Almost 7 days left until the 2013 Holy Noise Battle of the Bands, where 6 bands from the UAE will battle it out to win an opportunity to play in India.  As we approach the 16th of August, we had the opportunity to talk to Mohammad Bailouni of groove metal band, Coat of Arms. This is the third band we've spoken to, after previously talking to Obselion and Nightmare Overdose.  Coat of Arms recently released their new album, Sun and Satellites, produced and mixed by Diego Farias of Djent band, Volumes.

Hey Mohammad, how's it going?
Everything is good my man. Looking forward to the show this 16th!

So give us a little background on Coat of Arms, for those who don't know about the band. You guys started out in Abu Dhabi but you and Amir have since relocated to Qatar.

Yeah well Coat of Arms started off with just me alone at first while I was at University in the UK. While writing some songs, I started calling a couple of dudes I knew from the UAE scene to try and put a band together. After a number of member changes between my vacations, it finally settled with Liam for bass guitar, Kareem for drums, and myself doing guitars and vocals. Amir at the time was sessioning guitars for our live shows but became a full time member not long after. Kareem had to step down as full-time drummer because of other personal commitments and session for us instead. Since then, Amir and I have moved to Qatar because of our jobs, while the other guys stayed in the UAE. 

Your new album Sun and Satellites came out this past spring and has been your most successful release to date. How was the recording and overall preparation process different for this album than previous releases?

I think the main reason behind the success was down to the time taken to write songs, and obviously working a renowned producer who is specialized in our genre. Over the 18 months of writing, there must have been about 40 odd songs fully written for the record, but only 8 made the final cut. I think the time away helped us develop a unique sound between what we were and what we wanted to be. We were always known as a standard metal-core band, but after Sun & Satellites came out I think we shocked quite a number of people with how much we had developed our sound. A lot of that might be down to the use of 7 as well as 6 string guitars, which forced to me experiment with voicing’s and progressions. It wasn’t too hard writing in 7 because it was my first instrument anyways, so that sense of nostalgia probably had a lot of my teen influences work their way into the writing style. All in all, we definitely feel it is something unique. You’ll find everything from industrial metal, djent, progressive metal added to the sound along with some of the metal-core we’ve been known to do.

We had the record mixed and mastered by Diego Farias, who is the guitarist of the California Djent band Volumes. He is probably one of the best guys you could ever wish to work with and has an incredible musical mind that basically facilitated us having an original sound to the album too. A lot of people that heard his work with us were so surprised because it doesn’t sound like any of his other projects, it was totally unexpected and novel. The way he heard and interpreted the music was totally in sync with what we were trying to do, and not only did we get a fantastic sounding record but made a reallt good friend along the way. 

How has Coat of Arms been preparing for the 2013 Holy Noise Battle of the Bands with you and Amir in Qatar and Liam and Kareem in the UAE?

It’s not easy preparing for any show when you’re not in the same country, but you basically have to use as much technology and resources you can to your advantage. We’re already quite accustomed to the songs but a lot of the work goes into making each show unique and ensuring our fans get value for what they pay for. 

We’ll basically get together a week before the show and go everything in detail after we’ve all done our individual preparations. I guess what I’m saying is you can’t run a band spread over 2 countries without a solid internet connection and a Skype account. 

Do you or any of the other members from Coat of Arms have pre-show rituals or traditions to galvanize yourselves?

Not really anything specific to be honest. I would say the only one with any pre-show traditions would be and my vocal warm ups but that’s standard really. Another would be Mango Juice. Liam always need to have a solid pint of Mango Juice to ensure he’ll have a good show haha. 

For those who haven't seen you live, what can they expect from a Coat of Arms show?

Energy, movement, and a good laugh! We always try to make sure that when people come to see us, whether it be 15 or 50 minutes, they know we are leaving absolutely exhausted. I think people have come to expect that when we play any show, they’re fully getting their entertainment value. We always make sure that we have a couple shots of good banter somewhere in the show too, so don’t be shy to make yourself heard!

Do you have a personal favorite track off Sun and Satellites?

We each have a different personal favorite. Mine is definitely “Black Holes” for so many reasons (lyrics, melodies, guitar work, production, etc), while Liam’s favorite is probably “Notes & Chords” and Amir loves “River Weser” because of the lyrical theme.  

Which of the other bands are you looking forward to seeing the most at the 2013 Holy Noise Battle of the Bands?

With all honesty, I can’t really say one band in particular because I have personal affinity for a number them in different ways. I mixed and mastered Obselion’s EP and I’m currently in the process of finishing Nightmare Overdose’s EP as we speak so I’m both proud and excited to see both those bands because I’m somewhat attached to their songs as well as being friends with them through the work. I’ve never played with them before either, so it’ll be a new experience. I’m also really psyched to see Voice the Soul because they’re a band I’ve never managed to see but have always wanted to, so I’m definitely anxious to see what they are like live!

Any last words for Metality's readers?

Thank you to everybody out there who supported and checked out “Sun & Satellites” and actually forked out some money to keep it going for us. We just hope that all the readers and everyone out there in the UAE metal scene’s comes out to the show. From over 15 years experience in this scene, I don’t think I’ve seen a better underground local-line up for a very long time. The line-up really has a great balance to it and I think everybody who comes out there, regardless of their personal taste, will go come out having enjoyed almost every band. If you’re under 21 and bummed you can’t come, find a way… it’ll be worth it! We all know what happened to Falcao and Obefame Martins hahaha! 

Be sure to download Sun and Satellites through Coat of Arms' Bandcamp page.

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