What’s Your Deal, Iska Dhaaf?

Iska Dhaaf - Pyragraph

Benjamin Verdoes (L) and Nathan Quiroga (R) of Iska Dhaaf. Photo courtesy of Benjamin Verdoes.

Iska Dhaaf gets its name from the Somali language and roughly translates to “let it go.” The band is made up of Nathan Quiroga and Benjamin Verdoes. Benjamin was kind enough to answer a few questions to fill us in on what’s their deal.


1. What’s your act?

We are called Iska Dhaaf.

2. Tell me about your backgrounds as musicians.

I started playing in bands when I was 14 or so. I was terrible but I kept at it. I experimented with math-rock and writing folk songs. I started learning to make beats about six years ago. Nathan started doing more hip hop/electronic music and then began learning instruments around the time we met. I was learning to make beats from his producer and loved what he was writing. We connected and decided to write and learn together.

3. What was the worst gig you ever played? Dish all the juicy bits.

We played a show in Dallas once that was terrible. It was a giant room and hardly any people. The other band was awful and not good people. One of the guys was texting during the set right in front of Nate. We were already frustrated and Nate called him out in front of everybody (which was basically nobody) and the dude got very angry and wanted to argue with Nate. Later, he was afraid of us and so he hid in the car and hurled insults to us on the sidewalk. The food was good, though.

Iska Dhaaf - Pyragraph

4. Who are your favorite performers at the moment?

I like Tyler the Creator, and Grimes is fun and exciting. Nate Kinsella’s band Birthmark is really cool. He plays drums and bass and samples and sings all at the same time. It’s really cool.

5. What’s the most helpful tip you could share with aspiring performers?

Try to find something real and honest within yourself and share that. Don’t be what you think people want you to be. Be prepared and rehearsed but don’t use the pre-packaged obvious stage antics. That shit is tired. Try to do one thing each night to surprise yourself.

You can catch Iska Dhaaf live in the following spots in Fall 2016. Check their website and Facebook page for more tour dates.

Oct 16: Albuquerque, NM at The Tannex
Oct 12: New Orleans, LA at Circle Bar
Oct 18: Los Angeles, CA at Ham & Eggs Tavern

Iska Dhaaf - Pyragraph

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