BEIRUT, Lebanon: It was on a rooftop in Adonis, an area in Lebanon, where the Pop rock band Adonis was born.
Lead vocalist and pianist Anthony Khoury tells Annahar about the formation of the band and how it all started when he met Joey Abou Jawdeh at the American University of Beirut, where they both were studying architecture. The rest of the band members then came along with drummer Nicola Hakim and bassist Gio Fikany to form Adonis.
The band's success was echoing at HNGR music venue in Karantina, Lebanon on February 13; which marked the most recent performance in their homeland.
When Khoury discovered that Abou Jaoude listens to Arabic music, he was inspired to work on a big project: Adonis. “I was glad that Joey listens to Oum Kulthum and Wadih Safi,” he says.
At university, they used to listen to Muse or Raphael. Khoury used to like pop music, in addition to Lebanese singer Melhem Barakat’s music and they even followed the great musician to watch him sing, as he recalls.
Adonis even mention on their official website that they draw inspiration from Barakat, in addition to Ziad Al Rahbani, Wadih El Safi, Fairuz, Asmahan, and Um Kalthoum. The band’s other influences from around the world include Bob Dylan, Rufus Wainwright, Jacques Brel and Edith Piaf.
Khoury, who played keyboard, mentions that the band started playing their own songs. Their first studio was Abou Jaoudeh’s building basement in Broumana. This sort of confirms the band’s “underground” beginnings.
It all happened very fast, from the composition to the recruitment process, Khoury says, mentioning how his young brother was the band’s bassist before he left abroad. That was when Hakim and Fikani joined.
The type of music presented by the band is mainly pop rock. Khoury explains that the formation of the band is that of a typical rock band. The songs and songwriting fall under the pop genre, in terms of chorus, hook, and bridge.
Adonis’ debut album “Daw El Baladiyyi” was released in 2011. Khoury wrote most of the songs when he was at university. Khoury mainly writes the lyrics, composes main melodies, and works with the band on developing them.
In 2013, the band released their second “Men Shou Bteshki Beirut,” which includes songs that are inspired by incidents and events that might happen to anyone in Beirut.
“After graduating from university, a person feels disappointed from Lebanon. Our generation poses the questions of leaving or not,” Khoury says while explaining the backstory of the album.
The band rarely tackles issues directly, instead, it narrates them through stories. “This is why the songs stay relevant and don’t only live in the context of the tackled issue,” Khoury says, referring to Adonis’ timeless songs in the making.
Adonis’ latest album “Nour,” released in 2017, is about deeper connections, and many forms of love.
“We were starting to find serious love interests,” Khoury says, adding that as they are growing older, they are being more aware of their connections, girlfriends, and everyone else they meet. “We start actively caring and working more about the nature of the connections,” he tells Annahar. “Nour,” however, is a metaphor for the person one is returning to all the time.
Besides its original songs, Adonis, has also done covers for Wadih El Safi, Fairuz, Ziad Rahbani, and Melhem Barakat, and translated “Teenage Dirtbag” (Wheatus), “La Javanaise” (Serge Gainsbourg), and “L’accordeoniste” (Edith Piaf) to Arabic.
12 HOURS PENDING
As for the band's favorite concert, Khoury says each had a different unique vibe, yet the one that was performed in Alexandria 3 years ago was more than special.
“The Egyptian audience comes to discover something new. Some knew the songs by heart, and others were there simply because they were eager for new music,” he says.
None of Adonis band members received an education in music, yet they’ve had occasional music teachers. Khoury, however, is currently taking vocal sessions. Besides that, the band trains A couple of times a week.
What makes a good concert, Khoury says, is a good setting. He comments that the HNGR concert had “a cool setting and there was a great crowd.” The band seems happy that the concert was technically and logically organized.
Adonis would like to reach the stars, and it is open to new collaborations, according to Khoury.
The name of the band’s first hit song “On the rooftops of Adonis” was “right in front of us,” Khoury says, adding how “every rooftop of a building enables, geographically speaking, anyone to see a spectacular view”.
A US tour awaits the band at the end of May.
Another album entitled “12 Hours” is coming soon, and it will include “Shayef,” and other songs. The album inspiration was during a 12-hour flight Khoury had. “It was the first time that traveling inspired me,” he says.
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