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Interview with Lazywall
What got you into music, and if you had not gotten into music what would you be doing today?
We started playing guitar for fun and one day we wrote our first song. The feeling of creating something new that didn’t exist before was so magical that we knew we wanted to do this for the rest of our lives. Music saved us from having a daily routine. For better or for worse.
What do you like to do when you are not playing music and how does that influence your creativity?
“Mens sana in corpore sano”. Living a healthy life in every aspect. This clears our mind and let much more space for creativity. We know this doesn’t sound very rock’n’roll. But it's Rock 2.0. (Keith Richards just announced at 80 he just quit smoking!)
Even when we are not playing music, our subconscious keeps creating 24/7. Sometimes I could be in the middle of cooking (healthy) dinner and then a voice in my head sings a new melody for our next song.
How long has your band been around?
As Lazywall, 20 years next week. Our first show was on September 23rd 2003. But we have known each other since birth, as we are three brothers. Previously we had a band in Spain that got us quite far. We got signed to Warner Spain and released an album over there. But the fact of singing in English at that time made us move to the UK to form Lazywall.
Where are you based out of and how did that influence your music?
Actually, we are based in Tangier, Morocco and Strasbourg, France. Singer & drummer lives in Morocco while our guitarist lives in France. Since we moved back to Tangier, we started experimenting with local instruments and traditional rhythms and we have recently switched to singing in Darija (Moroccan dialect based on Arabic). Our guitarist has a custom-made double neck guitar. One neck is a 6-string guitar and the other a 12-string Oud (Arabic luth). Our bass player has a custom-made bass guitar, with 2 bass strings and 3 strings of guembri, which is an African traditional bass. Our drummer has replaced one of his drum toms with a Darbuka, and the floor tom with a tribal Moroccan drum called Tbal. We are a Rock band that plays heavy guitar riffs with a distorted Oud. Which people describe as Oriental Rock/Metal Hybrid.
How did you come up with the name of your band and what does it mean to you?
Lazywall is based on a famous place in Tangier, called Sour El Me3gazine, which translates to the Wall of the Lazy ones. This place full of old 19th century cannons lies in front of the strait of Gibraltar and the Mediterranean Sea where you can clearly see Spain. Living abroad for so long, we wanted something that reminds us where we come from. Now, wherever we go, our hometown always comes with us.
Tell me about your most memorable shows.
First memorable show was in 2006. We were, at that point, a growing rock band in the Berkshire local scene and we got a call from Morocco’s only Rock/Metal Festival: L’Boulevard. We landed in Casablanca and found ourselves on stage in front of 20.000 metalheads shouting our band’s name. Going down that stage, we realised we wanted to be part of our country music scene. That day, we decided to move back to Morocco.
Another day we will never forget was in March 2019. We got invited to play at Cape Verde’s Grito Rock festival. Locals told us it hasn’t rained in their country for more than 3 years and that it only ever rains in August. During our show, when we got to our last song, it started raining over our heads. People there told us they will remember Lazywall as the band who brought back the rain.
What is your favorite venue to play at, and do you have any places you want to play that you have not already?
Anywhere people are open minded enough to give a chance to Rock in a different language.
We also love to travel. So, we want to discover as many countries as we can. Cape Verde was one of the most amazing impacts in our lives. Sharing Rock music with such beautiful people was an unforgettable moment. We also want to play in the middle east. We know there is a huge rock scene growing over there.
If you could play any show with any lineup, who would be on the ticket?
Bands that helped us build our identity, the Led Zeppelin of 1994 that came to Morocco. System of A Down, grunge & post grunge elite bands. That’s enough bands to make a festival lineup.
What is some advice that you would give to someone who is just getting into playing in a band and some advice that you would give to your younger self?
We would tell them: Find your artistic identity. Musical and image. Don’t try to be someone else. That will help you be yourself. Take the best of your experiences and remove the bad. And most importantly, keep writing thousands of songs. Believe in your talent, and even if your first song will be crap, the next will be better and so on.
If you could go back in time and give yourselves advice, what would it be?
Be. Open. Minded
Adapt to the new world. It shapes your fans even if you don’t agree with it.
Your fans will come one by one
Of your songs which one means the most to you and why?
Kan Hez Yeddi. In English: I Raise My Hand. We wrote this song in 2003 as immigrants in the UK to remind us that no human being is illegal. It really helped us adapt to living away from home. It had some impact here in Morocco when we first released it in 2010. It’s the song that our fans sing along in our concerts. That’s the most special feeling ever for an artist. You don’t even need to sing because the crowd sings it for you.
Which songs are your favorite to play and which get requested the most?
“Dem 3la Dem” is the most fun but also the most important song to play live. It’s the song that defines our sound the most. Powerful electric guitar riffs alternate with calm oud melodies. It is Rock & Metal but also traditional. The battle of Occident versus Orient in the bridge of the song is a way of showing that at the end both worlds can co-exist. It’s a way to keep your traditions but being open to the outside world at the same time. We are Arabs. We are Africans. And We are Rockers.
What is the creative process for the band, and what inspires you to write your music? Anything that inspires us a thought, inspires us a song. That thought makes us evolve, if it was helpful for us, we feel a need to share it. We write all day long. Most of the time those melodies get lost in time because they didn’t mean much to us. Until one day, we come up with a song that becomes part of us. There are a million ways to create a song. Sometimes you wake up with a melody or an idea from a dream. Sometimes one of us brings a riff and another a verse, and another a chorus, and it becomes a song. Sometimes you pick up a guitar and in 5 minutes you have written a whole song. Another time, it takes you months until you finish a song. But lately, we know what we want so we become more selective.
What kinds of messages do you like to get across in your music?
We try not to tell others what to do. We think the best way to share an idea is by setting an example. So we act. And as artists, we write about what we have experienced and what we think about it. So our songs are not really messages but just our point of view and what we have learned of our experiences. Because we think that some things have to be lived to understand the reality about it. No pointless judgements.
Do you ever have disagreements in your band, and how do you get past them?
We are brothers so the oldest decides. Just kidding! We don’t have a leader in the band. We always try to find what is best for the band or for a song. Knowing each other so well, that’s usually never a problem. And if there is one, usually the one who wrote the song has the final word, always keeping in mind that it should be the best for the song. Most of the time, the song itself tells you what’s best. We did have to learn throughout the years to listen to the voice of the song.
What are your plans for the future, and do you have anything that you want to spotlight that is coming up?
We are actually re-recording some previous songs we wrote in English to Arabic. The plan is to release them in the next 12 months and tour as much as we can. Mostly Europe and the UK. In October we have a few dates in Belgium, France, Luxembourg and England. Hope to see you there!