Mohammed AlMeshkhas: Diminishing Genres
October 10, 2011
Mohammed AlMeshkhas, a very talented bass player from Bahrain, took some time out of his schedule to answer a few questions about his music. Amazingly enough, he’s also been and is currently part of a diverse list of bands which matches perfectly with his solo work. His work tends to be very original with no real genre boundaries to curb his creativity and vision. While Mohammed is still working to get word out on his solo work, I think that it has potential to blossom into something wonderful and I hope that it reaches as many ears internationally as possible. So please enjoy listening to his work while you read our interview.
The most notable thing that I've come to notice is your specialization in bass guitar. What made you pick that instrument in particular and what is your approach to playing it?
At first I started with lead guitar, but I always was interested in the bass because I find its sound really beautiful and powerful at the same time; so I picked up the bass guitar and till today I keep exploring it along with music theory. The bass guitar is used in all genres of music, but I prefer its approach in Jazz because it is being used with full potential and that's how I prefer to play it when I'm jamming or doing my own music and even with metal bands.
You mentioned that metal is your musical roots, so, how did you get into the metal scene in Bahrain and how did that tie in with your first exposure to rock music in general?
As a kid, I used to listen to pop, hip hop, techno and gradually I was into soft rock and then my father introduced me to Metallica over the radio. I started to get into them and System Of A Down as well, and after learning how to use the internet I was listening to bands I couldn’t find in music stores in Bahrain. That’s how I got into metal, I guess I always loved the aggressiveness in music. As for the metal scene in Bahrain, it's quite small. There are few metalheads here because being in an Islamic country metal is considered as “satanic” and a “bad tendency”, but I was inspired by a local band, Motor Militia, after peeking at a small gig in a club and since then I started playing in metal cover bands and serious bands that never lasted because of the weak scene and the posers in it.
Was it particularly hard to find Western instruments during the time that you started? What was it like back then to acquire them versus how it is now? Any changes?
The options in Bahrain for musical instruments and gear are very limited. We have shops that sell low quality or old instruments and gear for high prices, and most people just make online orders for the particular instrument they have their eye on. But recently, a musical instruments store “Room to rock” was established and it brought top quality instruments and gear from abroad, as well as, providing musical lessons and fully equipped jamming rooms for bands.
Which song creation process do you find yourself enjoying most, solo or band work? Why?
When it comes to song creation, definitely solo because I have a clear idea of how the song will go and the whole pattern for it is drown in my own head.
Speaking of which, how many bands are you involved with aside from you current solo project? Does it get a bit hectic and how do you tend to manage that? Which one holds the most priority for you right now?
Currently, I’m with the death metal band Rain in Hell, in which we are currently working on our first album and a speed metal punk band called Punks Not Patriots. It is hard to keep going on my solo project while focusing on the bands, but somehow I manage to keep it going, like when I get back from work late at night I compose a song for my solo project and spend a few hours on weekends to record it. I don’t like to think about how I do things, I just do them.
I prioritize the bands first, but I still put my solo project on the same level because I enjoy the type of music I make that I will most likely not find in any other musical project here.
What made you decide to start up your solo project and, even more, have it released under your real name? Is there any risk in you doing so despite it being religiously and politically neutral music?
Since I started learning guitar, I’ve been composing and I wanted other people to hear what’s in my head so I thought… why not? As for me using my real name for the project, I never was sure of it even recently I thought of naming it, but I thought it was more genuine this way… after all, the music does reflect myself. I don’t think there is any risk in making instrumental/experimental music, I’m not involved in politics and even if there were religious views that go against my music, I have the right to express my mind through my music.
Have you ever considered adding vocals to the project? Why did you decide to go purely instrumental and What is the overall concept behind the project?
I find instrumental music to be as exciting as any other music and I never thought about the project including only instrumental music… it just happened I guess, but actually adding vocals is currently the future plan. I think I passed the course of me singing in the shower and it’s about time I gave my songs even more meaning to them.
The concept of this project is definitely reflecting my emotions and feelings into the music I make, as well as views or thoughts… like the most recent track I made “Running Away”, I composed it and recorded it while trying to avoid confrontation with reality after being rejected by a girl I like. Each song I make defines an experience, chapter, thought, feeling or emotion I’ve been through in my life.
Since this project is composed of just you doing everything, how hard has it been for you to learn instruments that you aren't particularly used to playing as well as doing all the mixing? Do you feel that you still have some room for improvement?
I do find myself in hard dilemmas, especially with recording some hard parts for instruments other than the bass guitar… but nothing's impossible. I definitely am improving with the mixing and editing process of the songs more than anything, and I hope I still keep improving in the future.
What future plans do you have for the project? Do you plan on carrying it into something "serious," full-length release with a label or self-released, once you feel it's ready?
For short term plans, I plan to add vocals on the songs as I mentioned earlier and I’m probably going to make a self released album available for sale in Bahrain only. As for the long term, I never actually thought about it, but if I get offered an opportunity and I feel that I’m ready I don’t see any reason why I would turn it down. I love music and I love playing it, why wouldn’t I go on with my life doing what I love doing the most.
Thank you for taking the time out to answer these questions for me and the site. As a closing remark, perhaps you can describe for us your personal take on music in general and its role within the human condition.
Thank you for interviewing me, it’s been fun answering the questions and thanks for featuring me on the site. I believe music is something in us all and it expresses our thoughts or feelings and lets them out. Everyone has the gift of music and for many people music is a driving force for their daily lives just like a morning coffee; when a marathon runner jogs he listens to music that pumps him up and keep him going, when a tired soul listens to a good song he or she feels better. Music is life and I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for it.