Khalifa Thani’s debt album is ready for take-off.
The 23-year-old Dubai-based singer has been working on Paper Plane, a collection of ten songs, for the past three years. At an October 3 album launch at The Fridge, he’ll pilot it into motion.
Thani, half-Qatari and half-English, possesses a smooth yet nasally cadence that reminds us of Morrisey — even more so when he sings about the bitter truths of life in a deceivingly sweet tone.
His first two singles, Paper Plane and Vacant Scene, are already up on SoundCloud. He tells tabloid! what more people can expect.
Before we talk about Paper Plane, tell us about yourself. What was your life like growing up?
Living in Bahrain was alright but it wasn’t that musical, which was extremely frustrating. It was more sports-orientated… I didn’t mind playing football and rugby, but it wasn’t my calling. When I moved to Dubai, it was definitely a better atmosphere; a lot of people were musical and the all-ages scene was really big ten years ago, where we’d all hang out and watch random bands play. I do miss that.
What’s your earliest music-related memory?
When I was four years old, I found a guitar and I was continuously bashing it. I wouldn’t let go of it for ages.
Paper Plane, the single, has got an archaic punk-rock feel to it. What’s it about?
Being on a downward spiral and realising when you hit the bottom, you’re not who you were before.
Vacant Scene gives us a The Smiths vibe. Are you inspired by that nostalgic era of music?
Absolutely. I’m a huge fan of The Smiths and The Cure, those two bands definitely have a strong influence on my songwriting, especially songs like There is a Light That Never Goes Out and Love Song.
Why did you decide to release your debut now?
Seeing other people in Dubai releasing music really motivated me to record an album. Especially when I’ve had a lot of originals for years. And when we’re trying to put Dubai on the map musically, the more people releasing albums and EP’s the better it is for the scene.
Why did it take three years to create Paper Plane?
I didn’t think I was putting out an album, but then last year I changed my mind. I wrote half the album three years ago and then the other half I wrote last year. It’s safe to say that writing the songs for the album took a total of three years and the recording process took nine months.
What can audiences expect from it, musically and lyrically?
Musically, people can expect a blend of punk rock and alternative rock. Lyrically, a lot of the songs are about love, unemployment, mistakes and growing up.
Who have been some of your inspirations along the way?
John Frusciante, Blink 182, Alkaline Trio, Nirvana, Radiohead, The Smiths, The Cure, My Bloody Valentine and Jimmy Eat World.
Who did you record with on the album?
Benjamin Coutts [aka Fidgit] on bass, Nimmer K [from The Losing Party] on drums and it was produced by Daithi Fa Rah.
Have you got any other shows planned at the minute?
I will be opening for The Losing Party for their gig at The Fridge on the 24th of September.
Finally, what’s next for you?
Keep building and improving on what I’ve achieved so far. Play more shows, write more songs and record more music.
Don’t miss it
The event is Dh50 at the door, or through platinumlist.net. First 100 to arrive get a free copy of Paper Plane. It will also be available on iTunes, Deezer and Bandcamp, or Spotify for UK users.