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Interview with Matti Svatizky (Orphaned Land)

Interview with Matti Svatizky (Orphaned Land)
BANDS : Orphaned Land

You said once in an interview that the name Orphaned Land reflects a paradox to the Holy land. Could you explain what is the true significance of the terms and why did you choose it to name your band? Is it still actual compared with the message and music you are creating today?
There are no rules to which this name obeys. It could be referred to as a paradox to the holy land, meaning that a holy land is chosen by god, so how can it be orphaned? But it could also be referred to as something more global, like our poor planet and the way we sometimes treat it, having no one to protect it. There's much room for imagination here and everything which can be conceived is beautiful and correct.

 

 

Let’s refer now on your most recent release, the Mabool masterpiece. Why did we have to wait so many years to listen to a new Orphaned Land album? I hope we don’t have to wait another decade for another album…
First of all thanks very much for the great compliment. No, I don't think you'll have to wait that long for our next album, I'll explain later. The reason you had to wait for Mabool for so long was because Orphaned Land took a little break from working together. There were many reasons for that, but the most important thing is that we did return and recorded the album that ran around in our minds for nearly 7 years.

 Mabool is a fascinating journey in a world composed of three apparently antagonist cultures and religions. You are combining elements and ideologies from Christianity, Judaism and Islam. Somehow you managed to accomplish something that endless wars and politics failed to do. So, do you think that music could be a substitute for politics?
I don't think that music can replace politics, but I think that it can be a strong instrument that can help people communicate better. Politicians have an important job even though we think that they do it lousy sometimes. Musicians are not here to run the world, but to make people happy. If we can contribute in order to bring people together it's a blessed thing and it can aid politics, but not replace it.

Since Mabool is a concept album could you resume the story? Why did you choose the flood as the main theme and who are in fact the three heroes?
The story behind the story in Mabool is an interesting story for itself, I think. The story is about three of our friends, who used to meet in a basement performing all kinds of spiritual acts like séance and others, and during those sessions they claim that they have been contacted and warned about a flood. The lion, snake and eagle where the animal symbols that were given to them by the spirit they said contacted them. This is the core and inspiration for the concept story, and to it we added some values of our own to make it more story like and suitable for the album.

The album has a vocal complexity, which I rarely found in other records. From death metal vocalizes, to choirs and oriental inflections, Mabool fascinates by multiple vocal layers. Why did you choose to use so many vocal types? Was it difficult to record them?
I think that what made us be so versatile with the vocals is mainly our musical tastes. We like death metal a lot, but we also like clean vocals metal a lot as well, so we just couldn't let any of the sides go. About recording the vocals, I guess it was a difficult thing. The singing is complex and not easy and it to much studio work to nail everything down.

 

 


Speaking of complexity, the instrumental part of the album is shocking. In fact about 30 musicians were involved in the creative process of Mabool. How did you get in touch with some many musicians and how the recording sessions took place?
It wasn't an easy task to gather all these people and have them work with us, not speaking of writing special parts for them and teaching them the material. But because we knew we wanted certain instruments in certain parts and that those instruments will make the album richer and more complete, we insisted on gathering all those musicians for mutual work.

Despite the overwhelming diversity of Mabool, the album never loses his homogeneity. How did you managed to mix some many different elements?
Because of the long break between our previous, EL NORRA ALILA, and MABOOL, we were afraid that there might be too much difference in the sound of the albums and that our listeners might not like that, and when we finally released MABOOL people did notice the change in styles, but everybody agreed that they could recognize our sound immediately, and that it's an authentic Orphaned Land album. What I'm trying to say is, that no matter how diverse our music gets, it always runs through the same core and that core is what we're all about.

On Mabool you have used no less than six languages. Don’t you think that the using of so many languages could be risky? I mean the ordinary listener could become confused and lose the opportunity to understand your message. Or maybe such diversity could help one to enter easier in the album universe?
I think that in our type of style, involving that many languages is suitable. The whole idea was to combine ethnical elements like many "world music" bands such as Enigma, Deep Forest or Dead Can Dance, with metal. Those bands use many exotic languages in there songs, and so do we, it is a part of our style.

The album contains also a CD with 5 acoustic tracks. Where it was recorded and why did you included it as a bonus CD?
It was recorded in a special show we did in Israel in 2002. We always had a dream of making an acoustic show, and we made it happen. We thought that it will be special to make a live recording of it, but we didn't think of attaching it to MABOOL than. But after we recorded the album we figured that there is no better place for the acoustic set than with it.

From the very beginning your music had an obvious Oriental touch. In fact, I think you were one of the first bands that mixed metal with Arabic melodies and this combination definitely made you one of the most “exotic” metal bands. Where did your love for Oriental sounds come from?
There is much exposure in Israel to Arab music. There are some touches of it in the local mainstream scene as well. But I think that as musicians, we felt like we should keep an open mind and explore, and we came across the Arab style on our way and fell in love with it. Mixing it with was a very original idea at the time and  yes, we were the first ones to do it back than in 1992.

 

 

Over the years you have evolved from the death metal to a more progressive metal realm. Was it a natural evolution?
I think it was. I think our music always had progressive touches, even in SAHARA and EL NORRA ALILA. We always had to create the riffs and melodies complicated and "smart". In MABOOL we took it one step forwards with more polyrhythmic and harmonic approach.  

Every Orphaned Land album had a very special track, more ethnic and less metal. First it was Sahara with Alidor Al Mkadisa, then El Norra Alila with l Meod Na'Ala and we have now Nora El Nora. What is the story behind these beautiful songs? Is there a connection between them?
Yes there are. They are all songs taken from Jewish synagogue prayers. Because that our texts often deal with spirituality, and our music has an Arabic touch, it was natural to remake some biblical prayers and do them in our own style.

Do you have in plan the releasing of a DVD?
We are planning to, yes. But this will only happen after our next album releases. We have the perfect location and we are just waiting for the right moment to do it.

I hope I will have the chance to see you playing at Monsters of Metal Festival in Bulgaria. How is Orphaned Land live? Do you think it is important for a band to play often and to have many concerts?
All the reactions until now for our live shows have been good. I always ask people if they enjoyed and if it's not less than the album and everybody say that they had a great time. We try to be as energetic as we can and let the audience sing and participate with us.

Do you have other musical collaborations, bands or projects?
Orphaned Land is the only project for all the band members currently.

You already announced that Steven Wilson of Porcupine Tree will produce your next album, entitled "The Never Ending Way of ORwarriOR". Why did you choose him to produce your work?
Steven is a very talented guy and we love his work with Porcupine Tree. Not to mention that he has produced three Opeth albums, a band that all in all plays music which is similar to our style, and he did an amazing job there. He is a wanted producer these days and he had turned down many requests for collaborations with many known bands, and we are honored to have the privilege and work with him, and very curious about the outcome.

Can you give me a few details about the new album? As far as I know the main theme will be the eternal fight between light and darkness. Can we assume that the new effort will be a continuation of Mabool, knowing that the three heroes from Mabool were Warriors of Light?
Both MABOOL and ORWARRIOR revolve the same theme, all in all, only with different masks. The questions of good and evil, light and darkness, is their main Idea. A warrior of light is someone who is in constant search for the true nature of things in this life, so the next album will revolve more around this aspect.

Is there a release date for the new album?
Not an exact date yet, all we know is that it will be in 2007.

Over the years you got much support from people who live in Arab and Muslim countries, which are in a political conflict with Israel. Is this a paradox?
No, not at all, because if it was a paradox it couldn't have been happening, and the truth is that it is happening, so it is not a paradox, but it's many other things. Mainly it is a sign, that there are people who are willing to overlook all the political problems, and not let stupid issues such as racism and hatred to bother them and influence their musical tastes, and this is a good sign. It is a sign that there is hope for cooperation after all.

 

 

Is there a metal scene in Israel? I know that are other Jewish metal bands beside Orphaned Land, but are there many festivals, concerts, magazines?
Yes there is. Maybe it is not as big as in European and American countries, but it is very much happening and very much alive. There are great bands here who are definitely worth a listen. About festival and shows, we also have them. Local shows we get all the time, and occasionally we get international ones too. We had Opeth last month, and we are getting Kreator and Epica this month, so we are having fun.

I know Israel is supposed to be a democratic country. But is it enough democratic to accept metal bands with conceptions rather dark and satanic? Have you ever had problems because your views and the fact you play in a metal band?
Israel is a super democratic country, and not only supposed to be. There are no problems with any content of anything here, except maybe for extreme conditions like when someone calls to murder the prime minister or something. Metal is as legitimate here as any other style.

How the situation in the Israel does affect your ordinary lives? What do you think about terrorism and the people killing others in suicidal attacks in the name of God? What do you think God is thinking about them?
Personally I don't believe in god. But I think that those people are in distress and that they live in very extreme conditions, and their religious beliefs make it more than ok to do such things, and you can't argue with a person religious beliefs. I'm sure that there is a middle way to solve this thing and maybe with our music we can help to find it.

Is there hope for mankind or you feel the doom closing in?
I'm very optimistic and I believe that there is much hope for mankind. I don't believe in all the apocalyptic prophecies which hurry to bury us all quickly, I'm too mature now than to believe in those things. I'm sure that tomorrow is a perfect day and so is the day after it.

Can you think of a solution that could put an end to the conflict between Arabs and Jewish or do you think the war will rage forever?
I don't have any solution that I cab bring out of my sleeve, but I'm sure that more blending with each other and maybe more education can get us to a better position. 

Kobi Farhi said in an interview: “We (Israel people) are more American then we are Jewish today”. Is this good or bad?  What does he really means by these words?
I think that it is good. The majority in Israel is secular today. I don't think that you have to be religious in order to be happy, or even in order to be spiritual. We just try to live our lives in a modern way and be a part of the western world. I think that this is the right way and I totally approve.

Thank you very much for your time and I really hope to see you live very soon. The final words are yours.
Thanks man for the interview and support. See you soon headbanging in one of our shows. Stay true.

 

 

Autor: Dragos P.
Vezi galeriile trupelor: Orphaned Land

   June 13, 2006  | 0 Comments  | 8417 Views « BACK

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