"I Think If You Know Your Bands From The Early to Mid 90’s You’ll Definitely Be In For a Small Surprise" Metality.net Interivews VOICE OF THE SOUL

VOICE OF THE SOUL have been heavily active lately; starting off the new year with their upcoming headlining performance at Annihilation Gig (5), alongside some of Dubai's most prominent up and comers. The band also recently won Rockability Magazine's "Metal Track of 2010" for the song "Farewell To Hope," taken from their latest EP "Eyes of Deceit" (available for streaming here.)

[Ed note: "Farewell To Hope" was also featured on our compilation album "Metality - The Compilation" available here.]

We got a chance to interview the band and ask them about performing in Dubai for the first time; whether they have any surprises in store for Annihilation Gig, and about the killer line up on the bill. We also talk about the band's most recent release "Eyes of Deceit" and if work has commenced on it's follow up. The band also gives us their tips on ways for newer acts to promote themselves.

Here's how it went:

iRoar: First of all, I'd like to thank you for taking the time to do this. As I know that Voice of The Soul is currently busy preparing for the upcoming Annihilation Gig (5). Are you guys excited about performing in Dubai for the first time?

Kareem: Thanks for having us! Yeah, we definitely are. It’s our first gig in years, and our first gig out of Kuwait. I always would go to Dubai to see Desert Rock Fest, so it’s cool to be able to go but to play instead of just watch. I have to admit; it did take me a while to get over the fact that Ahmed won’t be making it (big frown).

Ahmed: I'm really excited about the band performing in Dubai, except unfortunately I won't be able to make the show due to my university timetabling here in the UK. But the greatest thing about this gig is the exposure. Hopefully, it will lead to many more gigs not only in the region, but worldwide.

Monish: When I first heard about a possible show in Dubai, it was really something to look forward to. We're a Middle Eastern metal band, so there's no better place to start things off than Dubai. Hopefully we have a couple of more gigs in store for us in the near future.

Rana: YESSSSSS! Way excited, I'm sure there’ll be a few "surprises" here and there, seeing as all the members of the band have different experiences, and especially because I'm a new addition…but I’m sure it'll go smoothly as planned! It’s unfortunate we don’t have a full lineup, but you’ll hopefully get a real feel of the full VotS lineup over the summer!

iRoar: What can fans expect for the show? Will there be any surprises in store for vintage death metal enthusiasts?

Kareem: I like to think we’ll put on a show with lots of energy, and hopefully the crowd will be just as excited to see us. Yeah, I think if you know your bands from the early to mid 90’s you’ll definitely be in for a small surprise.

Rana: The fans should expect the unexpected; we're all whacky metal-heads and love to express ourselves in every way possible. The only thing I believe that we all have the intention of doing is pulling off the best show possible and for everyone to have a good time.

Monish: We’ll try to put on the best show possible. I think all fans can enjoy our music, and the least we could do is put on a great show for them. We always want to keep things interesting.

Annihilation Gig includes a diverse line up of bands. Do you think that having a variety of acts perform on the same bill, helps attract a wider audience?

Kareem: Definitely. As a whole, the region’s scene isn’t that great, apart from a very few exceptions. There is no time to show support to local acts based on their genre/sub-genre. We all have to be there for each other. Yeah, it will be nice to see an audience who listen to all sorts of bands. Underneath it all, metal is metal in the end.

Ahmed: Yeah, I think so. The more exposure, the better really...

Monish: I think its great to have a diverse lineup. Bands want to show their potential and having different varieties can certainly generate a positive feel along with a vast sound to the audience.

Rana: Absolutely. Metal isn't very big here in the UAE in terms of big bands and exposure, more or less, especially since the only metal 'festival' has been cancelled, it's slowly beginning to seal itself away again. The only way of trying to regenerate some sort of life into it would probably be through the support of other genres and bands/artists which are willing to help the underground scene thrive for some more exposure and gradually develop into something much greater than what it is.

Back in July 2010, Voice of The Soul released its second EP, "Eyes of Deceit." Looking back at the effort. Are you happy with the end result?

Kareem: I am quite content with it. It was very experimental but still melodic and heavy. It opened the doors for more ideas, and I think we did a lot better than I initially expected, especially considering the setbacks and (unfortunately) mistakes I made that year in terms of band management.

Ahmed: I am. Listening through it, you can tell how experimental an effort it was. The greatest thing we learnt from the EP is what sound we really felt most comfortable with and what formula we want to pursue to create a signature sound that will hopefully make Voice of the Soul instantly recognizable.

Monish: Certainly. I'm really pleased with the entire process. All the efforts we put in have paid off. It was mixed brilliantly. Writing and recording this EP really taught us a lot, especially as we grow as musicians.

With the recent addition of drummer Rana Rassouli to the fold. Has work already commenced on the follow up to "Eyes of Deceit"?

Rana: As I mentioned before, as a new addition to the band, I am honored to be part of the band seeing the amazing efforts and outcome the guys had achieved before I had taken part. We plan on developing their outstanding achievements to the next level, as a whole band. Hopefully, the result will get better and better.

Kareem: I’m quite excited to have our very own Gina Hoglina/Kaia Hahto. We haven’t had a drummer since our last gig that was embarrassingly a few years ago. We all listen to different bands, so a new mind definitely gives great ideas. We’re already working on some new songs.

Ahmed: Yeah, work doesn't really stop for musicians. Especially with all of us in school, we have to make time for music and studying which means we need more time to get a product out.

Monish: It's definitely uplifting to have a drummer in the band. As well as preparing for Annihilation 5, we’ve been working on some new material, as Kareem said, for a full-length album.

Rana: Whether I had joined the band or not, I wouldn't really refer to it as work, as Ahmed said, but the fun never really stops for musicians!

As members of Voice of The Soul are located in different locations (U.S., Kuwait, UAE, and India). Does the internet and online video conferencing aid in keeping the steamroller going?

Ahmed: Definitely. You'll find we're pretty much online everyday sorting things out.

Kareem: The internet has its fair amount of blessings. We all send countless Guitar Pro, video, and audio files to one another with our new areas on almost a daily basis. I’m very thankful for that, and for the fact that we’re all very dedicated.

Monish: All of us are constantly in touch with each other and are updated regularly. I also think living in different regions also helps us come with different ideas. I think it overall works for the better.

Rana: The internet is basically the steamroller for everything if you want to put it that way; the amount of exposure and publicity you can get through it is just phenomenal. Even though it’s not the 'traditional method' of withholding a responsibility of a band, it could be better than anything else, despite the fact that we're all busy with work/college/school, we're able to fit it into our schedules perfectly and work around it.

The Middle Eastern metal scene is growing by the day with diverse bands from around the region. What do you think are great ways for newer bands to promote their music?

Ahmed: Well, ideally the best way to promote is gigging. If you are fortunate enough to be able to gig in your country, any musician should really jump on the opportunity.

Kareem: Take every gig that you can get. Unfortunately, there are not that many clubs that will give you gigs, apart from a select few in Lebanon and a couple of other places. Nobody wants to gig in front of a group of 10 dudes that know nothing but Master of Puppets, but a gig is a gig, especially if it’s a legal one. Another thing is to be active on the internet, especially Facebook/Youtube, and to take advantage of the scene as a regional and not a national thing. Countries in the Middle East are way too small.

Rana: I definitely mentioned this earlier on - The Mighty Internet.

Monish: Again, the internet has been key for Middle Eastern bands to promote themselves to greater audiences. Sites such as Facebook and Myspace have been catalysts to the process bands in the region have gone through in the past. It's a great way for lots of bands out there who want to make a name for themselves.

Once again, I'd like to thank you for taking the time for this quick interview, and wish you the best of luck at Annihilation Gig 5. Would you like to add anything?

Kareem: Thank you, Metality for all your support! I really hope to see you guys at Annihilation 5! I’ll be chilling with everyone, while watching the other bands play, so I hope to meet some of you!

Monish: Thanks a lot. I want to call out all our fans in support and make Annihilation Gig 5 a memorable one!

Rana: Thank you very much, I just hope everyone that attends the gig we've organized enjoys it to the fullest.

Make sure to like VOICE OF THE SOUL on Facebook, for all the latest updates.

For full information on how you can get your face melted at
ANNIHILATION GIG 5. Visit the event's Facebook page.

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