MVD: You also edited and directed El Hal Romancy video. Tell me more about that experience!
HP: The whole process of writing El Hal Romancy is that we did everything from A to Z. We recorded everything ourselves. We have set up our own studio. We did the album art. We worked with this amazing photographer, George Audeh and did photos for the album.
Hamed designed everything. We did the same when we were doing this huge mega concert in Beirut. We designed the stage and the lighting. Everything was a bit rushed. At some point we really wanted to do a music video.
All the while I’ve been doing short videos and we decided that we needed a music video to represent the maturity that was happening with the band. People had this very cute idea about who the band is and what they represented so we wanted to push that in a way that the band members are not in view. It is a completely different person. It is somehow introspective but at the same time she, the girl in the video, is in this city.
It was a no budget project. We had a very tight schedule. We had a day and a half but the main actress backed out so we had to find a different person.
MVD: There was a lot of running around!
HP: Yes. Editing was very quick even though things did not go as planned.
(Picture: Haig is wearing a white and blue checked shirt from Massimo Dutti.)
MVD: What does El Hal Romancy imply? Is it about finding hope in a higher place or suicide as a solution?
HP: That is the thing. The video was supposed to have a different ending. We had to come up with an alternative ending. For me it is not a suicidal thing! She is actually looking up and trying to know what will happen next in an unknown future; an open ending. It is a song about our current interpretation of what loves is and how it affects us, especially in the region, and how we see ourselves in the future.
MVD: The region is getting fucked up! Lebanon’s political arena, as in other Arab countries, is quite fucked up.
HP: Everywhere else is very f*cked up as well.
MVD: When you look at that through your music do you say fuck that shit we are the voice of our generation now? Where do you see yourselves as a band?
HP: It is affecting everything. We are not separate from what is happening, especially from the things happening in Egypt, Tunisia and Syria; the things happening in Palestine, Kuwait and Bahrain. We know a lot of people there. Every time we visit we realize the importance of the situation and the effect it is having on everyone.
You cannot distance yourself from this. You have to embrace it. This is how you are able to step back and have a different insight and project yourself. Our music isn’t about what has happened and what is happening, it is more about the possibility of what can happen. It is about narrating stories with open endings.
MVD: Like life itself.
HP: Like life itself. You are living the moment now and tomorrow you don’t know what is really going to happen, especially in the constantly changing battle ground in the Middle East.