Interview with Barzakh
By: Salma ben Rached - 2012-12-01
It was clear that when the band gathered together for this project, it would tread a unique path than the other bands that formed in 2006. With their first album, “Noor,” we were introduced to what they were made off, the character of BARZAKH that would later become the central focus of the band's repertoire. Powerful melodies and influential lyrics with great determination and team spirit -- that is what this band is all about. That being said, I was given the chance to talk to their vocalist, Ghassen to uncover more about their music.
JZ: First of all, for the people who don’t know what BARZAKH is all about, could you, in a few words, introduce the band?
A: BARZAKH is not just a musical project; it’s a vision for a new artistic concept. A wise man once said “music is the key” and we feel that we relate to that concept. In fact we consider music is our way to express ourselves and defend the ideas we believe in. Every true artist should be evaluated based on what he has to offer not based on how much hard copy he can sell.
JZ: We all know that you guys were laying low for quite some time now 'till you released through your Official Face book page a song called, “Sout le Koun” and announced that you’re working on new tracks. Could you tell us what the audience should expect? What are your goals at this point?
A: Yes, we’re currently working on our second album. In fact we started writing new material, new songs to complete this ambitious project. This will be a step forward for us as we feel that we’re more mature since our first album “NOOR”. We’re pouring out our hearts and souls to make this happen, we’re trying our best for this to succeed.
JZ: You guys gave a sneak-preview to all your fans of a streaming record session of, ‘Dahr’ which was in the final day of the recording process. 'Till now we heard only two songs, when are rest set to be released?
A: Soon enough. We’ve just finished re-recording our first album “NOOR” (light) in a better sound quality and soon we’ll put it up for sale. Just to be honest, as soon as we heard the first version of what we accomplished till now, we just instantly knew that something is not right. So we went back to the studio and recorded again “noor” tracks.
JZ: If there's one thing about BARZAKH that makes me go, "wow," it'd be the lyrics. Who is behind the birth of such moving lyrics? Are you involved with the lyric-writing in the band? Could you tell us how the band comes to an agreement about how a particular song should sound?
A: As I said previously, BARZAKH is an artistic concept. Lyrics are as important as the Music. Our message will be incomplete if we don’t give the same commitment when we write the lyrics. Once written, all BARZAKH members give their opinions about it. And sometimes I have to argue and convince them. If not, back to scratch!!
JZ: You’re a vocal coach, so that explains a lot of the gravity in your voice. What’s your philosophy on singing and producing good vocals?
A: Sincerity, philosophy will come naturally through the lyrics but we have to be sincere towards ourselves also you have to believe in every single word that you sing for others to feel it. The Voice doesn’t lie. It should reflect all our emotions and melody will make its way to the listener. So if you don’t feel it, people won’t be interested in your cause.
JZ: I’d like to know about the secret behind the chemistry between the BARZAKH members on stage.
A: We have no secrets; our only special ingredient is that we’re good friends; we all share the passion for BARZAKH and the music we make, that what keep us together. So you can imagine what type of pleasure we feel when we’re on stage: we’re just playing the music we love most.
JZ: Why have you chosen to write your songs in Arabic? Do you feel that this is the particular quality that defines BARZAKH from other bands?
A: This is one of the peculiarities of BARZAKH; we hope that this is not the only quality that ‘defines’ us. We are the first Tunisian group who added Tunisian percussion and ranges to put a popular taste in our music. In addition, we have some songs that are written in English (Final day ... Alive) these songs are equally popular among our fans
JZ: Will the current events in Tunisia influence your future songs?
A: First, we always wrote revolutionary lyrics and the metal is all about being rebellion by nature. The only difference today is that we feel free to express in a more explicit way our ideas, our message.
JZ: Among the bands in the Tunisian Metal scene, whose work do you listen to?
A: Yes. Yram, Carthagods and Myrath are actually from where I see it the most serious band on the Tunisian Metal scene.
JZ: How did it finally feel being back on stage, especially after laying low for so long?
A: It was simply amazing. The concert hall was full and it was mind-blowing. I was personally surprised when all the fans started to sing “rissala” together. It was a very special moment. You can check our face book page to find all these comments of our fans who shared with us these great moments.
JZ: I’d like to discuss what happened last year when every time BARZAKH announced a live event, it would inevitably get cancelled, like what happened in FMG for instance. Do you have problems towards the organizers or is it just pure coincidence?
A: I don’t believe in coincidence when it comes to these matters, especially when we face technical problems and an inconvenient treatment of the organizers every time. They give us just 5 minutes to fix our equipments and sound, although we always send few weeks ahead our tech specs requirements but nothing has ever changed. In addition to that, they were disrespectful. So, we took the hard decision to cancel our part of the concert.
JZ: Finally, is there anything else you’d like to share with us?
A: I want to thank our fans for their support and we promise that we will always be faithful to them and to ourselves. Hope to see you soon for a new concert. Always listen to BARZAKH, always support the Tunisian Metal scene and always stay rebels.