The following interview was recorded on Saturday January 28th, 2012 only hours before the earth collided with a comet killing all 7 billion passengers. The interviewee is the amazingly talented Sarah Elgindy, creator of the Blood or Love music blog and co-founder and owner of the Domestic Genocide Records. She is a poet, a musician and, quite honestly, as cool as the other side of the pillow.
Tyranny: Are you or have you ever been a member of the communist party?
Sarah: I flirted with the idea in college when I was a sociology major for a bit. I decided against it. Too much reading involved.
Tyranny: Awesome. The Chinese commies have great hats. When did you first fall in love with music?
Sarah: I have a love/hate relationship with hats. I think they look lovely on other people. As for music, that’s a bit hard to pinpoint. When I was younger, my mother would talk to me about The Beatles, Elvis and some Michael Jackson was mixed in there. When we moved from New York to Egypt, the transition was logical since most black and white movies from there had musical numbers. If not people playing instruments or singing, they had people belly dancing. A lot of times they had all the above.
But I would say that my obsession came about when I missed the chance to learn piano a bit more due to relocating so much. When we came back to the US, I discovered music that had meaningful lyrics. It started to serve a different purpose. and then I discovered Jack Off Jill via my friend Aleia. It kicked off from there for me.
Tyranny: You’ve developed your love for music into a fledgling media empire. You have a blog, a record label and several additional unique musical ventures. How did the label, Domestic Genocide, get started?
Sarah: It originally came about as a suggestion from Trevor Antonides from darknessofmystery. I had originally intended to interview him for Blood or Love, my webzine, but gradually we became friends. He really liked the name, which was the name of my blog, and the label was something that he was really interested in for his own project. I jumped on it because at that time, through review writing, I’ve come to know some amazing musicians that would benefit greatly from this project.
It just grew from there. We kept it quiet in the beginning with only a chosen few, mainly friends we were going to sign before we both met in person to iron out the details.
Tyranny: Beautiful. It seems like you have a ton of bands on the label. Who is on the roster?
Sarah: We have Qafas (Bahrain), Coldnight (Columbia), Evil Lucifera (Italy), WelicoRuss(Russia), Eulen (Syria), Hate Filed (Egypt) and a few other prospective bands that I can’t share with you yet.
Some have been in consideration since the beginning but the only thing holding us back is the lack of actual content to release. A few I am pretty excited about so I can’t wait to make those announcements when the time comes!
Tyranny: Who is your first release going to be?
Our first physical release will be Hate Field. He is priority right now due to time constraints.
Sarah: Should be out on the 29th of this month.
Tyranny: Tell me a bit about his music.
Sarah: It’s an interesting mix of metal and traditional Egyptian music. He uses the maqam scale (Arabic music scale) a lot with electric guitars. That’s one of the highlights for me and he also uses tabla for some parts. The theme is a very personal one to him so it’s truly a reflective project.
A broken heart and other personal issues come together with an attempt at industrial metal. That’s how I see the project.
Tyranny: What formats are you looking to release the music in?
Sarah: We start out with digital, as you know, and then print them out on CD usually. Vinyl if they want it or if we can cut it with our budget.
We don’t do tape because people simply don’t have the equipment necessary to listen to cassette tapes anymore.
Sarah: I considered that. Luckily, Trevor waited until I was sober to take any of my ramblings seriously. We were at a wedding in Michigan and let’s just say that home-brewed beer is awesome.
Tyranny: Many a strange plan has been concocted over home-brewed beer. I’m pretty sure there is a direct link between home-brew and the American Revolution. Would you consider signing the idiots…I mean talented gentleman…who did that Newt Gingrich rap song?
Sarah: Sure. Digital release only and anonymously via iTunes or Amazon.
We have a name to uphold after-all!
Tyranny: I think Domestic Genocide is a perfect name for anything Gingrich related.
Sarah: “Gingrich” sounds so medieval. Maybe if we tinkered with the music a bit.
Tyranny: Who is coming out after Hate Field?
Sarah: After Hate Field, it will most likely be WelicoRuss or Coldnight. I know the digipack for WelicoRuss is about done so that’s something for their fans to look forward to. We have it up for pre-order on our webstore.
Tyranny: Outstanding. The label seems to have a great line into some of the up and coming music scenes around the world. Where is the next Seattle?
Sarah: Either Egypt or the United Arab Emirates… or Russia. It’s a toss-up.
Tyranny: Why do you figure?
Sarah: Egypt and the UAE are both fairly liberal as far as music and shows are concerned. I know they have had to face people not liking them, but unlike in other countries over there, they won’t go to jail for it. The music scenes there have had time to expand, grow, and serve as a home for musicians from other countries in the region. Though, with what’s going on with the Brotherhood and Salafis slobbering over Egypt that is going to change quickly. I say Russia as an afterthought because I’ve been noticing some pretty good music coming out of there. Most people don’t know enough about the music scene there.
Tyranny: Do you think it’s possible to have Cannibal Corpse jailed in Egypt? I mean, for fun.
Sarah: Don’t get my hopes up. But, between you, the readers, and me wait a few months and then send them over for a gig. Should be interesting!
Tyranny: I’m in. Then again, people start to get taken seriously when they do time. Like Varg, for example. That dude would be schlepping gyros in South Philly if he hadn’t stabbed somebody.
Sarah: It’s interesting that that didn’t seem to work for Leviathan too well.
Tyranny: Good point! You are the creator of the phenomenal music blog “Blood or Love”. You do a whole mess of amazing interviews on there. How would you describe your style as an interviewer?
Sarah: Thank you! Well, I think “thorough” is my style. I try to get the most I can from someone in one question as humanly possible. It’s also a challenge sometimes asking original questions especially when you don’t know your subject too well. Other times, it’s a challenge when you’re sending out the standard questions in an email or private message on Facebook. Don’t get me wrong. That can yield good results, but it’s kind of stale. I developed a love for the “conversational” style from Alfi Hayati and John Stepp’s interviews.
Tyranny: What do you find most interesting about humans?
Sarah: How almost everything, even negative emotions, stem from the broad spectrum of emotions that we loosely label as “love.”
Tyranny: Is there a definable “love”?
Sarah: I think that the one thing that all forms of “love” have in common is the incentive for self-sacrifice. It’s the one thing that is capable of making us discard our instinct for self-preservation.
Tyranny: Best I’ve ever seen that answered. Do you see music as a critical component to the survival of the human race?
Sarah: Most certainly. Music is art and art is one of the most profound forms of communication that we have as a species. Sometimes, words alone can’t translate what we want to convey and sometimes language can actually be the barrier preventing communication. Culture, religion, society. All that can separate us. A lot of times it does. Art is universal. It keeps emotions like empathy alive. You don’t need to understand the lyrics to a song to feel the emotion coming from the singer or the music itself.
Tyranny: What song do you have the strongest emotional connection to?
Sarah: Piano instrumental of Silent Night. It’s the first song I taught myself to play on piano and I think the melody is very beautiful. The song reminds me of childhood. It brings back memories I would have forgotten without it.
Tyranny: All right, I give you a name; you give me a quick response. Ready?
Tyranny: Mitt Romney
Tyranny: John F. Kennedy
Sarah: Car. Gunshot.
Tyranny: Sylvester Stallone
Sarah: Impressive sneer.
Tyranny: Malcolm X
Tyranny: Ronnie James Dio
Sarah: Metal horns.
Tyranny: Yul Brenner
Tyranny: Would you rather kill a cow or a chicken?
Sarah: Chicken. Cows are harder to kill. Once, a whole bunch my father bought in Egypt ran away from the butcher and was roaming the streets. I was walking to the butcher wondering why they were walking around unsupervised. Doesn’t happen too often.
Tyranny: You saw donkeys in Egypt. What was that like?
Sarah: It was all right when they went along with what their owners wanted of them. Otherwise, they’re very loud and annoying at the crack of dawn. Even more so than roosters.
Tyranny: You. Desert Island. One album. What you got?
Sarah: Dax Riggs, Say Goodnight to the World
Tyranny: If you could leave the beloved reader with one idea, one mental image, one thought, what would it be?
Sarah: Floating within a nebula and witnessing the slow birth of stars.