Absolace, the newborn pioneers of Middle East’s progressive rock scene took to the stage on Saturday, September 18 at the Forum de Beyrouth in support of metal giants Anathema. Absolace performed a blistering opening set from their recently released debut album – Resolve[d].
Beiruting.com had an Interview with them:
Beiruting.com: After all the time since you started… You have performed very few times together in a concert.. How come?
Nadim: It took a long time to actually gather the band lineup – I only joined a little over 1 year ago, we only found our bassist, Ben a few months ago, and Braegen our 2nd guitarist actually just officially joined the day before the concert! Before that it was just Greg, Jack, and Kyle piecing together songs and searching for members. Apart from that we spent alot of time composing, recording, mixing, mastering, and working out the logistics of getting the album right. We wanted to do it the “right” way and not rush things. So once we had it all ready to go we hit the play button and launched as a band! I think keeping quiet until we had a finished product and had all our supporting mediums ready to go (myspace page, website, etc..) was the right move really. Now that we’re out we’re moving as fast as we can so many interesting things to come!
Ben: We made a mutual decision to resist the temptation to play live until we had officially launched the album in our “home” country (Dubai) – we spent 3-6 months polishing our live set, securing distribution channels (Daxar, CdBaby etc) and promoting the release – a time consuming process to say the least. Judging by the general public’s reaction and support so far, we think we made the “right” decision……
Braegen: I came into the fold to fill in for Jack who wasn’t available for the gig in Beirut. We rehearsed the material up and quickly realised that the overall sound of the band with a second guitarist was fuller, and enabled more room to move. It’s sounding really great. Im looking forward to writing with these guys and helping to define the Absolace sound.
Beiruting.com: Every Album has a story, What is the story behind “Resolve[d]“?
Greg: The instrumental side to the album was written to show contrast between cognition and emotion. This is the sort of compositional stimulus you could say, and its where our sound comes I think its something different, and the songs show a wide variety. You never really know what to expect in our music.
Braegen: I think it represents the sexual struggle between Greg and Nadim. They both so badly want each other, I just wish they would get it out in the open.
Nadim: As for lyrically I pretty much wrote about what had been happening in my life at the time. There’s alot about change, adapting, accepting, trying to find happiness in a place which doesn’t lend itself well to that pursuit (Dubai). It was a personal release for me – and it was much needed – I got things off my chest so to say. There are many things based on (or dedicated to) other people who were close to me – personal messages so to say. Most of the lyrics somehow end on a positive note and this is why we named the album Resolve[d].
Beiruting.com: How does it feel to be in the same concert as Anathema?
Braegen: Every concert has its benefits. Anathema are the kind of band that have grown together musically, and have alot of experience to offer any musician willing to recognise the efforts they have made to represent what they are about. For Absolace it was an opportunity to see and hear directly those growths, appreciate the trials and errors that Anathema have been through, to take note, and to translate that information into our own material, in our own way.
Ben: It was such an exciting experience for us all, and we were honoured to share the stage with such a great band (Anathema). It was also an awesome chance to share our music with all of you here in Beirut, and afar (Syria, Jordon, etc). Personally, it was my first gig with Absolace (contractual obligations had prevented me from playing past shows), so I was real happy to be there! A big shout-out to Rami Lakkis (Dubai), a sublime Lebenese bassist who has been helping us out.
Greg: For us it was a great opportunity to showcase our music to another audience. Also we got to meet Anathema, who are all lovely people. Its also just another show to give us more and more experience and to get comfortable with performing live.
Nadim: It was a real honour and a privilege for us and we feel very lucky to have been given this opportunity. They’re a great band. After the show we had a chat and they had some kind words to say about our music which was very pleasing for us to hear. I was personally very excited to be doing it in my own country – it’s been years since I’ve been on stage in Lebanon. Just showing my band around town was rewarding in itself (they loved the country).
Beiruting.com: What are your future projects?
Ben: We have gigs booked in UAE from now to December; we are looking to expand from this and hopefully play in more and more countries. Also a lot of writing…….
Braegen: For me the top priority is to build our following here in the Gulf, promote the Absolace brand with material accessible to a wider audience, while still staying true to ourselves. From there, we have a product worthy of any international festival, or tour, anywhere in the world. We are all working hard on making this happen, defining Absolace and putting us on the international map.
Nadim: We’re only just getting started. In general we plan to release an album once a year, so we’ve already begun working on our next release (and it’s sounding awesome). We have several big shows confirmed in the UAE including some very cool rock festivals and Formula 1 in Abu Dhabi. We’ve also been in touch with some promoters in this part of the world, Europe and Eastern Asia for shows and it’s looking very promising. So overall you can expect to see a new album in a few months, and lots of show dates wherever we can get them!
Beiruting.com: A message for your fans?
Braegen: come to the gigs, see what we are all about, support local and independent talent, remember its about the music spread the word and keep the scene alive. The music industry is in a huge funk right now, and without real support from the public for REAL music, the industry is going to continue to force feed formulaic material which will only serve to pacify a majority.
Ben: A huge thank you to anyone who has supported us in any way – we love sharing our passion with you, and we are nothing without you! Hope to see you at our winter gigs and/or online at our Facebook and MySpace pages!
Nadim: Fan feedback has been so genuine and so rewarding since we’ve started. There has been so much support from people in the region and in various places in the world, and I have to say this is the most meaningful thing to us – it’s just invaluable and we thank everyone for all their kind words, support, constructive criticism, and offers to help the band in whatever way they can.
My only other message is: If you want to see the scene grow go out and buy local bands’ CDs – even if it’s not your style of music, attend their concerts, help promote them, support them in whatever way you can, put the CD in your car and blast the volume while driving down Bliss street. Bands invest so much time, money, and effort into producing albums, buying instruments and equipment, paying for their flights to play shows, managing their band, promoting, etc – your $15 purchase of their CD makes all the difference. Make sure that every concert is full – this will encourage more promoters to organize shows, sponsors will see that these shows are a good way to reach a larger audience and start to invest in the scene, which will allow promoters to get more ambitious and you’ll start to see the quality of the shows getting better and better. A band is nothing without the support of fans, so it’s really all in your hands.
Beiruting.com: A message for Beiruting users?
Nadim: Thank you for reading this far and for your interest. Check out our facebook and our myspace (www.facebook.com/absolace & www.myspace.com/absolace), head down to virgin and buy our album, post your feedback on our wall (we love constructive criticism), tell your friends, etc – we’re working so hard, your support is so important to us. Many good things to come J.
Braegen: what Nadim said.
Ben: I have just discovered “dudu” shots….cheers Beiruting, keep up the good work!