Hello Hadi, and thank you for taking the time to answer our interview.
- After 8 years with Benevolent, with one EP and one Album, what drove you to record a solo album, versus doing another album with your band Benevolent?
First of all, thank you for having me at the Metal Bell camp again, you guys are awesome. With regards to the solo album and a Benevolent record, both are actually in process as we speak and there’s going to be some cool behind-the-scenes stuff with the new record that’s coming as well.
The idea of a solo record is something that has been looming in my mind for years because I listen to and write music that isn’t metal by any measure. I am a huge fan of acoustic and ambient rock / pop stuff, and coming from my love for that I’ve just been inspired to write songs. I wouldn’t say it was a decision, more so just something that happened naturally, much like all of my favorite things. I think it’s wrong to decide to write a song, or an album, or to start a band…it’s something that just naturally happens because it really needs to happen. The best songs and my favorite moments musically are ones that I don’t particularly remember being there physically, it’s kinda like being in some sort of heightened state of being and when you’re done and come back from that state, and listen to the song it just feels really surreal…almost like someone else wrote it and you’re listening to it for the first time because it composed itself through you.
- Is the album a series of ambient covers you have previously recorded, or you might record mixed with originals, or is it all made of originals?
The album is all original music, no covers. The covers that I put out on YouTube will also be released in purchasable format but the solo record itself is going to be a collection of completely original work.
- What will the album sound like? What is the style and theme? What will it be talking about?
I’d say the album sounds like a mix of elements from Ambient, Acoustic, Folk, and mostly it’s a singer / songwriter type of vibe. I’m heavily inspired by the type of songs that go into movie soundtracks, not the actual orchestral scores, rather the vibe and structures of songs that fit into a context of telling stories.
- Who are the artists and musicians that will contribute to the album?
I’m going to be doing this on my own. Most of the songs are written at 4 AM and most of the songs get finished the same day I start working on them just cause I like to capture the feelings I’m feeling which led me to want to write the song to start with. I’d feel like if I leave it unfinished on the spot then I’m splitting vibes and cheating the essence of why the fuck I wanted to want the song to want to exist. Which in turn makes the song less meaningful.
- When can we expect to get our hands on the album? And what is it called?
I’m not sure at this point when it’ll be done and when it’ll be out. But what’s important to me is to include the fans and followers in the process as I go along because everyone’s support (including Metal Bell) is a part of the journey and is part of the reason why I get inspired to do what I do, so I wanted the people to be included in on the updates and where I’m at. There will be more teasers like the one I put out for ‘LOST’ coming up.
- Is there anything else you’d like to add about the album?
I’m just really excited about it and I hope that the songs will resonate with people.
- Is there any plan for a sophomore for The Covenant? Or are things being on hold now?
Abso-fucking-lutely. We’ve got a very cool concept locked down for the next album and we’ve been doing a lot of preparation for it behind the scenes. Soon there’ll be videos which follow the same format of including people in on the updates as we write the new material. Expect this to surface very soon!
- What was it like having Acle Kahney and Amos Williams of TesseracT master Benevolent’s album?
I remember listening to the very first track that we sent to 4D Sounds for mastering, I believe it was ‘THE COLLECTOR’ and our jaws dropped from the quality. My favorite thing about it is how the low end on the album was treated and how everything was just clear. We wanted the album to sound like the listener walked into the ‘THE COVENANT’ room and they can choose to access any instrument sonically and listen to it throughout the album clearly and to also feel the synergy between all the production elements. We couldn’t have been happier with the final product.
- How was Benevolent’s first and only show so far in Lebanon? What can you tell us about this experience and will we see other shows in Lebanon or other countries from the region soon, other than U.A.E. of course?
Our show in Lebanon was absolutely amazing, it really was one of those nights that we’ll always take along with us in the back of our minds. It was an incredible experience especially that it was our first show with Théo on the drums and I had met him just four days prior (Everything before that was Skype call based). I also want to say that everyone from YMEvent and all the organizing squad took super good care of us throughout. We loved playing the show, hanging out with the bands, the fans, the food, drinks, and everything.
- Your show as Hadi Sarieddine at The Back Door wasn’t a big of a success in terms of attendance; do you think that the audience in Lebanon wasn’t ready for an ambient show like yours?
Yes, my show in Lebanon had a few issues with regards to organization and the overall promotion that took place. I am positive and constructive and I’ll say that it all starts somewhere, the next time I come down it’ll be better and the one after as well and so forth. We learn so much from these experiences and they truly shape us and sharpen our senses about all the intricate details that go into being an artist.
- Now I have always been interested to know what drove you to pick up a guitar and decide that you want to become a musician, and do you play any other instrument?
I picked up the guitar back in high school when I moved from Lebanon to Kuwait; one of my classmates played a nylon string guitar and I was just instinctively drawn to it from the get go. Prior to that (when I was still a young geek in Lebanon) I used to spend hours playing a game on the PlayStation called ‘MUSIC 2000’ which was basically a DAW but prerecorded samples that you could put together in piano rolls and create your own stuff too. That’s also around the time I got into discovering music for my own and not just listening to whatever the radio serves. So I guess that all the elements aligned and it happened.
- Who is/are your biggest musical influence/s?
Although it’s very hard to answer this question, I’ll say that Mike Portnoy and John Petrucci transcended dedication and that drive to do things in a way that truly portrays what you hear / see in your head. I always drew and continue to draw inspiration from that and always will. On the musical front there’s just so many…everything from Meshuggah to Coldplay.
- What is the best piece of music that you have recorded/mixed/mastered at Haven Studio?
Oh man…this is a tough one. I’m going to have to say that it’s my song ‘CARRY ON’. The feeling and experience of how that song came to me and how it all just fell out of me and was finished within a couple of hours (music, lyrics, and recording) is something special to me and it has paved the way for the rest of the songs on my solo album.
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