain level of freedom. There’s a huge appreciation in me for the sessions (whether mixing, producing, co-writing) where the artist is open to new ideas and ways of seeing their music. I usually prefer to have an active role in helping make someones music come alive, that’s what keeps me inspired and invested in a project. 

You released your own solo project, Freaks Like Us, as Dead Nature last year, how did you find the process? What was the highlight of it for you?

Dead Nature is this place I can go creatively and try out ideas I’ve had over the years, whether they were production ideas or musical ones, I use Dead Nature as a sandpit to play with any ideas that I noted down in-between projects working with others. The main highlight and beauty of Dead Nature is primarily it’s a studio based project, heavily focussed on purely writing and producing music for the sheer pleasure. The intention has always been to create for joy.

How did Musa Studios begin?

In 2018 I moved back to Liverpool after spending time in London. I had a project called Spring King prior to 2018 and once that ended I knew I wanted to continue creating and working with artists. I’d always made sure whilst in the band to keep producing and mixing for others on the side. At the time, PRS for Music had a couple funds and grants that were valid for me to apply to, and so I did, and fortunately received the Hit Maker Fund which completely shifted my ability to grow and develop the studio. Prior to 2018 my studio was wherever my laptop was, so its great to have a place I can invite artists to.

What’s been something you’ve been most proud of?

It’s very easy to forget the small achievements along the way. Sometimes we can get stuck in the mind set of not appreciating the successes that have been and gone, always looking forwards, chasing something bigger. I’m most proud of what I’ve been through quite honestly, I wouldn’t say there’s any one thing that sticks out, rather the fact I’ve been on a rollercoaster in the music industry and every bit of it has been a learning experience. In a way, that’s what I’m most proud of, the fact I’ve been able to stay active, sustain in times of difficulty and grow in times of opportunity.

What drew you to the Baltic Triangle and Elevator Studios? What’s your favourite thing about the building?

The building truly is a central hub for music and the arts in Liverpool. There’s a huge sense of community and positivity in everyone I’ve met through the building. Also, architecturally, the building is just a beauty with so much history, it’s cool to think I get to work in it daily.

If you could have a coffee with anyone in Arts Bar Baltic who would it be and why?

I’d have to say Brian Wilson. He’s a huge inspiration to me and to the music I love!