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Get To Know The MAD Gang: Tala

Tala MAD Gang Blog Community Manager

Someone who’s passionate about writing and all things digital. A foodie, series-lover, music-appreciator, moment-relisher, cat-owner and partly a positivity-spreader!

If I were a song, I would be: Song for you – Rhye / Habits – Tove Lo

If I were an artist, I would be: Yayoi Kusama. She’s accomplished a lot throughout her career while focusing on her passion, something I aspire to do one day

If I were a book, I would be: 40 Rules of Love – Elif Shafak

If I were a dish, I would be: Vegetable lasagna

If I were a dessert, I would be: Any form of chocolate. You are what you eat!

If I were a spice, I would be: Cardamom

If I were a sport, I would be: Snorkeling. I’ve never tried it but it seems peaceful and liberating

If I were a period in history, I would be: 1920’s [minus the sexism]. Gatsby party, yes please!

If I were a movie, I would be: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

If I were a series, I would be: Friends. Perfect mix of everyday drama and humor

If I were a verb, I would be: Thinking. It’s the most important thing to do before acting

If I were an adjective, I would be: Balanced

If I were one of the five senses, I would be: A tie between sound and sight. I love to listen to everything around me and take it in but I also like to observe as things happen

If I were a flower or a plant, I would be: A palm tree. Resilient and also the meaning of my name!

If I were one of the five elements, I would be: Void

How MAD are As Per Casper!?

As Per Casper MAD Blog Interview

She has always had a passion for music and singing. Despite having a successful career in finance in a multinational company, Carla Saad was adamant on pursuing her passion, music, which is why she left her job in 2014 to dedicate her full focus on As Per Casper. Read on to find out WHY, HOW and WHAT!

I read somewhere that you quit your fulltime to pursue As Per Casper, how come?

I was growing more and more weary and frustrated as my mind struggled to disconnect from the ‘corporate‘ to tap in to the ‘creative‘. I found myself dissatisfied with my profession despite my success and achievement. Something was always missing; it didn’t feel like me and not pursuing my passion was slowly becoming disruptive. I had just turned 30 and I remembered realizing that this passion, the one that keeps me up at night sometimes and the one that has been a vital part of my life ever since I could speak, surely deserved my full focus. Somehow, everything fell into place once that realization happened. Shortly after, I was introduced to Frank Kafka’s work and his words as quoted below, that he had written over 100 years ago, simply summed up my experience.

“It is easy to recognize a concentration in me of all my forces on writing. When it became clear in my organism that writing was the most productive direction for my being to take, everything rushed in that direction”, “Naturally, I did not find this purpose independently and consciously, it found itself, and is now interfered with only by the office, but that interferes with it completely…. My development is now complete and, so far as I can see, there is nothing left to sacrifice; I need only throw my work in the office out of this complex in order to begin my real life.

The Diaries of Franz Kafka, 1910-1913

How did As Per Casper come to life?

I had made a new friend at football, Sebrina, who had mentioned that she was a musician. It took a jam session or two for us to realise and appreciate the musical harmony between our voices and styles. An impressed friend taking part in the first ever Sikka Art Fair, a contemporary gathering of young talents, in 2011 had recommended us to management and we got in. We needed a name and fast. Casper had already been my nickname at that point as Sebrina deemed me the whitest Arab she had ever met and with a quirky suggestion from one of our other friends, As Per Casper came into play and still is.

How is the music scene in Dubai and the Middle East?

I have been around the scene long enough to see it go through many stages. From there being no platforms for original music to be showcased to having several initiatives come into play, introducing Dubai (& Abu Dhabi) to the amazing local talent and exposing the local talent to an audience. As Per Casper has gotten to where it is as a result.

The scene continues to see regular shifts and I believe it’s due to the following:

  • The UAE’s turnover in expats which brings with it shifts in interests and musical tastes as well as the need for continuous reestablishment by bands.
  • It is also very much dictated by the brands in the market. For example, renowned sports brands associate more with the hip hop scene and back it up accordingly by collaborating with artists; events like Sole, establishments like D3, brands like Adidas all provide opportunities for artists in this category. This boosts that specific genre as a result.

The scene is what major players/influencers shape it to be. They mold and make it into what they want. I felt that tangibly when I co-founded the Rock Camp for Girls UAE in 2013 to encourage more women to enter the music scene at an early age, and that did indeed happen. So it’s up to us as artists to pave the way.

As of today, I believe musicians continue to be seen as entertainers instead of artists and that’s a shame as the original content coming out of the region is powerful and deserves to be heard and recognized.

What are you future aspirations/plans for As Per Casper?

We want to reach further and more. We want our music to be heard regionally and internationally and for that to happen we need to be present in these areas. We want to go on tours, perform for audiences, connect with them directly and not behind a screen or on social media platforms. That’s why we are in the process of booking gigs outside of the UAE.

Final remarks?

Thank you for your interview and interest in our story and journey. We need people and organizations like you to help us carry our music forward!

 

A MAD Real-Estate Show Is Landing in Lebanon!

Real estate MAD Entertainment Bedkon Beit

Real-estate real-talk with Bedkon Beit!

It’s such a hassle to house-hunt in Lebanon, isn’t it? If you’re not going through it personally, then maybe you know a friend, a friend of a friend, a second cousin or someone who is!

You have no idea what’s going on in the market, you see a house you like and suddenly you’re asked to pay five times your budget for it and there are so many properties that you don’t know where to begin looking! Newspaper listing? Online? Real-estate TV shows

Well, it’s finally happening.

WHAT is finally happening?

En Quête d’Appart, produced by OBBO prod, has been running for 3 years in France and is the first real estate entertainment weekly TV Show where you get what you see! In their fourth season, the show will be airing on a daily basis on another french channel as of this March as Carrément Bien(s)! With over 100 interviewed celebrities, over 3,000 properties sold and over 100 real estate developers and agents all over France, the show is landing in Lebanon in February 2019 in its Lebanese version, Bedkon Beit.

So what is Bedkon Beit?

Bedkon Beit is NOT your typical real-estate TV show. The explosive duo of local hosts will be doing EVERYTHING to test and find the best real estate deals! They’ll be going from fun property visits, to giving tips and conducting celebrity and street interviews.

Who will be on board?

Recognized real estate experts, consultants, developers and major market players will showcase their selection of properties for sale and/or rent as well as their vision of the real estate market and housing in Lebanon.

When?

As of February 2019, Bedkon Beit will be broadcasted daily on a leading Lebanese TV channel ! Episodes are already being filmed in collaboration with MAD!

So… How MAD is Bedkon Beit?

MAD talents will be featured on the show. Yes, you read that right. In addition to distribution and marketing of the TV show, you can expect to see MAD talents featured on the show as well as celebrities and all kinds of entertainment.

Bottom line is…

Lebanon, get ready for a truly MAD real estate entertainment TV show that’s going to glue you to your screens, make you burst out in laughter and introduce you to the best real estate properties and deals you can find in the country.

We’re MADly excited, aren’t you?

Get To Know The MAD Gang: Quentin

MAD Team Gang Quentin Rock Community Artist Marketing

Someone who wants to work in the music industry and loves partying, chilling with his friends, going to concerts and playing guitar just as much as saying stupid things and making jokes.

If I were a song, I would be : Saramona Said by Violent Soho or Society by Eddie Vedder

If I were an artist, I would be : PUP (a canadian punk-rock band), the weird mix between punk and super nice people (canadian style!)

If I were a book, I would be: Le miracle Spinoza by Frédéric Lenoir

If I were a dish, I would be: The duck pie (tourte au canard)

If I were a dessert, I would be: Tarte à la praline

If I were a spice, I would be: Wasabi

If I were a sport, I would be: Rugby

If I were a period in history, I would be: The 70’s/80’s

If I were a movie, I would be: Fight Club

If I were a series, I would be: Community

If I were a verb, I would be: Party

If I were an adjective, I would be: Insane

If I were one of the five senses, I would be: Sound

If I were a flower or a plant, I would be: A Japanese cherry tree

If I were one of the five elements, I would be: Air

Get To Know The MAD Gang: Nermine

MAD Gang Nermine Project Manager

Someone who gives deep appreciation to little things and loves to be herself rather than being someone else as she considers anyone else is already taken. She’s a fire sign and loves everything to be on fire.

If I were a song, I would be: Je Veux by Zaz

If I were an artist, I would be: Frida Kahlo

If I were a book, I would be: The Fault In Our Stars – John Green

If I were a dish, I would be: Sweet and sour

If I were a dessert, I would be: Apple crumble

If I were a spice, I would be: Cinnamon

If I were a sport, I would be: Swimming

If I were a period in history, I would be: 1990

If I were a movie, I would be: Me Before You

If I were a series, I would be: Money Heist

If I were a verb, I would be: Dance

If I were an adjective, I would be: Bubbly

If I were one of the five senses, I would be: Hearing

If I were a flower or a plant, I would be: Gardenia

If I were one of the five elements, I would be: Fire

How MAD Are You About Graphic Design?

Graphic Design MAD Article Team Lalik

Diving into Graphic Design

Whether you’re working for a multinational agency, an NGO or your own start-up, there’s one thing you’re well aware of: the importance of your brand identity; not only in what you write in a post online or what kind of campaign you create offline, but also in the type of media you share on and offline alike. This is where graphic design comes in.

Graphic design, like art, dates back to cave paintings that embodied a specific time periods’ take on “graphics” and “design” together. After the 1920’s, graphic design became more about branding, logo-creation and user experiences.

Translating Graphic Design Into Words

In short, graphic design is a communication art that projects ideas using images and text. Mainly, graphic designers aim to combine type, form, and images to create posters, ads, packages, and visuals that are used in print and online media. As well, they work on motion graphics which combine animation, videography, and typography. Graphic design also includes branding, which means designing business cards, logos, or ads as well as product design and other aspects that only one person in the MAD team is an expert in!

A Few Questions With Lalik!

Queue Lalik, MAD’s very own graphic designer, who’s going to tell us a little bit about graphic design and her experience working in it! Let’s get MAD with design!

How would you define graphic design and what a graphic designer does?

A graphic designer take briefs, interprets them and works on them, starting from initial sketches to artworking for print/digital. No, a graphic designer doesn’t work only on logos and flyers, there is a lot of time and thinking behind every visual!

What made you want to be a graphic designer?

I used to collect nice designs when I was younger – magazines, flyers, books, packaging, tags, – I used to collect them in a paper bag then cut the designs I like and stick them on my bed, on the wall of my room and on A4 papers that I used to send to my friends. This led me to develop an appreciation for design, which is why i became a designer myself.

What are the most important skills a graphic designer should have?

Good knowledge of design programs, print and online production and creative thinking are essential; but also, you have to be a great listener with an eye for detail. If I were to give graduates some advice, it would be to get as much practical experience as possible. In my short career so far, I have found that I’ve learnt by doing, especially when thrown in the deep end and put under pressure.

What are the steps of your creative process as a graphic designer?

Curiosity, music, photography, paintings, people…  Everything.

Often the things that inspire me are completely unrelated to my current assignments,

but bringing new ideas to those projects makes them all the more interesting. Keeping an open mind lets you see inspiration everywhere.

How do you think your designs communicate MAD’s identity?

First, when I started working for MAD, my designs were very minimalist. As time went by, I discovered what the brand truly stands for, their values, the identity of MAD; it got so much easier for me to get out of my comfort zone, to use colors, bold fonts and to adapt to MAD’s identity.

What’s your favorite part about being MAD’s graphic designer?

Freedom. I can go as MAD as I want. Lise and Rima, co-founders, are always open to new suggestions and they always follow my thought process and welcome my opinions. This is very important for a designer: to have the capacity of expressing what you really feel. It becomes your own baby, you always want to nourish it and help it grow.

Are you as MAD about graphic design as we and Lalik are?

Get To Know The MAD Gang: Karim

MAD Gang Team Karim Article

Full time joke-maker. Sometimes, you can say I’m a DJ.

If I were a song, I would be : Quand tu allais on revenait – IAM

If I were an artist, I would be : Georges Moustaki

If I were a book, I would be : L’etranger  – Albert Camus

If I were a dish, I would be : Bazella wou roz

If I were a dessert, I would be : Ice cream!

If I were a spice, I would be : Curry

If I were a sport, I would be : (We’re playin’) BasketBall

If I were a period in history, I would be : Cold War

If I were a movie, I would be : The Godfather 1

If I were a series, I would be : Ozark

If I were a verb, I would be : To “Do”

If I were an adjective, I would be : (Cause I’m) Happy

If I were one of the five senses, I would be : Touch

If I were a flower or a plant, I would be : Cactus

If I were one of the five elements, I would be : Air

Get To Know The MAD Gang: Tarek

MAD Team Tarek Article

Tarek Sina Rahme, I am a hard working, fun, humble, smart , outgoing, gamer legend.

Tarek likes to drink a Nespresso, because its more manly 🙂

If I were a song, I would be:  Fear of the dark – Iron Maiden

If I were an artist, I would be: Lemmy

If I were a book, I would be: the Bible

If I were a dish, I would be: Ras nifa

If I were a dessert, I would be: Bahamas Cake

If I were a spice, I would be: Turmeric

If I were a sport, I would be: Snowboarding

If I were a period in history, I would be: 1960

If I were a movie, I would be: Gataga

If I were a series, I would be: Breaking Bad

If I were a verb, I would be: Do

If I were an adjective, I would be: Humble

If I were one of the five senses, I would be : the sixth

If I were a flower or a plant, I would be: Marguerite

If I were one of the five elements, I would be: Fire

Are You Up-To-Date With Lebanon’s MAD Underground Band Scene?

MAD Underground Music Lebanon Article

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:

Safar

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

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.

Waynick  –

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?

Postcards

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

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…?

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!

 

Tala

MAD Community Manager

Art In The Digital Age: Booming or Crashing?

Article Art Digital

How Did It All Start?

Who would have thought that the canvas is one of the oldest mediums of art known to man? The oldest preserved form of expression belongs to cave people, who used to doodle their visions of flesh-eating-lions, their personal belief in God(s) and their concept of family on rocks and in caves that were, thousands of years later, discovered by explorers.

The basic imagery they drew was simple and aimed to portray their understanding of the world around them. After that, more forms of art started to emerge with the discovery of colors and sculpting. At the start of this era, art revolved around the Church and higher class families that wanted to have self or family portraits in their homes. After the Renaissance, artists we know today like Da Vinci and Michelangelo paved their way into the art scene. This was also the period when different forms of art started to emerge including romanticism, realism and impressionism.

And Then Came Modern and Contemporary Art!

The 1800s and the 1900s gave us what we know as modern art with movements such as expressionism and symbolism. As of the 1970’s, we’re now witnessing the era of contemporary art, which is no less confusing, sophisticated or beautiful than any other movement of art known to us. If we were to delve into the history of art right now, you’d end up reading a 15-page thesis analyzing ancient art all the way to contemporary art.

What Happened After the Renaissance?

After the Renaissance, art became desired by many but only few had access to collectable pieces. Despite that, this was the start of the spread of the visual culture; and this is where the digital age comes in play as today. This prompts the question: has the digital age benefited or harmed art?

Today’s Digital Age and Art
Today, it has become easy for artists to upload or digitize their work to gain more exposure; they can even sell their work online. Not only, but more and more digital museums are popping up and more art is being produced digitally. Digital art has expanded and has become just as desirable as traditional forms of art like sculptures, graffiti and classical paintings. On the other hand, many seem to believe that the computer does not do justice in art as it cannot mimic the strokes of a brush; it cannot produce a masterpiece that will make a spectator weep because of its sheer beauty and genuinity. As well, art cannot always be protected online nor can it be as authentic.

…And You?

The ongoing debate arises of whether this digitization of art has been beneficial or harmful to the traditional forms of art; we stand neutral, as we see all forms of art as an expression of thought, mood and subjective beauty. One can’t compare the works of picasso to the works of Murakami for example; the concept, vision and conditions under which the pieces were made all differ. Thus, this remains an open-ended question waiting to be answered by artists, art critics, art lovers and the mass alike. And You?