(Picture, clock wise: Band Mashrou' Leila in the Raasuk concert in city Amman, photo taken by Muath Selwadi. The band just arrived to city Amman for their Raasuk concert, photo taken by Art Medium. Illustration of Haig for their album Raasuk by follow band member, Hamed Sinno)
MVD: I was going through the comments one your Youtube channel the day you published Lil Watan video. Some liked it and some hated it. Everyone was coming with his/her own explanation to why they thought it was bad. I personally loved the message behind it and how heated patriotic anthems often blind people. Some even went to as far as throwing Hamid’s sexuality in there. Do you ever respond to such e-mails?
HP: No, we don’t bother. The nice thing happening about the Lil Watan video is that there has been a lot of discussion.
It started off with a hate-filled reaction and people saying ‘Oh my God we weren’t expecting this from Mashrou’ Leila! What are they doing.’ Then people started talking.
A debate started. We see it on Facebook and Twitter. I think it is a very healthy discussion. This is also a different representation of our society.
Hopefully one day in the Middle East women will have rights; have the right to give nationalities to their kids; and the right to defend themselves from oppressive men.
Right now things are sad especially with what is happening in Syria, Egypt and Tunis, in addition to parts of the gulf area that no one in the media talks about.
Maybe the day will come and homosexuals will have a say on how they want to lead their lives.
MVD: You are the darlings of the Arabian underground and alternative scene. How do you classify yourselves as a music genre? Can you say your music is alternative?
HP: Alternative to what? Pop music! Yeah maybe but at this point we refer to ourselves as independent Arabic music. All these labels they don’t make sense. We reached a point with internet that does not allow you to know what it is called anymore. Music is always available and you have access to it and people share it.
MVD: Is there a country that you really enjoyed performing at?
HP: Jordan and Egypt are crazy experiences. They have masses, People here have this star fascination syndrome. ‘Oh my God it is Hamed Sinno. Please come back Mashrou’ Leila.’ They sing along and know all the songs. This is amazing.
When we went to Istanbul we were impressed because people don’t speak the Arabic language. The same happened when we went to Montreal. It was out of this world. The place we performed in was packed. The place fits 800 but it had over 1000. It was packed like a box of sardines. Everyone was singing even though half of the people attending don’t understand Arabic. This is music; it makes people feel something. Music is the way to moving forward.
Watch Mashrou’ Leila مشروع ليلى – Lil Watan للوطن