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Interview with Foued Moukid (ARKAN)

Interview with Foued Moukid (ARKAN)
BANDS : Arkan

Metalfan: Hello and welcome to You started this band back in 2005. Could you point out for our readers the most important aspects of your history for the last 6 years?
Foued Moukid: Arkan was created in 2005 by me after joining the band The Old Dead Tree. I wanted to launch a musical project that combines metal and oriental music. For this band, I wanted to work with musicians who had the same passion and aspired to the same goals.
Samir, Mus and Florent joined the band in summer 2005, and Sarah collaborate with ARKAN since the end of the composition of Hilal.
In 2006, we released our first EP "Burning Flesh". Subsequently, we began the composition of our first album "Hilal" which was recorded at Studio Fredman in 2008 under the leadership of Fredrik Nordström.
In order to promote this album, we realized several tours (through France, Switzerland, Holland and Tunisia) including two tours with Septicflesh and Orphaned Land.
Fully satisfied with our collaboration with Fredrik, we wanted to repeat the experience for our second album, "Salam, " which has just been released.

Metalfan: 2005 was also the year of the civil unrest in France, the year when a series of riots occurred in Paris and other cities of France. Did these riots have any influence on your decision to start the band or maybe they affected (in some way) the messages and topics developed in your lyrics?
Foued Moukid: These events were the result of discontent in our suburbs, young people who feel abandoned by the government took to the streets.
Our music, despite the ideals of peace that we want to convey was not affected by these events

Metalfan: Salam is your most recent work. It’s been almost six months since it has been released, how would you evaluate its performance? How did it do on the test of time? Did the fans and media reaction meet your expectations?
Foued Moukid: Indeed the feedback we've had so far are really good. We are proud of Salam, and very glad they like it to our audience.
Especially since we did not know she would react to listen to Salam.

Metalfan: Musically, Salam has a lot of flavors and colours, as a result of the mix between metal elements and the oriental ones. I think you succeeded very well in blending the sounds of East and West, all the compositions seem so natural. Do you think that the different roots and backgrounds of the band members were important (in terms of inspiration) during the creative process?
Foued Moukid:I am French and my parents have Moroccan origins. Samir, Mus and Sarah were born and bred in Algeria. Florent even if he is French have Greek and Italian origins. So, we actually come from different backgrounds, each member having his own roots and cultural influences.
It's these cultural differences which makes the things interesting. It allows us to have a very large inspiration in terms of compositions. Everyone pitches in and brings his personal touch.
Multiculturalism in France is a strength, not a weakness contrary to what some politicians want us to believe. Philosophical and cultural exchange has beneficial effects and help us to be open to the world. We are trying to create a bridge between people from different musical and cultural backgrounds. We are facing this diversity of cultures in our everyday lives.
I think music transcends ethnicity. During our gigs, we see completely different kind of fans. Some of them are pure extreme Metal fan, others are fan of melodic Metal, rock or oriental music. We regularly receive messages of support from all around the world (from Europe of course but also from the United States, Turkey, Algeria, Syria or Siam!).

Metalfan:  Which are the main differences between Hilal and Salam?
Foued Moukid: Hilal and Salam are different, but there ise a real musical evolution between theme. First, we have voluntarily increased the oriental aspect of our music, but also, while conserving aggressive dimension, we focused on atmospheric and acoustic parts. All these elements in this album may be more complex to listen but with a variety of significant atmospheres.
For now, this album has a real success in all specialized websites and magazines and it's a sign of openness that pushes us to go further in our artistic works. Eastern music has a place to take inside Metal.

Metalfan: Salam features the beautiful voice of Sarah Layssac. She also became a permanent member of your band. Where you met her, could you tell us something about her musical background? Does she also have North African origins?
Foued Moukid: Arkan met Sarah on the occasion of our various gigs. At the time, she was the singer of a metal band called The Outburst. A friendship has developed between us and her vocal qualities as well as her mastery of Arabic language have persuaded us to work with her on Hilal. She immediately agreed to cooperate with us. Having Algerian origins, the idea of using its North African roots in her way to sing has immediately interested her. She adapts quite easily to all kinds of voices from rock to oriental ones. We very much wanted to work with her and we are extremely pleased with the art we have created together.
Her talent and the fact that she speaks Arabic language enabled constructive and fruitful collaboration. After recording her voice on "Hilal", we decided to invite her to our tours with Septicflesh and Orphaned Land to go further in this adventure and collaboration. Everyone who participated in Arkan's projects has an important place in the band history; they helped to build it and Sarah is among them.

Once again you worked with Fredrik Nordström for the production of the new album. Are you satisfied with this collaboration, will Fredrik be the producer of your next album, too?
Foued Moukid: The recording of “Salam” with Fredrik was a fantastic experience. Working with Studio Fredman was our own will. The sound of an album is as important as what it comprises. We greatly appreciate the Fredman's work including his performance with such bands as In Flames or Opeth. For the Metal parts of Hilal, we wanted sound perfection. And for us, there was a person abled to produce this desired sound and his name is Fredrik Nordström.
When I contacted Fredrik with two pre-produced pieces of Hilal, he listened to them and said: “I like that kebab boogie music!”. We immediately liked each other. For us he is a legend and we wanted to work with him, but that seemed like something inaccessible. After we got in touch with him he was very much and quickly interested in our album. When we arrived at the studio, some recordings were done in Algeria, but we brought traditional instruments with us that we wanted to record there. When he saw my percussions, he said: "What do you want to do with your funny toms?” I have been struggling to convince him to use my percussions on the recording, which was something new for him. In the end, he confided in us and the result was quite amazing. He is and remains the absolute master of his art.
Having been fully satisfied with the Fredrik Nordström's work on Hilal, our choice was logically focused on him for the registration of Salam. However, we wanted a slightly different sound from the first album and Fredrik has understood the art direction we wanted to take. The sound is exactly in conformity with our expectations in terms of power and precision. Concerning mixing and mastering, we had confidence in Fredrik and Henrik Udd, his assistant, the pair not having to show their ability for this kind of work !

Metalfan:  The song Jerusalem is a protest against war, and religious wars in particular. What’s your opinion on this topic, especially the wars that are taking place in the Arab and African lands right now?
Foued Moukid: “Jerusalem” is the song from the album that we want to be the most enlightened. Jerusalem is the cradle of religions and therefore should be cherished as such. Now, the different periods of wars it undergone because of its symbolic place made it vulnerable while this city should remain a place of peace, tolerance and spirituality.
Although we have North African origins, Arkan is not a religious band. Our message was actually intended to calm the warlike souls. We use our right to speak for saying, according to us, things that seem useful for ours friends all over the world and especially our arabian fans who haven't the same freedom of speech.
Their passion for Metal is a claim and we are proud to be their friends. We also addressed this message of tolerance and peace to them in these difficult times for these countries.

Metalfan: The people who expect to find on your album the usual esoteric, mystic and occultist topics will be disappointed. You chose to avoid these stereotypes, but what are the issues and the subjects you are dealing with in your lyrics?
Foued Moukid: For “Salam”, we were inspired by events around us, the geopolitical conflicts and misunderstanding between peoples who are yet supposed to be brothers. Specifically, “Salam” relates timeless and universal fears and resentments of two peoples with two different religions which coexist in the same area. Everyone feels its hatred gradually rised inside them and that the point of no return has been crossed. Cause of intellectual manipulation and propaganda, both peoples decide to make war but, exhausted by it, people are increasingly distancing themselves from their instincts of hatred. Having committed all these massacres, and cohabitation seeming the only possible way, they decided to turn their eyes towards the others. Our tour with Orphaned Land under the « Tour Against Racism » have confirmed our choice of theme of Salam

Metalfan: Are the band members religious persons? What’s your point of view regarding the Good/Evil and Satan/God dualism?
Foued Moukid: As I said before, ARKAN is not a religious band. we respect the towed religions, religions and generally messages of peace, unfortunately the interpretations that people make in giving a bad face. I think we can all live together with our differences, at least I hope that this will happen.

You played alongside Orphaned Land in a tour called “Metal against racism”. Do you think you can fight bigotry, xenophobia and indoctrination with music? Also, the name of your last album means “peace”, in my opinion is a clear message, but do you really think that you could succeed with music where politics failed so miserably?
Foued Moukid: Orphaned Land is an extraordinary band. Having a very different history, we spent time talking to them in order to know us better and learn more about our respective cultures to quickly realize that we are not really different. A real musical as well human complicity have been developed between us.
Our tour with Orphaned Land has reinforced our conviction that peace between different peoples is not an utopia.
Creating a tour where an Israeli band and a French band with North African members share a new stage each day shows that music can overcome geopolitical tensions and lead to greater solidarity among peoples through dialogue and sharing. We remain convinced that despite all our differences, we can harmoniously live together on this world without killing each other for the slightest pretext.

Metalfan: The Arkan band members have different origins, but you played live in lots of places. Where did you feel most welcomed? Is there any place like home?
Foued Moukid: I confess that we were very well received all over the place where we were. Personally I feel at home on any stage, and I know it is shared by every member of ARKAN. The music includes us all.
During a concert we all meet around a common point; music, whatever the origins of the musicians, the public or staff.

Metalfan: I know you played a few shows in Tunisia and Morocco. How was the feedback from the public over there? Could a tour all over Maghreb become a possibility in the near future? Maybe together with Orphaned Land? Two bands with different cultures sharing the same stage would surely make your message stronger...
Foued Moukid: We have already played in some North African countries, and the welcome we had was fantastic. We hope to play there again. A tour with Orphaned Land in Maghreb countries would be a strong message with lot of meaning. We hope can do that!

Metalfan:  What do you think about the extreme metal scene of today? Are there any bands that can still come with something new or everything has already been said and done?
We always feel that everything has been done in music, but it's wrong.
There’s a lot of bands of all stripes come to innovate and bring freshness to the music. We hope to be part of! the mix of musical styles that seem so different can give something surprising.

Metalfan:  I know bands hate to label themselves as one type of music or another but if you had to categorize Arkan's music, would consider yourselves to be a death metal band?
Foued Moukid: It is not easy to categorize'm well, you understand easily why the group does not like. But we do not deny our basic style that is death metal, this uniqueness and the addition of music that has rocked our childhood. In goal, we can say that we are making oriental death metal

  Have you already begun the work process for a new studio album? When do you think you will be able to release it?
Foued Moukid: We concentrated on preparing the next two tour with Arch Enemy and Orphaned Land. But the ideas begin to come, we will begin serious composition from the month of January. Regarding the release of the next album, there is nothing specific at the moment, it will stay tuned to our news

Metalfan:  In December, you will play for the first time in Romania (together with Myrath and Orphaned Land). Have you ever been in our country before? What are your expectations and what should expect the people who will come to see you?
Foued Moukid: It will be the first time we will come in Romania. We are very excited to play there. We have received many messages of people who love our music. I know that the Romanian métal public is an excellent public. We will give everything there, and I hope you will be satisfied!!!

Thank you very much for your time and I'm looking forward seeing you live in December. Some final words for our readers?
Thanks for this interview. You can learn more about our news by visiting our official website, our MySpace and Facebook page. See you in December!

Autor: Dragos P.
Vezi galeriile trupelor: Arkan

   November 24, 2011  | 0 Comments  | 7483 Views « BACK

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