Enraged, the relentless, stubborn and persistent band all the way from Egypt. They are our Band Of The Week (Check out the first post HERE). I had a chat with the beautiful and amazing lead singer of the band, Rasha Magdy, as I was curious about what it’s like to sing Metal in a country like Egypt. Let’s jump right in!
Austin Of AudioInferno: I’m Austin from AudioInferno, what’s your name?
Rasha Of Enraged:
My name is Rasha Magdy
AI: Nice, I understand you are the lead vocalist of Enraged
Yes, I’ve been their vocalist since 2005 when Wael Ossama and I started the band together
AI: That’s pretty long Rasha, ten years!
AI: So what have been the challenges during this 10 years in the Egyptian rock scene
Well, there are several; first the venues are very limited when we started playing in 2005 there was no legal venues that allowed Metal music to be played, only rock bands and that was their extreme. So we had to do some underground gigs in faraway areas.
However, around 2007, things began to change for one venue which is a cultural center that started to allow metal musicians to play. Now, after ten years we have only like 2 to 3 venues in the country where we can play which is very limiting. Then comes the challenge of the metal scene in Egypt itself, most of our fans are very young people who just go through metal as a phase or a fashion, so very few are really fans of the music and very few would actually try to support their favourite bands, there are also so many new bands relative to the actual number of people in the scene.
I would say the entire metal scene in Egypt can amount to no more than 3000 people, 1000 of which would be those who actually try to attend gigs. However, mostly you’d have a maximum of 800 people in a gig that has a line up of 5 bands or so.
Then comes the cultural challenge
Metal music in Egypt is highly associated with Satanism, this would be in the minds of every conventional parent and they would, therefor, limit the exposure of such music to their kids. In addition, there is a huge challenge that most of us working bands face which is getting signed. There are no music record companies willing to sign Metal bands in Egypt, because as mentioned earlier the music has a very limited scene. So all the costs of recording and jamming is incurred by the band members. We also have very little chance of playing abroad since we don’t have a booking agent and would have to pay all costs even if we got a spot at a festival.
*smiles* I talk too much ?
AI: No, you don’t! Woah, very lovely, so much insight. You said all the costs of recording and jamming are incurred by the band members, have you guys gone for any gigs you would have to contribute for?
We never did a show abroad if that is what you are asking. Most of the time, when we perform a gig we end up paying much more than any money we get after, for sound engineering, equipment, etc.
AI: How do you feel about this?
Well, we basically make music and perform because we love to even though it is costly. However, it is frustrating when you put in so much effort and still can only be doing it as amateurs because the country does not have the capacity for you to be an artist. I mean I work as a teacher and other band members who finished college have jobs as well. So music is our “hobby.” However, all of us would be more than willing to leave our “jobs,” if we got signed up and became official artists and do music for a living. *smiles*
In September 2005, it was an underground gig with a lot of other local bands at that time we were a cover band and covered for artists such as Evanescence, Nightwish and Lacuna Coil but this soon changed when in our next gig, in summer of 2006, we introduced our first original. We then started performing covers along with original songs for a while, until we stopped playing covers and were strictly only playing our songs. This was, I think, around 2007/2008. Wael Osama knows the dates better.
AI: I’m sure you were excited at your first gig. Can you still remember the first cover you did and how many fans turned out at your first gig? Give me a number.
The first cover played was “Bring Me Back To Life” by Evanescene, it was big song back then. We had a turn out of about 350-400 people that day. Which is considered a lot since it is an underground gig. I was very nervous and scared, I didn’t sing very well that night. *laughs*
AI: Amy Lee!!! I’m sure you were scared because it was your first gig.
Yes the pressure was on.
AI: *laughs* Cool, that was a nice choice for a cover. There’s something about Amy Lee…
Yes she is amazing. I learned a lot from her style
That’s the end of Part 1 of the interview. We will bring you the concluding part soon. Just stay tuned!
Check out our previous Band Of The Week posts HERE and remember to support your local rock acts! Let’s help the scene grow!