Welcome to the world of Ramithawi, or Rami Almithawi, a prolific artist with Venezuelan and Syrian roots, whose music beautifully represents both worlds. Rami's songs, sung in Spanish, reveal the singer-songwriter's unreserved passion and creativity in using unconventional forms and sounds, similar to the experimentations of Jeff Lynne (ELO). Thank you Rami for this interview!
Can you tell us more about your background as an artist with Venezuelan / Syrian roots?
I was born in Venezuela, in a Caribbean island called Isla de Margarita and my parents are from Syria. I have lived most of my time in Venezuela but I have went to Syria to learn the language and meet my family/culture. I love both of my roots and I feel very connected to them, they have shaped my personalty and my musical ear.
Do you consider yourself a solo artists, and you write your songs all on your own? Do you have a permanent band backing you during gigs?
Yes I consider my self as a solo artist, but I consider my band as my family as well. I write all the songs by my own and some of them I get help by my band members and they always give me great advises. The band we play together is permanent but every once in a while some of them have been changing.
What does music and being an artist mean to you? Can you name some of your biggest musical influences?
Music is everything to me, it has been my best therapy since the day I discovered it. I feel that there is no limits when it comes to art, you can create a whole universe of your own. Some of my biggest influences is my sister, she got me into rock music, and her best genre is punk. when I was teen I really got into the 90s rock scene, like Green day, Nirvana, System of a down, Linkin park... Then when I got in my twenties I got into the Psychedelic era of the 60s, like the old pink floyd with Syd barrett, the doors and The west cost pop art experimental band. I love music that is crazy and has a lot of dynamics in it with a mixture of different kind of styles that can also be catchy.
Can you recall your earliest memory about music? That one thing that made you want to be an artist / musician?
When I was young I used make beat-boxing with my teeth, but I never considered my self as an artist on that time. One day I was in a room were there was a keyboard in there, I started playing on it and my uncle (He used to be a musician) passing by he heard me and he asked me if I wanted to learn how to play guitar, and I said "Yeah, why not" then when he taught me couple of chords and I really got into it and I wanted to be better and better.
At what age did you start making music / playing music? How have you grown since then?
I learned how to play guitar when I was 15, I have learn most of things by my self watching Youtube tutorials of how to sing, Live concerts of my favorite artists and listening to my self in live gigs and rehearsals. I used to have a band in Venezuela, playing live gigs in there has taught to be confident of myself.
How do you go about songwriting? I think your songs are all currently in Spanish?
I first come up with a catchy riff of very interesting song title and slowly I start putting more ideas to the songs and give a theme to each one. I like making different types of music, creating new sounds and challenging my self for the future. I write my songs in Spanish, its my strongest language. I also have one song that I have written one verse in Arabic and also translated one verse in Finnish, the song is called Jos olisin Etana. At the moment I speak mostly in English and Finnish, for the future I might want to experiment with other languages.
What do you prefer more? Being in the studio, making new songs, or playing live?
Honestly, I prefer them all. Each one of them has an amazing experience.
I've seen some of your gig photos, and they all look very exciting! Can you describe your best gig so far?
Our best gig so far was the last one we had on the 1st of November. It was our EP debut concert, over 150 people came to see us, they were dancing and singing like crazy, we always make our audience connect with us and that is one of the best things about playing live.
Most memorable, weird, interesting, or funny incident that ever happened during a gig?
Once we had a gig in Lepakkomies, we were playing the most rock songs at the end and then suddenly someone threw a bra and it landed on my mic, and that was hilarious. XD
How long have you been performing live in Helsinki? How would you describe the music fans and audiences in Finland?
I have been performing in Helsinki for 3 years. The audience in Finland is very honest, sympathetic but also hard sometimes. In our first live gigs people were a bit shy and hard to make them participate, but now that we have an audience, they start to dance and sing by them selves, some of them like to just be relaxed and enjoy. I have the feeling that if I made people dance and participate in here, I can do the same anywhere in the world.
For fun : If each of you in the band were a fruit, what would you be and why?
I would be a coconut, because I come from venezuela. Haha!