We are Creative Waste, a grindcore band from Saudi Arabia, Fawaz Al Shawaf on bass/vocals, Essam Al Ghamdi on Guitar and Talal Al Shawaf on Drums.
The band recently released its first FL ‘Slave to Conformity’. Well I went through the album many times and it’s a great album. How are the initial reactions?
Very good actually! it’s been received very well, which is a huge relief because we worked our asses off, and took a long time to get the sound we finally arrived at.
The album was released independently, how hard or easy is it to promote any release without any record labels these days? We, of course, have the comfort of internet and can reach millions all around the world.
There’s a trade off obviously, but it’s much easier to actually release something. The hard part is getting noticed with there being more bands than ever because it’s gotten much easier to do something, and what makes it even harder to get noticed over here compared to any band outside is that we don’t really have a scene in the sense of playing shows. To have people attend and spread your name via word of mouth, etc… The only way to play shows is to go outside, and it’s not that easy for us just to travel and tour everywhere. It costs a lot of money that we don’t have! Based on our budget, time and resources, with those things taken into account we try to do whatever we can. So it’s all about financial situation really, whether we’re at a point in time where we feel that we are financially comfortable enough to be able to fund our trips or not, if that was not an issue we’d definitely be doing shows left and right given that there is nothing we would rather do more than that. Playing awesome shows, seeing new bands and meeting awesome people who can relate to you in one way or another and learn whatever you can from that.
–And yeah, what about piracy through internet ‘cause sooner or later everything will be free for download?
The internet is responsible for almost everything we are “as a band” today. If it weren’t for the internet I don’t know if we would have known about extreme metal, if we didn’t we wouldn’t have been exposed to grindcore and the bands we draw our main influences from. Without it we don’t know how or what we’d sound like right now.
We downloaded our fair share of records for bands, mainly because there was no other way to obtain these records in our part of the world. It’s so hard! But things started changing around 2007 to 2008, some metal bands started showing on the shelves of local music stores such as “Music Master”. We were also able to get our hands on some of our favorite records from our neighboring country Bahrain, but thorugh an order and sometimes the records would cost almost twice the price we’d pay for if we were in say Europe or Amercia. Piracy is almost impossible to prevent, I can understand that it can really hurt bands who want to make a living off of their music. But you can’t deny it helps other bands in ways that they couldn’t exist otherwise. So it’s a double edged sword. So only the “Real” dedicated fans will support the bands or the music style they love.
Well it’s actually a combination of a lot of factors but mainly we start with how we feel first and foremost, and then try to find the best way that we’d like to release these feelings in a way to release these negative feelings in a positive form, which I believe is our music. As far as the musical influences go, each band member has his different influences and preferences, because mainly we listen to a lot of music. However in the end we all agree on these following bands as our main influences responsible for our sound today:
How well do you think the band has grown from its first demo ‘Colonies’ to its latest full length?
I think we’ve come a long way since then. You can probably hear it the second you turn on each record. You can almost immediately notice the huge difference between all of them, in terms of performance, songwriting and sound production. Which brings us much comfort to see listeners mention that.
Well, we do live in the middle east, so you wouldn’t be wrong to assume that. However, there are recent events that did make things that much more tense. Things are starting to become more obvious than before, people outside are becoming more aware and the media is doing their best to spin it in their own way to serve whichever country or interest the media belongs to. These events did help with the lyrical aspect, a huge part of it is because of our situation, but it’s not only the middle east and the uprising that’s going on. There’s the occupy wall st. movement, there’s other people that are going through hard times in Africa, Asia and everywhere else. All of the normal day, honest people that have to eat shit because they were not fortunate enough to have been born in the “right” family or race, or class.
I mean there are sick, demented, control freaks and evil people that are either causing this harm or helping it to grow, whether it’s an individual or a collective, for a reason or not. Everything that any person does, will in one way or another effect all of us. .
There is a decent number of metal fans, but it’s discouraging to try and do something like starting a band or something, you would have to be really dedicated to do so. I mean as a band you could go for 6 months to a year or two average of not playing live shows. Because there are many different barriers and inconveniences that you would have to take into account as a band, let alone a rock or metal genre oriented one. Not many bands can handle that headache and pressure. And as far as music being banned or not, all I can say is that this country is so full of contradictions, you just can’t make any sense of it. You can’t really know what is legal and what is not legal officially most of the time. For instance Women driving here is prohibited, but… It is not illegal. I’ll leave you time to think about that for a sec, and once you figure that out. Try and think of music from that point of view.
And the public perception plays a huge role, not to mention the religious police who make sure you don’t have any kind of fun. You’d mostly be taken somewhere and get beaten by someone with a double digit I.Q. and a triple digit income, as the late George Carlin would put it may he rest in peace. But hey! we still find a way to do it haha!
Live music scene was prominent at one point, we were under the radar and things were going so well during late 2004/2005 when we were no more than 4 or 6 bands in Saudi, and then the scene started to exponentially grow with the help of our friends in the Western province from Jeddah, but up until late 2008. New organizers, from out of nowhere starting showing up, maybe because they saw it to be a good way to meet girls and make lots of money. They obviously thought they can easily do what we did for 8 times the price we charged at the only show we took money and we the charge was something just to recoup what we spent in order to book the venue in 2006, that was when shows started to evolve. So these guys show up, thats when things started to get out of hand and the greed of the new comers (organizers) drove the scene to the ground, needles to say they ruined the fun for everyone, and 2 organizers got pinned for the last show in late 2008, one got deported and the other was in jail for like 8 or 12 months. And now we’re back where we were 8 years ago, but hey what are you gonna do?
As far as the shows we did in the United States and Maryland Death Fest the year after were definitely one of the greatest experiences we’ve had. Never before did we play in front of a crowd who understood exactly what you were doing and where right there with you with what you’re playing. Not to mention the great and awesome people we got to meet during those trips, they’re simply too many to name. But everyone was just so cool and nice, we’re really looking forward for another trip there in the near future.
-Any immediate tour plans in support of the release?
No tours as of yet, maybe some shows here and there. Because we still don’t have the time or budget for that right now, however we are playing on May the11th with great “Hate Eternal” and Deathmetal band “Perversion”, which is a great band from the UAE, you guys should definitely check out their latest full length “Pillars of the Enlightened” great stuff!