INTERVIEW: Samy Elbanna – Lost Society

Photo Credit: Ville Juurikkala
Photo Credit: Ville Juurikkala

WORDS: Jessica Howkins

With LOST SOCIETY’s 3rd studio album, Braindead, set for release February 12th, Distorted Sound’s Jessica Howkins sat and had a chat with front-man Samy Elbanna about the record and what’s in store for the band in 2016!

Hi Samy! I’m Jessica and I’m going to be interviewing you today for Distorted Sound Magazine about your upcoming album, Braindead. First thing is first, how are you today?

Samy: I’m very good thank you, just enjoying my Friday evening and after a couple of hours, I’ll probably go get a couple of beers and drink them down today, have a good time!

I don’t blame you, haha. So, since your first release Fast Loud Death in 2013, you guys have been pretty busy as a band recording Terror Hungry and now Braindead, how has the experience been for you?

Samy: It’s been a pretty surreal experience these last three years basically, because I mean it’s been really fast all the time but we have just been enjoying the ride basically because have been lucky enough to be able to do exactly what we want to do, and we really love to just play music and we’ve been really lucky to be able to tour the world and everything. Everything has been really fucking awesome.

You’ve been named one of the best newcomers in thrash, the title quickly rising with each of your releases, do you think Braindead will take you to the top?

Samy: I think that in many ways Braindead is, at least I hope that the album is going to get some new audiences also maybe because the album has a lot of stuff that we’ve never done and we were trying for the first time. The album has a lot of different themes and musical influences also, so I believe that with Braindead we will capture some new audience and definitely the old fans will not be disappointed.

It is very clear to see that you have taken on a different approach. I am the Antidote, for example, is clear to many fans that you have taken on a heavier approach for Braindead, do you think that’s something you will carry on developing as a band?

Samy: I think it is really important for us as a band and it’s a thing that we decided long ago that we will evolve all of the time, that’s really important for us. With I am the Antidote, we decided to release that as the first track from the album because it’s basically a song that is totally different from what we have ever done so, I think a lot of people will be surprised, well, I think a lot of people have been surprised right now when it came out a couple of days ago. I think it’s cool to see that a lot of people who may have a hard time taking it in, but there’s a lot of people who have never really previously liked the band but now have said that it’s pretty cool. I think the song is doing exactly what we had hoped for.

A lot of people are saying that the recent single is taking on an approach of you guys becoming the KREATOR or TRIVIUM, what do you think of that?

Samy: I don’t know how to comment that basically, because whilst both bands have their good sides and everything, I think what we kind of would love to have, which is really cool is that LOST SOCIETY would be the kind of band that you can’t really categorize us into anything. Every album that we release basically could be totally different and totally new because of course, we have our roots in thrash metal and that’s really important for us but I think one of the most important things for a band is, is that they can try new things and that they don’t just release the first album, over and over again.

Well, it’s obvious that your records have matured in terms of crafting the art of what you do. Do you think it’s helping you mature as a band as well?

Samy: We’ve been playing together as a band now for what, four years? I think we’ve matured as song writers and as musicians also. I think it’s really cool that we have the same line-up as in the beginning that we have basically all matured together all of the time. We saw that when we was writing the songs for Braindead, it was something that came really natural to all of us, we didn’t need to fight about different parts and stuff, our music taste went pretty well together. I think it’s the maturity and the standards that are growing in some way at least.

As you said, you’ve only been playing together for a few years, yet your success is growing massively, something very difficult for newer artists today. How is that for you?

Samy: For all of us, we are just really grateful! There are a lot of awesome bands out there who have played for tens of years and they still haven’t got their chance to break or anything. We don’t take any of this for granted, we’re just happy that we can do what we want to do and we’re definitely not going to fuck it up. We really have a good work ethic and stuff, we do everything as well as we can and I think you can see that also from our live shows but we’re just enjoying what we do and we really hope that we can just do this for as long as we can.

That has definitely transferred over, especially with your live shows. I watched you support DESTRUCTION in Manchester last year and now you’re going to be supporting EXODUS on their UK tour. Is touring with bands with such high titles in the metal world pushing you further to achieving the longevity of your music?

Samy: Yeah, of course! LOST SOCIETY have the studio albums which I love of course but at the end of the day, LOST SOCIETY mostly is a live band or at least in a live setting, people can see the true essence of the whole band because when we get up on that stage anywhere we are, it doesn’t matter if there’s one or one thousand people in the crowd, we just go totally crazy and basically that’s the place where we most love to be. The live shows are just what we love to do and that is what we live for.

Are you planning on doing any headline tours of your own or festivals with the release of Braindead?

Samy: Well, we’re starting the year with the EXODUS tour which is going to be insane of course and then after that we’re going to do at least a headline tour in Finland. We are going to go around the country at least, and then festival season we’re not going to be headlining any festivals but we’re going to do a lot of shows but you never know for the summer next year we could possibly start planning some headline tour around Europe first or something. We got to start doing that but at the moment, or for the next year it’s not impossible any more.

It would be fantastic for a headline tour around Europe, your fan-base has certainly grown vastly over the past couple of years.

Samy: It would be pretty cool to see how many people would turn up and actually do come to see us!

Well, I can tell you now that more people are beginning to notice your name in the UK and wanting to hear from you guys in terms of live performance.

Samy: Oh my! That’s awesome to hear!

Back to Braindead though, is there anything on the album that you are especially proud of?

Samy: This album really has a lot of different things that I’m especially proud of like, for me in terms of guitar work me and Arttu, our other guitarist, we really played the best solos that we have ever played. This was an album where we really planned a lot of the solos, the two of us for months and months before we hit the studio and of course we perfected them and whilst we were there. I mean the solos were definitely one thing that I’m really proud of on the album and then in just terms of stuff like the songs, of course I Am the Antidote is one of my favourite tracks because it was the first song we wrote like a real solid melody into and it was the first song that had like almost clean vocals in it and then of course the last track of the album Only (My) Death is Certain, is one where all of the band really outdid ourselves. I remember when we wrote the track, it just came in about two hours when we were in our rehearsal place and then we recorded the track just on our phones so we could listen to it and then we just noticed afterwards like holy shit, it’s 8-minutes long, how did this happen?! I think it’s a really cool song though because I just think about us about two years ago and I don’t think it would have been possible for us to write a song so complex and so long. I think this was a perfect setting for us to write that song now and I think it came out really cool and I’m really looking forward to releasing that song and seeing what people like and don’t like about it.

Well as you said, a couple of years ago you would never have thought you could have pulled off something so complex, did the releases of Fast Loud Death and Terror Hungry make you push yourselves harder than ever this time to achieve that?

Samy: Of course! I mean it’s just years and years of practising all of the time and stuff and developing the mind to write stuff like that and it’s always a group effort of course for us when we write the tracks so I don’t think one of us alone could have wrote a song like Only (My) Death is Certain because that is like a perfect example of that every dude in the band has their own influences in the song and that’s how we put the whole thing together.

That’s absolutely great. Last but not least, as I said I saw you play in Manchester with DESTRUCTION last year, how is your broken guitar doing now?

Samy: Haha! It got fixed, I was so happy about that! When it happened, it took me like five minutes to realise that holy shit, oops my guitar is broken, then the worst thing was that someone from the crowd tried to steal a piece of my guitar but luckily I got it back but when I flew back to Finland I got it fixed and right now it’s hanging on the wall of my apartment and stuff but it’s not a problem anymore. I’ve switched back to normal guitars, Stratocaster shapes, so I don’t think that will happen again!

I’m so glad to hear it! It’s been a pleasure speaking to you Samy. I wish you all of the best with the release of Braindead and I look forward to seeing you on the EXODUS tour in the New Year. I would also like to thank you, you was my first ever interview a couple of years ago and since then I have been getting more and more opportunities like this, so thank you very much! It’s been an absolute pleasure.

Samy: Oh same here! That’s so great to hear, thank you so much Jessica!

LOST SOCIETY’s new album ‘Braindead’ is out on 12th Feb 2016 via Nuclear Blast.

They will be touring the UK in February and March supporting EXODUS. For tour dates click here