Hailing from Al Ain, UAE, Apeira is one of the few metal bands that have emerged from this region that is known to have low tolerance for heavy music. Having recently participated in the Metal Asia Compilation, and now already set to perform at this November’s Metal Asylum Open Air Festival, undoubtedly the biggest metal fest in this strict Muslim region, we talk to the band members to learn more about their history, and the difficulties they face as a band.
Al: Well we started back in 2009 as Aeon Omega and there were four of us, Osama who was our rhythm guitarist had to leave UAE for university, and after that we just started working on our own material deciding to release an album in summer 2011. After releasing our track Mayhem Unleashed we shot up on ReverbNation Charts to second band in UAE local metal charts right after the mighty Nervecell and now here we are.
Apeira was formally known as Aeon Omega. Was there a particular reason behind the change in the band name? Was there a significance behind the name “Aeon Omega”?
BaM: First of all, in simple words Apeira just sounds more simpler, less complex and more catchy than “Aeon Omega”. Before really starting the band, we had this pretty cool symbol that we always thought it would be an awesome band symbol which was an “Omega” symbol behind an “A” letter, and by time we figured out the right word for the “A” which was Aeon. So, there we got Aeon Omega, where “Omega” meant the ending, and to put this word “Aeon Omega” in action, it means that this is the final Aeon… Lameness of meaning and it’s complexity made us just change the band name.
Apeira, as stated on the band’s website, is the land of infinity. How did the concept behind the name of the band come about, and how does it relate to the band’s music?
Al: Well Apeira comes from the word Apeiron which is Greek for infinite, unlimited, boundless. We have vast lands we call continents, Asia, Africa, Australia, America and vast empires, Persia, Syria…all ending with ‘a’ therefore to us, Apeira represents the ‘Land of infinity’ which in other words is the afterlife…Heaven and Hell. Being progressive the band’s music has a number of oriental type songs mostly Arabian in nature and the album we are currently working on ‘Gates To Apeiron’ is basically a story based on Apeira and how a man finds his way to it.
Hailing from Al Ain from the UAE, we are particularly curious about the metal scene over there. Perhaps you could enlighten us by telling us a bit about the metal scene in UAE?
Al: Al Ain in general doesn’t have a good metal scene I could say that we are the only metal act here however in Dubai the metal scene is growing fast…its turning out to be something huge!
Sherry: the metal scene in Al Ain is really not good, barely anyone here listens to metal… but if we look towards dubai, its one of the cities in middle east which has metal growing really fast.
With the UAE being a mostly Islamic country, are there a lot of restrictions on the type of music that bands play and the lyrics written?
Al: Well that restriction always is there particularly in the middle east but all I can say is we haven’t come across any difficulties so far hopefully it will stay that way.
Sherry: well UAE is one of the Islamic countries which is filled with different types of cultures, the only problem we face is that the music we play is that its kinda loud and neighbors get really annoyed… but considering the religion with music we play, we don’t have any problem yet.
BaM: UAE, being an Islamic country is not an easy place to play metal just anywhere, and it’s really hard to find your band a solid gig. However, organizations like Rock Nation and Metal Asylum are doing a pretty good job organizing gigs and gatherings for metalheads around UAE. Lyrics wise, it doesn’t matter as long as we’re not writing satanic content, but in fact, our lyrics’ main purpose is to motivate the listeners to carry on with their lives, and just to give them an idea that when all doors close, another one opens. So nope, no satanic stuff… maybe in some songs later. haha
How did the band members first come into contact with the metal genre?
Al: Well actually it’s a funny story, in Al Ain the metal scene is very small, almost non-existent. So almost everyone over here has a background in RnB and Hip Hop…I were mostly into that until about 10th grade and then BaM, who has been my closest friend since 6th grade introduced me to metal and yeah all I can say is that I got brainwashed into it…I now am a proud metalhead! And about BaM…he was in the RnB phase as well but since he was a skateborder (Note: WAS…haha) he liked punk music n basically moved on to metal.
Sherry: well I was into rap and RnB as well because as a kid, I liked to hear something which I could understand, metal at that time kinda sounded just like noise, but when I came in contact with metal in grade 10 by one of my class mates… I kinda liked it cause I started concentrating on the instruments one by one and understanding the skills it takes to play such stuff… and I have been into metal since then.
Back to the band’s music. Are there any themes and concepts that the lyrics to your music revolve around? Al Ain is known as a garden city, so does the nature in Al Ain provide you with the inspiration to write music and lyrics?
Al: The theme revolves around the afterlife just like the band name states, as I mentioned earlier we are working on our album and the story of the album revolves around a man heading into the afterlife. Once we are done with this we are going to work on another type of story but with the same general concept of Heaven and Hell and how people think about it. The way I write the lyrics is more like the verse of each song talks about a part of the story and the chorus is something like our message to that man and everyone listening. Al Ain’s nature helps a lot, well we don’t really get a lot of ideas looking at trees and stuff but just going up on Jabal Hafeet n just sitting there on the rocks…has a peaceful effect and stuff.
Sherry: well the theme that our music has is kind of motivational, its for people to start living in a very positive prospective, for people to value life and do something good when your in it and definitely the atmosphere around us helps. Compared to Dubai or Abu Dhabi, Al Ain has a very good atmosphere which is less stressing than a humid and polluted area.
With the band’s music being labeled as progressive death metal, are there any difficulties that you encounter, having only 3 members? For example, Al has multiple duties in the band, including keyboards and bass. How does the band handle when performing live?
Al: Yeah, playing live is not really easy since we are a three piece band so the music we play live sounds a tiny bit different than the recorded tracks we post but just as good.
Sherry: yes we do face a lot of difficulties with the lack of band members. For example Al started learning bass aside from the keyboards and bam started practicing singing while playing leads on the guitar… things like this really does help in playing live, but what we miss now is a rhythm guitarist. We had a rhythm guitarist (Osama) before but unfortunately he had to leave back to his country for university and since then we have been a 3 piece band.
BaM: Well yes we will find difficulties playing live and we require a rhythm guitarist at least. On the other hand, the songs recorded so far are pretty melodic and listeners might label us as melodic death metal, but the reason we label ourselves as progressive death metal is because we have many different ideas of songs and riffs, so the next coming songs that will be recorded will show our progressive side. Besides, when it comes to composing, I love the freedom of composing. I don’t like limiting our riffs, or lyrics or music in general, because I have many ideas for composing songs, and it’s nice to have different colors in our music.
The band will be performing live in November at the Metal Asylum Open Air Festival. How is the band preparing for it and what can followers of the band expect to see at Apeira’s performance?
Al: Before university began we pretty much were practicing everyday and now we do the same just on weekends though, good news to fans of Apeira, we will feature our new track Apocalyptic Fear at Metal Asylum Open Air Fest. 2010, never before heard and I personally guarantee you will love it, also we will show you a preview of another one of our oriental tracks Path To Sanity so get excited!
Sherry: well we have been practicing a lot during the past summer, but again, “neighbors” don’t really like my drumming…. we have been using a drum precautions instead of a real drum set because “neighbors” dislike all that noise. So having a drum precautions help us to adjust the volume. But, we guarantee that we wont let our fans down and we guarantee that they would love the performance.
With metal being a generally frowned-upon music genre in Asia, very few people can actually make their band a full-time job and have a day job when not touring. Do the band members have any day jobs to support the band? What are they?
Al: We are students at the moment so we don’t really have full time jobs although I do tutor some kids at college and some school kids, also give some classical piano classes.
Sherry: well its still long way for us to get to our jobs which gives us the opportunity to concentrate more on our instruments and studies.
We have come to the end of the interview. Thank you once again and we wish Apeira the best of luck in the November performance and any other upcoming endeavours!