Another interview with another young guitarist that rose in the Egyptian music scene in no time! He appeared a couple of times as a solo guitarist, but we know him better from Offbeat. Enough with the intro already! Let’s read this interview with Tarek Reda…
Tell us about your beginnings with the guitar?
I started playing guitar at the age of 15, right after I saw a friend of mine at school playing Metallica’s “Nothing else matters”. The song had quite an impression on me. I took some guitar lessons with ‘Aly El Gohary’ a young talented musician who introduced me to artists and music genres I was not fully aware of including blues, instrumental rock, and this entire guitar hero scene worldwide.
Why did you choose playing Guitar?
Honestly, I have no idea! I’ll tell you the story. My dad bought an acoustic guitar 20 years ago, for no particular reason, no one in my family was playing guitar at that time including my dad but he decided to buy one. Years later, when I was 15 I finally started to notice that there’s a guitar in the house, and said to myself: ‘why not fool around with this thing?!’ and it was by far the wisest decision I’ve ever made in my life.
What brand of guitar do you use?
I have a white Ibanez RG350DX
Haven’t you considered studying music?
I would have loved to, but I think it’s a dead end here in Egypt, if I were to study and play my kind of music.
Does it sometimes get against studying/working?
In my case, playing guitar never conflicted with neither my studies at the university nor my work. I haven’t experienced studying music though, it’s definitely another issue.
When was your first gig? How did you feel?
As far as I remember, my first gig was at high school. I decided to form a band with some friends, which was not a good idea! We were a perfect example of a ‘rookie’. We didn’t practice enough, the music sounded like crap, the gear was partially ruined, the sound engineer was originally a plumber, and to make it even worse, I was the lead singer! But it was fun.
Who do you listen to? Who are your favorite bands?
Giant, Andy Timmons band, Winger, Europe, Whitesnake, Def Leppard, Bon Jovi, Damn Yankees, Michael Jackson, anything from the 80’s, Joe Bonamassa.
Who are your favorite guitarists worldwide?
Andy Timmons, Dann Huff, Reb Beach, John Norum, Joe Bonamassa, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Kee Marcello.
Who are the people, or what are the things that affected your music?
Some of the people I meet in my daily life have an input of inspiration to my music. Movies sometimes inspire me. Remarkable sceneries, such as a nice landscape or a gloomy graveyard, might as well inspire me.
How are you influenced while writing your music?
Well, I can’t precisely describe how this process takes place. Basically, all the ideas that come to my mind when I start writing a song are a mixture of all the things I’ve listened to. I can give you a list of my major influences; this would include 80’s rock, blues, and some smooth jazz, not the complicated type.
When do you believe your success was born?
When I finally started recording my songs and listening to them. I would give credit here to my friend ‘Karam Gamal El Din’ who helped me record all my songs, and was a true inspiration.
Tell us how you were introduced as a solo guitarist to the Egyptian Rock scene?
I think Offbeat was a good exposure for me in the scene, people slightly started to know my name. However, I’m still working on my solo project where I can play my songs; I believe this would be a major step as a solo guitarist.
What bands are you associated with? Who is nearest to your heart?
Currently, I play with 3 bands; Offbeat; a rock n roll/blues cover band, Michael Quinn and the Bourbon Kings; an Americana/blues band, and Ahmed El Haggar and the Band; some good old fine Egyptian music. I’m also working on some other side projects. I would say the closest to my heart, at the moment, is Offbeat.
Tell us your story with Offbeat/ Kravin.
Back in 2005, my friend Shady Ahmed and I started a series of acoustic sessions at his place. Later on, we decided to take it to the next level and that’s when we formed our first band, Kravin. The band was doing really well, and evolved by time. Personally, with Kravin I was more introduced to classic rock music, and wrote my first rock guitar riffs. After 2 years with Kravin, I started to have passion for other music paths and so we decided it was best for me and the band to quit.
Offbeat was formed by Ahmed Magdy and Aly El Gohary, same guy who gave me my first guitar lessons. He offered me a place in the band, and so I joined. I would say Offbeat has been quite an experience in terms of exposure, networking and practice.
What bands have you performed with as a guest?
2 bands so far; Redeemers and Silent Echo.
You performed with Redeemers as a guest in the opening act, how was it?
Pretty cool! I finally had the chance to play one of my favorite songs ‘Electric Gypsy’. I wasn’t sure though how the Redeemers fans would respond to my soft song, but it was great.
Who is the Egyptian guitarist you want to perform with on stage?
The one and only, Mohamed Adel.
What other bands do you wanna perform with?
Andy Timmons band, Europe, Whitesnake, Giant, Aerosmith, Tesla and Def Leppard.
Tell us,Tarek, about your solo project.
It’s simply a band where I can play my music and some of my favorite covers. Still not sure about the name, though. I would love to name it ‘Tarek Reda band’ or ‘TR band’, but I’m not sure if the other members will agree on that.
As I know, lots of people nowadays are going solo, are they just going with the flow? What do you think of it?
I think a ‘flow’ is a typical phenomenon in any music scene around the world; the 60’s hippie flow, the 80’s hair bands flow, the 90’s grunge flow. But I do believe, in any flow, only the good ones last longer.
What genre will you be associated with?
Blues, funk rock and maybe some smooth jazz.
What is the main theme of your solo project? Is it going to be instrumental project?
It’s mainly instrumental; a few songs shall include vocals.
For the tracks that will include lyrics, which vocalist do you prefer?
There will be a few songs with lyrics, and I’m trying hard to be the singer. If I fail to do that, I would invite Ahmed el Haggar.
Do you have a band yet?
I’m still trying to set things up.
Why would your music differ or be special from any other music that we listen to? What is so special about it?
I can’t claim that my music is special; I leave that for the listeners to decide. I simply do my best to be personally satisfied with my music.
Will you record your music to become downloadable music?
I’m still not sure about that, I’d rather make it available on a website such as MySpace; you can have a listen to my songs at http://www.myspace.com/tarekreda
Did you consider having a concert to introduce you as a solo artist to the audience?
Yes, I’m in the process of setting up my band now, and as soon as I’m done with that, I will start booking some gigs.
Tell us about your dream.
A band with whom I can play the songs that I like, including my songs, and do a gig in Europe or the States.
How do you think the Rock Scene in Egypt is doing so far?
Honestly, it’s not very promising! That is due to the fact that all the factors that would support this kind of music are missing; there are no places where you can have a decent rock guitar class, there aren’t enough places where you can play such music, the Egyptian culture is not quite familiar with this music, the rock audience are a very tiny fraction of the Egyptian society, you simply cannot play rock music for a living. Besides, musicians in Egypt are not receiving their deserved social recognition. Simply put, if you decide to become a musician in Egypt for a living, you end up, as how people call it here, ‘2alaty’.
Do you think there are differences between the rock scene before and the rock scene now?
From what I’ve heard about the rock scene back in the 90’s, apparently it was a lot more intense. They had those huge rock gigs, such as Marlboro concerts, with all those rockers and metalheads. I think the scene was more mature.
If someone was reading this interview, would you like to send them a message?
Yes sure, ‘Hello there, I’m glad you had the time to read my interview and get to know more about me, I would love for you to listen to my songs at Myspace, or watch my videos on Youtube, and maybe become a fan on Facebook. Cheers’
Any last words?
I liked the interview. I don’t get to have an interview every day, it felt cool.