TURBULENCE: "We’re just a bunch of guys who love music, specifically prog music, and have a message to deliver through this unique genre."

Back in 2021, Lebanese Progmetal powerhouse TURBULENCE caught my proggy heart with their second album "Frontal", and left me excited to hear what else the quintet might have in store. On March 8th, they released another masterpiece (find my review here), taking their listeners into the world of binary dreaming.      


Glad about the opportunity to welcome them on our musical journey - Read more about the band's history, name and future plans here: 

Hey, thanks for making time to answer my questions today. Could you please introduce yourself and Turbulence to our readers? 

Thanks for taking the time and interest in what we do! My name is Alain Ibrahim, I’m the guitar player and founder of Lebanese Prog band Turbulence. We’re just a bunch of guys who love music, specifically Prog music, and have a message to deliver through this unique genre.

Turbulence is myself, Mood Yassin on Keyboard, Omar El Hajj on Vocals, Sayed Gereige on Drums and Anthony Atwe on Bass.

You just released your marvelous, third album. How do you feel about it, and how was the reception so far?  

This was the first album we wrote under a “deadline”. I am very proud of the music that came out in such a short writing process, because I feel we were able to stay true to ourselves and write songs that are not just album fillers, so to speak.

Haha, absolutely! :-) Let’s take a look at the eye-catching cover artwork of B1nary Dream. What can you tell us about its origins, and how does it reflect the album thematically?

Of course, every artwork is a graphical representation of the concept, but the degree of explicitness may vary depending on the style and taste of every artist. That said, we went for a straightforward kind of approach, mainly because we felt that the nature of the concept is very graphic. So knowing all of that, our bassist Anthony put his experience in design to work and the artwork was born.

What inspired you to write a concept album about a dreaming robot? And could you dive a bit into the record’s story with us, please? 

I wouldn’t say there’s a “story” here, necessarily. This album was born as a result of imagining what it would be like to synthesize human consciousness, place it in a robot and observe what happens. So it is more of a virtual / hypothetical experiment rather than a story.

In many ways, if you look at where we are headed as a society, we are becoming more like machines with consciousness. Given that the cliche in this topic is a robot developing feelings, we wanted to explore a slightly different angle which is the machinization of humans, and from there we just kinda reverse engineered, realized we wanted to talk about that.

The process undertaken to create consciousness, to teach a robot how to dream, is called Binary Dreaming - Hence the name of the album. Seeing that we are becoming more and more machine - like as technology becomes more dominant and essential, and that the population just recently reached 8 billion people, we were inspired to give the name “8b+1” to our robot subject, symbolizing the new era of civilisation, if you will, a more robotic one.

So we broke down the different elements you need to achieve consciousness, and we narrowed them down to 5, and these are the first 5 tracks on the record. As always, we like to deliver a certain message with each album - This time, we use  “8b+1” to do so. 

That's awesome! Your kind of musical expression is just mesmerizing, coming along with an incredible dynamic, wonderful variety, and excellent musicianship. What is your background, and where do you draw your inspiration from?

Thank you! Our inspiration is drawn from the concept at hand, really. We approach the songs with a film-music making mentality, and that’s why you’ll notice that all our albums have either a story, or a theme, or an underlying concept connecting everything, and this is something I think we’ll always do because we enjoy it so much!

As for the musical background, we share an immense love for Prog, but we also listen to all kinds of music ranging from arabic to electronic to rock etc..

“Frontal” was an outstanding album, yet it’s absolutely amazing to hear how you managed to evolve your sound even more and create another masterpiece with "B1nary Dream". What was first on your creative journey: the conceptual idea or the music? And could you briefly describe your writing / recording process, please?

You never know when a great idea is gonna come to you. We always have an archive of potentially good ideas / riffs / melodies ready. Shortage of good ideas is never an issue, the key is in filtering those ideas. And for that reason, we always sit down and have long discussions about the concept until we get something going, enough to start diving into the archive and start developing ideas into structures. And from there it's just an ongoing tug war between music comes first and concept come first, so you start adjusting both until you are satisfied with what you hear. 

So every writing process starts with a lot of talking, then a lot of playing music and recording on the spot, until we reach a demo we're happy with. By then, almost half the recording is done. 9 times out of 10, things sound better and more spontaneous at the moment you come up with them, so a lot of the things you hear on the record is from the initial writing process. We only redo things that we absolutely have to, and of course drums and vocals since you need a good room to capture them.

Let’s make a little time trip - When and how did you guys get together?

It is hard to believe it’s been more than 10 years already! Mood reached out to me in 2013 and shared a Keyboard-based demo song, and I just HAD to dabble with it on guitars. That demo later became a track on our debut album, called "Richardson’s Nightmare".

So after virtually getting into the writing world we decided to meet up for a jam and see what would happen. Basically we spent a 2 hour rehearsal playing Dream Theater songs on the spot out of memory! It was an amazing feeling to click with someone so quickly and seeing how much passion we both had towards creating progressive music, we immediately sat down after that and started planning ahead for a new journey that would later become Turbulence.

How did you come up with your name, and is there a deeper meaning or story behind “Turbulence” for you?

I still remember the conversation Mood and I had about the name. We figured that we are both interested in Mathematics, Physics and sciences in general, and tried to pick a word that would be convenient for the style. The word Turbulence felt very describing of the Prog genre in general, and also a word for a physics phenomenon so it felt good and we went for it.

Let’s talk about Turbulence live: What was your most memorable show so far?

That would be the time we performed at Ready For Prog Festival in France, because it was one of the few times we were part of a pure Prog line-up as opposed to a Metal line-up, so the audience knew what to expect and were there for a reason - They were engaging and hyped throughout the whole thing.

That's awesome to hear :-) Lebanon is not necessarily famous for Rock and Metal, but great bands can be found all over the world of course. How would you describe your local music scene? And did you notice changes over the past years?

True, this country is more famous for Oriental and pop music. However, there are some good bands roaming around the middle east with many different genres. Our music scene in Lebanon specifically has never changed iconically over the past few decades, but we are seeing more and more talents rising and it's looking very promising!

What can you tell us about your future plans?

I can definitely say that we plan on bringing our music to live stages across Europe, all while still making more and more music for years to come!


Sounds highly promising for me :-) Before we wrap things up, do you have any further thoughts you’d like to share here?

We would like to thank every person who put time into checking out our music and giving us amazing feedback that, when hard times hit, really keeps us going, knowing that there are people who enjoy what we do.

You're most welcome! :-) Thanks again for your time and music, and all the best for what is yet to come \m/