author EW date 05/02/09

Surely my most unexpected contender for ‘Album of the Year’ for 2008 was Bilocate’s "Sudden Death Syndrome", being as it was from a band I had never previously heard of and coming from a country not exactly renowned for it’s extreme metal – Jordan. Yet it was these reasons that made Bilocate's album so exciting. After some delay on my part I finally got some questions over to the band, intrigued to find out from the horse’s mouth what it was like to grow up as a metalhead in the Middle East, a region notorious for religious zealots to stamp down on anything ‘rock’, let alone ‘death metal’. After reading I suggest you check out my review of "Sudden Death Syndrome" and check it out for yourself. Hi there, please introduce yourself and the band to
Waseem: Hello, thank you for this opportunity; it’s highly appreciated, I’m Waseem EsSayed, keyboardist and music coordinator of Bilocate, also the founder of Orjuwan project, I’m 24 years old and I live in Amman-Jordan.

Bilocate is a Jordanian Dark Oriental Metal band that’s built upon the dedication of six members as follows: Ramzi EsSayed (Vocals), Baha Farah (Guitars), Rami Haikal (Guitars), Ahmed Kloub (Drums), Hani Al-Abadi (Bass) and me. You guys are the first band I’ve ever heard to originate from Jordan, and one of the few I’ve heard from the Middle East region. Firstly, please tell me who/what the inspiration was for the group of you to form Bilocate a few years ago.
Waseem: Mainly it’s our shared love for music, and our belief that music is one of the most powerful methods to express thoughts and feelings. We listened to music-namely rock and metal- since most of us were about 6 or 7 years old, and simply we found a connection, and we enjoyed every second of every song we listened to until we reached a phase when we decided to start developing such music and so we have, and here we are after a long 6 years of non-stop hard working, getting recognized for what we have accomplished. It goes without saying that (extreme) metal bands have always had a difficult time of it in the Middle East region, with notably Acrassicauda (Iraq) recently exposing many of those difficulties via the thought-provoking documentaries based on them. How have you found being a metal fan and musician growing up in Jordan?
Hani: So hard actually, imagine for a moment the whole society is against you, rejected and labelled as Satanist (which is totally not true), without having the right to defend yourself nor express your point of view.

The authorities made crystal clear we’re not allowed to perform live in our home country, and to dissolve the band, we’ve been though this pressure most of our entire life throughout our teenage until this moment! What is the current state of metal in the region? Is there any bands in particular that you would recommend?
Waseem: Metal music in our region is still in its infancy, although you can hear names who went international long time ago like Orphaned Land but still when you compare this scene to other scenes the difference is clear, some bands are trying to make an achievement working hard and the like, others think that metal music and establishing a band is something to show off, so it’s not much stable, if I should name a band as a recommendation definitely it would be Tyrant Throne. Could you foresee the Middle East becoming a more major player in the metal world in the coming years or given the political and social instability in the region as a whole at the current time will it remain very much an underground phenomenon?
Hani: There are talents in this region, but the problems they face suppress it, to the point they kill it, take for example Bilocate, we’ve spent 4 years prior to our 1st live appearance and we already had ("Dysphoria" EP and album out), so as any new band playing live is very crucial to express your music through stage performance, so it's so hard, but I promise you somewhere in the future the Middle Eastern scene will be like the Scandinavian metal wave. Mark my words, I've seen many young musicians trying hard and surly it will payoff eventually.

One of the factors that are being missed here is to have a professional metal label to promote and sign the bands in the Middle East and distribute their albums worldwide, in addition to dedicated metal festivals & concerts to be conducted in this region featuring Middle Eastern bands to attract the media and add the Middle East to the metal world map. Was it a natural decision for the band to incorporate elements of your culture ad geography into the sound or did you specifically decide to take this direction?
Waseem: I believe that when you develop music it should reflect who you are, as it becomes somehow of an identity for you in the music world, so yes it was a natural decision. “Sudden Death Syndrome” is a brilliant album let me say first and foremost, exploring many different facets of metal to create a sound similar to some others but not derivative of anyone, finishing up one of my favourites of 2008. What reactions have you experienced to it in your region and more internationally?
Ramzi: Local reactions were great from magazines in the Middle East (JO magazine – Jordan, TimeOut Magazine – Dubai, J Magazine – Kuwait, On Campus Magazine – Jordan & Internationally the reactions were even more, getting featured in Terrorizer – UK, Metal Hammer – UK & for sure as well as many other magazines and webzines, this is regarding the media side, furthermore "Sudden Death Syndrome" attracted many distribution companies that are currently selling the album among a list of other major bands’ releases. What are your personal thoughts on the record now that you’ve had a few months to look back on it? Do you look back and spot weaknesses in it or find yourself happy with it still?
Waseem: We are definitely proud of what we have presented to the music world, I believe we have delivered something different and worthy of the time we spent preparing. We always tend to enhance in depth our way of thinking and our music with time, so I would spot angles of the album to be taken in consideration in our development plan rather than spotting weakness points. Am I right in saying that the album was released independently? Have you been approached by any labels prior to or since the album’s release, or how come you’ve not signed with anyone thus far?
Ramzi: Yes, you are absolutely right. Sudden Death Syndrome was recorded, produced, financed and released independently by Bilocate it wasn't easy as we are all working in day jobs so we can finance the albums ourselves, and you can say we are still suffering financially from this but the outcome paid us back the moment we officially released the album and listened to the final mastered CD we received from Jens Bogren in May 2008.

Since we released Sudden Death Syndrome we have received demo submission requests from labels and we have submitted the CD to almost every label in the metal music industry, but we haven't got any feedback so far except from some labels who tried to take advantage of us being from the Middle East and thinking that we would accept any deal just to add a label logo in our profile, most of the contracts we received were in the benefit of the label and nothing were mentioned to encourage us, so we took another direction as all of us come from a business background. We started looking for distribution at this stage waiting for the proper label to sign with as we are still looking heavily for the right one that will understand BILOCATE and appreciate our efforts to bring up our musical career with and jump to the next level, currently The End Records is selling our album in the USA which is a major breakthrough for us along side other major deals we signed with MetalZone (Benelux), Loco Music (Finland), Daxar Music (Middle East) and 279 production in Greece and Cyprus.

Still the doors are open and we hope after having the album got featured in the top lists of 2008 ( and nominated as the best Doom Metal album in 2008 by and after the 28 reviews with very high ratings in different parts of the world labels will be more encouraged, as Waseem mentioned above we have 2 other records to be out from now till mid of 2010. The performance on “Sudden Death Syndrome” is highly professional from all band members and the performance is staggeringly good for an unsigned band, allowing all the instruments to be heard and making songs like “The Dead Sea” sound very dark, yet majestic too. How did the band achieve such a high level of performance with presumably a low budget?
Ramzi: I guess a straight forward answer to this question will be time and professionalism, we have high standards and since we have finished composing all the tracks and recorded them roughly we were controlled by our standards which prevented us from presenting "Sudden Death Syndrome" in any lower quality and performance than the one you heard, we knew it won’t be easy being in a region where you hardly can find engineers and studios and even when you do they won’t have any previous experience in metal music so the production will be weak, so we started a research campaign and contacted many but we only had one target which is to achieve a quality to project the album as it should be projected, in our style if the music isn't clear and the instruments are not mixed correctly the whole track will become weak while all the composed lines are strong and creative.

Again the album reflects our thoughts and beliefs and for sure we had to give it our full force performance as it’s what we believe in. Has the band any intention to tour internationally in support of "Sudden Death Syndrome"?
Waseem: We are trying to arrange a Euro tour later this year, hopefully our negotiations would be fruity, you know it’s a bit hard to be undertaken for an unsigned band. What ambitions do the band have regarding it’s ultimate success and where you would like to find yourself in 5-10 years time?
Waseem: Touring the world, create more music, and express more ideas, get more recognized, and get the genre which we have founded "Dark Oriental Metal" more recognized to be a first level subgenre. And finally, how long will we have to wait for album no.3? Has work started on this one yet?
Waseem: Currently we are re-recording our first album "Dysphoria" or actually we are re-producing it, as it will include some changes in the songs and definitely the sound will be different from its current state, and we have already put plans for a new album to be released maybe in mid 2010. Please leave any final words to encourage readers to check out Bilocate…
Waseem: Music is a way of thinking, the more you are thoughtful the deeper your music is, this is one of our main guiding principles, so if this is interesting for you then you shall find what you are looking for in Bilocate who come from the Middle East/ Jordan.

Thanks very much for answering my questions and best of luck in the future.
Waseem: Thanks, it’s been really great to answer your questions, and we highly appreciate your support.

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