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Bilocate

Net voordat Kim en ondergetekende op vakantie gingen naar Scandinavië, keken wij op de televisie naar de zomercolumns van het NOS-journaal. En verdomd of het niet waar is: normaal hebben de media geen donder te brengen over metal, althans niet op een normale manier: deze keer had journaliste Nicole Le Fever een reportage over de Jordaanse band Bilocate. Nee, niet de Jordaan zoals de Amsterdamse buurt, die een terreur verspreid van het Nederlandse levenslied, maar Jordanië, het land dat helaas centraal voor de inwoners gelegen is in één van de meest onrustige streken in de wereld.

Door: Neithan | Archiveer onder doom metal

Waar wij alleen de beelden zien van oorlog en chaos, blijkt dat er ook metal wordt gemaakt. En nee, Bilocate is geen zielig kelderbandje, maar een band die naadloos mee zou kunnen in de wereldwijde doom death scene, al noemen ze hun muziek zelf liever dark oriental metal. Zou het voor een Westerse band denkbaar zijn dat je aan alle kanten gezien wordt als een stelletje satanisten, en dat je daarom niet of nauwelijks kan optreden, zeker niet in eigen land? Nee, maar dit Bilocate heeft er dagelijks mee te maken, en toch gaan deze gasten er keihard tegenaan. Geen pathetisch gedoe, maar gewoon stug geloof in eigen kunnen houden en daarop focussen: dat is nou nog eens metal! Wij spraken met de band: Waseem EsSayed (keyboards), Rami Haikal (gitaar), Ramzi EsSayed (vocals) en Hani Abadi (bas en zo'n beetje het contact van de band) hebben elk hun deel beantwoord; een echte groepsactie dus.... En omdat het zo'n hechte groep is, kan Bilocate ook bereiken wat ze nu doen, zoals buiten de grenzen van land en regio de media bereiken. Lords of Metal presenteert u Bilocate!

band imageBilocate caught my attention when participating on a Dutch summer news coverage by Nicole Le Fever from our national news channel; how did you get in touch with her?
Waseem EsSayed: Thank you Neithan, we appreciate your support. About Nicole Le Fever; she knew a journalist here in Jordan who had already written an article/interview about Bilocate in his magazine. He was so interested in what we have accomplished so far being a Jordanian band, let's say he understood us perfectly and as he was a good guy himself, we became friends. Nicole visited Jordan and a number of other neighboring countries looking for something different and new to present to her country, and as per what I explained previously he recommended Bilocate to be one of her hit stories. And I shall take this opportunity to show all my respect to Nicholas and Nicole for they are truly supportive people.

It seems like you have more Dutch connections, when seeing that a dude called Dennis Sibeijn did the artwork for your album 'Sudden Death Syndrome', and that international known artist Christophe Szpajdel did design your logo. When seeing where you played and recorded, you are just as international as any serious doom act. People can judge metal as much as they like, but it is obvious where people do support each other, no matter where they come from. Do you feel supported at difficult moments by things like this?
Waseem EsSayed: What Dennis, Christophe, Jens and Nash did with us was so supportive and we are definitely thankful as they have given the band an important push. From another perspective, I don't believe those persons would answer anyone who knocks on their doors unless this “one” is in a certain level of productivity and professionalism and this is what we have worked so hard to build through the last 6 years. We do have a great fan base worldwide and we do have lots of friends and supporters here in our country and the region in general, but still on a professional bases the support we are getting from foreign countries and nations is about 10 times stronger than what we are getting locally (5% professional support) and regionally(10% professional support).

Has that interview helped Bilocate, either inside of Jordan or perhaps outside?
Waseem EsSayed: Definitely, it has given us more exposure to expand our fan base. More people got to know us, especially outside of Jordan and specifically in foreign countries, and I believe I would be more certain of that as it has drawn your attention towards Bilocate and here you are … supporting us professionally from a foreign country as I explained previously.

What struck me is the overall quality of the band's music and also sound. For instance, I heard a release from Sorg Inkallelse from Iran lately, and that sound quality was very poor. Yet when I hear your music, it sounds great. How did you achieve such in an area which is not known for its experienced metal producers?
Ramzi EsSayed: 'Sudden Death Syndrome' is our 3rd release after two successful releases from 2003 – 2005. Since then the quality of our recording took a major part in our focus, we have taken in consideration some of our favorite releases from many international bands and used them as a reference point. Then we reached an album that really caught our full attention with its quality which was just what we wanted to achieve, it was Opeth's album 'Ghost Reveries' engineered by Jens Bogren. Right then we all realized that Jens Bogren will be a big part of getting us to the level we wanted, we simply contacted him. As Waseem said above were are glad that he was impressed by the music we put onto his table and that he agreed to work with us, which resulted in one of the best engineered records in our personal music collection so far. We are pretty much satisfied of everything that happened. Our music is what we call our thoughts: we simply go into a phase of translating our thoughts to riffs, lyrics, beats, solos, keys and the result is a number of well structured, well composed, creatively built tracks, just like the ones you heard on 'Sudden Death Syndrome'. So far the album has received over thirty-five reviews, and we were very proud reading the amazing feedbacks from everyone specially about the music and production; just like you noticed yourself.

When listening to the music Bilocate plays typical death and doom metal: a band a bit similar could be Morgion or Novembers Doom. To fans of which bands would you urgently advise to listen to your music?
Waseem EsSayed: Actually, I would rather like to always refer to our genre as “Dark Oriental Metal” and we would appreciate it if listeners realize us by this term. However, you're right: we are a bit similar to Doomdeath roots in terms of drumming, rhythm, and this style of vocals. Furthermore I shall say I'm a fan of Novembers Doom, My Dying Bride, Anathema, and Opeth myself, but we would rather prefer to name our genre according to the tones we are creating (conceptually), not according to the structural aspect of the music as in terms of speed, riffing style, vocals, and the domination of a certain instrument over the others. I would recommend Bilocate for fans of Opeth, older Katatonia, My Dying Bride, in some cases Evoken, older Anathema, Novembers Doom as you mentioned, and Primordial.

The band has two websites: a MySpace and this one: www.bilocate.net, Yet when I visit the last one, I get linked through and see a lot of advertising. I would say that the one and only current Bilocate website is the MySpace page: is that correct?
Ramzi EsSayed: Well… Man, let's say you picked the wrong timing to visit Bilocate.net, haha. The official website for Bilocate is Bilocate.net, but recently the band were extremely busy with the album distribution in Europe and the USA, and we didn't notice that the website got infected by something called database infection. To put it simple: the database was corrupted only for the past four days and it has been cleaned and back to normal, so now you can check it and enjoy it,. It is once more just Bilocate.net and its professional look and design was the talk of some reviewers so it is the official one, yet also the MySpace page can be considered as an official source of information about Bilocate.

Since I have never been in the Middle East, my information is limited to what news coverage we get over here. When thinking of Jordan, I feel like it is a country in between. You do have a modern royal house, modern industry on the one hand, yet also a firm heritage from less modern cultures, to put it decently. When I see that you could do only four shows in six years, do you see any hope that in the years to come there will finally be opportunities for bands like Bilocate?
Waseem EsSayed: Actually, we don't care about our situation in our country “Jordan” or the region in general anymore, because as I mentioned before professionalism is as minimal as you can find. Too few professional people who support us, and we cannot make this a generalization, in Bilocate we don't let the future rely on our local gigs: we have a much bigger scale to work on, and I believe the day we would lose hope in Bilocate is the day we get rejected by the whole world.

Why were the gigs cancelled: is it from official government organisations or are there other forces active?
Waseem EsSayed: Definitely it's related to governmental organizations: they just don't want to get rid of this belief that we and our friends in this style are Satanists.

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For us, as inhabitants of the west, people look a bit strange when seeing men with long hair and black shirts, yet how does that feel for you? Any troubles for instance with work school or whatever normal situations that belong to daily life?
Waseem EsSayed: Generally speaking, yes. It cannot be treated as something normal by the society whether it was in school, work, or even if you say “hello” to someone passing by the street, it's just about the mentality, for some people it's acceptable while for others it's not. However, the latter group is so much larger than the first one that it sometimes seems these people do not to exist.

The reviews for 'Sudden Death Syndrome' are very good, particularly when I see reviews from known magazines from Germany and America. Has the band ever considered moving out to for instance America or Germany or is music to Bilocate just what it is to most bands here: a great and thankful hobby, yet as such less priority than daily life (work, school, family, etcetera).
Rami Haikal: Music for us is not just a hobby, it's a way of living and thinking. Many times we have thought about the idea of moving somewhere to pursue a professional musical career, depending on what a professional label could provide for us. All of the band members have their own jobs and families, but when it comes to music, we always find a way to work around everything.

I do see that there is also a magazine like Jorzine: do they have the same difficulties like your band has?
Ramzi EsSayed: Yes everyone is facing the same difficulties when it is related to metal. JorZine is doing a great job: not only for the Jordanian scene, but for the whole Middle East region as it became a valuable source of updates and information for most of the major magazines and webzines. Personally I helped a lot in JorZine before, yet when they started as a project like this, it wouldn't be successful unless everyone helped and contributed; now they are doing great but still they are getting threats and facing issues with the government every time they do something publicly. Even some of their team members are monitored which can be annoying if you know what I mean, not to mention the lack of support from some Jordanian bands and fans as JorZine might be too professional for them I guess, gheghe…

The band has three releases now: a demo and debut called 'Dysphoria' and last year a full length we just referred to: 'Sudden Death Syndrome'. I checked out Holland's biggest e-store for metal, yet they did not feature Bilocate. Can you give us an idea of how hard or easy it should be for people in Europe or America to buy 'Sudden Death Syndrome, or should those interested just contact Bilocate directly? I can't find the label for instance…
Hani Abadi: As Ramzi mentioned earlier, we've been so busy getting in touch with reliable distributors for our album, as we've been getting many requests from all over the world from people who want to buy the CD. However, I shall take this chance to announce the 1st wave of our official distributors and I'll be glad to redirect any of your readers who wish to purchase the CD.

For the USA we have The End Records, (Omega Dis.) theomegaorder.com
For Finland, locomusic.fi
For Benelux, Belgium, Spain, and France, we have metalzone.be
And for Greece and Cyprus, we have 279productions.com

'Sudden Death Syndrome' will be available both online and offline through the stated providers. We are still in touch with other distributors and hopefully, very soon it will be available in every metal store. In the end, Bilocate is still an independent band and we're proud to have such achievements thus far on the music business side.

Any other acts from your area that we should keep an eye on?
Waseem EsSayed: Yes, I would recommend “Tyrant Throne” from Jordan.
Hani Abadi : Definitely “Tyrant Throne”.

What are the ambitions for Bilocate in the near future, and which things can we expect from the band in 2009?
Waseem EsSayed: We have so many plans to work on this year, and probably the implementation will be extended through next year such as the re-recording of 'Dysphoria', releasing a new album, a possible European tour if things go as expected. We shall provide sufficient news in our website as they get confirmed. So keep an eye on our website!

If people want to get in touch with Bilocate, what is the best way to contact the band directly?
Waseem EsSayed: By sending an email to band _N.O.S.P.A.M.@bilocate.net (skip the _N.O.S.P.A.M. – Neithan) and that's the most direct way. However, contacting us through our MySpace profile or our group on FaceBook would be fruity nevertheless.

Thanks for the interview: any remarks or words of wisdom to our readers?
Waseem EsSayed: Our highest appreciation for you Neithan, hopefully LoM readers would find interest in what we have discussed with you in this text. I do have some words or thoughts I would like to add at the end of this interview: To some extent creating out of tone music is not a bad thing because life itself is becoming out of tone, you would just have to keep your music deep and thoughtful, and another thing I would like to add as we here in Jordan are currently living in a region known for wars and political conflicts: War is not only sad, it's also dark! It's too sad to see people capable of killing eachother but when you think of it, it's actually a reflection of a darker concept generated by a high level intensity of collective hatred.

Thank you very much Bilocate for the dedication which you displayed in answering the interview. Hope to see you on the European tour if things indeed work out the way expressed in this interview!

The Dutch news item can be found here.

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