Interview with Rodi and Daria
Band: Metal Asylum
By: Zaid Mousa - 2014-12-17
JorZine's Zaid Mousa interviewed Daria and Rodi Hennawi from Metal Asylum, one of the leading Metal concerts organization from Dubai, UAE. Through this interview, they give us an insight into Dubai's Metal scene from the inside.
1. First of all, how did you decide to make a Metal/Rock organization, and how was the Metal scene in Dubai when you started?
I started back in 2007 when there was not much of a scene, the idea behind Metal Asylum was to give those local up-coming bands a chance to play their music live, there was no auditions or anything, we believed that there is allot of bands worked hard on their music and they deserved to be heard.
2. What was the biggest problem you faced when you started, or what did you afraid the most back then?
The biggest problem was the idea of the gig itself, how to put it together, Metal Asylum was one man show back then, and I didn’t know what to expect as feedback, but it was totally awesome.
3. We know that the first step is the hardest, so tell me about your first concert. Your preparation, the bands which took part on it, how did you pick your team and how was your feeling about it.
First gig was wicked, I had to call few musician friends and ask them if they would like to play a gig, they didn’t know each other that time so we planned a jamming session…but that jamming session never happened, and they end up meeting each other on the stage, I was terrifying from what I was about to hear from them, but it was just Wow! They cover 7 or 8 classic rock / metal songs and they done it very well, that gig was the actual kick start of Metal Asylum.
4. Let’s talk about the bands from outside the region. How you managed to bring them to play live Dubai? I don’t think it’s an easy thing to play in a Middle East country!
It’s not easy but it’s fun… big fun, at Metal Asylum we get emails on daily basis from overseas bands, we managed to fly down some good bands from every continent, and they were very impressed about the whole thing and they are happy to come back and play here again.
About the not easy part it’s all because of the fans here, the fans here are still way behind the fans in Europe, UK or the US and they need to be educated and have more interact with the scenes outside the Middle East, don’t get me wrong… part of the fans here are just fantastic, they don’t miss a single gig and they appreciate the effort of every single band coming here to share their music with us all, but the other part is just a big disappointment.
5. Are you planning to do something bigger like a Metal festival with international bands in the future?
We do Metal Asylum festival every year, it’s not an outdoor festival but we get always bands from overseas to play there, this year the festival will take a place at the music room 26th Dec we have already confirmed FREEFALL (the winners of METAL ASYLUM RAM Middle East battle of the bands 2011) and another Kuwaiti band called RESET STRING supported by local bands like DAISYGRIM, RAJM, IN TIMES OF DESPAIR, GODDAMN ELECTRIC and TSINELAZ.
6. After many years of great Metal/Rock events, what is your vision of the Metal Scene in UAE and the region?
The scene is definitely growing and allot of new great bands came out, but also many problems followed that expansion, there is allot of politics in this scene and that can destroy the spirits of everyone involved, fans, bands and promoters.
7. My next question is about where you are taking Metal Asylum, or in other words... What are your plans for the future?
We have allot of plans already in the pipeline and now with Daria on board looking after the PR, Marketing & social media things become much easier and we have more time to think, plan and do better and bigger gigs.
8. If you got a chance to extend your organization in other countries, would you do it, or will you stick in the UAE?
Yea for sure I will do it, but it takes allot of effort, bigger team and full time work and dedication. I think we will take Metal Asylum to wherever we go and will keep it going.
9. You recently brought THE IRON MAIDENS to Dubai. Since this is an all-female Metal band (which we don't see very often)... What can you tell us about this event? I am going to use this opportunity to get your insights and ask you about the female Metal musicians in UAE.
We were planning this gig for more than a year and finally we got the chance to make it happen and it was one hell of a gig indeed, organizing it was super fun, working with those girls was nothing but great time and the result was kick arse gig.
You don’t get allot of female metal musicians here, I met few only through the years of Metal Asylum and to be honest they wasn’t that good even, I think to be female metal musician you need to have the courage first, you need to grow up with this music, live it, breath it, dream about it…not just do it because you think it’s cool, but I met great female metal musicians from Iran which they can put any other international female metal musician into a big shame.
10. Since you have been involved in Dubai's Metal scene for a long time... Which are the main differences between the Middle Eastern scene when you started and nowadays?
Allot of differences, back then everything was much easier, starting from the preparation to picking the bands till getting the venue, unfortunately the rules and regulations now are much more complicated, venues now hardly exist, getting people to come down to the gig nowadays is such hard work, you almost need to go down to everyone houses and knock at their doors and drag them by the hand to the gig, while back in days when people heard about a gig they couldn’t wait to get there.
11. It was really nice to interview you, and if is there anything you want to add please feel free to say anything.
It was pleasure working with you guys over the years, Jorzine Rocks