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Interview with Ahmed Hesham

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No one can deny that Ahmed Hesham, one of the most talented and experienced drummers in Egypt, reached fame in a very short time, how did he make it? What did he go through to reach that? Let's find out.

Ahmed, can you tell more about how it all started?

I started playing drums at the age of 16 and my first experience was with Metal music, with all its variations like Rock, Black and death metal.

 

On the other hand my cousin Tamer Tawfik was a big reason for me to be a musician, he is an opera singer and he has always pushed me to listen to different kind of music like (Opera , Jazz, Latin, Tango and even Rock music.)

 

I’ve been in love with music ever since I was a kid and my mom was the first one who noticed that I'll be a drummer because I’d stroke anything with spoons and forks haha, I don't remember that exactly but she told me the whole story about it later. Finally I got my first drum kit when I was 16 years old, I started playing to all the songs that I know, like Hey You by Pink Floyd, Fade to black and Master of Puppets by Metallica and finally Trust and Symphony of destruction by Megadeath, then my cousin Tamer told me that he got an album for a drummer called Dave Weckl, I listened to him and I was shocked because he had a lot of variations in the same song and he is so creative with his grooves, from that moment on I decided to take drum lessons, to be able to play like him. My cousin recommended Mr. Muhammed Saa'd for me, he is the drummer of the Cairo opera house orchestra. I went to Muhammed and started my first drum lesson, but after 2 lessons Muhammed told me that we wouldn't be able to keep going because he is very busy with his masters and studies, so I decided to keep going on my own with books & CDs.

 

4 years later, I went to Mr. Amr Yousef and he changed me completely. I started listening to Latin, Jazz and Fusion. I took 7 lesson with him. I don't know why I used to take few sessions with every teacher. After this I went on my own way with more books, DVDs and CDs till this moment. One day, I went to watch Amr Yousef's performance with Sahra, and I was attracted to the band's trend with all its energy and variety in rhythms and styles, but due to some issues between Amr & Sahra, he left the band and he recommended me to them and of course I was very happy with this step because it would make me take out all my energy and ideas for the drumming. Now I am still with Sahra.


Why did you choose to play the drums?

First, it’s a gift from Allah. Second, I loved the beats and the rhythms more than anything because they gave me power more than any other instrument, but for sure I can’t deny that I am in love with the Guitar, Sax and Piano. Third, it looks so sexy on stage, haha, I am really in love with the view.

 

Ahmed, what genres of music do you play? and why did you choose these genres?

I have no specific kind of music but the kind I like playing most is Fusion because it lets me play different kind of beats and music at the same time, and I hate to be limited to one genre, because I like to play different variations in my music and in my drumming style. So let’s say world music, but sometimes when I’m home I like to play some death and thrash metal stuff for some bands like Lamb of God, Necrophagist, Decapitated, In Flames, Testament and Pantera. I know that I am crazy, but I really love this music.

 

What troubles did you face at the start? How did you face them?

Hm, my real troubles were all about drums, not my parents or my friends at all. Let's begin with the sound: I wanted to get the sounds I heard from Dave Weckl especially and my favorite drummers in general, and for sure at that time I didn't know anything about the kinds of woods or how to tune my drum kit, but after a while a very good friend of mine talked to me about these things, after that I got the Dave Weckl's teaching video "Back To Basics.” On the other hand I had a very big problem with practicing and it was all about speed and goodness! I wanted to be a very fast drummer and very good too as quickly as possible, which was a very wrong idea of course, then I understood that I must take my time practicing and listening to many kinds of music to be that good, and I am working on it until now.

 

Tell me about the bands you played with, the bands you are currently in and the first band you ever played with.

Man that's a lot, but okay let's start with the first band I played in, it was "HELIUM" we covered lots of artists, like Malmsteen, Joe Satriani, Alice cooper, Annihilator and MEGADETH.

**Note: IT'S A CRAZY BAND.

I played with many local and international bands and projects. Let's begin with the local bands: (Nagham Masry, The Riff band, Rashad Fahim, Salalem, Limousine, Sirens, and Forgotten Notes) and different international projects such as Music Matbakh, Darrell John Kennedy and Ruba Sakr who’s a singer from Jordan, and I have recorded an album with Yacoub, a bassist from Jordan.

My current bands are: Sahra, Eftikasat, The Percussion Show and The 19th band, who have a very strange formation, which is:

Guitars: Ousso and Marwan shaaban
Bass: Hameed Sabry.
Vocals: Amr Yehia, Adham Roshdy, Shehab and Shady Ahmed.
Drums: Me.


What was your feeling when you were on stage for the first time?

To be honest I don't want to remember that day again in my life, (laughing) Look, it was a very strange feeling, I was so afraid, my legs couldn't carry me, my blood pressure was dropping, but I can’t deny that this feeling went away after the second track we played, when the people began to interact with us, oh man that was a very hard day, thank God that day passed.

 

Did you ever expect that you would reach that level and be one of the best drummers in Egypt?

I didn't expect this question from you, but anyway I always practice to be a good drummer, because I want to have my unique style in drumming, but to be honest I didn't expect this position in this period of time, Thank God.

 

How do you see the music scene in Egypt in general and the rock and metal scene in particular?

I am so happy for the evolution in the music scene in general, we now have many bands in Egypt playing different styles of music, and of course I am so happy with the efforts in festivals like Cairo Jazz Festival and S.O.S Music Festival, and no one can deny all the efforts done by El Sawy Culture Wheel. As For the rock and metal scene, I don't know how they’re going now because I am so far from it with the bands I am in now, but I remember the last 2 concerts I played with Sirens and I think the metal concerts are much better than before, the respect for the musicians is much better and the organization of the concerts is very good and the venues are better than the old ones.

 

Who is your drummer idol?

Actually, I have some idols in my life which I really learned a lot from, the first is (MIKE PORTNOY) the drummer for (DREAM THEATER), he is my rock drummer idol and as for the other styles of music like Fusion or Jazz or Latin they are (Dave Weckl), (Dennis Chambers) and (Marco Minnemann)

 

What are your plans for the future?

Hmm, my plans for music are to practice more and more to be a very good drummer and musician and I hope that I can play in any of the international festivals. As for my personal life, I want be a helpful person and to be successful in my work.

 

What would you like to say about the music scene and to your fans?

For the music scene : "I am very proud of the current bands in the scene, you guys are really awesome and never stop it, never ever, and keep on going with more stuff and more different kinds of music.”

 

For my fans: "I am very happy to play to people like you, and to anyone who wants to be a musician or a drummer, never give up and always remember that PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT.”

 

Interviewed by: Yasser Mohamed. 

 

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