Popular Lebanese rockers Jay Wud are back with their eagerly-anticipated second studio album and we bring you all the details just two days ahead of the official launch on Thursday.
False Utopia has been a labour of love for the past 18 months for the independent rockers and features ten tracks with all the expected rock-laden rifts, psychedelic sounds and thought-provoking lyrics, according to lead singer Jay Wud.
“It’s a sound that’s been influenced by the Middle East,” he said, his signature long back locks pulled back into a low ponytail. “Then mastered and finessed in New York, by the award-winning Joe Lambert,” he proudly added. “False Utopia is the sound for a new generation of rock-alt fans who love their music with attitude.”
The music industry in the Middle East does things a little differently, mainly due to little support from the “big” industry players. Not a problem for Jay Wud as they prefer the alternative path.
Wud, 29, with bandmates Imad Jawad, 25, on bass and Pascal Elias, 30, on drums, made a decision to launch their latest album online via their official website, complete with countdown clock.
“We want our music heard everywhere — whether it’s on your laptop, in the car or on your MP3 player,” says Wud in a recorded message. Hard copies of the album will also be available but fans who prefer to simply stream the music in full, and for free, can do so. Wud filled in the blanks for Soundbites.
Q. Describe your music for us in one sentence…
A. Rock fused with alternative, grunge and pop.
Q. How long have you been together and how did it all begin?
A. I first started on my own in 2010 and released New Blood as a solo artist. But when I was writing False Utopia, I wanted my sound to grow as a band and have other musicians give their input, that’s when Imad and Paco came in.
Q. Are you all based in Lebanon? What’s the affiliation with Dubai?
A. We are all based in the UAE except for the bassist Imad, he’s in Lebanon.
Q. Why do you think rock hits such a strong chord with music lovers in the Middle East?
A. Rock is a big school and has such a great vibe to it with a lot of sub genres and I’d surprised if I meet people that don’t love it. But then again everyone has a taste.
Q. The second album False Utopia is finished. How does it feel just days before it all goes ‘live’?
A. It’s weird to be honest. I had the same feeling last time I released my debut. Excited, happy, and numb. Makes you reflect on the journey and all the effort you put through it all.
Q. Incomplete Heart sounds like a particularly emotional track. Is it written from personal experience?
A. Break-ups are not easy, Incomplete Heart was an honest song, any guy or girl can relate to it. It’s just the need to start anew. It’s a relief to write. You let something out of your system and you spell out the pain.
Q. You’ve been fortunate enough to work with the likes of Joe Lambert. How does that level of interaction influence an album?
A. Joe Lambert is a great mastering engineer and having him on board was the cherry on top to finalise our record.
Q. When can we expect to catch you live next?
A. I live in Dubai and I’ll be touring the region early 2013, starting from Dubai.
Q. Just for fun — tell us your most embarrassing moment on stage so far?
A. Slipping on a wet stage.
Q. Played with anyone famous we would have heard of?
A. I did support Robert Plant (with The Kordz) in Tunis and Aerosmith (with Paulak) in Abu Dhabi. I didn’t play with him, I was the guitarist with a supporting act but it felt surreal to be on the same stage as a titan like him. Good times.
Q. How can we get hold of the album?
A. We have a “pay what you want” system to help grow the independent music scene in the region. As for the physical copies, it will be available in stores end of November onwards in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Lebanon, Egypt, Qatar, Bahrain and Jordan. The cost of the record is up to you, as long as you match the $2 (Dh7.3) purchase price. Support Jay Wud however you can.
Q. A message for your fans?
A. Any money earned from the release of False Utopia will be used to tour the Middle East in 2013. Make it happen.
You can follow Jay Wud news on facebook.com/jaywudmusic, twitter.com/jaywud and atjaywud.com