By Nicholas Jason Lopez
On Aug. 11, 2020, Detroit-based band Random Ties unveiled the official music video for the single “Thawra.”
The Bandcamp sales from “Thawra” will go towards The Lebanese Red Cross, which supports those affected by the deadly explosion in Beirut, that only made life worse for those already suffering through the COVID-19 pandemic.
Random Ties pride themselves upon their tradition of putting out “high energy rock music,” as they blend quiet verses with heavy, honest choruses. They’re set to put out more music later this year, which will follow up their debut EP ‘Believe,’ released this past June.
The Music Bugle had the chance to talk with member Youssef about what they’ve been up to lately and more.
Music Bugle – What excites you the most about rock music?
Youssef – Random Ties is a heavy-hitting, feel-good rock band. We’ d like to consider ourselves a voice for the less fortunate and defiant against the corrupt. Rock music has deep roots from blues to jazz to metal. It is a way of life that has withstood the test of time. It has shaped generations. I started listening to The Beatles when I was young. They blew my mind away and the sound that changed my life was bands like Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Alice In Chains and Soundgarden. Their music shaped who we are as a generation. Listening to them, it was so powerful.
Music Bugle – How have you been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic?
Youssef – Lot of revenue streams were wiped out, mostly coming from live shows and meet-and-greets, but this also opened another door. Our goal was to remain consistent by providing quality music to our audience and reach a wider fanbase geographically, so a big thanks to you for giving us this interview. We released our first EP ‘Believe’ in June with a couple of music videos. For those that would like to check it out, you can stream it on Spotify. This was the EP I put on hold for many years. We also plan on releasing our second EP sometime in October with a music video and hopefully, when things settle down, we will have a clearer idea on our next tour.
Music Bugle – If you had the chance to go back to this past New Year’s Eve, what would you tell yourself about 2020?
Youssef – “Brace yourself, this is going to be a tough one.”
Music Bugle – How did you decide your band name?
Youssef – The way our band came together was very random and yet, we were tied by our passion for music, thus, Random Ties.
Music Bugle – What has been the most productive thing you’ve done while in quarantine?
Youssef – There is so much going on around us, good and bad and what better way to channel that energy and express it via writing music? The guitar usually comes first, then the lyrics flow. Our new single “Thawra” was inspired by the deadly attack that happened in Lebanon on August 4 that rocked the nation, leaving over 300,000 people displaced and thousands still missing or dead. This humanitarian crisis really hit me hard. The blast is only second to the Hiroshima bomb. This prompted me to write “Thawra” and work with the incredible Layal. You can find her under @Ipr1ncess. She produced the video with the most authentic shots of what’s going on down there. We hope this song will shed light and raise awareness of what’s going on in Lebanon.
Music Bugle – How would you describe Detroit to someone who has never been there before?
Youssef – Detroit is a hard-working city that is growing and moving, yet it’s still divided along economic and racial lines. A lot of progress is taking place with all the social changes going on.
Music Bugle – Does social media make it easier or harder for a band to stand out these days?
Youssef – It’s a double-edged sword. On one hand, you have the ability to access millions of fans and listeners and on the other, this has given the ability for everyone to put their music out there, making it an overcrowded space and shortening people’s attention spans.
Music Bugle – What has been the biggest obstacle for you to overcome?
Youssef – I lived in nine different countries. That exposed me to a lot of cultures and this experience taught me how to adapt in whatever the situation presents. I grew up in Lebanon, a country of war. I witnessed four of them, the last being today, where the revolution since October 2019 is trying to bring down a corrupt government that crippled and stole from its people. I feel like a survivor and blessed with what I was able to overcome and where I am today as a human being and a musician.
Music Bugle – Who are you listening to right now, music-wise?
Youssef – Chevelle. They are a phenomenal band. All the songs on all their albums are top-notch. I just can’t stop listening to them. I hope we can tour with them soon.
Music Bugle – What do you miss the most about performing in front of a live audience?
Youssef – We miss, obviously, the fan interaction, which we are known for. Don’t be surprised if a few fans are up onstage with us doing backup vocals or just dancing. We want to make each show a memorable experience, something they can take home with them. Before every show, we also do a beer hunt game with our fans. We miss that. We will hide a 24-pack of beer outside the venue and first to find it gets to keep it and sit backstage with us. When we first started, we didn’t have a reputation in the music scene and no promoter would return our messages, so what I would do is follow all the venues around us on social media and in case a booked band cancelled an appearance last-minute and the promoter or venue needed a fill-in, we’d be ready to hop in our car and be available to play the show. Our fans appreciated that and the hard work we put into our craft.