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Interview with Svengali

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These boys have been killing it since they started preforming last summer. Svengali, a Dubai based band have got the metal audience of the UAE on the edge of their seat. We gathered with them to know more about them and about their upcoming album Theory of Mind, which will be available on March 17th.

Your first concert was in the first Metal Eastern Night last year. People were waiting for you like crazy. First, who is your great social media person who had people waiting like this, and second how did the first feedback make you feel?

That first show was amazing, and a landmark in the band history – we truly appreciate everyone that came out that day.
We have a great support system and organizational methods, we take care of the online media, booking and inquires related to the band internally with our extended bandmates.
We’ve always said it’s “The Svengali Family”, from those on stage to the ones in the dark tweaking the sound back to the fan singing along - It’s all part of this band!

Sven 2How did everyone in the band meet?

The members all knew each other from the local metal scene. It was a pretty easy decision to come together for this band, and it has worked out great!

Are you all located in Dubai?

Yes, all the members are based in Dubai. This makes things a lot easier, some of us have experienced being in bands were members lived around different parts of the Middle East… it’s not easy.

Svengali is a very weird/unique name. How did you come up with it? And what does it mean?

Thank you! ‘Svengali’ has many deferent roots and backgrounds to the word. By definition, it means “a person who exercises a controlling or mesmeric influence on another, especially for a sinister purpose.” It’s also a character, an automaton, in a Derren Brown live performance among many other appearances.

Band names are usually weird and unrelated; we hope to work hard at making the music give the name meaning.

How do you define your sound?

We genuinely do not know.

Our upcoming full-length album, Theory of Mind, is a plethora of different influences and sounds. We like to keep it straightforward and simple say “Metal”.
Our backgrounds and influences are so diverse that even within the band it’s hard to agree on all these genres and labels!

Since – we could say – you’re a new band, how do you think you can develop musically?

No one can, or should, stop trying to develop musically. People will hear a difference between our first EP Unscathed and our upcoming full-length Theory of Mind, and to us the step is in a more mature direction. For us this happened because as a unit we were open to trying new things and expanding our musical horizon.

You have had around countable times on stage now. Which is your favorite?

This band is made to preform on stage. As much as we love recording, our main drive and passion is to be play these songs for a crowd. Picking one show as a favorite is going to be impossible. Every show has had highlights that stick with each member. We’re just going to say all of them.

Funny moment on stage and recording sessions?

There are tons!

We’ve been recording at Haven Studio in Dubai with Hadi Sarriendine, who is a close friend and also one of the funniest people we know. The recording sessions are filled with random and really lame puns that match the very awkward moments.

Here’s a little bit of what we mean along with a peak at one of the new songs: 


The stage is usually all about us falling over, bumping into each other or smacking someone with a guitar. We move around a lot on stage and sometimes with the smaller venues it just turns into our own little mosh pit!

Sven 3

Your album is gonna be out in a few days. Tell us about it, the lyrical themes (who writes what), the production process and so on.

We honestly cannot wait to get Theory of Mind out there and let it have a life of it’s own. The lyrical themes and topics visited on this album are deeper and get a lot more personal and ranges wider than what we put into Unscathed.

Theory Of Mind


Everything about this band is a full collaboration – Our producer and engineer Hadi talks a little bit about that in this video:


How long did your guys work on it?

We started working on this album mid last year and took our time getting everything we wanted in there. It was a pretty intense few months but the outcome is exactly what we were aiming for.

What did Ishtar Couture do?

Ishtar is the artist that created all the artwork on the album. All the pieces are original paintings that she created going from the front cover, the inlays to the back. We think she really captured the true visuals to represent the music.

Tell us about the new album. Is there an underlying story in the album?

There are songs in the album that we think would be a surprise to some… going from absolutely heavy with no rest to slow, laid back and honest.

The lyrical theme that runs through the album is very personal and visits a lot of different aspects to those who look and read between the lines and definitely find the story, some that relate back to Unscathed, some setting things to come! There are also very subtle messages within the artwork and actual songs that if someone paid enough attention, they could see a whole different story! But we will wait to see who can pick any of this up.


Bands have been touring all over the ME, are you thinking of doing the same?

We’ve been working hard at getting some shows lined up, around the Middle East and abroad. It’s our dream to be able to play our region!

What’s after the album?

Lots and lots of shows.
We want to get out there and play to as many people as possible. So, if you have any venues or shows lined up, no matter where in the world, let us know!


Any launch party?

Yes, we are planning a show after the initial release date, maybe sometime in April with some of our good friends in the scene and just turn it into a one big party!


What do you hope to achieve with this album?

To us, connecting with people or having someone relate to a song is all we need. If one of those tracks makes one person out there feel something, our job is done.


Where will your album be available for purchase?

Theory of Mind will be available on almost all the digital stores, iTunes, Bandcamp, Amazon for digital download. The physical copies will be available within the UAE and online orders.

A word for the fans and us?

Like we said earlier, we call our team “The Svengali Family”. Thank you to our ever-growing family for always having our backs, to each and every one of the supporters – it’s absolutely mind blowing the amount of love this band has received.


Rock Era have been behind us since day one and we appreciate all the effort you guys put into pushing our scene further!


Interviewed by: NJ Bakr and Natsky D.


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