RA: Congratulations on your upcoming concert, as this concert will be a continuation of your tributes to classic rock bands such as Bon Jovi, Guns N Roses, and others. So, how do you arrange your selections? In addition, do you receive any requests from fans?
MM: Choosing the songs is the nastiest part! We fight over the songs because every member brings in a bunch of songs and fights to the death to convince the other members!
So, we try to work it out from there and narrow the list to fewer songs without killing each other (laughs).
For example, some members like Dream Theater, and others not, the same goes with Pantera and Slayer, however, we all agree upon our passion for old and classic rock.
And, yes, we receive requests from fans but not necessarily play them. On the other hand, they enjoy our selections due to the engagement with the band and the vibe of the music.
RA: It is the first time since your return to see a supporting band in your performances, Zaeer, how is your relationship with the band? And to which degree Zaeer’s music is close to VYRUS mood?
MM: We share the same rehearsal studio, so we always meet there and Zaeer members are our fans.
When we heard their original song, we were very impressed! These guys are good.
Actually, we believe in helping out and giving chances to other bands especially young bands with great potential, Zaeer fits the bill perfectly. They play only originals and in Arabic.
RA: You were one of the earliest rock/metal bands in Egypt to head to the stage after the end of the partial lockdown in Egypt? How did you take this decision, how did you feel about it?
MM: Of course, we don’t want to be trapped forever, it’s very frustrating, that’s why we decided to adapt and move on.
We try to stay safe and encourage our fans in our gigs to maintain safe distancing, etc.
Therefore, we respect all people’s points of view regarding how to deal with COVID-19 and we are sure that some fans refrain from coming cause they are afraid.
Although, the venue at El Sawy Culturewheel is abiding by safe distancing, masks when entering and temperature checking prior to entering the venue, the venue is also well ventilated (almost open-air), so things should be pretty safe. We all need entertainment!
RA: After arranging such tributes to classic rock bands, we can see another dynamic and active face of VYRUS, How did set the idea?
MM: Yes, we are planning an acoustic set, a rock ballad set, and a thrash metal set.
Regarding the idea of arranging tribute to classic rock bands, the idea came to us after many successful Metallica tribute gigs we did in 2019; we wanted to do something new.
So, our 80’s and 90’s gigs have already proven to be very successful in terms of fans’ feedback & engagement.
RA: What are the challenges you face currently especially after COVID-19?
MM: Many venues are closed or don’t allow live bands!
RA: In your upcoming concert, will you play Metallica songs?
MM: Hell yeah m/.
RA: any updates regarding your original stuff?
MM: We played a couple of our originals live, however our fans prefer cover songs! Because they love to interact whether sing-along, headbang or do whatever.
We know that they appreciate our originals but prefer the majority to be cover songs, that’s why we are sticking to that
RA: Can you send a message to your fans? And What are the main selections on your setlist?
MM: Actually, our fans send messages to us and we appreciate their feedback whether good or bad!
We listen to them and put them into utmost consideration.
Moreover, we always make surprises in our setlist(s), as we always add new selections.
We have many dedicated fans and they come to most of our gigs regularly, so we never play the exact songs, so we at least so we changed almost 40% of the setlist selections for each gig.
At the end of the interview, we wish Vyrus and Zaer all the best for the upcoming concert. And, readers don’t forget that the concert is coming in a few days!! For more updates, make sure to check the event’s Facebook page!
Interviewed by: Rana Atef
Photo Courtesy: Vyrus