Q&A: Stitch

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Lead guitarist Jehad Haddad talks to RS ahead of his band’s performance at the Street to Stage live final

By Salma Sobh
Sep 18, 2013

How did Stitch get together?

It was a long time ago. I was playing with Sleman [Mosleh, bassist] and we formed a hardcore band back in 2005. We were playing covers mostly. Arch Enemy, stuff like that. Then we got bored of that and we met Ghassan [Al Masri, vocalist and guitarist] who was singing with Sleman. And we formed Stitch, like, three years ago, with Hakam Abo Soud, the drummer. That’s how we started. It was like a back-and-forth situation. We formed Deva, an in-between band, in 2008 but that was just me and Sleman. You could say that me and Sleman were together for eight or nine years through three different bands. But if we’re talking about Stitch, then we started in 2010, playing only covers in pubs and bars. We started writing original music, like, six months ago. We liked it so we decided to do it more often.

How did you choose the name?

We were having lunch. The band was then still called Deva. And my friend was criticizing that name because it looked like 'Diva,' and was just very feminine for a rock band, so [he said] we should come up with something that's like really, really muscular and rock-ish. So we were suggesting names, things like Slipknot. Slipknot is something you do with a rope, to tie, like stitch. So then we said, "Yeah! Stitch is a good name."

So you started out playing covers.

Well, you always start as a cover band. Playing different genres of music in pubs and bars. Stuff like Chris Daughtry, Bon Jovi, even Bryan Adams, Lynyrd Skynyrd and that stuff. And then six months ago we started writing our first song.

Had you ever made a video before?

Actually it was the competition that made us think about it. My job is, like, making videos of cartoons and animation stuff. I never thought of doing something for our stuff. So we made the videos using only a camera, which RS provided for us. It wasn't very good, we're not that talented at making videos.

How did you find it?

It was very hard. Very hard, given the time and the deadlines. We don't have a lot of original music done. So we created all of this just for the competition. So there's like a very, very tight deadline. Like running from the studio, to the editors, to the writing stuff and filming – all in one week. We didn’t want to do the regular ‘band playing on stage’ thing for the videos. We wanted to do something original, but it wasn't that easy at the time. So yeah, it was very hard.

How does Stitch’s songwriting process work?

Ghassan writes the lyrics. He's the vocalist. So we try not to get into the lyrics stuff. He has to sing it with feeling, so we prefer that he comes up with the lyrics so he can relate to every song. The composing starts with me actually. I came up with the third song, "Some Days." I made the whole thing and showed it to Ghassan. Ghassan probably wrote the lyrics in one day. Some songs are easier than others. It's like, out there, you know? And sometimes you have to dig inside, go back and forth, change things so that they work out with the lyrics.

Do you gig regularly?

Basically we used to play gigs back in 2005/2006 regularly. Right now, there's not that much apart from pubs and bars.

Where’s your favorite place to play?

Murphy's House of Rock in Amman. All over the walls are Slash and Led Zeppelin and Lennon. It's our small stage.

What bands have influenced you?

Metallica and Creed. The fact that the four of us come from different musical backgrounds has helped us a lot – given us the variety of style that you see or you hear in our music. Every song is different from the next one. That's because we listen to a lot of different genres. We don't hate any genre, we listen to everything. And that's [very helpful] in coming up with a different style. It's like Sixties, Seventies, Beatles, Metallica, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Led Zeppelin, rock, pop, even the mainstream songs you hear on the radio stations daily. A little bit of Arabic music, but not that much. R&B, hip-hop, all that stuff.

What do you hope lies ahead for the band?

To be honest, getting older and still playing this stuff… I mean, Sleman has a daughter right now. His daughter is, like, one month old, and still he's playing. This is the thing. All of us have our own lives; families and work, careers. And we still find that time to play together and be serious about it, like with competitions and stuff. We're very happy with where we are right now. Most local bands get bored and then quit just to go get married or work in another country, but for us this is it, we're all together.

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