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Expressing your culture through lyrics. A defining moment of your heritage.

Posted: July 20, 2023

Your roots are both your lineage, your ancestry, and your values, your beliefs. Your roots can inform how you show up and move through the world, the type of person you are and the one you are becoming. When you're rooted, you stick true to your character, and at the same time honor where you've come from.

There are many different reasons why an individual may hold true to their roots. It can be their upbringing, their culture, or nationality. If they are musically inclined, it could the music that they listened to when they were younger. Religion has established a strong belief system in many. These things are at the core of a person’s values, beliefs and character. When a person is defined by their roots it can have a positive effect on the way they live their life. If you have making it big in the music industry is your aim, it will play a significant role, in the outcome of your career.

Artists have deviated from the character traits that once defined them. In do so, they forget about what made them successful. Naser Mestarihi is an artist that has a close connection with where he comes from and how he views the music he creates.

 

ABOUT WINTERBURN

Rising rock ‘n’ roll crew WINTERBURN drive forward with the release of their eagerly awaited debut album, Ivory Towers, out now. To date, the high voltage rockers have racked strong support from some of rock’s top international publications including Metal Hammer, Classic Rock, Powerplay and ERB Magazine.The nine-track debut album is a powerhouse rock record featuring multiple singles including the critically acclaimed “Dogtown” and title track “Ivory Towers” and has received accolades in some of the world’s biggest metal and rock publications. The band is now set to release their third single “Sinner’s Swing” while also during preparing to set out to live dates both regionally and internationally in the coming year.

Originally born in 2018, WINTERBURN began work on their debut album in 2019. However, both illness and the pandemic halted early progress. Naser Mestarihi elaborates: “I’m proud of this record. I poured a lot of heart and soul into it, considering I fell ill with MS as we were getting into the sessions, which led to me having to relearn how to play the guitar. Getting this record done was battling through the odds for me.” The album is certainly a powerhouse release. Rammed with hugely infectious riffs and thoughtful arrangements, the record shines brightly. Naser embellishes: “The sound on this album is way more direct than my previous releases; I wanted the songs to be in your face, hooky, riff o’ rama, groove fests and obviously having someone like Thomas Pridgen on the skins brought that power.

WINTERBURN is an enthralling project brought to you by Qatar born lead guitarist, vocalist, and singer songwriter Naser Mestarihi. With a wealth of experience both live and recording, Mestarihi, is a multi-instrumentalist who plays all instruments on WINTERBURN’s new album, Ivory Towers, except for drums which were recorded by Grammy-award winning drummer Thomas Pridgen (The Mars Volta, Suicidal Tendencies). By pulling from the wizardry of contemporary custodians of rock and old guard luminaries such as Van Halen, Ozzy Osbourne, and Guns N’ Roses, WINTERBURN offer a unique and captivating take on hard rock, separating them from many of their peers in the genre today.

Recently becoming the first artist from the Middle East to join leading guitar manufacturer Gibson Guitars as an endorsed artist, Naser has put together an exciting lineup featuring Ameet Kunwar and Satish Thapa. The band made a triumphant comeback with three headline performances in Naser’s hometown, including headlining a festival. Winterburn is currently gearing up for an overseas tour and begin tracking the follow up to their critically acclaimed debut. With dates racking up, this power trio are set to break.

 

INTERVIEW WITH NASER MESTARIHI AND GUITAR THRILLS MAGAZINE

GT: Today we have the opportunity of asking Naser Mestarihi some questions related to this topic. Thank you for joining us today.

Naser: Thank you for having me, it’s a pleasure.

 

GT: How much of an influence does your heritage or culture influence your music?

Naser: I think not so much today as it used to, musically speaking. Yes, in songs like “Astral” I’ve infused Arabian elements in the song, as well as some South Asian elements as well but aside from little inflections like that, not so much.

From a lyrical or conceptual perspective, it has a more significant prevalence. Being mixed race resulted in me encountering a lot of racism growing up, in fact a lot of it still happens today, especially in the music industry. So, a lot of anger, frustration and the release stems from that. It’s also why I’m extremely passionate about standing up to injustices and advocating different causes.

 

GT: Do you think there is a fine line of freedom of expression and knowing when to hold back from saying what comes to mind?

Naser: Yes. Although it also depends on where you’re based. I sometimes write metaphorically so the message I’m trying to convey can be ambiguous to the listener which I do for two reasons, sometimes I’m not comfortable being very explicit with the message I’m trying to put out and it also gives the listener an opportunity to form their own interpretation of the lyrics, which makes the material relatable at times as well.

 

GT: Is there anything that you would consider that inappropriate for singing about? If so, what topics are they?

Naser: There are things that make me uncomfortable, for instance, I’m not a fan of themes that are anti-religion, me being a practicing Muslim myself. I generally am not a fan of unserious topics, I don’t mind tunes about having fun and so on, I am a rock n’ roll musician after all, you got to balance it with music that has a serious message as well. Some genres are just inundated with nonsense that I just don’t even bother with.

 

GT: Was there difficulties for you as you trying to become an artist within your country? If so, what were they and how did you deal with them effectively?

Naser: Yes of course, rock in general is not an easy genre to pursue a career in. People are enamoured by DJs and that whole scene, which I personally don’t get because I can’t enjoy live music that isn’t performed with real instruments. So there’s that, trying to create a resurgence for real live music.

I’ve never had an issue with censorship or the authorities however there is a lot of cronyism, racism and spite with regards to promoters in my hometown which led me to pursue my music abroad for nearly a decade before moving back.

 

GT: What limitations do you currently experience, that prevents you from getting to the next level in your career?

Naser: Right now we need to sign with a label cause the financial side of this is the biggest constraint.

 

GT: Who were some of the bands that shaped your style of singing? Also, what band or artist closely resembles Winterburn?

Naser: If I had to list my biggest vocal influences they’d be Ray Gillen, Paul Rodgers, Rob Halford, Bruce Dickinson, Steven Tyler, Freddie Mercury and James Hetfield.

In terms of bands it’s not so easy to narrow it down to one, we sound like an amalgamation of our influences with our own touch so you’ll heave guitar licks that sound like Van Halen, Sabbath, Skynyrd, Thin Lizzy, even as far the Chili Peppers.

 

GT: How did you come up with the name Winterburn?

Naser: It’s the name of a song on my third solo record, I genuinely came up with it lighting a cigarette during winter years ago.

 

GT: What are some of guitar brands that you have enjoyed playing and why?

Naser: It’s no secret that I’m lover of all things Gibson, even basses. My primary guitars now are Gibson Les Pauls and Explorers, although I do own a couple of Flying Vs. I do also enjoy playing Fender Strats but Gibsons will always be my go to guitars, they’re just so versatile and that’s perfect for our sound cause we mix a lot of genres within rock music.

 

GT: Are you currently working on releasing an album or single?

Naser: I’m actually currently working on our follow up album. I just wrapped up some of the pre-production work on guitar tones. I’ve got 14 songs written fully, just need to pen down some lyrics, which is usually the final process I get to after tracking all the instruments. I will start tracking the album soon.

I do think we’re going to narrow it down to 10 however and use the remainder of the songs as material on the record that’ll follow this.

 

GT: What has been your most successful album to date?

Naser: Sales wise probably my third solo record “Praed Street” of course having it in stores and Virgin backing it with promos helped. It sold out in some countries which was awesome. Critically though “Ivory Towers” has had the best reception so far and is the one I personally am very proud of from performances to production.

 

GT: Nice! We think you are awesome and have a dynamic skill set. We want to encourage you to continue pursuing your goals in the music industry. We are here to support you in your endeavors. With that said, are you open for future interviews?

Naser: Thank you very much, I’m humbled and grateful for the kind words. Yes, absolutely!

 

GT: Excellent. We look forward to hearing from you again, soon. Thank you.

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