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Daily Inspiration: Meet Philip and Freddie Al-Hajj

Today we’d like to introduce you to Philip and Freddie Al-Hajj.

Hi Philip and Freddie, thanks for sharing your story with us. To start, maybe you can tell our readers some of your backstories.
We are two brothers born on the island of Cyprus. Traveling at a young age and living in various countries we made it to California in 2010 with our original band Clepto where we toured the hell out of southern California moving between San Diego, Orange County, and Los Angeles booking shows as we traveled until, in 2012, we made Los Angeles our first home base.

There we opened up our first recording studio Olystis Music and Productions where we used the space to record our own music as well as other musicians, hosting various music and art shows as well. Fast forward a few years, and we are now based out of Anaheim; Orange County Sound Studios where we have 16 rehearsal, lockout, and recording studio rooms. We still play music and tour under the new band name The Hajj; a two-piece Punk Eastern-Psychedelic Rock band which, very often, brings us back to our beloved San Diego for shows! And thus the story continues!

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
The road has had it’s ups and downs, sometimes we find it bright and sunny and smooth but in a split second you can find your tour van upside down on the side of the freeway (luckily nobody was hurt). We’ve just learned to pick up the pieces and march on. Fix what you can, accept help from your friends, and stick to the plan! A similar thing happened to our first studio, we were expanding, building a 360 Degree Cyclorama video room one minute and in the next minute, we received our letter to vacate because the building was sold.

We have also had the more predictable daily struggles as business owners and musicians like paying the bills and rents on time and to have enough business and shows to help us stick to it. We’ve just had to get creative with our outreach and strategies from day 1. No matter what the obstacle is, there’s a universal reason for it and the misfortunes will guide you to your true calling and things will get better.

Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know about your work?
We have two branches in our professional life and career.

One is our band, The Hajj. We specialize in touring and giving folks a great live show! We’ve been a DIY band since we started playing music and our sound has evolved, and continues to evolve, with each experience and sound that we hear. Currently, we are in the Jammy Punk Rock with an Eastern twist vibe and it’s been great. We’re proud that even though we are 2 guys on stage, we always manage to fill the stage and impress even the ‘hardest’ of Rock fans while at the same time appealing to the softer side of life. Touring throughout the US and Internationally in Canada and Europe it’s been a great trip so far!

Our second branch is our recording studio. Orange County Sound Studios. We are proudly in our 6th year of operation and we’ve managed to get a good system down. It’s a big warehouse (one of our dreams) where we get to record and practice our music as well as allow others to do the same! We specialize in offering a clean safe space for all types of musicians to either have their monthly studio in, come in for a couple of hours of practice, and even come through and record their next tracks! We also do video and post-production work; anything related to the sound and music business; and if we can’t do it, we have some amazing friends who fill in the gaps for us!

What sets us apart is that we are active musicians who created the space out of necessity and in order to provide a home for music; we do hope anyone who comes and uses our services feels the same as well!

Any advice for finding a mentor or networking in general?
We really haven’t searched for ‘mentors’ per se but people who help you out end up coming to you. As long as you are true to your cause and plan. Networking is best when done in person. Especially in this, even more, digital world, going out to shows and music/industry events and meeting people face to face makes a huge difference. It is very true that we are magnets for what we put out and this surely cannot be done through a computer screen.

In addition, you never know who can help you network, from your oldest friend to your biggest idol, they might have something for you. Don’t be afraid to ask and be honest and open in communicating, it never hurts to ask. This is how we made some super amazing friends and connections like Jon Orc of Hemorage and Savage People. These relationships are the best way to brainstorm and help drive your project.

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Salvatore J Baxter:

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