Are You As MAD As I Am?
Do you turn on the radio in the morning on your way to work or class and after some time, find yourself turning it off? Better yet, do you sometimes automatically look for your AUX cord to save yourself (and your ears) from listening to repetitive music? I know I do. Not that I don’t enjoy my dose of catchy pop songs. Sadly, the majority of Lebanese radio stations play only western or oriental commercial music, leaving no room for local, underground music to gain popularity.
Mainstream or Underground?
Nonetheless, this hasn’t stopped local, underground musicians from paving their way. When you think of underground musicians in Lebanon, who comes to mind? Most commonly, it’s Zeid Hamdan, known as the Godfather of Lebanon’s underground music scene. Hamdan is the producer of many of Lebanon’s most known underground artists starting with himself and the many ventures he has taken on throughout his musical career. If you didn’t think of Zeid, you probably thought of the more mainstream Mashrou Leila, Wanton Bishops and Who Killed Bruce Lee, all of whom are Lebanese hits and internationally recognized.
Discover Lebanon’s Underground Scene
If you crave a taste of the real, local, underground experience, we’ve compiled a small list:
This indie-pop Lebanese band joins Elie, Mayssa and Fadi for a unique musical experience. The band is based between Beirut, New York and North Carolina. They released their first album, In Transit, in 2016 and recently released an EP, Studies of an Unknown Lover, in 2018. If you’re looking to be serenaded by an angelic voice and listen to something similar to Florence and the Machine, Birdy and Lana Del Ray, then Safar is the band for you!
Interbellum started in 2015 by Charlie Rayne, after having previously been a solo act. He wrote songs and when he felt he needed the support of other musicians, he and his producer Fadi Tabbal enlisted musicians from the Beirut music scene and they recorded an album together as Interbellum (2016’s Now Try Coughing). Today Interbellum is a solo project that Charlie and Fadi work on with the help of contributing artists. Interbellum just released Dead Pets, Old Griefs in Beirut and moved the project to Berlin.
Two childhood friends, Sara and Joe, came together to form Waynick along with musician friends; that’s the brief history of how Waynick came to be. The indie band formed in 2015, released their hit single Carolina in 2017 and followed with an EP in 2018, which they debuted at KED. Waynick also just released a music video for their song Better Days. Their upbeat and sometimes melancholic tunes are perfect for all you pop and folk lovers out there. It’s worthy to mention that they design their own covers, write their own songs and manage themselves, how cool is that?
Formed in 2012, Postcards is a dream pop/indie band that joins musical trio Julia, Marwan and Pascale. As with most Lebanese underground artists, they started off playing in pubs and later released their first EP in 2013 titled Lakehouse. They worked on their second EP with producer Fadi Tabbal and their first full-length album, I’ll Be Here In The Morning was released last year! They’ve opened for Angus and Julia Stone and have been touring Europe and the Middle East.
GIZZMO originally started with Joy, Camilio and Sergio, who were experimenting with different genres of music. Alex joined them early on and added electronic and upbeat jazz touches. Together they play indie-dance, funk-pop music. They first played at Fete De La Musique in 2016 at The Grand Factory before landing other gigs and releasing their EP in 2017. Most recently, they’re working on new material that they’ll be playing in a concert they’re planning for all those who miss them and they’re waiting for you to join their eccentric feels!
So, the next time you’re fed up listening to Ariana Grande, Drake and Haifa Wehbe on the radio; the next time you’re craving something genius and close to heart and home, you know where and who to look for, for some over-the-top tunes!
MAD Community Manager