Israeli Middle Eastern Oriental Metal band ORPHANED LAND is the legendary, flag carrier of the Middle Eastern metal world. They combine ancient folk instruments such as Saz, Kanoon, Oud, Bouzouki, 20 different percussion types, using 6 languages and singing styles from various cultures worldwide, while using and mixing the monotheistic religions,- Judaism, Islam and Christianity with a rainbow full of cultural elements. October 2011 came out the band’s first DVD “THE ROAD TO OR-SHALEM”, via Century Media Records. Orphaned Land is Kobi Farhi – Vocals and growls, Yossi Sassi (Sa’aron) – Guitars & Middle Eastern strings, Matti Svatizky – Guitars, Uri Zelcha – Bass, Matan Shmuely – Drums.
Some days ago MSFinland’s Kostya Aronberg interviewed the band’s guitarist, Matti Svatizky…
1. Hello, Matti! Wellcome to “Metal Shock Finland”!
We were formed in 1991 under the name Resurrection. We started by playing quite conventional Death Metal, but after a year or two we started to look for our own style and originality. Our style became more melodic and we also decided to blend in our music our own roots, which is Middle Eastern music, and we’ve been doing so since then.
3. Who influenced you and members of your band from the music sphere?
Throughout the years we’ve been influenced by lots of artists and lots of styles and it will be impossible to mention them all. We are also five members in the band and we all have different musical tastes and every one of us brings a little of what he’s influenced by into the mix.
4. A couple of weeks ago you issued your first DVD “The Road to OR-Shalem”. Did it surpass your expectations?
Yes, it really did. Like you said, this was our debut DVD and we put extra energies into it in order for it to be good. We had many guest appearances and we also built a huge LED screen behind us and filmed video art we made especially for the show. We’re using the video art since then in all our shows, btw.
5. Next week you are going to a 2-months tour across Europe with Myrath, Arkan and Artweg. How did you meet these bands and what can you tell us about them?
Actually it’s a 1 months tour, with 24 dates across Europe. Arkan we know from before. We’ve shared the stage with them a couple of times. We know Myrath’s music and we offered them to go on the road with us. Both Myrath and Arkan share a musical style which is close to ours, so that makes the tour kind of a “Middle Eastern Metal” tour. It’s great because the crowd gets to see something it never seen before.
6. Orphaned Land are probably the only Israeli band that has fans in Turkey, Egypt, Iraq, Iran and other Arabian countries. What is the reason for this fact in your opinion?
I think that the reason for it is the style that we play. We mix in our style the Middle Eastern and Arabian roots, and people from Arab and Muslim countries find it easy to relate to what we do. It is really special and important for us that people from those countries support us. It helps bringing people together so we all can see that we really have much in common, and it’s great.
7. In 2011 terrorist organization Hezbollah promised monetary prize for you and Lebanese dancer who was dancing with your band on HellFest-2011. What exactly happened over there?
A Lebanese dancer contacted us through facebook and offered to dance with us in Hellfest. She also offered that we both wave our nation’s flags, Israel and Lebanon. We thought that it was a great idea, and that it can really promote our cause, which is Peace. Some people in Lebanon didn’t like the idea, and the rumor is that they put a prize on her head or something like this. So since then, she tries to keep a low profile.
8. I think that music can finish the war in the East. How do you think about this issue?
To tell you the truth, I doubt it. I really believe in what we do, and I believe that we have some influence over people, but I think that the real power is in the hands of politicians and it’s up to them to reach agreements and solve the problems. We can help by melting the hearts of people a little bit, but the sacrifice that has to be made on both sides in order to achieve peace still has to be made, and it’s not up to us to make it.
9. Last month I had an interview with Egyptian band – Sand Aura. Its’ vocalist Muhamed said that he with his friends are big fans of your band and that your music has influenced their creativity. Doesn’t it seem strange for you that you have so many fans in Egypt despite the fact that one of your fans was put into prison when the police found your album in his house?
First of all, it really warms my heart to hear about Mohamed and his friends. It is very important for us to hear about fans from our neighbor countries. It is strange that people can end up to prison because of their taste in music. I think that it is completely twisted and wrong, and I think that young people in the Arab world see it today and are working in order to change it, and I wish them luck. I hope that these new winds that are blowing in the Arab world will bring new hope to the area, and that one day it will be possible for us to come play for all our fans in those countries.
10. The life of your band is a fairy-tale! What about writing a book? :-)
Actually Kobi is working on a book these days. He already got most of it done, but he’s still working on a few chapters, and I guess that it will be released soon. He speaks there about experiences he had with the band and also in his personal life, and it should be very interesting to read!
11. And in the end of our conversation: maybe you can wish something to the readers of “Metal Shock Finland”?
Just keep on being great. The winds you give to the metal scene are extremely important. Hope to see you all in Finland in the future for a real Middle Eastern Metal party!
Interview by Kostya Aronberg
ORPHANED LAND – The Road To Or Shalem (Trailer #2)