Circus Monsters: Pioneering Egypt's Punk Rock Scene
With the upsurge of Rock music and its exponential rise in Egypt, getting authentically Egyptian Punk music was still nearly unattainable up until very recently when Circus Monsters paved the Punk path and the way forth.
The Punk Rock scene in Egypt has only mainly ever consisted of cover bands and English compositions, and although Punk Rock has always been anti-establishment and rebellious in nature, most of these attempts in Egypt were practically imported Punk formulas from Western origins. That is, until the birth of Circus Monsters. These Egyptian musicians and filmmakers would eventually form a band after years of basement experimentation with Hip-Hop and Rock music. The band's two diversely talented members, Youssef Alimam and Mounir Mazhar, not only bring multi-talents to the table - such as singer and producer Youssef Alimam's array of instrumental nous in guitar, drums, and bass, and Mounir Mazhar's rap(id) verse-spitting and piano skills - they practically pioneer the Egyptian Punk Rock genre into an authentically Egyptian and culture-centric concept. "We're not mainstream; most of the Punk Rock you'll hear in Egypt is all in English so we wanted to create music that can relate to the Egyptian perspective linguistically and culturally," they explain. They’ve become a much-needed anti-mainstream addition where Egyptians can relate to their venting about internal struggles within the confines of Egyptian society. I mean, who would've thought that Egypt's Punk Rock scene would go from strength to strength after two Hip-Hop enthusiasts with a philosophical itch would rise to raise awareness about daily Egyptian issues?
"We're not mainstream; most of the Punk Rock you'll hear in Egypt is all in English so we wanted to create music that can relate to the Egyptian perspective linguistically and culturally."
In their new track Watar Souty (My Vocal Chords), metaphorical lyrics mesh seamlessly with inherently badass riffs. This track conveys the restraint Egyptians can feel taking over their vocal chords when voicing their opinion. According to the lyrics, this inner struggle is like having lynch ropes tightly wrapped around one’s neck. The juxtaposition of Egyptian societal concerns with the powerful Punk sounds really accentuate the emotional backwash drowning the Egyptian mind. Furthermore, their filmmaking origins prompt them to break the fourth wall when the time is appropriate - at some point during the song Sout el Estefzaz (The Provocative Voice), they wittily self-reflect on their execution of an octave, with one telling the other to say the lyrics in a less nasally way. This breaking of the fourth wall epitomises their will to vex musical and cultural norms, the perfect tool to challenging the orthodox nature of mainstream Rock and the rigidly orthodox cultural landscape of Egypt - all in the Egyptian vernacular! These nonconformists have raw material that is real, emotional, and daring. As they continue to produce their first self-titled album, they will be releasing more singles on their SoundCloud and preparing for live performances later on this year.You can check out their Facebook here and Instagram here.
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