They are young, they are fierce and they rock! With a mystic and intuitive sound, Massive Scar Era – in short Mascara, caused some stir in the male dominated metal scene in Egypt. Originally from Alexandria, Mascara moved to Cairo ready to take the music scene by storm.
It’s impossible not to fall under Mascara’s spell. Their songs are like forces of nature; loud, feisty and energetic. When they first got together in 2005 they were three girls and a boy yet reduced over the years to a combo of three: Sherine, Nancy and Maged.
Sherine, who works in marketing, is the lead singer and writes the lyrics and composes most of the band’s music. Nancy is a music teacher at a private school and plays the violin. Maged, the only male in the band, is an engineering student and the drummer.
It wasn’t an easy ride at all. From learning to play their instruments to finding proper music schools over to shortage of instruments supplies in Alexandria to flirting music teachers, “We used to go with our instruments to find the guys who were supposed to teach us leaving the lesson aside and start flirting. It was sick, we couldn’t easily find the right people who would just teach us the music we need and that’s it. We kept on looking for the right people until we found members of Masar Egbari. They are really decent guys and brilliant musicians”, Sherine tells, “Youtube makes it easier for bands to learn music. It’s an outlet to practice it was useful for me”.
The Cultural Wheel paved the way for the band to get closer to the crowds in Cairo, “When I arrived to Sakkia for the first time, and met up with the people, they liked the idea that we are the only female metal band in Egypt. They liked the demo tape and we performed”, Sherine explains.
There are two sides of Mascara, one in which they play hardcore metal and another one with softer acoustic rock influences, “Our music isn’t considered commercial here in Egypt. We can’t make music for a living although Metal artists abroad don’t need a fulltime job to support their music. Most of us are still working full time but we’re very optimistic towards our future and people are starting to give attention to new kinds of music and producers are getting there too”, we are told.
When the band was offered a part in Ahmed Abdallah’s award winning movie ‘Microphone’, he told them to use an Arabic song rather than an English one, “We had ‘Abaad Makan’ written and composed but we didn’t think about playing this song for a long time as we were focusing on our Metal songs a lot more, but Abdallah insisted and we decided to work on its final arrangement and it was a great success. The lyrics came to me when a friend of mine was leaving the country for good and I started writing it right after I got the news”, Sherine tells us.
They don’t make music for the eyes, but for the ears and that was the main attraction to the band when they showed up in ‘Microphone’ wearing masks through the whole movie, “Well my mum didn’t support the idea of appearing in a movie, so Ahmed Abdallah suggested the idea of the masks and it worked out really well”, she laughs, “We signed a contract that said that our faces won’t appear without the masks and my mother read it and gave me the permission to be on screen”.
Mascara met with Grammy Award Winner Fathy Salama who guided them as a musical mentor. Known for his great music experience, Fathy told the band that he liked their music but they need to work on themselves a lot more to become professional musicians, “He told me your music is good but you don’t know how to play at all and any 8 year old kid abroad would easily play music like mine. I was shocked at first but he really helped me progress. He gave us some of his ideas in ‘Abaad Makan’ and I give him great credit for this song to come out the way it is now”, Sherine comments.
Mascara still haven’t released their first album yet but released a self produced EP (Extended Play), consisting of four songs, that was released at the Cornerstone Festival in USA. The festival included bands like Demon Hunter, The Devil Wears Prada and many others. The band also played at the Sweden Rock Festival 2009 and Dubai Film Festival 2010 and they are now getting ready for their US mini tour that will begin end of this month. They will also perform at the infamous bar Whiskey A-Go Go where legends like The Doors have performed before.