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Interview with Hellball

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Hellball is a fresh Punk band that joined the Egyptian Rock scene a few months ago, and although they are still young they sure aim high, I really enjoyed this interview with Sherif Samy, the lead guitarist, and Hannah Ballak, their drummer.


Let’s get closer to those young people and find out more about them.


Hellball, what do you mean by it, and why did you choose it?

Sherif: Well, the name confuses a lot of people. Ball here stands for the place where you go ballroom dancing, not soccer, and it insinuates fakeness and empty glamour, only in hell. That's why we chose it, I came up with it in Arabic class.

Can you tell me about the band's line-up? How did you guys meet up?

Hannah: Sherif and Tarek have been classmates since 1st preparatory. They both liked to the same kind of music. We thought about forming a band to cover heavy metal songs for Pantera and Metallica, and we needed a drummer, Tarek knew Hannah randomly from Marghany and he recruited her to the band. Hannah completed the band by bringing in Yussef the great bassist from Engines and then she recruited Hassan El Naggar as the band vocalist.
So the line-up is:

  • Sherif Samy: lead guitar
  • Tarek Nabil: rhythm guitar
  • Hannah Ballack: drums
  • Youssef: bass guitar
  • Hassan el Nagger: vocals

What genre does the band play? And why did you choose that genre?

Sherif: PUNK and Rock, because that's basically what were into, it’s just more unique because everyone plays metal and we're sick of it.

But you said that the band used to play Metal at first, is that why you switched to Punk Rock?

Sherif: When we recruited Hannah to the band, all of us had been punk fans, and we were really bored of playing the same songs everyone covers over and over again, so we thought about doing something new and different, and there it was, Hellball, one of the first punk rock bands in Egypt!


Do you think you will achieve something in Egypt? Or are you not depending on the scene here?

Sherif: We're kind of hoping for the best, we can't depend on the scene here but whatever comes, we'll take it.

Who is your idol when it comes to punk music, here in Egypt and abroad?

Sherif: No one in Egypt actually, but abroad there are a lot: Yellowcard, Blink 182, L7, Sum 41, Misfits, The Clash, Rise Against and more. These bands are some of the coolest Punk bands, with the most rhythmic riffs, greatest vocals and percussion, they’re pure Punk! This is what made us interested in playing their music and aspiring to be like them, they’re Revolutionary!

Do you have any originals? If so, tell me about them.

Sherif: Not yet, but there are many cool ideas, beats, riffs and rhythms in our heads and most of them are based on how the Egyptian society is posing and blindly copying the Americans, as well as all the other stuff that we're sick of!

Hannah this question is for you in particular, I want to know how it all started with you. Why did you choose to play the drums?

Hannah: Well, ever since I was a 5 years old, I dreamt about being a drummer. While other 5-year-old girls played with Barbie dolls, I was drumming on everything, well, drum-able with pencils. I grew up a Punk basically, my top idol was always Travis Barker (blink 182's drummer), I dreamed about drumming day and night, and on my 13th birthday my sister took me to the studio for my very 1st time, and it was my 1st time with a drum set, I can’t even describe how I felt, then I started playing on my own and basically taught myself everything. For me, being a drummer is a dream come true.

Hannah, tell me as a female musician, what problems did you face? And did you overcome them?

Hannah: There was some basic Egyptian discrimination at first, and people didn't want to be in a band with a 13-year-old girl as their drummer, I didn't expect any different, but now people walk up to me and tell me that I rock! *smiles*

As one of the few female musicians in the rock scene, how do you feel about how the society perceives you?

Hannah: The Egyptian society looks to any girl walking with a guy as if she was not brought up properly, they still don't want girls to work and there are a lot of fake people and posers all over Egypt so I really don't care what the society thinks of me.

What do you think you are going to achieve with Hellball, Hannah?

Hannah: Experience, meeting new people, hopefully success! I want to see people with open minds; we hate the looks people give us in public when we just want to have fun and enjoy our music to the fullest!

Describe the relationship between the band members in one word!


What are your plans for the future?

Sherif: Originals, concerts, maybe some concerts abroad.

Is there a certain message you want to deliver through your music?

Sherif: Stay in school, stand against drugs, appreciate your music, be yourself no matter how many people try to stop you from being who you are, keep your friends close and your enemies closer, and you better turn your enemies into friends or your life will turn into a living hell.

What do you think of Rock Era magazine?

Sherif: A great site and a great opportunity for people like us to have their chance, and it’s a place for people who actually have a clue about our scene's musical roots, not just the vans shoes and the chain pants!!



Interviewed by: Yasser Mohamed


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