Dubai-based Melodic metal band Alivia recently played their first two live gigs since they formed. The band has been in the making for around a year and band creator Ali Maarrawi has spent considerable time getting the members right. We heard their debut gig at Cheers Bar (see our review here) in what used to be the Rydges Plaza and was impressed by their technical sound. Keep an eye on their page here to catch them live again soon. We caught up with band maestro Ali to find out more about the band.
Where did the name Alivia come from?
It’s actually a mixture of things, as a word in Spanish it means TO RELIEVE or TO HEAL, and it is an uncommon girls name and in our case it is the name of the character of the band which you can see in the painting, it also sounds like the word ALIVE and has a nice ring to it, plus in a way it is a tribute to my idols Jon and Criss Oliva, and the cherry on top is the first three letters of the Alivia, since it is my baby.
Describe Alivia’s music in three words.
Intense, moving and melodic.
Who are the band’s strongest influences?
Savatage, Kamelot, Evergey, Iced Earth, Dark Tranquillity and Iron Maiden.
Who are the Alivia band members? Can you tell me a bit about each of them and their background in music?
Junior, on drums, he has a clear vision of music and a great work ethic. He is an important asset because he has the perfect mix of amazing musicianship and an amazing personality. He is a veteran musician having released three albums with the Lebanese death metal band Weeping Willows, who opened for bands like Anathema, Apocalyptica, To Die For, and Theatre Of Tragedy.
Fredy, on bass, very energetic and charismatic musician who sings, plays bass, drums and guitar. He has a big range of influences and a vast knowledge in music, which adds a different flavor to our sound. He is the solid backbone of the band and a good friend, He was involved in other cover bands inIndia.
Moutaz, on rhythm guitar, a fresh talent and a very dedicated and aspiring guitarist, he is a very good keyboard player too. The youngest of the Alivia family with the biggest hunger to learn and contribute to growth of the band.
Nabil, on keyboards, he is our secret weapon, needless to say that he is a very good guitarist and vocalist, he comes up with these amazing crazy ideas that fit perfectly and add dimension to our layered sound, he is a huge talent and a good friend. Nabil has an extensive experience playing with cover bands inDamascus.
Neil, on vocals, an amazing, flexible and powerful voice, a natural born singer with a great ear and seamless taste, a perfectionist and a committed musician. He is a well known figure in theDubai rock scene through his work with his own alternative rock band.
Ali, on lead guitar, is also the songwriter and lyricist of Alivia. I think the word “creativity” would describe my most valuable contribution to Alivia, adding to that the countless hours of hard work in the writing process, research and conjuring the metal muses to harvest the Alivia sound and identity.
I grew up in a family listening to classical music and Queen, I started my first band back in Aleppo in 1994 with the name Life Tattoo, and out of the two surviving members of that band ( Rami and I) we teamed up with Shant and Aram and formed the well known Syrian act Nu.Clear.Dawn, we used to play cover songs but the ones no other band did or could play, like Dream Theater, Savatage and Maiden.
In 1999 I left toSaudi Arabiafor work, and Nu.Clear.Dawn carried on and released their album Poem Of A Knight and played inTurkeywith Blaze Bayley, Paul Di’Anno, Epica,LakeOfTears, Circle II Circle, Sentenced and many more.
In Saudi I taught guitar to most of the guitarists and bass players of the present Saudi bands and solo artists, then I moved to Spain in 2006 where I played with a couple of bands till I moved to Dubai in 2010 where I started my search for musicians to form Alivia.
How long has it taken you Ali to put this band together and what are your hopes for the band now?
It took me more than a year to find the right people/musicians for this project, I hope that we continue writing songs to complete and record our first album, then to play gigs to promote the album and we’ll take it form there . . .
What are your plans for Alivia in 2012?
Hopefully to complete the writing of our first album and to play the right gigs.
Which UAE band would you most like to play alongside?
I could not really tell, there is bunch of a good bands that came out lately and disregarding their style I admire them for making it happen in here, because I know how hard it is to come up with your own songs and record an album in this part of the world, especially having a day job and not having the right support for the metal music scene which is still an underground scene. Hats off to all of the bands in the region, dedication demands respect, period.
What do you think of the other progressive-style bands in the UAE and who is your favourite?
First of all term “progressive” is being used very loosely lately, and I am not a big fan on categorizing or stereotyping, we do not play progressive metal, music is not math neither a marathon, we incorporate prog elements, as well as other metal elements, to add intensity and to convey certain ideas, never as showcasing technique, that’s why I rather if I have to label our music, to call it melodic metal. And to answer your question I will repeat and say that I admire all real efforts by any band in local scene.
If you could invite five musicians either living or dead to dinner at your house, who would you invite and why?
Out of respect for the dead I will start with Freddie Mercury, Criss Oliva, and Ronnie James Dio. From the living it will be John Schaffer and Roy Khan.
And to answer why, it would be because of the unique personality of each of them, they were/are individuals who stood for what they believed in regardless of what others thought of them, they are timeless idols not only as extraordinary musicians but also as amazing human beings.