– Hello and thank you for granting us the opportunity to interview you.
1. To start the interview, we would like to ask some basic routine questions. So let’s start with the band name first. According to your biography, the band was called “Reigen Beast”, but now the name was changed to simply “Reigen”. Can you tell us why you chose this name, and why killing the beast?
The choice of the name came from the influence the Japanese culture had on Ghaith, as Reigen means heartless in Japanese. The name was chosen to emphasize the corruption of the “system”. So Reigen Beast was Heartless beast.
The word beast was dropped recently, as we have chosen to not stick to one idea in our songs: Criticizing the system. Though one of Ghaith’s dreams is to slay such beasts in the most non-violent way.
2. Reigen started in 2008 and disbanded in 2014, although we haven’t noticed an activity for the band at least in the bigger local scene. Tell us about the band’s journey during these years. Where did you perform and what is your favorite memory of that era?
From 2008 until 2014, Reigen was partially active. Those years were very tough for the band as we had a lot of line-up changes. During that time, the band performed in many events; ones organized by the LYC, others were self-organized and some were very special events such as playing for the municipality of Roumieh once, and another time in support of the Lebanese Red cross. We used to perform at Nova pub alongside the Lebanese band Rebellion (now Sound of Degeneration) before the pub transformed into whatever it is now. We also performed at Quadrangle in 2014 which was that era’s last performance.
Ghaith’s favorite memories of the time was actually when he had to pick up all the members in his GMC Suburban to go and perform in a gig or in a practice. He says it was fun to have all the members and equipment fit in one car and just hit the road.
3. What was the reason for the band to disband in 2014 and what was the reason for it to reform in 2017?
The band was disbanded due to many factors. We used to practice at LYC which demanded membership payments that some of the members couldn’t afford. The first drummer had to leave to maintain his grades at university, then the second drummer who didn’t own a drum kit couldn’t afford his own cymbals, keys players whose dreams were too big to play in a Metal band. Finally, the last drummer of that era, Jad Abi Khalil, performed his last gig with us in 2014 and then left the country for good afterwards, thus the band was disbanded.
4. The band jumped styles from covering Heavy Metal anthems to composing your own progressive originals. Why the sudden style change?
The change was not sudden. Actually, Ghaith had already composed a song with Mike El Khoury for Reigen Beast: “The Land Between the Two Rivers” since 2008. Ghaith kept coming up with some riffs but he never had people like Mike around him to share his ideas of writing. And then came Mark Bitar, who is now, alongside Mike, the main composer of the band. Ghaith found in Mark and Mike’s compositions what he always wanted to write but couldn’t. Most members are influenced by Opeth, Dream Theater, Symphony X, and other progressive bands, and Ghaith likes that and he also loves Metallica, Megadeth, and Savatage. A mix of those influences has given birth to our Originals. Thus, once we had enough material, we decided to go from a Full cover band to a Full original songs band.
5. Your first show after the reformation was at AUB Outdoors 2017, how was it to be back on stage, and did you get a good reaction from the crowd?
Being on stage at the AUB Outdoors was great; our performance was not bad at all though we played only covers and we had back then another Vocalist, Chris Attieh, and no keyboards. The problem is… the crowd was limited to some of our friends and relatives. We hadn’t marketed our performance the right way before that day. We had performed:
- Revelations – Iron Maiden
- A Tout Le Monde – Megadeth
- 18 and Life – Skidrow
- Turn The Page- Metallica
6. Two years later, your show at Quadrangle, the place was packed, great feedback came after the show. Tell us about the whole experience.
Before going to Quadrangle, we had recently started playing our originals as Ex-founder Karl Diab had left the band and Mike stepped in to fill his role as a composer and Lead guitarist. As soon as we had some material done, we decided to hit the stage. We marketed it the right way, especially from Charbel Ghafary’s side, who has good public relations skills. We prepared for that event as if we were preparing for a performance at the World’s biggest stage. First impression of us that we give to the crowd was all that matters. And as you have heard, it went well. We got epic feedback, we were very satisfied with our performance, though if the quality of the sound was a little better, we could have enjoyed it to the max.
7. During Quadrangle concert, you played some originals, how was the reception of the crowd for the originals and did you get any feedback that made you want to adjust or change some of the music you composed?
Well, the audience loved the originals more than the covers to be honest. We had some feedback from M. Bassem Deaibess [Blaakyum frontman] as he once attended one of our practices and helped us make some changes in some parts of the songs. But the crowd never complained about any of the songs performed on that day. And the end result was the huge success of that event.
8. Next stop is Loud N Heavy event at The Palace, what are we expecting from Reigen during the concert?
For the Loud N Heavy performance, Reigen will give the crowd 2 new originals alongside the 4 that were played at Quadrangle, and 2 covers, one dedicated for the mainstream metal fans and the other would satisfy the less mainstream fans.
The originals in no particular order:
- Fall of an Empire
- Rivers Running Red
- Behind the Curtains
- The Land Between the Two Rivers
- When the Bell Strikes Midnight (New song)
- Oriental Rise (New song)
9. You just released your debut single to the world, “The Land Between The Two Rivers”. Sounds Biblical if I might say. What is the song about, and how do you describe the music?
The song has been released now and can be found on YouTube. It does sound very biblical by title, but it isn’t by content. It actually talks about a land that once visited, you can see the beauty and the magic of this place (1st verse), the more you spend time there, the more sinister things you can see underneath the outer beauty (2nd verse in particular), and finally the 3rd verse is the representation of the corruption and evil in this land. The song has another completely different hidden meaning, that Ghaith (who wrote the lyrics) had shared only with one person in his life, even the other members of Reigen have no clue of it. The song is quite long, 8 minutes 25 seconds, we had some complaints about the length. The thing is we couldn’t remove any parts of the song as the music evolves with the lyrics. We also feel that it gives it its “magical” mood. We hope you like it and hope we can get some comments from your side on it.
– Thank you for your time and see you at Loud N’ Heavy.
It was a pleasure doing this interview. Thank you for your support.
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