Backstage Interview with Hamed Sinno from Mashrou’ Leila
Back Stage Interview with Hamed Sinno from Mashrou’ Leila
by: Rabih B. El Koussa & Lisa R. Riskalas
We were lucky enough to be able to interview Hamed Sinno backstage at Light FM’s 25th anniversary celebratory concert at Zouk Mikael. Our sincere apologies for the delay, and we hope you’ll let us know of any questions you would like us to ask in an upcoming interview.
Q: Surely, you’re used to homophobic comments here and there by now. But what was your reaction to Fouad Al Adem’s campaign to keep you out of Zouk Mikael due to your sexuality?
Hamed: Honestly Al-Adem didn’t say anything that I don’t see anywhere on my Twitter notifications board or YouTube comments on a daily basis. At first I dismissed it, the way I’ve grown accustomed to doing, but then started to panic a little bit when I saw how much of a big deal the media was making of it. I feel like in these situations, when homophobes are given so much legitimacy and affirmations for their statements, they are given more incentive to actually commit non-verbal hate crime. It was also interesting to see this happening in Zouk because it re-affirmed my take on these things being that hate stems from all sorts of fanaticism, not just the age-old-tale stereotyping the Islamic community as the sole force of bigotry in the Middle East.
Q: Were you surprised by fans’ reactions? And do you think that Fouad Al Adem influenced this performance’s crowd in any way possible?
Hamed: I’m always overwhelmed when I see so much support coming from the LGBT community during these events. It means much more to me than would be easy to articulate. I think in some twisted way Al Adem actually made the performance better, in that it reminded the audience of the politics that are actually always there in the fabric of events leading up to a stage performance. It’s easy to forget about the courage that it takes for a performer, queer-identified or otherwise, to get up on stage and subject themselves to the terror of social observation.
Q: Despite fans’ requests (including myself,) to hear Shim el Yasmine, you didn’t sing that song. Is there a certain reason behind that?
Hamed: The reason is very simple: we were doing our job, which was to put on a good show, and we were trying to keep the show as upbeat and pumped as possible. Save for Ne Me Quittes Pas, which was played as one of our two covers for the evening (the framework for all the bands involved,) we only played our more up-tempo tracks.
Q: On your first album, we find a cause in every one of your songs, from LGBTQ rights, to domestic violence, to dealing with corrupt political system, which would you consider the ultimate cause?
Hamed: The ultimate cause is to keep making music, in whatever shape or form.
Q: In the light of the homophobic movements, what can you advise the LGBTQ community?
Hamed: Do not tire. And never disregard the value of creating sustainable queer networks and support systems, even when they are for personal purposes, they have the power to renegotiate the entire foundations of the societies we inhabit.