Sigma have only played two gigs, but have already been getting attention in the local press for their exceptional talent on stage and range of high-quality original progressive tracks.
Their approach to music is more simplistic than for example Absolace, but each note is executed perfectly. We peg these guys as one of the top bands to watch in 2012-2013. If they can get a chance to go on tour outside the UAE I reckon they would become as popular as their Middle Eastern prog heroes Orphaned Land.
How did Sigma start and who are the members?
Sam: It was quite simple really. Sigma started when I thought of getting a band together and called up Zaher (bassist) and asked him if he knew any drummers. Zaher’s answer was yes. He knew his old friend Sherry (drummer) and recommended him. Zaher in the meantime told me that he’d been playing bass for a while. So we thought of getting together and when we jammed for the first time it all really fell into place and we clicked. The members are:
Sam: lead vocals/guitars
Sherry: drums/backing vocals
Zaher: Sam called me up one day asking me for a good drummer in Al Ain. I couldn’t think about anyone better than Sherry – who is also the drummer for Apeira. Sam asked Sherry for a bass guitar player after they got together and jammed couple of times, Sherry recommended me even though I’m more of a guitarist than a bassist, but I was glad to join the gang.
Tell me a bit about each of you, where are you from, what instrument do you play and what do you do as a day job?
Sam: I was born in Dhaka but moved to the emirates at a very early age. I play rhythm and lead guitar. I work as an English teacher.
Zaher: Sherry and I are both university students, Sherry is doing architectural engineering and I’m doing civil engineering which works perfectly cause even our jams are like that, he designs and I build Sherry plays the drums and as I said I play the bass but I also come up with guitar ideas in the band. Sherry is Pakistani and I’m from Iraq… I never thought one day that I’ll be having a best friend and band mate who is Pakistani hehehee! So Sherry and I are really close. As for us and Sam then I know Sam through my eldest brother from about 7 years ago. We’re all having fun and enjoy what we compose.
Your two performances so far have been very highly rated – how do you feel about that?
Sam: We feel extremely privileged since we’ve been around for only around six months. We didn’t really expect that our performance would be highly rated. We feel extremely grateful to everyone who liked our music.
Zaher: It feels good to be rewarded for what you do, after all musicians just want to be heard. We wish to have more gigs actually because we are working on some awesome and very different material coming out soon. I don’t want to give away too much but let’s just say it’s going to be legendary.
You play all originals, which is rare for a brand new band. Why did you decide to go that route?
Sam:I had been playing covers for a long time with other bands in Al Ain. Personally speaking I felt that there was
no more growth left in it for me. I started writing music when I was quite young and so I had these piles of original stuff getting nowhere. Just made up my mind that it’s time to find the musicians I’m looking for and play never heard before material.
Zaher: Covering songs will not allow us to express our feelings, I mean sure there’s always that one song from a specific band that we enjoy listening to every now and then but coming up with your own stuff is entirely better for me. For me covers are not as impressive as coming up with your own stuff. Covering Sweet Child o’Mine is amazing but the question is: Can you come up with a song as good as it?
Do you have a favourite Sigma song?
Sam: Our favourite ones have to be ‘Rape of Sanity’ and ‘Empty Streets’.
Zaher: Both Sherry and I agree that it is ‘Rape of Sanity’ it’s almost a nine minute song that has awesome riffs and it’ just very melodic and progressive and that’s why so far we like it the most. In our two gigs we played that song last because you know what they say… Save the best for last.
Who would you say are the bands strongest influences?
Sam: Our strongest influences have to be Opeth, Dream Theatre and Led Zeppelin.
Zaher: Sherry’s strongest influence would be Dream Theater. As for me I can safely say it’s Tool. But we both have Opeth as our second most influential band for us.
If you could play an instrument with any band in the world for just one day, which band would you pick and why?
Sam: I think it would be Opeth because I can relate to their music quite well. Their music can get as soft as possible and then as heavy as possible. That’s the kind of music I love to play.
Zaher: Sherry is going for Dream Theater and he would be playing the drums for sure!
I’m gonna go for playing the rhythm for Opeth.
What other UAE progressive bands do you like?
Sam: I really like Apeira and anuryzm. Apeira being close friends have always supported us and have actually showed up in both our gigs.
Zaher: Among the over all genres in UAE – not necessarily progressive - we also like Apeira, Soulfuel, and Nightmare Overdose.
If you could play with any other Middle Eastern progressive bands, who would you put in the line-up?
Sam: Most probably it would be Orphaned Land and Apeira. I’m big into oriental and when mixed with metal it creates a genre that is both unique and fascinating to play. Both these bands have their own unique oriental sound. So I would definitely create something with them.
Zaher: Orphaned Land.
What does your family think of Sigma?
Sam: Our families are very supportive of our music.
Zaher: Sherry’s mom has always been supportive to us, she has made it to every Sigma gig so far – she also comes a lot for the jams so it’s all good with that.
However – my family – I haven’t really told them anything because I know how that conversation will go…. They would say stuff like “focus on your studies…etc” So I decided to go the safer road and not let them know about the whole thing.
Your house is on fire and you only have enough time to grab one item – what would you pick?
Sam: It would be two items, the keys to my mustang and my guitar !!
Zaher: Sherry is going with “my cat” (Metality UAE approves in this one. But I’d grab Slash’s cigarette that I have kept with me since he came to Dubai with Velvet Revolver, it means so much to me and I guess I’d grab that one and then run for my life.