When you think of the Middle East's burgeoning arts scene, two multi-faceted creatives are spearheading its rise: Chndy and Warchieff. Co-founding Badiya Studio and Jazzy Spa Sounds, their work has been dominating the region, leading to their MDLBEAST Records collaboration. For this episode of HYPEBEAST Diaries, we follow the duo as they take us through their creative process leading up to Soundstorm, Saudi Arabia’s premiere music festival.
Gaining traction on social media with his quick, amateur drawings of celebrities in real time, Saudi-born Mohammed Al Hamdan also known as Warchieff, creates from experience. “I’ve always struggled to express myself, my ideas and emotions,” he says, so using a variety of art forms helps to convey his message. Based in a region that possesses a rich cultural heritage, he doesn’t look to the present for inspiration but visits the past to reinterpret the art that preceded him.
Badiya Studio’s other half, Omani-born Chndy, brings a visual aspect to the collective. Not one to adhere to labels, he’s an all-encompassing creator. When asked what he does, he simply replies, “Things,” continuing. “I’ve never had a title. I don’t know what word describes it.” As a young teen, he’d create lo-fi animations and stop-motion videos to post online, nurturing his creativity and building on his talent, “I feel like I’m still a child,” he says. But even with time, the passion hasn’t deteriorated. Visuals still remain at the core of everything he does, surpassing the idea of being a past-time hobby, “This is my dream. It’s not a phase, mom!”
When the dynamic duo first met, it was Chndy who said, “Let’s go out and take some pictures,” from there, the rest is history. Their venture, Badiya Studio, is a multidisciplinary creative studio offering everything from app and set design to music production and video direction. “[It] became this space where, if we want to create an idea that doesn’t revolve around us [we can],” Chndy explains. “We want to do everything,” Warchieff continues. “But we want to do it in our way.” With the latter most recently producing Saudi rapper and comedian Moayad Al Nefaie’s hit single “Bash Muhandis” with its video directed by Chndy, Badiya Studio is fast becoming a force to be reckoned with both within the region and beyond.
As well as running the studio and their own personal projects (Chndy is also co-founder of Dubai-based streetwear label Shabab Intl.) they also team up as a DJ duo under the moniker Jazzy Spa Sounds — named after a spa they frequent in Dubai. As we follow the pair as they prepare for their headline show at MDLBEAST’s Soundstorm festival, Warchieff says, “Here in Saudi, it’s a very inspirational place, it’s fuel for us.”
“We are here. We can do it our way. We don’t need to mimic the world,” Chndy says. Being put into categories, or limited to the region they create from, isn't an option. He believes that their work deserves to be part of the global conversation, “I just want to prove that I can do it from here,” he says. “[Currently] it’s like ‘oh, these are the Arabs in Saudi or Dubai.’”
“Just existing as an artist is in itself an accomplishment because everything tells you not to,” Chndy says. However, this duo isn’t going solo anytime soon. Whether it's Badiya Studio, Jazzy Spa Sounds or the many other creative outlets they occupy, this is more than work, it’s a lifelong friendship. “He’s a good friend and good partner. I want to do everything with him, for life,” Warchieff says of Chndy.
Check out the full HYPEBEAST Diaries with Chndy and Warchieff above. For more information on MDLBEAST visit its website.