Bilocate interview (08/2012)
|With:||Hani Abbadi, Ramzi Essayed, Rami Haikal & Waseem Essayed|
|Conducted by:||Nefarious (e-mail)|
Glenn: Hi guys, thanks for taking the time to answer a few questions. Can you tell us a bit about the history of the band & the style of music you play?
Hani Abbadi: Thank you for conducting this interview, it's so much appreciated, Bilocate is a six-piece Dark Oriental Metal band from Jordan.
Formed back in 2003, we released our first demo EP in 2003 and then released a debut album Dysphoriain 2005, followed by Sudden Death Syndrome which was highlighted as a masterpiece by the international media (with more than 80 reviews), and quite recently we released our latest effort in this year 2012 Summoning The Bygones via Code666 Label, and it's receiving pretty great feedback from the media so far.
Regarding Bilocate's musical style, we call it Dark Oriental Metal. It seems to be confusing to many listeners, thus, the below should clarify more of the concept and the idea behind this style. Quoting from the book 'Heavy Metal Islam', as illustrated by Waseem EsSayed - (Bilocate's Keyboardist and Producer):
"The new metal genre that Bilocate introduced in parallel with the release of their new album Sudden Death Syndrome. Oriental music in general has a sad atmosphere most often, its the combination of notes that drives the feelings of a listener, but Bilocate found a way to create a version of this music that presents it in it's darker atmosphere by inserting certain notes to the collection that give a new feeling, for a regular listener it might sometimes feel to be out of tone but when you absorb it deeply enough you will get the idea that it has a defined feeling because life isn't about feeling happy or sad or aroused anymore, you've got to develop the feeling of "THE WRONG" without accompanying it with the result of this wrong, which usually drives sadness or depression, just think about the wrong and how it develops and why it develops, this is how you think dark, and this is reality by the way, another example is feeling to be in state of struggle but not from a perspective that you are so tired and depressed of this struggle, try to think of the reasons why do you as "human" have to struggle and the deeper it goes, at last we as oriental people found it comfortable to musically translate this way of thinking using the oriental music to some extent and so it yielded Dark Oriental Metal which is -by the explanation provided above- not ruled by any factor such as tempo, guitar riffing style, domination of a certain instrument, or the way of vocalizing as you can find variety of values for those factors, it's just about the tone itself."
Glenn: Congratulations on the release of your new album Summoning The Bygones. On this record, you have taken the early material from your debut Dysphoria & completely reworked it. Can you tell us a bit about the album and the reason you took this approach this time around?
Hani Abbadi: Well the idea came about when we released Sudden Death Syndrome back in 2008, the amazing touch done by Jens Bogren on the mixing and mastering created a huge difference from the previous album Dysphoria, since it endured some critique related to the recording quality and final publishing, besides, the album hasn't been distributed properly and so on, and we knew that Dysphoria has some great material, and we felt that it should be shared with our fans the way it should be, as the album holds the essence and spirit of Bilocate.
Glenn: Did the recording process go smoothly?
Hani Abbadi: I'm glad you have asked this question. Not really, the album was supposed to be out around two years ago, but we had to change studios - since Jordan lack professional equipped studios with focus on extreme music. In addition to that the band members aren't actually in the same country, but we've managed. We really wanted to have everything perfect.
Also, we're not full-time musicians, in fact most of the band members have very successful and demanding careers, and this is a major reason of having some delays here and there, but still we're doing the best we can to keep the wheel running. As I'm answering this interview we've already laid out some new material for a new album, we're trying to step things up to get the band up to speed and share more of Bilocate's musical stream and hopefully a new single to be out before the end of this year or an EP, nothing is certain at this point.
Glenn: Although this is still recognizable as a Bilocate record, you seem to have taken a much more progressive songwriting approach this time around compared to Sudden Death Syndrome. The new album combines many different elements & styles, switching between them regularly. Was this a conscious decision from the start or just a natural evolution of the band?
Waseem EsSayed: Well, as you noted, summoning the Bygones is actually a representation of our early visions. This variety in the songwriting elements has a strong basis which is that Bilocate members actually come from different musical backgrounds. My job is to absorb all these variations and make it a strength rather than confusion, and the result is a sophisticated type of music, yet well organized. This is the shape we want Bilocate to appear in, now the progressive part of the music is something we like to do, and we always tend to maintain an on-going development process on our senses, understanding, and maturity.
Glenn: What's the writing process within Bilocate?
Waseem EsSayed: When we initiate an album we decide some universal characteristics, such as the atmosphere and the general outfit, along with the main idea(s) within, then the lyrics writing starts, and we start progressively developing the lyrics into songs maintaining the original album plan (cross connection requirements, or ideas over-lapping), when all the songs are ready we check for any special requirements on the song level, and on the album level.
Glenn: The album as features legend Dan Swanö performing vocal duties on 2 tracks. How did this collaboration come about? What was it like working with Dan?
Rami Haikal: For the cooperation with Dan Swanö , most of the band members including me are big fans of him, I remember that we used to play the songs Crimson and Crimson II in one shot enjoying every second of them. So when we were working on the song 'Hypia' we thought that his voice can make a great addition to the song, so without hesitation we contacted him about it and when he listened to the song he immediately agreed to do it. So we would like to take this chance to thank him for his great spirit and cooperation.
Glenn: What is your favorite song from the new album and why?
Hani Abbadi: Each song in the album has a different impact on me personally; most prominent would be Hypia, A Desire to Leave, and Beyond Inner Sleep.
Glenn: The album has been out for a month now. What has been the initial reaction to Summoning The Bygones so far?
Hani Abbadi: The majority of the media have been very positive, especially major magazines like Metal Hammer/Legacy magazine etc.
Now Summoning the Bygones is a very complex release and not easy to digest due to being a long and spanning around 1h15min, so it does take some time to get the feeling from it and it might require more time to peel-out all those layers that form the songs. What's great about this release is that it gives you an idea over the past and present of Bilocate, like '2nd War in Heaven' being one of the early songs, 'Hypia' also taken from the demo, in comparison to the all new 'Beyond Inner Sleep' (which, by the way, was supposed to be in Sudden Death Syndrome as the lyrics and the basic outline of the music were ready by that time).
Glenn: You've recently signed to Italian label Code666 (Aural Music), alongside such bands as Ne Obliviscaris, Eternal Deformity, Void Of Silence, & Agruss. Tell us a bit about how this deal came about and your experience working with them so far?
Hani Abbadi: When we finished Summoning the Bygones we did the normal step of approaching labels with our work and it was really impressive how many labels replied back that they know the band very well and they were following our news, we got many offers, yet Code666 was most convenient and they were the fastest in releasing the album… till now we are impressed by their work and speed.
Glenn: Coming from a region where metal is often seen as taboo, what difficulties did you initially encounter when starting the band? What is the Metal scene like in Jordan & has it changed over the years?
Hani Abbadi: While it's true when it comes to Jordan in terms of democracy and the way the country is advancing as catching-up with the modern train, it's completely the opposite when it comes to this type of music - extreme - we have a really bad history in that regard, started with the media and newspaper writing articles, emphasizing that this type of music is with strong association with devil worshiping - Satanism - and concerts are merely a ritual gathering, and this leads the society to put more pressure on the metal fans at the time. It also resulted in concerts being prohibited and some people have been taken for questioning by the authorities.
On the band level, our last concert in Jordan was in 2006. The band was formed in 2003, our first live appearance was 2005 after the release of 1 EP and full album, so you can just imagine how the situation is for a band not be able to perform or express themselves through the music they've created. I'll leave the imagination to your readers.
Ramzi Essayed: Adding on what Hani said above, we received an official request from the authorities not to play live in Jordan and we had to accept that as the community simply doesn't accept rock and metal music from that day till now and maybe in future we will not play in Jordan, it's a huge setback for any band not to perform live in their own country but this won't stop us as we believe in our music.
Glenn: Despite these difficulties there are a lot of talented bands coming out of the middle-east region recently, who has been catching your attention?
Hani Abbadi: I would definitely recommend Bouq and Tyrant Throne from Jordan.
Glenn: You recently returned from a tour of Turkey supporting Orphaned Land. How did it go?
Hani Abbadi: Since we stand in a good relation with Kobi (front-man and vocalist of Orphaned Land), In one word I would say - fantastic - .
Also the tour had a really noble cause behind it and we didn't even blink to think of it twice before rushing in and be a part of it. So supporting the Van earthquake victims, and we being musicians and to be able to support the cause this would be the least to expect from us. Moreover, the tour with Orphaned Land was an easy ride and with easy-going fellows, and surly this won't be our last cooperation and hopefully we can mainstream the mid-eastern wave and rise with the oriental tunes of this region.
Glenn: What can people expect at one of your live shows?
Waseem EsSayed: Some sort of "Love" for this kind of music, pulsing from all over the stage to the audience. Nice surprises are always subject to happen .
Glenn: What has been your most memorable Bilocate live show or tour?
Waseem EsSayed: The Orphaned Land tour is definitely one of those memories, however, our gig in Lithuania (Devil Stone Open Air) really blew me away, even we the band ourselves got surprised of how amazing the lighting show was along with all other arrangements.
Glenn: Do you have any other tours lined up?
Hani Abbadi: We're currently having couple of options for 2013, it will mark 10 years of the band formation, I can't say anything at the moment but hopefully we will announce some news in that regard soon.
Glenn: So what is next for Bilocate?
Hani Abbadi: We're currently working on a new album, we've already finished few songs and it's quite different from what we have done so far, and quite challenging.
Glenn: What bands or musicians inspired you when growing up?
Waseem EsSayed: Influential bands include: Opeth, Katatonia, Anathema, Bloodbath, Limbonic Art, Myrkskog, Edge of Sanity, My Dying Bride and a lot more.
Hani Abbadi: in addition to what Waseem added I could say Jaco Pastorius, Jeff Berlin, Billy Sheehan , Flea from RHCP and many more.
Glenn: What are your hobbies/interests outside of music?
Waseem EsSayed: I believe each member could add something about this, almost all members are into doing business, our vocalist Ramzi is into Graphic Design, our guitarist Rami is into confectionary production, Hani is into Tourism etc.
Glenn: Thanks a lot for your time, any last words?
Waseem EsSayed: Thank you very much for interviewing Bilocate, it was such a pleasant time to answer your questions, we look forward to introducing new stuff to our fans. Keep it true.
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