With Greenish Red, new blood joins the underground Jazz scene in Egypt.
Who are they? What do they aim for? Rock Era made an interview with Adel Samakia, the drummer and the leader of the band to find out.
How did the band start? And who founded it?
Adel: The band was started in late 2008 when Salim ex-bassist of Davinci, who got tired of covering, contacted an old friend of mine searching for a drummer to jam with. The main concept of the band at the time was to stick to original songs.
How did you choose the name “Greenish Red” and why?
Adel: Our Friend Safy from Serenade chose that name for us. Basically, most of the things we deal with contain both colors Green and Red, For example Water Melons, the table of the coffee shop we were sitting at, our studio. It was a fortunate observation.
What genre of music do you play, and why did you this genre?
Adel: That’s a hard question, we blend many types of music; jazz, blues, funk, rock, and sometimes oriental music, but I’d say we’re mainly a Jazz band. By the way, we weren’t supposed to be where we currently are. It was supposed to be a Rock band, but we were all fed up of traditional rock and metal bands, even though I still play with some. We decided to compose our own music, which you will listen to and, hopefully, enjoy at our first gig at the Bib Alex competition this summer.
What was your aim when you established the band?
Adel: When we founded Greenish Red -it hadn’t had a name yet- we were concerned with composing original stuff, you know? We wanted our band to produce something different from what you’d hear in a regular concert; a lot of covers, a few regular originals. This wasn’t what we wanted.
Did you have any problems or troubles while establishing the band?
Adel: Any band has problems starting off, at the very beginning Salim and I jammed alone, that was really enjoyable by the way, the first problem we had was choosing a guitarist, that is after Karim, our old guitarist, who composed for us had to leave. So, we faced another problem of finding another guitarist who played jazz. After Mustafa settled, we had the problem of having a soloist, we asked a couple of saxophonists and a few violin players before we settled on Aliaa El Azzazy from Alexandria, but that didn’t work out due to the distance and travelling issues. So, we decided to go on as a trio till members join the band.
As a trio band, tell me about the members. What do they play? And how did you guys meet?
Adel: Now that’s a question I’ve been waiting for since the beginning of the interview. An old friend of mine, Sherine Amr from Mascara, introduced me to Salim, who is a friend of hers as well, so we’ve got Sherine to thank for getting us together. We now are, as formerly mentioned, a trio.
Adel Samakia (myself): Drummer and Percussionist
Salim Asar: Bassist
Mustafa Magdy: Guitarist
The best thing about this band is the wide variety of our musical preferences. For example, Salim likes funk, rock ‘n roll, hard rock, jazz, a bit of metal. I like Jazz, progressive metal, easy listening. Mustafa likes blues, jazz and psychedelic music.
What inspired you to play these genres?
Adel: As you might have realized, we all share the love of jazz, in addition to mixing and matching other genres.
What is your dream performance? And why?
Adel: Montruex Jazz Fest Switzerland, because it’s the biggest Jazz Festival in the world, hands down.
Describe the relationship among the band members, and how is it going so far?
Adel: The three of us are very close friends. I’d known Mustafa 2 years ago through college, and Salim since September 2008, Mustafa and Salim have known each other since late May 2009, but those who knew us knew what to call our jams; the laughing sessions.
How do you see the future of “Greenish Red”?
Adel: Well, the three of us are very dedicated to each other, we want to stay together for as long as we can manage. Answering the question, we want to be a band that pleases its fans.
What would you like to say to the audience and to your fans out there?
Adel: I guess we still don’t have a lot of audience and fans since we haven’t performed live yet, we have anticipators, and as for them we wish that they like us after the live shows.
What do you think of Rock Era magazine?
Adel: Nice question. Rock Era is a new approach for underground music in the Middle East. Personally, I haven’t heard of any similar idea around. Another good step would be to fix the misconception of rock and metal music in Egypt and all the Arab world.
Adel, how do you see the music scene in Egypt, and do you think it’s making a progress?
Adel: Okay, this involves me and you and 90% of the readers, who are mostly musicians themselves. Since the past two years, the music scene has been simultaneously progressing and regressing; progressing as more people are attracted to underground music, mostly metal and rock, and many of those people who are learning to play music, thus, bands are increasing, which is more competition for better music. On the other hand, most of those bands remain underground because of the whole process of picking and choosing bands according to cultural centers. And this picking and choosing process is mostly unfair, I myself have been exposed very unfairly to this in a cultural center in cairo, and sadly, cultural centers are mostly the main venues that new bands rely on.
Thank you, Adel for this nice interview.
Adel: You are very welcome, Yasser.
Interviewed by: Yasser Mohamed and NJ Bakr