Formed in 2014, Lebanese Groove/Thrash Metal band PHENOMY released its debut album Once and for All in 2016 on VIA NOCTURNA records. The band continued their onslaught with their second album T.W.O released in 2018, followed by winning the Wacken Metal Battle (Middle East) that same year.
- Tell us about your experience as the 2018 Wacken Metal Battle Winner (Middle East)? Did that give you more confidence to continue making music and aim for more international recognition?
Winning the Wacken Metal Battle in 2018 was a huge step forward for us.
Specially that we got to play in the biggest metal festival in the world. The experience of being there, meeting all these artists and promoters was helpful and a milestone in our career. But making music was always what we do, and we do music that we’d like to hear and we believe some people would relate to that. It’s something we got to do to stay sane you know. But we obviously learned a lot from all the artists we met and watched at Wacken, specially on stage presence and how to put out a show.
- Lebanese band KIMAERA played in Czech Republic in 2010, and have had a name for themselves in Eastern Europe ever since. How is it like for you to perform there, and do you feel it’s a good stepping stone for emerging bands, especially from the Middle East? What are the challenges that come with playing there?
We toured almost all Eastern Europe countries, so we really believe it is a place where starting bands can grow since the scene over there is really looking forward to hear some new bands and specifically bands from “exotic countries”. Obviously, touring 5 countries, with 12 gigs, in 15 days was really hectic and tough for a band touring for the first time. But this is where we learned all the stuff we needed and still use today. We went back to play at “Metalhead Meeting Festival” in Romania in 2018, sharing the stage with “Children Of Bodom”, “Soulfly”, “Epica”, “Kataklysm”, “Carach Angren”, “Sonata Arctica” and many more. The crowd reception was great and they were very supportive by buying merch and meeting us after the show. We played “Ostrava V Plamenech” last year in Czech Republic and it was most probably one of the gigs you never forget. We still receive messages to this day from people who were watching us and we can’t wait to get back there and kick ass again once the pandemic is over.
- It’s interesting that you released a music video for your interpretation of
Metallica’s “The Memory Remains”. Will you be dropping some music videos or even lyric videos for your original music?
“The Memory Remains” was a song that we decided to record just for fun, but the idea of releasing it with a music clip came along as a tribute and specifically to the band who influenced us the most in our career, Metallica. Actually, our next music clip is coming out in just few weeks and we can’t wait to share it with you all.
- How was it like for you this past year, given the COVID-19 quarantine / lockdown measures in Lebanon? You did release a lockdown-cover of Nine Inch Nails’ “Hurt”…
Obviously, like everyone else all our plans for this year were turned down because of COVID-19 and everything that has been going down in Lebanon. Our third album was supposed to be recorded in Spring 2020 but as you know, money transfer and getting things done were impossible during these times. So everything has been set back, but we are getting things done as fast as we can and we hope that we can start releasing new material very soon. The covers and Quarantine Jams we released, were a way for us to stay active and motivated.
- Tell us about everything about Phenomaniacs and “Make The Scene Great Again”, it’s the first time we see a local band looking at the scene from such a different perspective.
We believe anyone who helps, support in any way our band, is indirectly a part of it. “Phenomaniacs” is a label we give to our fans, we believe that they belong to the Phenomy family because without them nothing would have been possible. “Make The Scene Great Again” is a slogan we used in our last gig in Lebanon, because finding a place where we can perform and gather as metalheads had become impossible over here. Finding a place like Nova, where the metal scene was very alive and well years back, convincing them to bring back metal concerts in their venue was a way to give back hope for Lebanese metalheads.
- Name your top 5 Lebanese Metal albums of all time – bonus points for choosing 5 different bands.
Honestly, we don’t have favorite Lebanese metal albums as we have different tastes in music. But we love and respect them all and we wish them all the best for sharing the same passion as us.
- What are you listening to recently? You have to mention at least one non-Metal album/artist, since you are inspired by ethnic music (Arabic, Celtic, African…).
Well obviously we are so hyped about the latest Metallica release “S&M2”, Lamb of God’s self-titled album is insane and always in our playlists. Gojira’s latest release “Another World” is epic we loved their music video. We listen a lot to nonmetal music too. Tech N9ne has released a really awesome album this year, Tigran Hamasyan is an artist that we admire of course, Aurora has a very unique and interesting ethnic sound.
- Finally, what can Phenomaniacs expect from your upcoming album?
Well all we can say is expect something fresh and different. The album is very groovy, very dark and will set a more original identity to the band. Previous albums had influences from bands we were inspired by, this one is much more personal and is really exciting.
Also thanks to LebMetal for having us and thanks to you Patrick. To all of you Phenomaniacs out there, we miss you, we can’t wait to get back on stage and see you all. We got epic new material coming out as soon as possible. Stay heavy, stay safe!
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