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Arts and culture

The Incompetents: “The audience longs for the unexpected”

BEIRUT | - January 04, 2015, 18h39
Par Cindy Riechau
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After over one year's break they finally play another concert together: The Incompetents will perform at Metro al Madina on January 6. Their show is entitled "After all, we're not complete strangers". We totally agree: With their sound, experimental and catchy at the same time, the band managed to build a big circle of fans in Lebanon during their seven year's career.
We met three of the five musicians to talk about their band's past, present and future. Hello guys. Well, you didn't play since your last show in December 2013. Why the long break?
Serge Yared: Well, honestly, we didn't even call that time of not playing a break since we didn't know what would happen in the future at all. We stopped playing for several reasons though. First of all many of the band's members have their own music projects and jobs in different countries and secondly one of them, Fadi Tabbal, got married. So arranging rehearsals was just impossible.
Stephane Rives: It still isn't easy for some, like me, are still living abroad.

So after all that time fans are probably excited to see your show on Tuesday. What can they expect?
Like always when we play a gig no song will sound exactly the same. It is our tradition to arrange our songs in a different way every time we perform it. So people will hear new versions of the old songs as well as a brand new song.

Speaking of which: Do you have plans for recording a new album any time soon?
In fact we do. We wrote a couple of new songs and we will write some more to record them within the next months.

So when writing these songs where do you get your ideas from? Who is writing new material generally?
That would be me. After I write the lyrics and melody the whole band would arrange the songs. Well, as for the inspiration, we get it from our environment and our multiple backgrounds I guess. To me our songs embody the character of Beirut.

Many bands of the local scene would probably proclaim that of their music. So what is it, you think, that sets your music apart from other Lebanese Pop and Rock bands?
Paed Conca: Definitely our multiple backgrounds. Every member of the Band brings in their own input and their own musical history.
Serge: Yes, everyone but me is a professional musician, Paed for instance played Hip Hop and Metal before, that makes our sound very rich. We combine experimental music which is very free with pop which usually is very strict. To me our music is a chaos inside a framework.
Stephane Rives: Actually the Arabic spirit is like that – free and experimental. But in Pop Music this is a very special thing.

So do you understand yourself as an Arabic band?
(Laughing) Well, the French-German TV-Station “Arte” once stopped making a Documentary of us when finding out that we are singing in English – not exotic enough. But we are what we are. Many people find our mixture weird but we also know that many Lebanese are waiting exactly for that kind of stuff. Everything in this country is so stuck, so the audience longs for the unexpected. If this is Arabic, then, yes, so are we.

The Incompetents were found seven years ago. What changed during that time?
I am not sure if it actually was found. In fact Fadi Tabbal and me just recorded an Album together so basically the Album was first – not the band. We just hired some musicians to perform it's songs afterwards and so “The Incompetents” were born. Meanwhile, of course, we grew a real band and during all those years our sound changed a lot, we are progressing and trying to create something special over and over again.

Those changes of your sound probably also happened due to the new musicians which joined the band during the time.
Absolutely. As for me, when I was listening to them the first times, I thought they have great potential but they really needed something to put their shit together. So I told Fadi, who was a friend of mine: Chalaz, do something, tighten the rhythm! And later I integrated and did my part to complete their unusual sound.
Stephane: So did I. I immediately wanted to join them after seeing them play the first time. I thought: they are very unique and I felt I should bring something personal in it. So I did. I used to play a lot of improvised music, so for myself I had to play less free which was a big challenge. The sound of “The Incompetents”, however, gained a lot of freedom thanks to my background I think.

Doesn't it cause problems sometimes playing with so diverse people in one band?
(Laughing) Well, we love challenges and risks better than the comfort zone. But seriously, most of all it means a huge enrichment for our sound.
Stephane: Exactly. Everyone is a big inspiration to the others.
Serge: Our biggest problem might be the lack of time. But however, we'll always find our opportunities to play.

After all we're not complete strangers
Metro Al Madina,
January 6
9:37 pm (sharp!)
Click here for more info on the event
Ticketing Phone: +961-76309363+961-76309363 (Monday to Saturday:12 to 9 pm. Sunday 2 to 9 pm)
#Lebanese_artists, #Lebanese_bands, #Lebanese_rock_band, #The_Incompetents
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