Familiar to numerous music fans by his unique trademark sound signature, YOSSI SASSI (distributed by Verycords/Warner Music) blends East with West, Rock with World music, melodic tunes with progressive passages, and traditional folk instruments with roaring electric riffs. With over 20 years as Producer, Composer/Arranger and Founding member of “Orphaned Land” (Century Media USA / EMI), the worldwide pioneers of middle-eastern metal, Yossi Sassi, Orphaned Land’s guitarist and composer, continues to soar to new horizons. His debut solo album, “Melting Clocks”, came out on february 2012, featuring world-known musicians such as Marty Friedman.
Recently MSFinland‘s Kostya Aronberg had a chance to interview Yossi…
1. Hey, Yossi. Welcome to Metal Shock Finland.
2. Many people know you as the guitarist of Orphaned land. Can you tell us about how you actually joined the band, and the years before Orphaned Land became such a success?
I am a founding member of “Orphaned Land”, actually before it was even called this name, almost 21 years ago we set sails to pioneer middle-eastern metal. I was a teenager with a roaring guitar and an endless appetite for riffs. the rest is history.
3. Can you tell us what’s happening at the Orphaned land camp at the moment?
We’re touring and performing intensively, this last few weeks we’ve been to the U.S, did the 70000 tons of metal cruise to Cayman Islands, Mexico, India and a tour in Turkey. Now resting a bit before Brazil and more.
4. OK, now let’s talk about your first solo album. How did you get the idea for it?
Being a full time musician and producer I get many ideas and musical phrases that don’t always find their way into OL albums. Although I do the majority of OL’s music and arrangements still its bound to a jenre, in a way. I felt I needed a liberating experience to share the other sounds I have with the world. The concept of “Melting Clocks” is easy to relate to every person. I gathered my good friends that I jam with (non-OL members), my friend Marty Friedman and other amazing musicians and it happened.
5. What music influenced the most on your style as a musician, and how can you describe your style in this album?
I listen to many various artists. I could drive in Turkey in the countryside and go out of the car to buy a CD of an unknown artist from the side of the road. I am an explorer of cultures and sounds, growing up in the middle-east absorbs you in many tastes and smells from various religions and beliefs, and it helped shape the solo album as a rich and unique musical journey.
6. Many Orphaned land fans started to worry, when you said you were working on a solo project. They were afraid you might leave Orphaned land. We do really hope that this will never happen. Could you set us at rest by telling us what the truth is, please?
“Orphaned Land” is my life project, it has my dad’s heritage there, “Norra El Norra”, “Olat hatamid”, “El meod Naala” etc are all poems I grew up with that my father sang to me, and sings them in the OL albums as well! I gave my blood, sweat, talent, money, time, everything to make it a successful band. I have no plans to retire from OL as long as my band mates respect my solo activities. Actually, I think its a good step to refresh yourself and come better shaped to your band.
7. In your first album you have a very special guest – Marty Friedman. How did you meet this guy, and how did you both come to the idea of collaborating?
Marty and I are good friends by now. We’ve met on stage when he invited me to play with him in his concert and did an amazing cover to “Thunder March”, and all happened from there. He plays beautifully and he’s one of the more exploring and out-reaching guitarists that I know. His style also blends exotic scales and I adore him as a person.
Marty is first of all a cool and kind guy, and then a tremendous musician. He’s not “just a super guitarist”, he’s a true musician with world-class experiences. We both love melodies and favor harmonics and nice tones over too-technical stuff. You will hear MORE of this collaboration soon… hint
9. What kind of feelings and thoughts do you believe this album will transfer to your listeners?
“Melting Clocks” is a musical journey, a concept album where every track of its 12 songs is on its own, different from others, yet strongly connected to the other tracks. It’s an exciting piece of musicianship, and any prog/rock/world music/folk and actually every “quality music” fan would enjoy!
10. Do you think the contemporary metal scene has a place for the record labels? I mean, more and more bands do everything on their own, and more and more labels don’t support the bands or pay them any money… What’s your point of view on this phenomenon?
Look, I have both a label and both an indipendant carreer, so I can easily compare them both. There’s no clear answer, it depends on the artist and where he’s currently at his stages of musical carreer, but in general, yes-its true that labels today have to re-invent themselves as service providers to artists. They offer specialties that some artists might need. OL needs a label. I don’t. I work with distributions, I own 100% of my music and work with WARNER MUSIC FRANCE through the lovely friends at Verycords, SONY MUSIC for germany/austria etc. I’d need to discuss this with every musician face to face to understand their needs, no single answer to all.
11. Thanks for this interview Yossi. Any last words that you would like to say to our readers and your new fans?
THANK YOU so much for your endless support!! Enjoy “Melting Clocks” and see you soon on the road Perkeleeeeee…
Interview by Kostya Aronberg
For more information, please visit:
Yossi Sassi – “Numbers World”