April is a busy month for the Al Hassan Brothers. With a live concert and the launch of their debut album, Mi Luna, there’s plenty to be excited about.
Here at CP Magazine, we were equally excited when the band agreed to an exclusive interview. Taking time out from their busy schedule, the band talked to us about how they got together, the making of their debut album, and what’s next for these talented musicians with an ‘open door’ attitude to genre.
Hi. Please introduce the band to our readers:
Hi. We are Al Hassan Brothers, a Kuwaiti music band.
Ali – lead singer
Mahmoud – lead guitarist
Haitha – lead guitarist and vocalist
Hassan – rhythmic guitar and backing vocals.
Can you tell us about the formation of Al Hassan Brothers?
Al Hassan Brothers formally formed in 2015 at the Philippine Embassy. That’s when we got the name of the group but we have played together since we learned to pick up the guitar about 16 years ago.
How did you get to the band name ‘Al Hassan Brothers’ and what does it mean to you?
We were playing in public places just for fun. We played on beaches when the weather was fine and people came and sat with us, and we got invitations to play in shows. On one occasion we played at the Radisson Blu annual party for the Viking Club members and a journalist who was there (Ricky Laxa) asked us to do a charity show inside the Philippine Embassy. He told us that his boss, Dina Al Mallak (the founder of CEE Kuwait), saw an old video of the group playing live and asked him to get in touch with us.
When we played he wanted to introduce us to the audience but all he knew about us was our individual names and that we are two pairs of brothers (Ali & Haitham) and their cousins (Mahmoud & Hassan). We didn’t have a name for our group so without asking us he immediately introduced us as Al Hassan Brothers. We liked it!
To those not familiar with your music, how would you describe your sound?
Since we started, the sound of the group has had a variety of influences and music explorations with different styles. You could say it’s 45% Spanish Flamenco, 40% English rock and 15% Arabic. We are looking forward to more languages and music inspirations in the future.
What bands have influenced you over the years and why?
As Al Hassan Brothers we think the Gipsy Kings, Paco de Lucia, Camaron de la Isla, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, The Beatles, Michael Jackson, Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath and of course many more. We have four members and each one of us has a different taste so we try to take full advantage of our deference music tastes.
What sets you apart from any other band out there right now?
I think what sets any other musician apart from others is to be himself, to make his music from the heart and to express his influences with a great joy. That’s why you might love two opposite kinds of arts at the same time.
How would you describe your music genre?
We would say it is international folk music. Our music is difficult to put in a certain genre and we like it this way. It’s very nice to have an open door way to write music; we didn’t think about genre when we wrote it.
Tell us about your first album ‘Mi Luna’ launching this month.
Mi Luna is an album that talks about nature, peace of mind, spiritual experiences and the thing that gives value to everything in life. That thing, of course, is love.
What can you tell us about the recording process for ‘Mi Luna’?
It was fun. We had a great time recording and we are so lucky to have an amazing sound engineer, Sajid Masood (Sarj), who is already a musician and shared his passion with us.
We are also very excited and happy to work with some great musicians – the bassist Soud Al Saad, percussionist Moaed & Ghanim, electric guitarist Hashem Al Nasser and guitarist Abdulrahman Buhamud, who made the recording from Bahrain and sent it to us. Also Baerbal Ehlert the violinist who made it from The Netherlands. As you can see, we worked with many musicians to make this album the way it should be and we are so grateful to all of them, and of course to Nawaf Al Gheraibah, our producer, who worked hard to manage the project until the end.
What song means the most to you from the album and why?
‘YoteQuiero’ because it takes me to a pure loving state. On lots of occasions when we perform it, I feel like I’m filled with light because the lyrics are about true love; the love that can never die; proof of the eternity of the soul that connects people. Even if some are dead and some are living the relationship continues with more love.
What songs are you really enjoying playing live from your album at the moment?
Most of them! Maybe ‘Fi Izdihar’ a little more than the others because it has power, depth and interesting melodies.
How was your experience working with Nawaf Gharibeh and AJNA Records?
It’s like our second home! Nawaf is a wonderful person and his presence in the music industry is really great – honest any good. What he gets in this world he deserves and I hope he gets more. He helps young musicians and gets them involved in big projects. He is a great source of inspiration to all of us and we are blessed to work with him and so lucky to be in AJNA Records.
What was the hardest part about putting the album together for you guys and why?
The hardest part was the timing. It’s always harder for a group than an individual artist. Each one of us has his own life, job and responsibilities. Managing time to practice and to record wasn’t easy.
What song of yours are you most connected to and why?
‘Fi Izdihar’ because it kind of reminds me of those days when I used to play old Spanish songs to my grandfather. We had a great time. Actually, the lyrics in ‘Fi Izdihar’ tell the story of that experience, because both me and my grandfather had the same interest. Through that comes the expression of joy and pain. It heals us; it’s like a powerful daily meditation. Of course, we wrote the lyrics in a way that anybody can relate to and it does have a mystical meaning.
Can you tell your fans something they don’t know about you?
We love pizza!
When not making music what do you like to do?
Meditation, reading, writing, drawing, sport.
What’s next for you?
We have a big concert planned by our record company ‘AJNA Records’ for the end of April. After that were going to take a break, do some sport and spend valuable time with family and friends. Of course, we’ll make a regular routine to practice and write music with each other.
Your message for us at CP magazine:
Thank you very much for having us. We appreciate the way you give space to the artists to talk about their art which is a very good way to spread the passion and keep the wheels of inspiration spinning.