Based out of Bahrain and formed in 2001, Motör Militia is one of Bahrain's premier heavy metal bands and, as the first Thrash Metal band in the region to record and release an album of original material on an independent record label, helped spread the word on behalf of the genre from the Middle East to an international audience.
Left to right: Hisham, John, Ahmed, Abdulla and Mohammed
Thanks everyone for taking time out to answer a few questions. Firstly, let's go back to the very beginning; how and when did you start and how did you get together?
The original Motör Militia was formed back in 2001. Everyone in the original line-up were school mates, they all had a common interest in music and loved the old school Thrash Metal. So Motör Militia was formed and, as a band, began to play this style of music with covers. They then progressed into writing and performing their own original material, and this is when ideas for the first album were born. Since then though, the band has gone through a few different line-ups until the last few years where the current line up has held strong.
What is your current line-up?
John Baker – vocals. John joined Motör Militia in 2016, after moving to Bahrain from Australia; where he was a successful Thrash Metal and Hard Rock performer, singer and
Ahmed Janahi - guitar. Ahmed joined the band's lineup in 2014 on rhythm and lead guitar, and came to the band's attention through the Experiment super group in which other Motör Militia members had also featured.
Hisham Alawadhi – guitar. Having played with several local cover bands, notably Morgue and Dive, Hisham has been a member of Motör Militia since the summer of 2007.
Mohammed Alkhuzaie – bass. Mohammed joined the band on bass in early 2017. He had previously played and performed with local bands Berserk and Purified as well as an appearance with the Experiment super group.
Abdulla Muijrers – drums. Abdulla has been the driving force behind the kit in the band since 2001. He was the founding member of Motör Militia, and a pillar of the Metal and music community in Bahrain. Acting as co-songwriter, lyricist, arranger, manager, promoter and producer Abdulla has resiliently kept the band going through thick and thin for close to 20 years
Were there other Thrash Metal bands on the scene at the time, and were they recording?
Yes were others performing, but Motör Militia is regarded as one of the first metal bands in the Gulf - and probably across the Middle East too - to record and release a full length album of original material on an independent label. We had built a strong following based mainly on word-of-mouth promotion in Bahrain, as well as within neighbouring Middle Eastern music communities. Members of the group also began interacting with many other bands in our local heavy metal scene, organizing DIY heavy metal and hard rock concerts. This, in addition to the band's decision to play sets consisting almost entirely of original material, also influenced many local groups to then do the same. And so, we organised the first FVF Music Festival on October 23rd 2003, and this was only the bands second live performance that attracted a crowd in excess of 1,000 people. In the spring of 2004, while riding the wave of momentum that had been created, the band was signed by the Saudi based independent label SandStorms Records, to record and release an album of original material. The Sound of Violence was released in June that year and launched at the final FVF show.
How did things progress?
In 2007 the band regrouped with a new line-up and continued where it had left off and, as a result of our resurgence, we also aided in the resurrection of the Bahrain live Metal scene, which had almost disappeared in our absence. In 2010, we independently recorded the album Cloaked in Darkness, which became the cultivation of the work of a band that refused to lie down. After the album's release in 2011, the band hit the road, notably headlining the Dorrak Festival in Bahrain, performing twice in Dubai and at the Deccan Rock Festival in Hyderabad, India, returning to Bahrain to close out 2011 with an appearance at the annual Bud Battle of the Bands; an event traditionally reserved for hotel based cover bands. The band continued performing live; opening for Nervecell's second Bahrain performance in 2012 and at the 2013 Bahrain National Day Festival at the Bahrain International Circuit in front of a national audience.
In April 2018 we released World In Flames. This is Motör Militia firing on all cylinders tearing through eight ferocious all new original Thrash Metal anthems! The album tells the epic tale of evil and destruction through the ages approaching end times. Leaning heavily on the writings of scripture, history and conspiracy theories as sources of influence and inspiration, and continues to showcase our burning desire to play this genre.
Do you find writing your own material easy? What's your process?
As musicians it is always in your blood. Its not something you fall into; it is something we believe you are born with and yes, for us it comes natural to write and compose new songs. Our process is that we come up with a clear story line, for example our World In Flames album story line. Once we have a full story to write about, then we break that story up into individual songs, where each song denotes a part of the entire story from start to finish of an album. We feel that this is an important way to write, giving a much stronger message than just each song been a different message or story. Our guitarists then come up with awesome riffs, then we practice on these, putting drum beats and bass to them. We then structure it in such a way that it sounds appealing. Once we have our music together, then the leads are put into the music, and then finally we select a part of our story board that we think it best fits. Then we write the lyrics to that music in line with the part of the story line. And this process with our next album, when it gets released, will be no different.
As a band, how do you think you have evolved?
Well, we have evolved through a few different ways. One way has been through different members coming and going and adding their influence. The second way is just by wanting to sound bigger and tighter with each song we write. We very much pride ourselves on perfecting our music before we put it out there for the fans to listen to. World in Flames stands testament to this I think, as this is a very powerful Thrash Metal album and, so far with the reviews and feedback we have had from all around the world, we believe we have nailed it.
What are your plans for the future for Motör Militia
The band has been working very hard in promoting our music throughout USA, Europe and Australia. Our view is that early to mid 2019, we plan to hit the road and do some tours, either in the States, or in Europe, where we can get in front of some heavy metal crowds at metal festivals and venues, and where we can really showcase what Motör Militia is all about, as well as showcasing what Bahrain in the Gulf countries has to offer for the music scene. We also plan to produce another album and to release new singles and official videos. Our dream is to be able to do this full-time as we all love what we do and love playing live. There is no better feeling than playing live in front of a raging crowd!!
Facebook: @ motormilitiaband