Preferences. Opinions. Personalities. These are just a few of the million reasons why four musicians can get hyped up, write a smashing hit song, and clash in between. Pour in the distance factor in the mix and voila: A recipe for self-destruction. Well, for Coat Of Arms, it is quite the contrary: a thriving environment. Bandleader Bailouni a.k.a Chuck Norris (inside joke), left Abu Dhabi in 2005 to study in the UK and form a band — or vice versa? He "wanted to try and put a project together that explored
the spaces between pop/rock melodies and heavy metal energy." Bailouni reached out to friends back then who were involved in different projects to see where the tide will lead to. After a series of member changes, Mohammad Bailouni (vocalist/guitarist), Shannon Peiris (drummer), Liam Ruddell (bassist), and Amir Chaouch (guitarist) are now the stable lineup dropping several albums and playing shows in Europe and Asia. musivv reached out to see how the band is post-hiatus.
Please tell us about your latest project 'Inferno.'
Shannon: We released our last record 'A Shade of Red' back in 2015, and dropped a promotional tour single back in 2016, so it's been well over 4 years since we've released any new music to the public. During that time, we've been going through on and off bursts of inspiration, writing music whilst juggling life and all its machinations. All the guys took a pause, looked back, and realized we're probably sitting on 2 albums (or more) worth of material from over the years. Inferno is the first single, in a long line of releases that will show everyone what we've been up to and how we've grown, as musicians and individuals.
We have always been a band of nomads.
Bailouni: Even though we were on a hiatus we had been banking loads of songs as ideas or demos. We just didn’t know when we were going to release them or how. We were already trying to overcome the challenges of working distance, so by the time COVID came around, it didn’t really feel too different from the process we already had going on. Amir had been sending ideas across and I suddenly had this crazy 10-day spur of creativity that got this whole ball rolling. That’s when we realized we had a lot of special songs and it was time to start getting them out to the world.
Liam: We have always been a band of nomads. There hasn't been an instance where we have had all the members living in the same city, let alone the same country. It's not extraordinary for us, it's [our] normal. Since the beginning, we, have always used the Internet and its various tools to help us make the music we make.
How do you find ways to see eye to eye with what sound Coat of Arms would create?
Shannon: Collectively, nu-metal was our gateway into listening to heavier music back in the early 2000s. We were raised on the classics: Korn, Slipknot, Deftones, etc. Now that we are older, we probably draw on every subgenre under the heavy metal umbrella as an influence, from metalcore to technical death metal, thrash metal to djent. Outside of that genre, our [individual] tastes run the gamut - we talk a lot about RnB, Hip Hop, Modern Pop, Film Scores, Indie Rock, the list goes on. There's a [really] diverse set of ears in the band and creating a cohesive sound with our range of influences can sometimes lead to heated, but passionate debates. We don't shy away from trying new things, but [really] we just try to write music that plays to our strengths that we are all proud of.
Biggest dream as a band?
Amir: To have all members living in the same country! Just kidding, but that would help. I guess every band's dream is to play a huge festival, which goes without saying, but hopefully, for us, it's to stay relevant and have people connect with our music on the same level we do.
If your journey as a band would be summarized in four lines from any song, what would that be?
Bailouni: “My eyes don’t see the world, they only protect what my mind forgot” - Krypton.
Film is an inspiration
Individually, who do you guys look up to that’s outside the music space?
Bailouni: I think a lot of our inspiration outside of music comes from film. A lot of us are really into the way film is created. All the process behind it, whether it’s the technical side of what the DOPs are doing, the directors' vision coming to life, color correction, set design, method acting, or mainly the screenplay and how it might be adapted. There are a lot of parallels between Coat of Arms and a lot of psychological-thrillers. The way we try to present different viewpoints of morality and trauma with unreliable narrators. I’ve even tried using method-acting techniques to prepare myself to mentally write a few songs on some of our previous albums. Everything from film is an inspiration purely because of how large the projects are and how many different creative people are involved.
An essential ingredient in defusing the clash of egos rose to the surface. Stay 16 at heart. "We're always friends first, bandmates second. The seriousness only rears its head when it's time to crack the whip and get down to business. At which point, any one of us [can] buckle down, step into that role and get the job done," concludes Shannon.Follow Coat Of Arms: