How a Moroccan Surf Camp Developed a Music Studio

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Youssef El Aouam, an entrepreneur from Agadir, has rapidly turned his lockdown dreams of becoming a better guitar player into a multi-media art residency attracting artists from all over Morocco and reaching audiences all over the world.

Last year, during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in Morocco, he created Aloha Vibes – an artist’s residency and recording studio. Here, artists will find everything they need to be creative and enjoy inspiration.

In a very short time, Youssef has built out the team so that Aloha can support an artist to bring a song from the conceptualization phase, through to writing, recording, and preparing to be played around the world.

His frenetic mind has also conceptualized the idea of Aloha Live – hosting digital concerts in-studio fusing singers and vocalists with dexterous backup musicians, creating a very distinctive sound.

Before Aloha Vibes came Aloha Surf Camp

But, before we get into the music and what Aloha Vibes is doing, let’s rewind and look at Aloha Surf Camp.

Aloha Surf Camp was founded in Tamraght — a small coastal town 15 kilometers north of Agadir — in 2007 by Youssef’s father, Abdesssamad El Aouam. Aloha Surf Camp was one of the first surf camps in the area.

In the late 2000s, surfing in Morocco was covered by a few international surf magazines. From there, there was a massive explosion in the amount of surfer dudes and dudettes coming to Morocco for a gnarly surf session. Now into a new generation, Aloha Surf Camp continues to evolve and has been utilising Instagram and other social media tools to continue reaching and growing its audience. The surf camp has over 12,000 followers on Instagram.

Growing up amongst the guests coming and going from the surf camp, Youssef El Aouam developed an interest in music. He picked up instruments and learned how to play. From there, he sought out other musicians and found himself making friends with other musicians from all over Morocco.

Alongside his time in music, Youssef applied himself to his studies. In 2017, he graduated from ESITH with a Masters in Marketing.

Aloha Vibes

Aloha Vibes didn’t start its life as an art-residency with the ambitious goal of inviting international artists and creating a global audience. It started with Youssef having a lot of downtime on his hands because of the pandemic. Youssef wanted to put his hands to work and improve his guitar playing.

“I needed a place where I could go that was away from everyone and I could just practice,” he explains. “That simple idea led to me thinking about sound isolation. Which led me to thinking about music studios. One thing led to another.”

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