The days the world witnesses currently are dressed in madness and fear, tragic scenes in Italy, the worldwide lockdown, and the imperial destructive spread of COVID – 19. Hundreds of musicians decide to fight the fear by music: singing from balconies, live streaming concerts, spontaneous musical improvising. Rock Era Magazine decides to send a message to the whole world, a message of love, support, and hope. Here is our Stories from the Quarantine. Before moving to our second part, I want to thank all musicians who supported our part 1 and helped us to spread the word.
Vagelis Karzis (Greece)
One of the Greek Metal gods, Vageliss Karzis is a figurative and legendary name in Europe. He contributed with different legendary Metal names as Rotting Christ. Currently, he is rocking the Metal scene in Europe with his Full House B.C. in addition to Wolfheart.
We started with Vagelis about which albums he is listening to nowadays. ” The last Black Label Society album called Grimmest hits and Slipknot’s We are not Your Kind. Next, he gave us a hint about his activity in the quarantine, “We are pretty busy cause we are in the making of our new album,” Karzis added. Moreover, he expressed that the most track he performs at home is “Hollow God from our previous (FullHouse B.C.) album Me Against You. “We are in contact via Skype calls. As we are finishing the pre-production of the album,” he replied regarding our question about Full House B.C.’s future plans. Then he told us the band he is exploring during the quarantine, “I start listening to Alice in Chains again these days,” he answered.
We were curious to know if he tried to perform from balcony or home, “I posted several videos of me playing and singing but not in the balcony. Don’t wanna risk my health. (laughs),” he described. The final question we asked him was about his favorite performances that he watched home, “I would go with Parkway Drive live from Wacken Open Air festival,” he expressed. He finalized with us by saying “Stay SAFE!”
Classified as one of the greatest musicians and most skilled Sound Engineers in Egypt, Samadie is one of the earliest and most experienced Metal musicians in Egypt. His name is related to a number of the finest Metal acts in Egypt like Worm, Amattamen Bas (The first Egyptian band that got a deal with a foreign label), and RRROOOAAARRR. Now, he is the Bassist of the legendary Scarab.
We started our talk with Samadie after exchanging greetings by asking him about the albums he is listening to most in the quatrain. He mentioned: Scarab’s Martyrs of the Storm, Krosis’ A Memoir of Free Will, Lorn’s The Maze to Nowhere, Infant Annihilator’s The Battle of Yaldabaoth, Rammstein’s Rammstein, A-ha’s Hunting High & Low, and Death’s Leprosy. Next, he revealed, “the outro section of Bolt Thrower’s 7th Offensive” is the most part captivated his mind currently. Regarding the track he performed home most is Scarab’s Martyrs of the Storm and he added, “on Bass.” Our upcoming question was about his contact with the band during the quarantine. “Of course, we’re on contact since we’re a family, as for future plans, yeah, sure, but we’re keeping them disclosed at the moment,” Samadie explained. Then, we moved to the musical genres he is exploring now. “Minimal Electro/Martial Industrial.” Regarding our favorite question to the musicians, the idea of live streaming and performing in their places, “I don’t post videos so far but I’m launching a channel for my studio soon. And, yeah I always play live in my place,” Samadie expressed. Finally, he told us his favorite quarantine live streaming, “The quarantine live & new single by my brothers in Masar Egbary,” he finalized.
Matt Hawk (France)
Matt Hawk, a figurative French guitarist. Egyptian Metalheads still remember Hawk’s performance on the stage with Nightmare in Cairo two years ago. He is not only a talented guitarist but also his ability to spread a mood of musical excitement and solidarity. Moreover, he is a member of different French and Belgian Metal bands such as Nightmare, Fireforece, Sangdragon, and A.C.O.D.
Matt started his talk by telling us about his musical activity in the quatrain, “During this quarantine time, I made a special Playlist on Spotify called “ClasiX.” it is made of all the classic songs I grew up with, and those which shaped my music world,” Matt expressed. “It goes from Creedence to Children of Bodom and goes back to Lynyrd Skynyrd, its all about my ROCK / METAL music culture since my childhood,” he continued. Next, he told us his favorite quote currently, “Don’t live for pleasure, Make life your treasure.” Then, Matt told us more about the songs he performed at home.
“It all began when I was 10, I took the old classical guitar which was laying in the living room and start playing some songs here and there, the sound of the classical instrument and the acoustic really echoes something deep inside of me. So I play some notes here and there, just letting the heart speaks and still do nowadays,” he explained. Regarding his contact with his bands, “Nightmare is currently recording and writing new songs, before the quarantine we were about to enter the studio, so we are working together from afar and keep growing the songs, it will be a nice album and we can’t wait to deliver it to the world of metal maniacs!!,”
Matt revealed. “I also recorded the voices on the Next Fireforce album with Lia (singer of Mystic Prophecy as vocal coach) just before the quarantine, we were in Germany and everything went good! I’m really excited to make people listen to that record ! Heads are gonna bang!” he continued. “Hopefully, with the internet everybody can stay in touch, working from afar has become quite easy and normal,” Matt added.
Next, Matt told us regarding the most music he performed at home, “When I have the time I’m working on my classical guitar, and exploring some Classical music tunes even those which weren’t written for strings. it is hard work, but I really like it, going back to the roots of Heavy Metal beside Mozart, Bach, Wagner, gave birth to Heavy Metal at the time,” Matt highlighted.
Then, we moved to ask him about performing live from home or from the balcony, “I’m living in a house in France, so no balcony, and I don’t really like the vibes of the live streams. It’s like a human being needs to be in danger or in a bad situation to finally understand the meaning of simple things in life, music takes a huge part of our lives, can you imagine a world without any pieces of music ?? NO” he explained. “I don’t really like the fact that people play on the vibes to make their EGO more important than it is…ego kills talent but you know Every cloud has a silver lining,” he stressed.
In fact, Matt gave us more about his thoughts regarding the current situation, “I guess at the end of this corona stuff, the whole industry will be changed somehow, festivals are in a bad shape, and that’s a shame. I’m thinking of all my friends from The Hellfest Crew and all the other festivals I’ve been playing…tough Times for everybody. Music will be alive but in a different way I guess, good things come to those who wait.” Finally, he sent a message to everyone, “Rock on my friends!”
Adnan Mryhji (UAE)
Adnan Mryhji is considered one of the strongest Metal vocalists in the Middle East. Fronting the epic Emeriti band Svengali, Mryhji gained huge successes with his band around the Middle East and they participated in the biggest Metal concerts in the Middle East.
Mryhji initiated his chat with us by the albums he is listening to during the quarantine, “A lot of Middle Eastern Metal! There is a lot to pick from this year,” he expressed. Then, he told us the quotation captivated his mind currently, “Fight back. Attack. This is kombat” from our (Svengali) latest single,” he said. Next, we asked him about the most song he performs at home, “Better Off, from our latest album Sayonara is always fun to play and sing,” he expressed. Regarding his contacts with his band and the band’s future plans, “Yes, we are all in touch and have something planned for this week!,” Mryhji revealed. He also mentioned that he is listening to different kinds of music, not a specific genre. Nothing specific. He also expressed that the band is posting videos about the band’s new ideas. Finally, we asked him about the band’s activity in the quarantine whether having live performance or home videos and what’s Svengali’s favorite quarantine live or interview, “We don’t have one, in particular, the idea that bands and crew are coming up with ways to keep their fans entertained and sustain themselves in a time like this is inspiring,” Mrhyji finalized.
Spyros Hondroyiannis (Greece)
Regarded as one of the most popular Greek podcasters and Metal reviewers in the Greek Metal Scene, Spyros Hondroyiannis, the presenter of Room302 Radioshow , Rockway and the founder of the first Greek Doom Metal Festival in Greece “The Room Of Doom Festival.” Hondroyiannis gave us a hint about his experience in the quarantine.
He started by giving us his opinions regarding the impact of COVID-19 on music. “COVID-19 has brought life as we knew it, upside down. It has altered psychology, business, economy. Therefore, it has affected the music industry,” he initiated. “Concerts and live shows have been canceled for months; therefore artists cannot expect an income from performances or live merch. This is a blow for them since many of them expect only this income in the age of downloading and not buying records,” Hondroyiannis added.
Then, he continued, “on the other hand, being isolated in homes all the time, can make the fans listen to more and more music online and this has a result of buying more songs and albums online from the official sources of artists, even buy CD and pieces of vinyl again, like the good old times.”
Next, he listed the most albums he listened to during the quarantine. He mentioned: San Ton Ilio by Lefki Symphonia, The Ghost of Orion by My Dying Bride, Threnos by On Thorns I Lay, The God-Shaped Void by Psychotic Waltz, Ghosts V & VI by Nine Inch Nails, and Spirituality And Distortion by Igorrr.
Then, Hondroyiannis told us the most quotation stuck in his mind regarding the situation the world witnesses. “The road to the grave is straight as an arrow, I’m just staying around to sing your song.” (Katatonia -“Lacquer”). Moreover, he continued telling us more about his life in quarantine. Unfortunately, he mentioned that he is “quarantined at a different place” away from his drums so he really cannot practice these days, however, he expressed that he is in contact with all the bandmates and friends. We moved to ask him about which genres he is exploring currently, “I find music “genre-less,” but these quarantine days I am really exploring and adoring the two quarantine albums from Nine Inch Nails: Ghosts V: Together & Ghosts VI: Locusts. Finally, he revealed his favorite live streaming concert or interview he liked most during the quarantine, “Dir En Grey. Such amazing hours I enjoyed there,” he said.
Ehab Sami (Egypt)
Ehab Sami is a bright name in our Metal scene. He is known with his multi-instrumentalist talents and his stunning covers. Moreover, he participated with many Egyptian bands as Devour and Veritatem Solam. He participated with Veritatem Solam at the latest Wacken Open Air Metal Battle in Germany. Regarding Quarantine, Sami teamed up with Miral Nagy for a live streaming concert 2 weeks ago.
The first question we asked him is his most favorite albums currently. He mentioned Meshuggah’s “Koloss” and Opeth’s “Blackwater Park.” Sami continued by mentioning a quote from Meshuggah’s “Do not Look Down” “Are you happy now?” Next, we asked him about his activity in the quarantine, “nothing in particular, mostly jamming,” he expressed. Then he added that he is still in contact with his band, Devour, and they will start planning something “once things get better,” Sami described. Regarding the genre he is exploring now, he said that he is currently exploring more Doom Metal music especially Cattle Decapitation. We moved to ask him whether he performed from home or in his balcony, “Yes, from my studio. I thought about performing from the balcony but I realized, it won’t be a good idea regarding my neighborhood,” Sami finalized with us.
Finally, I want to thank all our participants and bands which helped us to continue this series. Stay Tuned for Part 3 m/
In case you missed Part 1, click HERE.