We recently caught up with Jay Wud, one of the UAE’s top rock acts, for a chat following the release of his new single Low. See what happened below!
Can you introduce yourself and tell me a little more about yourself?
My pleasure! I’m Jay Wud, I play guitar, sing and write songs. I started playing guitar at the age of 13 influenced by bands like Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix, Nirvana, Metallica, Megadeth, to name a few. I performed at a young age back home in Lebanon with different bands. The first show I did outside Lebanon was with a band called Kordz, I was their guitarist at the time and we supported Robert Plant in Tunisia. In 2007 I moved to Dubai and that’s when everything changed. I started working on my own material and in 2010 I released my first self produced album New Blood which got some good attention in the region. After two years of writing I released my second album False Utopia and a line of shows followed in the region starting with a support slot for Guns’n’Roses in Abu Dhabi. It was great and everything but I wanted to push my music to the next level. In October 2014 I went to Los Angeles and recorded an EP with renowned music producer Howard Benson. Working with Howard and his team was phenomenal, it was a learning experience for me as an artist and it helped develop my sound.
You just released your new single Low – how did you go about writing and constructing the song?
It all started with that main riff at the the intro, it was haunting me for a week and I would hum it and play it al the time! As if it was timed to perfection, I wrote Low as I was passing through a stressful period, you can hear it in the lyrics. While tracking guitars with Mike Plotnikoff during the recording, we experimented with different layers and sounds which resulted in the wall of guitars you hear on the recording today.
If you could go back and change anything, would you?
No, but if Marty Mcfly took me back I would just push myself to work even harder.
Moving on, your backing group contains members from Lebanon, Serbia and Latvia – what made you bring together all these international musicians to play for you?
The drummer Pascal (Lebanese) and the guitarist Bojan (Serbian) , we met in Lebanon back in the day and we did different shows together. Then they moved to Dubai too, and thats how we got back together again. Eriks (Latvian) also based in Dubai joined us mid 2013. So you can say Dubai got us together.
You’re arguably one of the bigger names in the Middle Eastern rock/metal scene, what’s it like to be a part of it?
The Middle East doesn’t offer that much support for rock & metal, but that’s not to say it isn’t a thriving scene. I have a lot of supporters that have stood by me, come to our shows religiously and really enjoy what we do. But the music of the masses here is arabic pop, which is fine, but that means that the financial muscle of the music industry is geared towards that. It damages a good number of independent artists here who don’t have enough venues to perform in, don’t get radio play and if they’re lucky enough, get a couple of interviews on TV and mentions on online based publications in the region.
For someone who is largely unfamiliar with the Middle Eastern scene, what bands/artists would you say would be a good starting point for them?
There are some incredibly talented artists and bands here. I would recommend Empty Yard Experiment (A prog rock tool-esque band) and Wanton Bishops (a garage blues band a la Black Keys)
If you could tour with any musician, who would you want to be on a lineup with?
I would definitely pick Foo Fighters for Dave Grohl. I mean who doesn’t love this dude! He’s a genius musician, genuinely funny and a great guy.
If you could collaborate with any artist or musician, who would it be and why?
That’s a tough one, but I would love to work with Trent Reznor, Joshua Homme or Dave Grohl. For their songwriting, and of course I’ve grown up listening to these guys so I’m a huge fan.
If you could replace the soundtrack in a movie with your own music, what movie would you choose?
Hmm, i would go with Sin City probably. I’m a big comic fan.
And if you could put your name to a product, what would it be?