Rabat - Yassine Bourial is the founder of the Moroccan Metal Community (MMC). In 2010, before moving to Canada, he organized the first edition of the MMC concert and now plans to organize a second edition. “People still think metal is Satan’s work,” Bourial told Morocco World News. He wants people to discover this kind of music before judging it, through the MMC.
Rabat – Yassine Bourial is the founder of the Moroccan Metal Community (MMC). In 2010, before moving to Canada, he organized the first edition of the MMC concert and now plans to organize a second edition. “People still think metal is Satan’s work,” Bourial told Morocco World News. He wants people to discover this kind of music before judging it, through the MMC.
MWN: Could you tell us about the Moroccan Metal Community, in few words?
Yassine Bourial: The MMC is a group of musicians and metal music lovers from Morocco, who share the same passion and love for this kind of “controversial” music.
MWN: After 2002, what was the situation of metal in Morocco? Is it still“controversial”?
Yassine Bourial: Metal in Morocco does not advance like other musical genres. There’s a big lack of resources, unlike rap music where all it takes is a cheap instrumental which you can download, and you can record a song for 200 or 300 dirhams. It’s expensive to buy an instrument, and most of the bands struggle to find a drummer.
It is really hard to get permission to organize a metal concert, especially in big cities. 2003 was a historic year for metal in Morocco, after what happened to the bands Reborn, Nekros, and Infected Brain [the nine band members and five fans were given prison sentences after being accused of disturbing public order and wearing satanic,“anti-Islamic” t-shirts]. I think personally that since then the vast majority of Moroccans have thought that metal is Satan’s work. They will not hesitate to call you names in public just for wearing a black t-shirt. By finding out about us and our work, people can change their ideas. Metal is not Satan’s work, discover the music before you judge!
MWN: How did the MMC come about?
Yassine Bourial: The MMC was created in March 2009 to unite fans of metal music in Morocco and also to give the musicians a chance to promote Moroccan metal in our country.
I talked to my partner from an art organization about creating a Facebook group for Moroccan metal fans. The idea was rejected because it could tarnish the reputation of the organization (which deals with different kinds of art) and from this rejection, the MMC came into being.
MWN: What distinguishes the MMC from other metal communities?
Yassine Bourial: What distinguishes the MMC is its image. We want to promote Moroccan metal musicians. Sometimes all artists want is moral support. They are not asking for money or fame. They do what they love and all they are asking for in return is to listen.
MWN: Which bands inspire the MMC the most?
Yassine Bourial: What inspires the MMC is Moroccan metal. There are plenty of good bands, with huge potential and a lot of talent. Their work is what pushes us forward.
MWN: July 3, 2010 was the first edition of the MMC. Under what conditions did you organize it?
Yassine Bourial: The first edition was hard to organize, we really struggled to get a permit to play at Complexe Culturel Mohamed Zefzaf, and even with the permit we could not access it in the begining.
But we had massive support from our sponsors (sound system, security, photography) and also our friends who made it possible, so we could access it and we were satisfied with our work.
MWN: This first edition brought together five groups (including Vicious Vision and Despotism). Why exactly five? Was it to avoid the evil eye?
Yassine Bourial: (laughs) Absolutely not, it is just that we could only have five bands playing that day because of our limited time and resources.
MWN: What were your criteria for selecting these groups?
Yassine Bourial: We wanted to make a start with the best bands we could find in Morocco. We were totally satisfied with the result.
MWN: In 2010, you organized the first but also the last edition of MMC. What prevented you from continuing to organize other editions?
Yassine Bourial: I had to move to Canada for studies, and people weren’t motivated to keep it going.
MWN: Do the MMC members still have the same objective: “gathering the metal community and providing a stage for local groups to have concerts throughout the year”?
Yassine Bourial: It is hard now to organize an event because most of the MMC members have left Morocco, but we are collaborating and working with people in Morocco, so expect to hear something new soon.
The three most active members do not live in Morocco. How do you manage your communication?
Yassine Bourial: When someone has a new idea or wants to work on something, he tell the other members about it and we see what we can do to make it better. We are always Skyping and talking to each other; even if the timezone is a ***** we still manage to communicate.
MWN: How did you know each other?
Yassine Bourial: I met Amine in a Japanese event held in Casablanca, Manga Afternoon. He was the first one to buy the MMC shirt and then we became friends. He was in charge of selling t-shirts in the region of Meknes.
As for Samir, I met him during the first MMC concert. He was the first one to congratulate me, and he supported us for what we were doing.
Both of them showed great interest in the idea of the MMC, they wanted to help, and that is what they did.
MWN: You have not been able to organize a festival before leaving to Canada because of the lack of staff. Were you able to overcome this problem later?
Yassine Bourial: Not really, because I moved out of Morocco and a festival needs big sponsors with a lot of money. People might riot if they heard there was going to be a metal festival in Morocco. There is still a lot we have to do before taking bigger steps.
MWN: Which genres do Moroccan metal groups play?
Yassine Bourial: Every genre, from heavy metal to Japanese metal, except for those genres where foreign folk instruments are required, like Viking Metal.
MWN: You are currently working on a shredding contest with a prize for the winner. What is the principle of this contest and what for?
Yassine Bourial: The idea of the #MMCShredContest is to show the community that the Moroccan metal scene is full of awesome guitarists, with great talent, and perfect mastery of the instrument. The success of the event depends on the members of the community. The MMC is just here to organize and watch how things are going. Even the members of the jury are not affiliated with us, they are great musicians who have the respect of all of us. They gave a lot to the Moroccan metal scene.
As for the prize, we did not want to give one at first, but then I remember I saw a Moroccan shop that sells instruments online, Rock.ma. We sent them a message with all the details about the event, and they accepted our request for sponsorship. They’re offering a TC Electronic Dark Matter and a Rock.ma tshirt for the winner.
MWN: Who are the well-known local musicians you worked with for this event?
Yassine Bourial: We had positive feedback from most of the bands we talked to. In fact, without the help of Sami Jawahir, the founder of the one-man band Torment, the event could not have happened. He is really talented, I have huge respect for him. He gave so much to the Moroccan metal scene and music in general, and he made us awesome backing tracks for the contest.
There is also Omar, the first person who contributed to the event a few hours after the start of the contest. I would like to thank him and wish him his band Suicide Machine good luck in Tremplin e.i. the Boulevard, another competition that will be held next week.
I would also love to thank Simohamed Eddaoudi – lead guitarist of one of the oldest Moroccan metal bands, The Nightmare – for the support he gave us.
MWN: What are your future plans?
Yassine Bourial: We would love to organize the second edition of the MMC concert. We are seriously thinking of it and we just need time to make it happen. Everything is possible.
MWN: Will be there any collaboration with the Boulevard?
Yassine Bourial: We have not had contact with the Boulevard [an urban music festival organized every year in Casablanca which promotes young artists], but everything is possible in the future. Whoever wants to make the Moroccan metal scene a better one is more than welcome.
MWN: What messages would you like to send to fans in Morocco?
Yassine Bourial: Fans are members of the community, they are the MMC. Without them the MMC would not exist, and I would like to thank them for keeping the MMC alive.
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