Hussain Shargi: Embracing Solitude
February 12, 2014
During a long hiatus, a friend came to me with an album and a request. That I just listen and give him a review of it. So I did, but instead of writing out a formal review for the site, I decided to do an interview. Thought it was better that readers got the perspective of the musician on this one since it really is a personal project. The project’s name is Longfulness and you can buy your own digital copy here. Hope you enjoy the music and the read.
What inspired you to start Longfulness?
I had many musical thoughts in my head with no outlet and I didn’t have people who share my type of passion for certain music. So, I decided to do it all by my self.
A lot of people from what you have told me, categorize the band’s genre differently. I took some time to reflect and I think it is more melodic funeral doom. What genre did you have in mind during the initial creation phase and how did that evolve gradually into what the album sounds like now? And how would you categorize the final product?
Initially, I didn’t really think much about the genre itself because I wanted to make melodies that have a certain depth to them like an inner message where the melody tries to explain an emotion. I wanted to have an atmospheric product that speaks on an instrumental level, so vocals where not a priority at all. The album evolved gradually in a doom metal format where the last identifying key was vocals; they would decide the genre. Since the album took 2 years to make, the feel of the album progressed through time. Due to the instruments are heard without “effects,” it was hard putting it in the post-rock genre and since the album has a lot of melody and without clear vocals it was hard to put it in the doom metal genre. I’m still confused to this day, but one thing I know for sure is that the album speaks on a personal level.
I noticed that about the vocals. You can hear them, but they are no more than a whisper. Vocals can be very expressive and I think that despite the lack of emphasis on them, they add something to the entire theme of melancholic surrender to solitude.
Yes they do, it is a beautiful metaphor! They add a certain atmosphere, a whisper is always something personal, a secret! From me to you.
Beautiful. You can feel that in the music. Another thing that struck me was the album art. I know you said that it was hard to find support for this project over there. How was the concept and execution of the logo and art born for the album?
In the beginning phases, I asked my friend Husain to do the artwork for the album (he won the best artist award in Bahrain and is currently studying art in London), but circumstances stopped the relationship of working together on the art work. The concert for the artwork was a person turning into a butterfly through metamorphism, through solitude, through finding strength in loneliness and turning it into something beautiful which were the wings. Then I started searching for artists online, but couldn’t find an artist that has that “special thing.” While I was listening to Wintersun‘s album, I’ve saw the cover and I really liked it so I googled his name and surprisingly enough he had the same idea already done! Do I contacted him and bought two of his artworks, which are the album covers.
Concerning the Logo, I asked my friend Moh’d Salim, who is an engineer, to draw me some ideas for the logo, and we worked on from there until we finished the final product. He also did the album’s information. An interesting fact about the Logo is that it has an O above the E in longfulness, which is an Arabic symbol that means "tranquility."
That’s pretty awesome. I like how everything about this project is well thought out and it all has a purpose. You mentioned how it has taken 2 years for the entire album to get done. What were some the challenges that you had to face with getting it done?
Money, production, doing the mixing and mastering abroad. It is hard to communicate online for finding the right sound and vision for the album. Also managing to do the album while doing my studies. I deprived myself from social luxuries and saved up, also, used all of the money I got as an inheritance from my fathers death which was about $2000, that helped me tremendously.
Takes a lot of dedication. So since you had to do mixing and mastering abroad, I am assuming that in Bahrain there are no means to do that. Correct?
There are, but the studio that I recorded with didn’t have time for the mixing and mastering process, because the guy who is in charge is in Dubai most of the time. That was a good obstacle, because I got to work with the highly talented Richard Campbell who is a multi-instrumentalist from London.
Nice. Also, I am sorry to hear about your father’s passing. Did that impact or inspire some of the album’s lyrics and music?
It did, in some of the lyrics. Such as: “Bury the dead right sided as a symbol of acceptance in paradise.. devour sorrow with a distorted vision of heaven and oblivion that is the end.” The term “right sided” is part of the burial ritual in the Muslim world.
Being how this is clearly an extremely personal project for you on many levels, how do you feel you have grown musically with it? What kind of projects do you see yourself doing after Longfulness or are you considering producing another album in the future under that name?
I will definitely work on Longfulness. I’m already working on the next album, but it will be a while before it is out! I’m not looking for 15 minutes of fame or money, I just want to make honest music that speaks deeply. Turning negative energy into a positive one is something really amazing! And to be able to do it in music where it can be molded into a beautifully melodic piece is something beyond my conception of what reality is. Beautiful noise if you may.
I agree whole-heartily. One more question, and this more to satisfy my own personal curiosity for selfish reasons, when you wrote the lyrics did you initially form them in English in your mind and why did you decide to have them in English instead of Arabic?
Interesting question. In my head, for some reason, when I try to think about deep stuff it’s in English mostly and about funny stuff it’s mostly in Arabic. I wrote them in English, but they were written in phases almost every line separately. Sometimes I read what I wrote and can’t believe that I’m the one who wrote it. Language is just making a noise to communicate a message, and the album is also a noise to communicate a thought. But perhaps it’s only an echo.
But echos always lead the curious to the source. I can empathize with rereading one’s own writing in disbelief. It has happened to me several times whenever I do read my work..which is not often. Do you find it hard to listen to the final product yourself, as if for you, mentally it would be a step backward? As if now that you released the emotion and passion, it reminds you of another facet of yourself? Another time perhaps?
I made the music I wanted to listen to, so I like hearing it, but when I get feedback about the album it gives me a new perceptive as to how the album is being understood. I don’t feel like it is a step backwards, but it feels like a nice reflection of what can be made with negative thoughts. Probably when I’m older, maybe in my 50′s when I try to erase my past as a musician and focus on religion to save my ass out of hell. Who knows how damaged I am. Time will tell.
You know, that’s a good way of looking at it. Thank you for sharing your work with me. I felt honored to be able to hear it and I hope that one day it can be released on a tangible physical medium worldwide; despite that not being your intent.