Those of us who keep our ears open for new talent are probably already aware of Benevolent, formed by two brothers who statred their music careers in Kuwait before moving to Dubai and reforming the line up. Hadi takes time here to tell us what he is up to, Benevolent's debut album which is due out soon and the detrmination that is finally turning into well deserved success.
1. Hi there Hadi, welcome to Metaltalk- what’s going on in Dubai for Benevolent just now?
Hi Roxy, everything's going great out here! We've been busy working on our upcoming album (which features drum icon Andols Herrick) and looking at getting shows booked in the midst of that; we'll be announcing the dates once things are confirmed.
We've been based in Dubai as a band for about a year now, we're really fortunate to being a part of the Dubai metal scene and the region as a whole. There's some really great bands active in the scene right now and it's really cool to be a part of that. My current favourites are Nervecell and Anuryzm.
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In addition to the local talent, Dubai has become a regional hub for receiving some of the biggest artists for concerts; Metallica, Yngwie Malmsteen and Dark Tranquillity are coming to town in April, which is great! I'm really looking forward to seeing them live as it'll be my first time.
2. Hows it going with finalising Benevolent's debut full album?
The making of this upcoming record started a little after Divided EP was released. I remember being really inspired by the positive feedback that Divided EP released so I started jotting down early ideas from then on. Most of the songs are now in a close-to-being-finalized stage. The new material is a lot darker, a bit more technical, and definitely sounds like the next chapter for us. There is one song that could easily fit in the track list of Divided EP, however, the rest of the tracks are, I think, a step into a darker and a bit more technical zone. I did the production and writing for this record as when Mohammed Gad joined in on guitars the material had already been done.
I really can't wait to share the new material with everyone; and mostly, cannot wait to get out and play the new material live. We will be posting updates and info about the album on our social media pages soon!
3. Most of us are familiar with your EP 'DIVIDED' and also Metality - the compilation album, can you tell us a bit more about them?
The Divided EP, which is our debut release, was released in 2010. It's a 5 track album that combines a mix of heavy groovy riffs over layers of atmospheric sounds and eerie soundscapes. Divided EP was written through 2008 / 2009 and recorded at Sarj's Studios in Kuwait in 2009.
The album was written by me and it was co-produced by me and Sajid 'Sarj' Masood at Sarj's Studios. The lyrics were written by Fadi Sarieddine (vocals) and me.
The making of this album was a really special time for us; it was myself and Fadi in the band at the time. The songs took shape from specific concepts and ideas that we wanted to put forth and I am really proud of the way it came out. This album blueprinted and cemented a real vision and formula for the way that I write music because I was able to record solid demos of all the tracks to sort of get to know them better and toy around with all the necessary production elements that are necessary to truly deliver the essence and feeling that the song is meant to portray.
Divided EP was released on November 5, 2010 and we were happily surprised by the reaction that it received. Jorzine.com named Benevolent as the "Best Middle Eastern Metal Band" for 2010 following the release.
I think my favourite song on the album right now is The Quantum Paradox, because it combines our groove, progressive, and melodic influences. Plus, my favourite guitar solo on the album is on that song, it's one of my favourites to play live.
The Metality Compilation is awesome, we're always happy to be featured on Metality's releases! We were actually featured on Metality's first compilation as well and that was around the time that Divided EP was released so it was a key part in the buzz that the album received.
4. How did Benevolent get together?
Benevolent started in 2007 in Kuwait as an acoustic project (believe it or not); Fadi and I wanted to do some covers and all so the project started under the name "Eminence". In 2008 we recorded our very first song which was called "Solace", it was like a blend between the softer side of Opeth and Pink Floyd. Before the release of this song Fadi and I were reconsidering the name and were thinking of a better while listening to Tool's "Jambi" in the background, we heard the line "Shine on Benevolent sun" from the song and we both had that look on our faces like "this is it!", and that was it!
In 2011, Fadi moved to Dubai from Kuwait and I followed in 2012 and so the band is now considered Dubai-based. Mohammed Gad (guitars) is still based in Kuwait, however. The band's current lineup is Fadi Sarieddine (vocals), Mohammed Gad (Guitars), and myself (Guitars / Clean Vocals / Production) and we have a really solid working synergy together, we all really enjoy what we do and we're extremely hungry to get out there and play more and more shows.
We're also good buddies with a lot of the bands in the scene here and around the region and this is great because we all support one another. I work very closely with Sajid 'Sarj' Masood as he is mixing/mastering our upcoming album; he has also been involved through the entire writing process as a co-producer. We really cannot wait to get the new material out there.
5. You are clearly very proud of the TYRANT SCREAMER TSB-1?
The Tyrant Screamer TSB-1 is our signature custom pedal from Ignite Amps in Italy. To start off I just want to say that Ignite Amps are a true pleasure to work with; they are very professional, genuine, and truly honest about the way they do things.
We're really proud of this because it's one thing to be playing music, but it's a whole different level when you get to play your own music through a piece of gear that you were a part of the creative process for.
The proud moments have been coming to us one after the other since the release of the pedal, as Ignite Amps has released a plugin version in AU/VST format (for both Win/Mac) for free download and the pedal has been downloaded over 2,200 times in just 24 hours after release. The Tyrant Screamer was also ranked at #1 on KVR Audio only a couple of days after release as well. And the general buzz for the pedal on music forums and reaction to the video demo we did have been stellar!
And everyone can download the pedal for FREE here: http://igniteamps.com/en/audio-plug-ins
5. What do you want to tell the world?
First of all, thank you for doing the interview. I just want to thank everyone who supports us, stands by us, and spreads the word about the band. We cannot wait to get out there to play our music to as many people as possible. See you all soon!
6. What are your all time favourite top five songs ever?
This is a really difficult question and if I write this answer tomorrow the list will probably be different; BUT I'm going to try to be as just as possible. (The list is not in any order)
1- Opeth - Deliverance
2- Meshuggah – Bleed
3- Dream Theater - Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence
4- Symphony X - The Odyssey
5- Lamb of God - Again We Rise
Thank you so much for taking the time!
Its Metaltalk’s pleasure Hadi, we hope to see you all in the UK on tour sometime soon!
Hadi Sarieddine - Guitar, clean vocals
Fadi Sarieddine - growling
Mohammed Gad - Guitar