Interview with Relics of Martyrs
Band: Relics of Martyrs
By: Mujtaba (Skom) - 2012-02-20
JZ: First of all, tell us about the inception of Relics of Martyrs, how the idea started and moved into the creation of the band?
ROM: it’s all started as Thrash Metal band of two brothers jamming together, Masys on drummers and Harayr as guitarist, alongside Zaher on Bass, who was an old friend of them. The first vocalist for the band was Amer, since he was Harayr college mate, and he asked him to audition for his band, and after several try outs and jams, He joined them and later we changed the style slightly into Thrash/Death metal, since we found it suits in a better way, every member can add his touch to the music, that’s what make Relics of Martyrs the way we are now
JZ: How did you pick the name Relics of Martyrs, and what does it mean for the band?
ROM: We picked the name Relics of Martyrs after intensive search for a good name, a name that hadn’t presented before, so whenever you search for “Relics of Martyrs” the only outputs you get is our band. And the name mean a lot to us, to each member of us, since we are come from different ethnicities and minorities, we have Armenians and Arabs who were martyred alongside each other for centuries, there is the Armenian genocide , and the continues wars. You know if a white man dies, everybody will be talking about it, while millions of Arabs dies and nobody cares, so we speak for our people, the minorities, so it means a lot to us.
JZ: Who are your influences, internationally and locally?
ROM: I highly doubt if we have any local or Middle East influences, because it still a developing scene and we are in the cut of the rising up bands in this scene, there are major bands in the scene, but I don’t think we are really influenced by any of them. As a major influences for the band, it’s Thrash and Death metal in general, and the bands we regularly listen to them in daily bases, is like Exodus, Testament, Death, Slayer and all those kind of bands who give you the chill when you listen to them.
JZ: Your band still 4 years of age, and one demo, yet you managed to hit the stage of many another countries more than other well established bands from our local scene, can you tell us more about it, and how did you made it?
ROM: it’s all about spreading the word out there, we put our demo, and it was really low quality demo, but it was like to get the people knowing about what to see, if we recorded the album three years ago, cause we had it all back then, it would be less interesting for the people to come and see us on stage and see how do we sound.
JZ: About your gigs in Lebanon, how did you find the scene there, and any memorable moments from there?
ROM: there are a lot of memorable moments, but the scene there was the most memorable thing, they showed us a lot of respect and welcoming from both the bands and the crowd, it was an amazing experience.
JZ: You were scheduled to co-headline Rock Nation Mental Issues 1 with gigantic of the middle east metal scene Nervecell , what did happen that made you to cancel it, and reschedule your appearance to Mental Issues 2?
ROM: it was a visa issue, our visas got delayed so we had to cancel, but we still had a chance to headline on our own gig, in Mental Issues 2, it was unbelievable, crazy crowd and amazing organizing.
JZ: Tell us more about your experience for playing the UAE; I guess it more unique than the Lebanese gigs, since we had a multi cultural scene in Dubai?
ROM: we met a lot of cool people, weather it was band members or just metalheads in general, they enjoyed our music, they showed us a lot of love and respect, we gained some friends, and they just went crazy once we started playing, moshpits and all head banging, it was a picture for ever engraved in our minds
JZ: Let talk about your next record, “Scenes of Blood and Betrayal”. How can you describe it us, musically and lyrically? Relics
ROM: lyrically it’s all about myths and battlegrounds, Amer as the lyrics writer, threw some sci-fi here and there, but mostly about humans and their treatment to others, such as the name of the album can point "Betrayal”, and what extremes it can get to, and there is a lot about war and battles, battles for honor or just for blood
Musically it’s all effected by the music our composers grew up listening to, such as traditional Armenian music, and Arabic music, Hrayr's touch of Armenian music is showing in the album, because he grew up watching his dad play the accordion on some Armenian tunes, and for the lead guitar, Yazan was also effected by his brother playing Oud, and as they both grew up with that alongside metal, it’s really good after the merger of both those genres
JZ: In this you had collaborated with Hanna Gargour, a well know local Rock producer who had already worked with local rock talents as Autostrad and Jadal, would you describe us your experience with him , and how did you manage to convince him to work with you in his firs “Metal” production?
ROM: convincing him was never the hard part, it’s really easy to get along with such an amazing guy , and I can say it’s a fantastic experience , he was pretty open about everything , most producers just do what they do, but he actually was taking us through everything .
JZ: Any detail about when can the fans expect the release of the album?
ROM: Hopefully the release will be in September, but place of release is surely not Jordan, because you know we’ve didn’t get the copy rights, and our request had been refused, because they said we are too evil to be published. Many bands released in Jordan, but we are the only band that did have this difficulty.
JZ: What are your plans for post releasing the album; any planned gigs or may be tour!?
ROM: we still haven’t planned anything yet, but we will make sure JorZine be the first to know.
JZ: Let’s talk about the local scene; do you think there is a scene here in Jordan? And what does it need, beside the obvious demand for live shows to be back?
ROM: It’s not about the live shows, trust me, it’s about the way people take metal in, here in Jordan there is a metal scene, but it’s not that good actually, we’ve been around for four years and we have a fan base from around the world bigger than here in Jordan. We should support local thing more, here it’s like the bands get all envies each other, like they don’t like each other personally , so they take it out on the bands, that’s how it go here. The metal scene here can improve but you had to put your personal issues aside.
But we think it’s because we are focusing abroad, we are not focusing too much on here, because actually there are no much opportunities to focus on, so that’s why you don’t have scene here, you will have fans, and dedicated fans, but not as many as the abroad fans who had saw you playing live, they know us, they talked to us.
The point is, we played here in Jordan, our first gig was in Jordan, but here, if they don’t know you personally , they not gona attend to the show, when we played here, the gig attendance was around 400, which is a real good number for a show here, but when we hit the stage , they were like 80, cause as I said, if they don’t know you personally they aren’t gona see you, but when we went to Lebanon in our first gig, everybody was there, those who attend the show from its beginning , stayed to the end, and watched all the bands, that’s the deference. If you bring a major metal band here, a lot of people gona attend it, but why if you put a local band nobody will, that’s in the big deference in the scene, if you gona to any another Arabic metal scene, and am not saying go European metal scene or the US, no go to Dubai, the people, the same where in the beginning of a gig, they are the same at the end
JZ: What about your relationships with other local bands, any favorite ones, any plans to do dual gigs outside Jordan with any one of them?
ROM: No our relationship with bands; we don’t have anything bad with any of the bands, we are good with everybody, and we don’t hate anybody. But if we can collaborate the whole scene of Jordan, and am not talking fans, We mean the bands , and the real bands, not those who jamming in the garage and call themselves a band, but those band who released a thing, if we all put it together and actually help the Jordanian scene, if we can’t play here, lets schedule something for the Jordanian bands to play in another country, so if there is a Jordanian band interested as we interested , what would be better than sharing the stage your brothers from your home country.
JZ: In a little larger scale, what about the Middle Eastern scene, do you listen to any new stuff, and what is your favorite bands?
ROM: from the Middle East, we actually have 2 bands, one of these is Nervecell, and we look up to them as our older brothers... And the other band is Before We Drop Dead from Lebanon, they helped us a lot and they have an amazing setlist every time they hit the stage.
JZ: We kind of in the middle of the year, what are your best albums so far, and what is your most anticipated releases from the rest of the year?
ROM: Amer favorite so far is Ritual by Black Dahlia Murder, and as the whole band we are waiting on fire to hear Testament's upcoming release.
JZ: In the end of the interview, I would thank you for the opportunity to get this interview with you, and to be with the band in different stages of the album production, any last words for your fans and JorZine readers?
ROM: we would like to thank JorZine at the beginning for giving us the chance to talk to our fans all around the world and especially Jordan , and supporting us and covering the album through all the stages , secondly we would like to thank Nikhil Uzgre of ROCK NATION , for giving us the opportunity to headline in Mental Issues 2 , and we would love to thank everyone who stood by us through those four long years we've been working on this development for , and last but the most special thanks to our brother and beloved producer Mr. Hanna Gargour , such an amazing producer
Thank you JorZine