Have any of you played in other bands? I have not. UNBEING has always been my primary focus to write the music I wanted to play.
How is it that you started playing music? I started playing guitar when I was 15 years old. My motivation was always to write music.
What are your names? / Who plays what? / How old are you? Sherif, 29, Guitars (29) -Mat, 36, Guitars -Max, 24, Drums -The rest of the band (bass & keyboards) are filled out by session musicians who play different projects at the same time.
Have you had other previous members? Many. They’ve all left for their own reasons. The current lineup, using session musicians has provided the most stable outcome. Everyone works very well together and the musicians have never been so competent as they are today. Did you make music even when you were young? -Always. I have some recordings dating back to 2007 haha…
Where are you from? I am born in Egypt and came to Canada when I was 4 years old. All other band members are Quebec (Canada) natives. What year did the band form? -March of 2006.
What's your style of genre? Instrumental Progressive Metal.
What inspires you? So many things… Almost every genre of music inspires me, a lot of soundtracks and images, video games, movies. I like to “see” an image and think what kind of music would match that image. Every time I write, there is a scene playing in my head matching the song’s mood.
How often and where do you reherse? Almost never. The advantage of playing with professionals is that we’ll rehearse one time before a streak of shows and we’re good to go. Everyone does their part in learning and practicing the songs on their own. I’ve created a lot of support material (tabs, sheets, click-tracks) to help musicians learn the songs efficiently on their own.
How have you developed since you started with the music? When I started this band in 2006, we wanted to make death/black metal. We thought we were being “cool” and “edgy’ by being as heavy as possible (like most starting bands). Eventually we starting exploring sounds, moods, time signatures that made the songs a lot more unique than when we started. That caused tensions inside the band at the time because some members still wanted to do some generic “death/black” metal, while my compositions did not reflect that. Over the years the dissenting members left the band and others took their place. The newer members like the band for exactly what it is, and hence enjoy themselves a lot more when we play together today.
Do you have other interests of work outside the band? Not really. My “day job” in in project management and finance. I’ve also studied to be a studio technician but that’s a saturated market in Montreal unless you’re already a celebrity. To be honest, there’s nothing I’d like more than to work full-time on playing and writing music.
Are you looking for a booking agency, and what are your thoughts around that? For the time being, we have our own booker. Eventually we’ll look to work with others to leave Canada and play in other countries. I will be actively looking for a label in October 2018.
Are you looking for a label, and what are your thoughts around that? Sure, but I’m not an idealist. I’m only going to consider a label depending on what they can do for the band. Since 2006, I’ve operated the band myself and have gotten better and better at it over the years. However I can’t do everything by myself forever and so a label can certainly help me focus on the music while other aspects are being managed by professionals.
What made you decide to make this music? This will sound strange, but it’s the type of music that speaks to my deepest thoughts and emotions. No matter what I do, this is the type if music that I end up writing when I grab my guitar. I’ve experimented for some time with electronic music. I’ve had positive feedback, but it lacked something only metal can bring.
What are your songs about? The songs are instrumental and invoke a feeling of introspectiveness and inner dialogue with oneself. Not to sound like a hippy, but the inner dialogue emerging from music is unique to oneself; what I may feel listening to some instrumentals will differ from what the next person will feel. This is why among my biggest influences are some classical themes, soundtracks, and other vocal-less genres. Lyrics tend to limit what one can feel or interpret from a song. Instrumentals speak to our core, and open our minds to the infinite possibilities every human being can perceive from a single song.
Who does the composing and writes the lyrics? I compose everything, and come up with the ideas and concepts behind the artworks matching each release. There are no lyrics.
Do you compose in a certain environment? Not necessarily. I’ll usually get my best ideas by playing them on a classical guitar first, and then adapting the melody to 7 and 8 strings.
Have you done any covers live? Never.
What language do you sing in? I don’t sing. However I try to address the audience in their preferred language when I can.
What are the least and most people to attend one of your gigs? The least has been about 12 people haha. The most has been about 400 people.
What ages are most of your concert attendants? The audience thends to be 18-35 years old average. This is because the venues rarely allow minors to attend because of the sale of alcohol. There are rare exceptions when 45+ year-olds will come to speak to me about the songs reminding them of bands they used to listen to when they were younger, when instrumental progressive was more popular.
Do you always play the same songs live, or do you vary? We try to vary when it’s possible, but the set list is built in a way to showcase certain songs in particular that elicit the best reactions from the audience.
Do you have a regular place you play live often? It depends on the town. Most towns have a particular venue perfectly adapted to what we’re doing, and so we’ll come back to that venue each time around.
What was your first gig like? I remember being very nervous, as if all the pressure in the world was on me haha. I had a crappy guitar, my clothes didn’t look professional at all, my playing was… alright and it was over before it even began. It was a learning experience, and every gig after that has continued to teach me something to do better to this day.
What was your latest gig? Latest gig was May 20th in Shawinigan.
Have you had to cancel a gig? We cancelled 3 in 2017 due to some internal struggles inside the band. Members had decided to leave unexpectedly and I struggled with some mental exhaustion issues myself in the process of replacing them.
Where have you played live this year? We played many towns in the province of Quebec, the full list is in the unbeingmusic.com homepage.
Where do you plan to gig the comming year? Absolutely, we plan on starting shows in fall and winter again, Starting next August 24th in Ste-Thérèse.
When did you start to sell merchandise, and what do you have for sale? We started almost a year after our first show. We started with t-shirts first. At the moment we have t-shirts, sweaters, zip-hoodies, tank tops, beanies, vinyl’s and cd’s.
Where can people buy your merchandise? UNBEINGMUSIC.COM
What do you think about people downloading music instead of buying records now a days? I don’t care so much. There used to be a time when this would be upsetting to people selling albums. However the sale of albums has largely declined over the last decade, and with it several retailers placing a high mark-up on your cd have gone out of business. This is unfortunate but it the progress of the times. People still buy albums when they come to our shows, and for that I’ll always be thankful.
How do you think the music industry have changed because of this? I’ve heard horror stories about artists being cheated out of their fair due by their label cashing all the album sales because they didn’t sell an unrealistic amount of records. For my part, I could care less. This is why I decided to do everything myself when I first started and continue to do so unless I’m offered a better deal.
What do you think of my work? I’m sorry I’m not more familiar with it.
How do you think and know that this interview will help you in the music business? I’m not sure. I’ve done several interviews, and I assume it will be read by people who have enjoyed the music and would like to understand how I think.
Do you have any role models or idols? I don’t believe in “idols”. However I do have an immense respect for certain values that are personified in some individuals. I respect discipline, dedication, open-mindedness and the ability to think critically. We’re all flawed human beings in my humble opinions and the ones who recognize that fact are the wisest among us. They’re usually the ones who’ll come up with innovative ways of creating something, whether that is through their entrepreneurship or creativity.
Is it easier to find inspiration from older bands, or bands that are more active today? 50/50: Older bands have inspired the new ones. It’s good to know where an idea was first attempted, but new bands always bring a new twist to something you already know. Since you’re inevitably competing with all the bands of your genre, you need to know what they came up with so you can improve your own song-writing abilities.
What have been your biggest obstacles? Developing social skills to work with other musicians. You have to develop some humility to accept criticism from others, and not take it like an attack on yourself. I’ve also struggled with developing an efficient way to work on music and recording it properly.
What advice would you give other bands or artists? Be humble and keep in mind that no matter how good you think you are, you don’t know everything. Learn to take criticism and be open-minded to what people say about your music.
How do you get psyched for a gig? I actually fall asleep. I get psyched within the last 10 seconds before we play. When the show intro comes on, I’ll fist bump the musicians, smile, and get ready to have fun.
Do you have any new material? A single with 2 songs (15 minutes) will be released by the end of 2018. If you’d like an advance copy after mastering is completed, let me know and I’ll happily put you on the advance list.
What are your web sites?
How can people reach you? All the above websites have a contact section and I monitor all of them for any question/comment/request.
What are your plans for the future? Keep writing music, make albums and enjoy the craft.
Do you have something to add? UNBEING’s music is family-friendly (there is no blasphemy or violence), which can be quite unique for a metal band.