The FreeRolls are a Lebanese rock band, based in Beirut.

The FreeRolls are releasing their debut album tomorrow live at the Backdoor in Gemmayzeh. We met up for an interview, where we discussed the band’s origins, their recent music video, and their debut album, Lust and Fond.

The FreeRolls Lineup:

  • Vocals, Guitar – Elie Zeidan
  • Keyboards – Samuel George (was unable to make it to the interview)
  • Bass – Martin Nassif
  • Guitar – Roy George

Dany: In 2011, you formed a band now known as The Freerolls, oblivious to what success the band may reach. How does it feel now to have released the Act Like Night music video?

Elie: It was hard to think about a music video that fits the song, and we never really thought we would be releasing an album to start with, we thought the first single would be our thing, however when the first single turned out to be cool, and we received a good, unexpected reaction from the audience, we thought why not do an EP. Then when we finally released the EP, we couldn’t believe what we were listening to. It’s weird to listen to your records and be so proud of them. I suppose you can call it an accomplishment.

D: As you picked up your first instruments, could you picture yourselves in the spotlight, or was it considered just a hobby?

Martin: To be honest, until this day, I still consider playing the bass a hobby to me. Growing up, I was inspired by my brother to play the guitar, however we noticed that we couldn’t have a band that consisted of two guitarists, so I made the decision to learn how to play the bass. Anyways, had I hoped to establish a career in music, instead of playing for the feeling I get, I would have lost the passion that drives my playing.

D: What would you consider a massive influence to you and the music you produce? Where do you see yourselves in the future?

E: I would name The Allman Brothers, and Matchbox 20. I see us juggling between our day jobs and the band honestly.

M: Well as a bassist, I like a guy who is called Jaco Pastorius, from the band The Weather Report. I also like The Foo Fighters, and Dave Matthews Band.

Roy: Led Zeppelin, BB King, Eric Clapton. We see ourselves outside of Lebanon, performing in a huge tour, opening for a big band.

D: How was it that you all met and were able to collaborate?

E: Well, Roy is Sam’s brother. So back in 2005, we founded Rebellious Phoenix as a power metal band. Sam and I were 15 while Roy was still 13, so we started playing originals and composing music. Now the story with Martin was that we needed a bassist for our first demo and I remember someone telling me that Martin, who was my neighbor, was a very robust musician. I used to know his brother, but I had never met him. We met, surprisingly, at the gym. Later that day, I left the gym and Martin joined the band. We just clicked.

D: Did you experience any barriers along the way?

R: Definitely yes, there is time and money, which are the worst barriers in life. We also experienced some trouble with choosing band members, specifically drummers.

D: Have you ever reached a point where your career as musicians was in doubt?

E: I might say, that when we you’re working on a new song, you are never in doubt, simply just tired. You always believe that it is going to happen, but it is a very tiring process! But, we did face some serious problems. We lost band members, gigs, and even deals. We also faced some personal issues. We never lost our spirit though, we kept going forward.

M: Back when we were recording our EP, we lacked the funding and we were trying to juggle recording and studying for our universities, and there were even long times where we couldn’t see each other. We managed to recover though.

The FreeRolls Lust and Fond artwork

Lust and Fond

D: On October 8th, you will be releasing your debut album, Lust and Fond, what can we expect from the album?

R: The album is the reflection of what music is about for teenagers growing up, listening to Zeppelin, Lynyrd Skynrd, The Allman Brothers. What we aim for is that people can relate the lyrics to their own life.

E: It’s an extension of the EP, just like any other band, where they would release a successful EP, and then release the full album. What to expect artistically is a variety of songs, you can see anywhere from the heaviest image, to the softest image we have at the same time. There is definitely a pattern though.

D: What is the story behind the album’s title?

E: Well it is both our blessing and our curse that we could not fit to one style. There are songs that are somewhat heavy, and then again there are songs like Maybe It Sounds Crazy and other tracks that are passionate and soft. So we were kind of lost in terms of what genre the band played. I mean it’s cool to have an identity, but it is also cool to have this variety. We have for example Wear Something Nice, Green Franklin, and Act Like Night, which are a bit aggressive, and criticize one of the seven sins, which was lust. So I said we’re lost, and criticizing lust, but at the same time, we are being found. We lost what genre we were focused on, but found the band that is collaborating together to produce this album. Now the previous title we agreed upon was Drunkards and Drama Queens, but it was too long.

D: Who is the main songwriter/lyricist?

E: Sam and I usually provide the lyrics, but we all take part in the writing process. It’s pretty spontaneous, whoever has an idea just tells the rest of the band and we explore it.

D: Well, thank you for your time! We wish you the best.

– Dany Ayash

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