Orphaned Land is one of the few [known] metal bands from Israel. The band is signed with Century Media. Matti Svatizky [guitar] speaks about the upcoming DVD & European Tour, and much more you can read it below.
TMR: Hello Matti we are from ´The Metal Resource’ Holland, how are things going there in Israel?
Matti: Things are great here, except for what isn’t great . Hope that our dutch fans are in good shape.
TMR: Will you Introduce yourself and the band please ? (name and instrument)
Sure, with pleasure. We are at the band: Kobi Farhi – vocals, Uri Zelcha – Bass, Yossi Sassi – Guitars and Middle Eastern instruments, Matan Shmuely – Drums, and myself, Matti Svatizky – Guitars.
TMR: Can you tell us something about the origin of ‘Orphaned Land’ please?
Matti: Orphaned Land was born in Israel in 1991 under the name Ressurrection. We started as 16 years old kids and played quite rutine Death Metal. Somewhere around 1993/1994 we began to blend into our music our Middle Eastern roots in the form of native instruments and sounds, and we have been doing the same thing since.
TMR: Are you guys full time musicians ? If not what kind of job or school do you do beside the band ?
Matti: Sadly not all of us are full time musicians. Our drummer, Matan, is a full time musician, but to do so he has to play with other artists and work as a Drums teacher at a music school. Yossi, our guitar player, is focusing mainly in music these days after years of working in the software field. Uri, our bass player, runs a music store in Tel Aviv, and me, I work as a software-engineer at a small company. It is hard to make a living, especially in Metal, especially in Israel. But we feel that we are heading in a good direction and that in one of these days we might actually do the thing we love as a profession.
TMR Is this your first band ?
Matti: I think that this is our first serious project. I had a band with my friends at school, but it didn’t get anywhere, and I guess that maybe some of the other guys might have had similar experiences. Our drummer though is new to the band, and he had some other projects before he had joined us.
TMR: Why the name ‘Orphaned Land’? Is there a story behind it
Matti: We were looking for a band name, and Uri found this phrase in the lyrics of a very famouos Israeli singer. The phrase ringed nice, and it had that sad and melancholic sound to it that we looked for, plus we felt like it is also has a connection to the place we come from, which is very dominant in our music. In our upcomming DVD we are having the singer which we borrowed our name from as a special guest and we’re playing together some stuff.
TMR: Who writes the music/lyrics in ‘Orphaned Land’? .. how do you get in the mood for writing music? And which bands/situations have influences you for writing music and lyrics ?
Matti: We all have a part in writing the stuff, plus we have some help from a friend, Alon Miasnikov, with the lyrics. Naturally some are more dominnant and some are less, but everybody gets to write and say his thing. Usually we write the riffs in our homes and record them on the computer, and send them to each other. Than we meet, teach each other the stuff, and try to connect them to each other to form a song. Of course songs change something like 100 times before they get to their final shape.
We are influenced by many artists from many genres and styles. Inspiration can come from anywhere. You can even see a good movie and turn up with an idea for a riff or a song, there really aren’t any rulls there.
TMR: How do you describe the music of ‘Orphaned Land’ the best ?
Matti: If you’d like the short description, than we play Death Metal with Middle Eastern influences. But in reality, it is much more complicated and complex than that. The growls are about 30% of the lyrics and the other parts are clean vocals, so it’s not really Death Metal in the bottom line. Also we tend to write our music a little bit to the prog-metal side, and some will say that some of our albums are prog-metal, though we don’t define ourselves as a prog metal band. I think that all in all our style is quite unique – it is something that we created, and originality was very important to us in the process, so you’ll really have to listen to it for yourself to catagorize it.
TMR: How does ‘Orphaned Land’ stands in life till events in the world, religion and politics and in which proportion stands that till your music and lyrics ?
Matti: Politics is all around us, and every choice we make is a political stand. If someone decides to grow long hair it is a political stand, and if someone decides to go to church on a Sunday it’s a political stand, and so on. We try not to go into political conflicts as much as we can, and this is for itself a political stand. We have strong messages of unity and understanding between nations, and we have many fans among countries who are considered sworn enemies of our homeland. We will keep playing music for anybody who will want to listen and we welcome anyone with open arms, and this is our political stand.
TMR: For a lot of bands the lyrics are just a accidental circumstance, but for some bands they use them to communicate ! ..can you tell us how that is for ‘Orphaned Land’?
Matti: We carry a message of peace and understanding. It may sound a little bit hippy or like a cliche, but comming from the place we come from and playing the style we play (especially the Middle Easternt and Arabian influences), it was really inevitable. We got many addressing from Arab fans, and the hand-reaching had to be very obvious and not only suggested. We practically say in our songs – we welcome all fans, and our door is open. Not only to Arab fans btw, most of our cd’s are sold in Europe and the US, but our connection with the Eastern part of the world is special to us and we cherrish it, and our lyrics are mostly about stuff like that, as well as inner self-searching.
TMR: Is there a message you want to bring with ‘Orphaned Land’?
Matti: The message is simple – people have as much in common as they differ from each other. Somehow, most people choose to focus on the differences, and this is like looking at the empty half of the cup. When you search for similarities, you can see that we are really mostly the same.
TMR: Is there a highlight you will always remember, since the beginning of ‘Orphaned Land’ (1991)?
Matti: There were many highlights with the band since the beggining, to many to mention. We toured with many cool bands, met some great people, and visited many parts of the world. We hope to continue our quest and keep bringing our message forward always.
TMR: And the worst thing were ? (if there is one)
Matti: There have been also bad things, naturally. In a group there are always differences which make things difficult, but in the end of the day we all love each other and know that everybody wants what’s best for the band and that it what’s most important.
TMR: Name some of your favorite bands to play with live (past and future) and tell us why ?
Matti: We played with hundrads of bands. We opened for Metallica in Israel, played in festivals with Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Alice in Chains, Nightwish, and really many many more. We toured with Paradise Lost, Katatonia and Amorphis, and they are all great guys. We have learned from every band we have played with a lot.
TMR: What is your favorite food and drink? for everyone personal (no idea why people always want to know that)
Matti: I will answer for myself, since the guys are quite busy and hard to get a hold of:
My favourite food is barbeque, and fav drink is Coca-Cola.
TMR: First record you bought?
Matti: Cancer – Death Shall Rise.
TMR: What makes you laugh?
Matti: Sinefeld, Friends.
TMR: How do you prepare for a show?
Matti: Play the songs at home. Right before the show i do some strechings, and run a little bit on the griff.
TMR: Favorite movie(s)?
Matti: Pulp Fiction, Fight Club, Requiem For A Dream.
TMR: What is the dumbest question you have ever been asked?
Matti: This one .
TMR: Do you have a life philosophy?
Matti: Live and let live.
TMR: Are you visiting many gigs, and what do you listen to these days?
Matti: When we tour and play I catch some bands live. Nowadays I listen to the new Red hot Chili Peppers and new Dream Theater albums, and to some, yes, radio.
TMR: Tell us about the hardrock/metal scene in your area please?
Matti: There is a great scene here, one that doesn’t fall behind the European scene in my opinion. There are great musicians here which don’t get the chance that they deserve because the nature of where they live. I recomment ppl to check out some Israeli Metal, you won’t get dissapointed, guarenteed.
TMR: How do you think about downloading music from the Internet ?
Matti: Surprisingly i actually think that it is a good thing. The CD’s are only a media that is used to carry out the information, and in our days there are smarter and more convenient ways to store the songs. I think that people should download the music legally and more important: attand the shows.
TMR: What can you tell us about your latest full lenght album ‘The Never Ending Way of ORwarriOR’? (such as the songs, recording-proces, artwork etc.)
Matti: It is a concept-story album, telling about the warrior of light. We have worked many years about getting the sound we wanted on this one. It is not an easy album to digest, but there is a little bit for everyone in it.
TMR: The album is released via ‘Century Media Records’, how did you get signed by them ?
Matti: Our first records label was “Holy Records”. We released 2 albums in that label, and afterwards we got some proposals from some labels, among them Century Media and Nuclear Blast. We have done a lot of thinking about that one, since both are major labels in out genre, but eventually decided to go with Century Media since we thought that the bands they represents are more like us in their sound and essense, and we felt like therefore Century Media can do more for us and have more to give to a band like Orphaned Land.
Matti: It is our debut DVD. It was filmed in Tel Aviv, and we are having very special guests there, like Steven Wilson of porcupine tree (who mixes our latest album), and Yehuda Poliker, the Israeli singer from which we borrowed the name of the band. There are live native instruments with us on stage, and there is a very special video art which runs through the show. We really feel that through this DVD we can bring to people who haven’s watched us before what our shows are all about.
TMR: At the end of the year ‘Orphaned Land’ is touring in Europe with ‘The Tour To OR Shalem’ do you guys have expectations ?
Matti: It will be our first full headline tour. We toured as a headline band before, but on two weeks or so tours, with 10 dates or so. This tour has more than 20 dates, and we have to great support bands, ARKAN and MYRATH, and we’re gonna give the audience a complete Middle Eastern Metal party/experience.
TMR: And what about the (near) future, any plans ? (a new album maybe?)
Matti: We hope to tour as much as we can, and also record a new album real soon.
TMR: Guys [Matti] thanks for your time and the interview, we wish ‘Orphaned Land’ all the best ……Is there anything you wanna say at last? (any final statement ?)
Thanks a lot for this interview. We’re going to have lots of fun on this tour and have some great gigs, and we hope to see all of our fans there. I want also to thank all our fans for the endless support, you rull. Chears, Shalom!.
Kobi Farhi – Vocals
Uri Zelcha – bass
Matan Shmuely – drums
Yossi Sassi – lead electric & acoustic guitars
Matti Svatitzki – rhythm electric & acoustic guitars
‘Orphaned Land’ ‘The Tour To OR Shalem’ Dates [Aug. 2011]
‘Orphaned Land’ ‘The Road To OR-Shalem’ DVD Details Revealed [Aug. 2011]
‘Orphaned Land’: ‘Heavy Metal Envoys To Muslim World’ [Sept. 2011]
‘Orphaned Land’ Guitarist Working On Solo Album [Sept. 2011]