Today, I have the brilliant Amadeus Awad here with me. He started his solo career in 2010 and already did an EP, an album, tours and now a new album on the horizon! He looks very busy, doesn’t he? Even so, he was kind enough to take the time to answer my questions to him!
And without further ado…
Amadeus, Patrick, and later Elia entered the studio to work on a new solo album by Amadeus Awad, which later developed into a collaborative work and resulted in the birth of a new sound and a new band. Amadeus Awad’s EON deviated from the Instrumental virtuosic playing of Amadeus Awad, and adopted a heavier Progressive sound.
Lady Obscure: Hi Amadeus. Looking at the written material about you, I can see that even though the project is Amadeus Awad’s EON, you never use the word “I” – it feels like you love your family of musicians, the connection to them seeps through. Am I reading this right?
Amadeus Awad : For me, a band is one harmonious body, I truly believe that everything I write as a solo artist or as a part of Amadeus Awad’s EON is influenced by the vibes of each member in the band.
I think that my ego as an artist is a mosaic of the ego of each of us in this band, we are a family.
Lady: That is a brilliant way to look at it! So, you have some very big names making music with you. How does it feel to be accepted and loved like that early in your career?
Amadeus: It is really overwhelming and inexpressible; I do not know what to say about this; only yesterday I and the band were talking about this… We are in a state of denial I suppose.
With all modesty I believe that the music I and the band produced is up to the standards of these artists; each and every one of them expressed to us that the material is amazing.
Not to forget the fact that what I write is credible and sincere; My music and my lyrics are a true representation of my life and that of those around me, and this helped a lot, the artists I am working with connect to my stories.
Lady: So, as a person who has been in relatively more contact with what is going on in the Middle East, I should say that it is actually admirable to gather so much renown in so little time. You know, compared to what it would be like if you were from a European country for instance. How would you describe it? I know what is expected from the individual around here is not always the best for an artist!
“The Book of Gates” is the band’s first studio album under the new name. The album features new instrumentation and arrangements, unseen oriental elements and most importantly guesting international musicians. So far the band announced working with Kevin Moore (ex-Dream Theater /OSI/solo) on keyboards, Timo Tolkki (ex Stratovarius/Revolution Renaissance/Symphonia/Solo) as Guest Guitarist, Amanda Somerville (Trillium/Avantasia/Aina/Epica/Kamelot) on Vocals as the Queen. Stay Tuned as the band will soon announce the two remaining International Guests…”
Amadeus: Oh well, in the “Art” sense of the region, I am an outlaw, a bird who strayed so far away from the norms, though I am not the only one.
Things have been pretty hard, and they will continue to be very challenging; regardless of how big our success is on the international level, at home it will not be easy.
But I can proudly say that we surpassed our goals as a band, we had sold out shows mostly everywhere we went and people are really digging our music, my solo album “Time of the Equinox” is selling like crazy, what else should we ask for?!
Lady: Turmoil and pain produced many good artists. Now, poetics aside, would you say that the turmoil and hardships surrounding the region have hardened your resolve to have your voice heard? Do they reflect on your music?
Amadeus: Of course, art is a result of what surrounds the artist inside out. I’ve never really written about war, but I am sure the civil wars and conflicts that are prominent in the region have a great impact on each of us. It is part of my dream to promote an aspect of this region that the western media often deliberately forget. The Middle East is not a land of terror and war, there are artists, free-thinkers and activists who are working day and night to reflect a better image of the region, and we like to be an essential part of this.
Lady: You have an instantly likeable presence, a virtuoso level command of your instrument and the perfect first steps for a world renowned career – an EP, a full length album with excellent musicians, a tour and a lot of mentions as well as plans with some of the very well established names in the music scene! How would you describe your first few years as a solo artist? In terms of how it makes you feel and what have your hopes and dreams became along the way…
Amadeus: Being in the very core of things, it is very hard to judge!!! I keep trying to express how the journey feels like so far, but I find it impossible. Once thing is for sure, I know that my dreams are coming true through hard work, and when I say hard work I mean it. I forgot when the last time I had a normal sleeping night was.
Lady: So, as you know, “oriental vibes” as they came to be called has been becoming a major part of the progressive scene by day. I know from experience that however much one may like the western music, once Middle Eastern, always Middle Eastern. Do you think you leverage your command of the Middle Easter music enough? Also, how do you view the western musicians integrating the half tones of the sort of generic Middle Eastern music to their progressive layers?
Amadeus: I do not think that my command leverage of any style of music is enough, I am still learning. I play what I feel; being a Middle Eastern gives me an edge in that department and not on the technical level; it is all about sounds and moods for me.
I like that our music and culture have so much influence on western musicians, it is a source of pride.
This fusion is important, it brings the world together.
Lady: Agreed! It is my view that we come from a proud heritage – in the past, the lands we live on were the home of many inventions and creations that served as the milestones of the modern civilisation. How do you see the generic view that the Middle East is both uncivilized and exotic? Pragmatically, I do like the fascination with the Middle Eastern culture as thanks to that fascination I get to listen to good progressive music with aspects that speak to my soul. Do you think you and the doubtless many who will follow on your footsteps will make the Middle East understood better?
Amadeus: What makes these lands so exotic is the fact that their mysteries are not fully unlocked yet, look at the pyramids, look at the fact that all of the prophets were born and raised around here and that religions emerged from the souls of the great men who lived in this region!
This exotic mystery is the secret of the Middle East, and no, to be honest I do not want it to be understood, I want it to live on, I want us to keep exploring and wondering. This is what is so inspiring about our regions.
It is a fact that these secrets and mystical vibes have affected and still, a lot of artists and thinkers around the world; we are privileged to have this as a part of our daily digest.
Lady: So, other than the Middle Eastern vibe, what the progressive aspect of your music mean to you? Both as a listener and a as musician?
Amadeus: Prog simply means expressing yourself with no limits and no rules. It is where all the styles, genres and methods meet.
Lady: Let us talk about your music then. How did you start to put together your musical and thematic elements? How did they evolve?
Amadeus: It all starts with what surrounds you. Music you hear in the cab, on the streets, the prayers, and the generic music on the TV. All affects you. Later on you start discovering yourself through the music of other artists, and the elements start taking place. You feel that the ever-day sounds and sceneries you took for granted are prominent in your character, they form a huge part of who you are.
This is how it started for me, a huge fusion of many different, sometimes conflicting, elements that I encountered in my life.
Lady: This coming album is personally special to me as one of my favourite keyboardists is coming on board… Kevin Moore… How did your paths cross? He is not the only big gun on your arsenal either. Amanda Somerville and Timo Tolkki are also VERY exciting names. Tell me about these collaborations… Looks like we’re in for a treat!
Amadeus: I love Kevin’s work; I am a huge fan of the early Dream Theatre albums, and a die hard for the O.S.I sound. The guy is insane; I have always thought that the ultimate thing is to have this genius on board taking care of the keyboard department; in the early stages of writing “The Book Of Gates”, I told the guys in the band that I will contact Kevin to have him record the keyboards for us; of course everyone thought I was losing my mind.
Amanda Somerville is the queen of female vocalists, she was the first artist I confirmed for this EP, and I got to admit that when she agreed to sing on the EP I knew that things will go forward with all the other artists I wanted to contact, simply because I consider her the hub that links all the great bands in the world and she knows good music when she hears it.
Timo is an influential artist who worked with every big name in the music business, his views on humanity and love had a great impact on me when I was growing up. He helped us a lot during the last 2 months and there is no way we could thank him enough for all what he did for us.
Having him on the EP is a great accomplishment and I am looking forward to announce further details about his involvement with Amadeus Awad’s EON.
I do not want to tease your readers, but we still have HUGE names to announce in the coming days, so stay tuned folks.
As for the treat, I will leave this to when we release the EP and see how the audience will react to it.
Lady: Oh I can’t wait to hear about them and I’m sure my readers will be looking forward to it as well! Are you happy with the albums so far?
Amadeus: Right in this very moment I can say we are satisfied and proud. I believe we need to get away a bit from what we created in order to judge, we are in the middle of it all now and it feels like a huge storm invading us.
Lady: Could you tell me about the lyrics, themes and concepts you focus on? How did the ideas come about, and how do they influence the writing process? I know our lands have a good bunch of inspiration in its history and its daily life!
Amadeus: The theme for the coming record is based on the Egyptian Mythology.
I like to depict stories that are directly connected to what is happening around me and in my personal life; I just give these stories the right settings to make them more universal and well connected to humanity in general.
I guess the fact that I read a lot of Panchatantra when I was a kid had a big influence on me, I always create characters and settings that would translate my views and feelings in a metaphorical way.
Lady: So, are you composing all the songs? Writing the lyrics?
Amadeus: It is a collaborative process; I created the foundation for everything and the guys in the band contributed to building the concept both musically and lyrically.
Lady: So what bands do you and the other members draw your inspiration from?
Amadeus: Pink Floyd, King Crimson, Dream Theatre, Avantasia and Kamelot, to name a few.
Personally I am highly influenced by Richie Blackmore.
Lady: When you are writing your music, do you focus more on catering to the audience or do you make music for its own sake?
Amadeus: Art for Art’s sake.
Lady: OK, let’s talk about the future… What do you see there?
Amadeus: We want to be recognised as the band that broke the norms in the genre that we play.
Lady: Are you guys going to get more involved in performing live after the album comes out? What’s next? Another album? Touring? Any international tours?
Amadeus: We have plans for many live performances and tours, it is all taking shape and we will be sharing the news once they are confirmed.
Lady: So, do you find being on the road more exciting than the studio?
Amadeus: Completely 2 different feelings, but for me personally the stage is my home.
Lady: OK, lastly, when you look back your music career, what do you consider to be your greatest accomplishment?
Amadeus: I just started!!! The greatest accomplishment is that I believed enough, both in myself and in the band to actually dare to produce “The Book of Gates”
Lady: Thank you for this lovely chat Amadeus! I personally can’t wait for the album!