When gripped by the silent, mystical tones of Khyams’s oud – an Arabic version of the lute – it is hard to imagine that this young musician was known to be one of London’s hardest-hitting Metal drummers less than ten years ago. Khyam was nine came to London from Damascus in 1990, and his career as a violinist was soon abandoned for the bass guitar and drums of hard rock. Throughout his teens he gained cred in the underground with bands like Ursa and Art of Burning Water, but eventually he found that his musical talent needed more than loudness and aggression. From 2004 onwards Khyam has travelled in the Middle East, studied the oud with the old masters and specialised in handling this ancient instrument. Distancing himself from his Hardcore past, he discovered that the louder you play, the less the audience listens. His playing style is thoughtful and reflected, and he has found a way to enchant his audience on record (his debut, Resonance/Dissonance came in 2011) or live – on as different stages as Birmingham’s Supersonic festival and with the BBC in Royal Albert Hall.
ID: 20 years!
Text: Kristian Krohg-Sørensen