Interview | Zarscene’s drummer Charbel Salem
Mar 31st 2009 Maurice Andary Interviews

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We would like to thank Charbel for the interview.

  • For how long have you been a drummer and what encouraged you to choose this specific instrument?

I’ve been living for rhythms for 3.5 years now. It’s going great. I’m not a drummer originally; it’s quite ironic how I ended up being a drummer. I started learning the Piano at the national conservatory at the age of 7 because my mom made me do it (laughs). And then 5 years later I was old enough to decide to switch to guitar and so I did. I learned Classical guitar for 4 years after 5 years of learning the piano. And during this period I began having a passion for Rock Music. My dad and uncle were a in a band. So as a child I used to fall asleep on Beatles and BeeGees tracks. So I don’t know if I really picked it up from my dad but it sure did help. I discovered the electric Guitar after a year, I was about 15 years old, and self taught my self soloing and rhythm techniques. I stopped the conservatory after doing another 2 years of Composing and music theory. So all in all, I did 11 years.

I was playing guitar in bands at the time, even when Zarscene was formed I started as a guitarist. I even recorded the cover song with the band “She’s gone” By Black Sabbath. It can be found on Youtube. But then our drummer, left to work abroad, and we couldn’t find a drummer that can fit in the band. So the band just stopped rehearsing, and I had a drumset at home. I bought it to make things easy whenever we’re practicing so that our drummer didn’t have to bring his own Drumset every time we’re rehearsing. And so after the band stopped, I just was curious enough to actually sit down and teach myself how to drum. And it just happened. My first gig as a drummer was in late 2005 at our school before graduating. And my band mates from Zarscene were there watching the show and were pretty much impressed, so the band started rehearsing again with me as a drummer.

  • What is the list of bands that you performed with and how many events/competitions have you participated in? (Past-future)

I’ve been with many bands. I was a sessionist many times as well.

But um, Thoughtless Rock For The Uncommon Angel (A.K.A TRUA) was my AUB band in 2005-2006-2007 with our front Jessy Choueiry. We did a lot of shows together such as AUB OUTDOORS, AUB AURAL EDUCATION, outside gigs…We had Samy Gabriel (Alienz) perform with us, it was great… good times.

I left to Canada in summer 07, and participated in many bands as a sessionist. I had the chance to work on my Chops online with famous LA drummer Mike Johnston. He really helped me take my drumming to the next level.

Zarscene was always there. It was my first serious project as a drummer and it’s still going great. I got back from Canada for Christmas, spent 2 weeks in the studio Recording Throne of the Gods. It was a really great experience. I went back. And the band got busy recording the Guitar, Bass, Keys and vocal lines. So I got back in April, had to fight anxiety for 2 months. It was tough but I managed to pull through thanks to my close ones. And then we were about to perform in outdoors but then due to the political situation back then it was canceled. But then we learned about the Future TV competition Show Ajwaa, Auditioned for it and passed. The Episodes are aired every Saturday at 9pm. We shot 5 episodes. Already 2 in which Zarscene appeared have been aired. I’m not allowed to say the results (Rolling Eyes)… If you’re on our facebook group you’ll know when the Semi finals and Finals will be aired.

But yeah aside all that we preformed all around Lebanon, some notable events were:

AUB WOODSTOCKINGs 06’, AUB OUTDOORS 07’, WINTER FUSION, SUMMER FUSION, GLOBAL BATTLE OF THE BAND 07’, Bar louie, Iron Maiden Tribute Night alongside Communion and Metamorphism, Cherry’s, Nova, Cheers Club, Snatch, Gardenight Classics I, II, III.: A good 70 performances.

Zarscene will be performing at the AUB Outdoors this Year. Date is TBA somewhere around May 23rd- 26th 2009.

zarscene-drums

But the third band that is a serious project as well is GBOB Finalists and Shamal competitors Winter’s Embrace (Gothic Symphonic Metal) who’s album will be released in late July 2009. Expect kickass material. The band performed at the Global Battle of the Bands and Went to Dubai to compete for the Desert Rock Festival.

Winter’s Embrace will also be performing at the AUB outdoors 2009.

  • What was your/the band’s opinion after the first gig you performed in?

The first gig was Awesome. I still remember the exact date. It was on July 14th 2006, in a pub in Brummana. We were stressing because there weren’t no Facebook at the time and people have never heard of us. So we were worried we’d give a bad impression to the pub owner if not many people showed up. We actually started our set with just our friends there. But throughout the 3rd song, the place had become packed and the doorman just slams the door open and asks for another guy to help him out with the entrance. And as he did, I saw this huge Line outside. The place couldn’t fit more than 100 people and there were about 130. It was crazy. We felt pretty damn good that day. And so we kept performing all around Brummana since the war was happening back then. And since many people came to Brummana as a refuge, we gained a lot of fans. Our first gig outside of Brummana, was at Nova in August 2006. Back then, not any band could perform at Nova, it’s really a shame how the place turned out to be later on. But it was another great gig there; we made a lot of good connections that got us through Gemmayzeh and…

  • How and when did you join the band Zarscene?

I didn’t join the band Zarscene, I’m actually one of the founders. Elie (vocalist) and I started this project with other band members. And later on we teamed up with Pat (Guitarist) and Sam (Bassist). And then after a while, Ziad joined the band as the Keyboardist.

But yeah, the band was formed in Late 2005.

Throne of Gods- Zarscene:

  • As we’ve seen, Zarscene’s new video “Throne of the Gods” got a huge success worldwide and on youtube. Who’s idea was it to make a video for the song and when did you start working on it?

It was none of the band members’ idea really. We had our song being mastered at the time and so I had this friend, he’s actually one of my best friends from school, come to me and he had this idea of shooting and editing a band’s video clip. And he thought of us since he knew us the most. He’s a genius his name is Ralf Karam. He’s a 3rd Year Student at the USJ (YESAV) and he did all the great work in Directing, Editing, and adding 3D effects to the video.

We shot the video clip in September 26 2008. We went to Farayya. It took us 3 days to shoot the video clip, and 6 months to edit it.

  • With whom did you cooperate to make the video? (Work crew in brief)

Well we’d like to thank Ralf Karam (The Director), Mark Geha Vulture Sound (Sound Producer), and all the YESAV students that did participate in the shooting of the video. They’re all really talented people. I’d love to name each and everyone of them but the list is too long.

  • Can you tell us more about your experience and feelings while working on the video?

To me it was one of the best experiences of my life. This is something I really wanted to be part of. And I’m glad it turned out to be a success and one of a kind in Lebanon.

  • Did you have any trouble shooting the video?

Here’s a funny story. For the people that don’t know how video clips are shot, well, you know how when you’re playing your instrument along with the song while shooting, there’s this giant speaker playing the original track along? Well, somebody forgot to bring the plug that enables us to do so. And since we were in the middle of nowhere, we weren’t going to go all the way back to Brummana to get that tiny piece. So we ended playing the song on Sam’s Cell phone (laughs) and it was pretty hard for me since the drums make really loud noise. I had the cell phone in my pocket playing the song haha.

  • What’s next for Zarscene and should the fans expect any new originals, albums or concerts soon?

We have many plans for abroad. We’re never going to make a living staying here in Lebanon, which is pretty unfortunate because we do have a lot of talents here in Lebanon. I’ve been abroad to many countries and saw many cover bands, and allow me to say that some bands here deserve to go upper ground. As for Zarscene, we’ll be playing the AUB Outdoors Concert in May and then hitting the studio to record the rest of our tracks. The Album is expected to be released in early 2010 hopefully. Till then people can watch us on TV on the Future TV Ajwaa Program and in fact, we have a lot of videos that will be posted online, such as: The video Clip Making of which I’m really looking forward to, and Ajwaa performances. So for the people that are interested, make sure you’re in our Facebook group to get all these Notifications.

I’d like to thank LebMetal for this interview and wish them all the best. Thanks to all the crew that is making this happen. I’m pretty sure that LebMetal will help highlight the talents we have in Lebanon and expose them online for everyone around the world to see. Thank you LebMetal.

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  • scorp

    I just want to say ! I like Zarscene !

    I will be posting a review about their released video soon !

  • elie rassi

    courage!