Keyboardist/vocalist Fetah Sabawi has had a very interesting journey, both in life and in music. His musical pursuits have included a decade-long stint in one of Australia’s best-known heavy music acts, Superheist, garnering significant critical acclaim nationally and around the globe in playing with Karnivool guitarist Mark Hosking in the world music-influenced Revolucion Street, and he now mans the keys for one of Australia’s most unique and promising up and coming alternative/progressive rock acts, Jericco. He shares his thoughts on Jericco’s history, future and many other issues with Beat recently from his home in eastern Melbourne.
“I was playing in another band called Revolucion Street,” he begins on how he was introduced to Jericco, “with Hoss from Karnivool. We were main support to Dead Letter Circus. And Jericco were opening, and I walked in while they were doing their line check. I heard the first few bars of Always. I heard Brent’s (lead singer Brent McCormick) vocals, and something struck me then, when I heard it. It was one of those ‘Oprah moments’!” he laughs. “I had an Oprah moment! This was two years ago, late ’08.
“Me and (bassist) Roy started talking, writing together,” he recalls. “I liked the band so much that I just said ‘why don’t I just join your band?’. And they were like ‘What? Are you serious?’ So we gave it a go, and here we are.”
This idea of ‘instant’ chemistry when the members first got together is something quite miraculous. “Absolutely,” Fetah states emphatically, “it just felt right straight away. And we’ve got a great chemistry within the five of us in the band. I’d feel very strange if there was a new face around. As a machine, as a functioning unit, the five of us have a certain chemistry that works. And that’s hard to find.”
One of the major points of difference that Jericco bring to the table in this overcrowded alternative-rock scene that has taken root in Australia is the dark, moody Middle Eastern flavours inherent in their music. This was present even before Fetah (who’s Palestinian) joined the band, with Isreali-born bassist Roy Amar already exerting his mid-Eastern influence over the band’s music. With the addition of Fetah’s keyboard textures and vocals, the sound was set, and he agrees that this was a major factor in the chemistry that the band have, both personally and musically.