Hey, thanks for having us! We’ve been super busy but happy to be doing what we love every day.
Can you talk to us more about your upcoming single “Alive”? Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?
I (Omnia) wrote this song about quitting my dayjob in early 2016 to pursue music fulltime. It occurred to me that society expects young people to graduate from college and get a full time job with benefits in order to truly become adults, and that this model was making me (and a lot of other creatives) pretty miserable. The chorus lyric “they’ll never understand the spirit that compels me” was directed towards those who don’t understand or approve of a career in the arts (or any other path that deviates from societal norms).
Can you talk to us about the concept behind the video?
The music video was shot documentary-style and followed 5 real people we know in NYC with various day-jobs and side hustles/passions, some of which were pretty unexpected. The intention was to demonstrate that what you do to pay your bills doesn’t necessarily dictate who you are. One of the first questions we tend to ask people we meet is “what do you do?” What we should really ask people is “what do you enjoy doing?”
The single comes off your upcoming EP Young – what’s the story behind the title?
A lot of 20-somethings (including us) feel like pseudo-adults as we struggle to find our way in these crazy times. We noticed that the songs we were writing had an overarching theme of youth and coming of age.
How was the recording and writing process?
The writing process definitely took a lot longer than the recording process, which was wrapped up in 3 months. We don’t really start writing songs together in the same room; usually one of us comes up with an idea separately and later takes that idea to sis so she can give feedback and/or help finish the song. We really put the songs we write under a microscope as far as lyrics, form, and chord structure long before they get to the studio. The EP was recorded over the summer with Jon Seale of the Brooklyn-based arts collective Mason Jar Music. When you’re constantly gigging, you can get pretty jaded about the songs you’ve written because you’ve performed them so many times – Jon’s fresh perspective helped to breathe new life into our songs and helped us fall in love with them again.
What role does NYC play in your writing?
We are New Yorkers and because there are so many talented people here, it keeps us on our toes and always striving to be better. There is a hustle in New York that is so unique and it’s embedded in who we are as artists.
How has tragedy and loss shaped your music?
We came together as a duo after we lost our dad at the end of 2015 and decided to use his last name as our band name. He always said that we should form a duo. We’d like to think that he’s somewhere insisting that he told us so.
What aspect of youth did you get to explore on this record?
For us and many others, the millennial experience has included being young and broke with massive student loan debt, taking jobs that didn’t align with our true passions to survive financially, and ultimately taking the leap of faith necessary to follow our dreams. This EP chronicles our struggle to rise above our circumstances and pursue happiness, despite the socioeconomic, ethnic, and gender barriers that have stood in our way. It sounds pretty dark, but most of the songs are actually very light-hearted and hopefully uplifting.
Any plans to hit the road?
We’re hoping to tour in 2018 after the release of the EP! Dates/cities are still TBD.
What else is happening next in HEGAZY’s world?
We’ll be releasing another music video soon for our second single “Here to Stay”, which ties in with the immigrants rights movement #HeretoStay. We are first generation Arab-American women living in the Trump era, so we have a lot to say about what’s going on right now. J