indie now

indie now | svengali: get hypnotized1

indie now


get hypnotized

Svengali 2020-4

curious over the band’s
name, a google search
provides a peek at what
could possibly be the
origin of a rather
peculiar moniker.
svengali is an early
20th-century name of a
musician in george du
maurier’s novel trilby
(1894), who controls
trilby’s stage singing
hypnotically. and
rightfully so, their music
is nothing short of

musivv got in touch with
the band’s leader JM Elias
to find out more about
their spellbinding journey.

indie now | svengali: get hypnotized2

indie now

tell us about how it all began. the music journey.

I was born in Lebanon shortly before the civil war and spent my childhood living between Lebanon and France. I ended up back in Beirut for my teenage years.

I remember I was always interested in music no matter what the genre was, but it was always from a listener’s point of view. Until that one day, I was about 15-16 years old, I went over to a friend’s house and he had an electric guitar - he was jamming some of my favorite metal tunes.


I remember just sitting there watching him and thinking to myself “I want to do that, I want to play like him”. Next thing I know I bought a used knock-off guitar for about 60$ and started learning how to play.

2 years later, I had formed a band and we had our first gig lined up. We were playing Sepultura and Slayer cover songs. I was so nervous I couldn’t sleep the night before the show.

I remember getting more and more nervous as the hours pass leading to our stage time, I was filled with all sorts of emotions; fear, adrenaline rush, happiness, nervousness all at the same time.
I can remember like it was yesterday!

The moment we stepped onto that stage was the best moment of my life, indescribable! The feeling music gives and the connection you build with the crowd is like no other - it’s the best form of self-expression I have personally experienced.

indie now | svengali: get hypnotized3
Svengali 2020-2

what do you
think is the
between art
and music?

I think music and art are the results of self-expression and both are really personal, it’s just the means of how we express it is what makes it different.

I think music and art are the results of self-expression and both are really personal, it’s just the means of how we express it is what makes it different.

why do you think it’s common for most musicians to have tattoos?

I think tattoos are worn by people who appreciate art in general and not necessarily musicians. Back when I started getting my first tattoos, it was more about looking cool than anything else! (laughs) However, as I grew older, my tattoos started telling stories about particular moments in time that I wanted to carry on my skin.

what was your first tattoo?

A random small tribal tattoo on my arm that got covered up later by another random tribal tattoo.

indie now | svengali: get hypnotized4

indie now

most recent tattoo? favourite tattoo?

My most recent one was a compass and trace of the Himalayan Mountains, because of a motorbike trip I have recently done.

I can’t really pick a favorite, each one has a story and I love them all.

How is it like releasing your latest music video?

It was incredible, the response we got from The Svengali Family was beyond what we expected.

They were with us
from the beginning
and their support
has been
phenomenal! This
means the world to

We put in a lot of hard work into this album and video, seeing the people appreciate that makes it all worth it.

It is a lot of work
to do but, to be
honest, we love
it and we plan to
keep doing it for
as long as we

indie now | svengali: get hypnotized6
Svengali 2020-1

What is your songwriting process?

I usually start with the music, write the main skeleton or ideas of a song then I and Adnan argue until we agree on something. The same happens with the lyrics, once the song structure is done, Adnan writes the first draft and we keep arguing until we are both happy with the result.

Favourite song you wrote and why?

Honestly, that’s a very hard question to answer. It’s like asking me to pick a favorite child!

At this point I’m loving all the songs on “Sayonara” it’s very hard for me to pick, maybe I’ll be able to tell you which song is the most fun to play live in a couple of months

What would be your biggest dream as a musician?

I think it’s safe to say that I speak for everyone in Svengali when I say our biggest dream is to be able to do this full time and make a living out of making music.

Follow Svengali:

indie now | svengali: get hypnotized4

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