Progressive metal act from Lebanon, Turbulence have just released their debut album titled Disequilibrium. Guitarist Alain Ibrahim answered our questions about his beginnings in music, forming Turbulence, the album, and more.
How did you first get into music – through school or your parents played music?
I made a lot of whining when I was around 13 years old to get my parents to buy me my first electric guitar, and that’s exactly how it started for me. I grew up listening and challenging myself to play a lot of music from the likes of Dream Theater, and I was constantly determined to get better and better, so that was kind of my school. But our educational system does not include a notable music program, and my parents didn’t play music either, I used to watch a lot of music videos where they’d used an electric guitar and I got hooked.
What do they think about the band – do they support you?
They just admire the fact that I’ve left ‘everything behind’ in pursuit of a successful music career. Things are very different here in Lebanon, to this day the style that we play is still somewhat frowned upon by few, and in the generation from which my parents come, rock and metal were still deeply buried underground. So to say that there is full support from them would not be true, but they aren’t standing in my way that’s for sure!
What was the first instrument you picked up?
The first instrument I picked up was the classical guitar, but quickly started focusing on the electric guitar shortly after.
How did Turbulence get together initially as a unit?
Mood Yassin (keyboards) and I had listened to each other’s work on social media and decided to get together for a jam. A couple of weeks later we kind of had these demos almost completely ready and were discussing about production for the tracks. And while that was happening, we decided to throw our first ‘Dream Theater Night’ concert which became our thing here in town. After we had thrown 2 DT nights, we had tried out some of the best musicians in town and settled down for our current and final line-up: Owmar El Hage – Lead Vocals. Alain Ibrahim – Lead Guitars & Back Vocals Mood Yassin – Keyboards & Piano Charles Bou Samra – Bass Guitars Sayed Gereige – Drums
What is your working relationship within the band like?
What I love about Turbulence is that we all want the same things and we all have an identical sense of humor, so we can mix between business and pleasure. (Sometimes we get too carried away but that’s alright, haha!) Usually we all make decisions together, having the sake of the band on the top, and when things get tough, it’s Mood and I who make up a solution to follow. But thankfully, we haven’t had any problems with this, and I’m happy to say we are all close friends in the band and personal relationships between the members are great!
Do you identify as part of specific Lebanese scene or with an international scene of heavy music bands? Do you feel part of any community?
No we don’t feel part of any community whatsoever. Mostly because we are not yet delved in the international music scene, and there isn’t another band in Lebanon that plays the style that we do, which is kinda cool. But it would be nice to feel part of a certain international scene. I guess we need a second album to help us kind of pin point our sound in order to belong to a certain category or community.
Yes it was. It is difficult to reach out to labels these days, especially from a country like Lebanon. We are really interested in finding a home for ourselves and our music, but sadly there hasn’t been any contact with any record labels.
What’s the touring like with Turbulence? Do you play a lot in Lebanon?
Financial obstacles pushed us into a 2-year period to be able to finish producing Disequilibrium. We grew a lot in that period and we found ourselves in a place we want to write again. And that’s exactly what we’re doing right now, laying out a skeleton for the second album, which is causing us to keep the local gigs to a minimum right now, especially since Lebanon is an extremely small country and you find yourselves playing in front of the same people wherever you play.
Are there any plans to tour other countries?
Touring for the promotion of Disequilibrium abroad is something we are highly interested in and it’s on the top of our priority list. So far, no chances have presented themselves and budget does not really help us go on our own, but we are working on it, and we can’t but hope for the time being.
What are five riffs you wish you had written?
The middle riff in Faith In Others – Opeth
Opening riff in Dehumanized – Symphony x
Opening riff in So Much To Say – Dave Matthews
Thought hard about this, but could only think of three. These are riffs that I don’t just adore, but I truly wish I thought of them first.
If somebody flipped through your record collection what would be an unusual or unexpected record they would find?
I loved this question. But unfortunately I lost my record collection in a flood 3 years ago…