Elia Moussawir is founder/admin of Lebanesemetal.com and managing director of E.M. Management. This interview should tell you the rest…
What was the first concert you attended abroad? What was your main impression of a “Big Event”?
My 1st abroad concert experience was in Sydney, Australia… The concert hosted gigantic bands like Megadeth, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Mudvayne and others. I was in an awe, that was an experience out of this world… I always wished we had something similar in Lebanon as at that time we definitely lacked such adventures in the oriental region, especially when yourself and other 50,000+ rock fanatics singing in harmony all the lyrics, all at the same time! Since then, I’ve been to many festivals around the world but that experience took my breath away and surely is the dearest to my heart.
When did you organize the first trip for a concert abroad? How did it all go? What are the trips you are planning now? What budget should the travelers put aside for each trip?
I always had the thought of organizing trips for concerts outside Lebanon, but since I had no experience I couldn’t just plan anything without the right available resources, so that was a step that I had to study for a while until last year when I decided to test my capabilities… I put in a lot of efforts and pulled in some strings and eventually I managed to organize a trip to Sonisphere Turkey and gathered over 100+ metalheads to enjoy legends like the Big 4 and other international artists (Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer, Anthrax, Rammstein, Manowar, Accept, Mezarkabul…). This is how the long road trip idea came up and everyone encouraged it. The trip itself was a killer, but it was a great fun for all, we will never forget the laughs we had, the games we played and all in all the great rapport we built together on that bus. Now, for this year’s trip, E.M Management is organizing a double adventure… The first one is to France (Clisson) to attend one of the biggest festivals “HellFest Open Air 2011” June 17-18-19, headlined by Ozzy Osbourne, Rob Zombie & Scorpions. The budget for this trip is approximately 1000$ which includes all trip expenses except food/drinks consumptions and the tents.
Since Unirock Festival this year timing has changed from its actual date and it would be much later in the year, it was easy to organize another trip to Turkey. September 9-10-11 will witness big names like Opeth, Mayhem, Katatonia, Hammer Fall, Between the Buried and Me and the Lebanese ambassadors of doom Kimaera (another reason to join us eh?). However, I can’t confirm anything yet until I’m back from France.
How much was “Rock in the Woods” similar to the international events? Will we be attending “Rockin’ the Woods 2011” this summer?
As much as we try to create the same international atmosphere in the events we run in Lebanon, we can never get the same outcome, even if we organize events for big acts. However, Rockin’ The Woods was pretty much similar to Woodstock festival, except that the acts were strictly local and somehow limited, but I’m sure we provided to performing bands an opportunity to experience something they‘ve never lived and tasted before and the feel of the actual international event system.
Sadly this year we won’t be hosting Rockin’ The Woods due to bigger plans that will steal the thunder out, but hopefully 2012 will be the right time for it.
I am aware that you played a role in having many Lebanese Bands play abroad in major gigs (bands like Kimaera and Innerguilt )? Can you tell us more about that?
Clearly, if I wanted I would have done it much earlier, since I worked with labels like Century Media & Open Grave Records, but at that time I was losing hope in the scene and its bands, due to the personal conflicts that was going on between them. But now I have my own company which helped me a lot, plus having Kimaera & InnerGuilt members as my good friends gave me the push I needed to start some kind of “Revolution” or in other words “Make a Difference”, and I chose the right bands to represent Lebanon and the Lebanese Metal music to the world.
Kimaera stole the heart of everyone in Czech Republic and every now and then we are getting invitations, so hopefully we will go back to Czech soon.
The journey just started, and soon enough the world will start talking about the Lebanese Music productions!
Everywhere in the world now bands are losing their contracts as labels are suffering bankruptcy. Albums are barely sold as they are downloaded and we here are trying to lift the scene up and help the bands produce and distribute their music all over the globe. In your opinion, how can we attain our goal?
Well to be honest and a little bit blunt, Labels care about money more than they care about the music itself and the experience. I had a successful mix that helped me, right timing and great bands. The timing was essential as the Middle-East was hibernating from the international scene but now Labels, Promoters and whoever is someone in the music industry is noticing the region and wants to use its raw potentials.
Lebanese Bands are in for the MUSIC and not for the fame or the money (at least the ones I work with and know personally) and that what’s making the difference.
What is ironic is that the music industry around the world is going downhill and in Lebanon it’s expanding, if you ask me how is that happening? My answer would be that I have no clue but I could see the support and loyalty of the fans towards their favorite bands and I think that would be enough to lift up the scene and the music.
To achieve any goals, we have to be persistent and having my country’s bands perform alongside with the pioneers of metal is making us attain the biggest goal of all.
What is considered a webzine? How can the webzines support the scene? Do the webzines expect bands support in return?
A webzine is a website and a magazine all at the same time, rich with all related subjects, for example you could find everything related to Lebanese Metal bands in LebaneseMetal.com, from News, Discography, Biography, Photos, Interviews, Reviews. So basically you don’t need to surf another website to be able to get the whole info.
Nowadays, the internet plays a big role in people’s lives and everyone is turning into an electronic pc geek, so Webzines are an interesting way to interest everyone and really support the scene, and as a fact supporters are keeping the webzines alive and running, it is definitely a double deal and everyone is happy at the end of the day. Many international bands contribute on metal websites FOR FREE just because they think the website is supporting them, and this is exactly how it should be.
How can Lebmetal.com and Lebanesemetal.com work together to support the scene?
Both sites are strong contributors to the success of our music industry and they are doing their part to deliver the right image of the metal scene in Lebanon; In fact they are doing a great job which will lead us soon to host really big names! So tune in…