Few bands we know of Israel, but the first that springs to mind is undoubtedly Orphaned Land ; a group that has transcended beyond its frontiers , and has been consecrated with his own sound, a mixture of the folklore of his country, and of the Death/Progressive/Doom, all of this with a own identity, their guitarist Matti Svatizky has made us the honor to answer a few questions.
1. * Orphaned Land was formed in the year 1991, but the first demo "The beloved´sCry" was published in the year 1993. How was the start for the band?
The early days were cool. They were a lot different than today. We were kids back then, and everything was a lot fresher. The metal scene in general was peaking, death metal was being born, and we felt a part of it, even though we were miles away from where the scene was really happening, and we dreamt about getting there.
2. * The beginning of the 1990s meant the consolidation and the birth of a pop-up scene,in regard to extreme metal. But what was the acceptance that had Orphaned Land in that period?
We were kind of born with the death metal scene. People say death metal was invented somewhere around 1987 in Florida, and we all in the band kind of got into metal in around 1989/1990, and in 1991 formed the band. The times were more virgin. There were much more possibilities to be original and make something new, unlike today, when there’s the feeling that all has already been done.
3. *What were the main bands that influenced as a band in the early days?
There were the big bands, like Metallica, Iron Maiden, Megadeth, Slayer, and many other “classical” bands. In the death metal scene, there were Death, Deicide, Morbid Angel, Carcass, Cancer, Napalm Death, and of course that the list can go on and on. Also the doom scene was flourishing, with bands like Paradise Lost, My Dying Bride, Tiamat and Anathema, bands that also influenced are style much.
4. * How did the interest of Holy Records, to sign and edit your first album? Why do titled "Sahara"? Which of the songs from that album do you prefer?
We recorded our demo, “The Beloved’s Cry” in 1992, and sent it to lots of records labels, but Holy records were really interested about signing us up. We were thrilled, because we were fans of bands that the label has released, like Nightfall and Septic Flesh, so we gladly signed a contract for 2 albums with them. “Sahara” was chosen as the title since it represents a lot about what Orphaned Land is about, about our atmosphere. Sahara is a desert in Africa, in Morroco, and also the Arabic desert is reflected in our music as well, since we mix with our metal the Arabic atmosphere. All the song in the album are great. Half of it is songs from the demo re-recorded. The other half is new songs we composed. All the songs there are great, I can’t choose only one.
5. * In "Norra Alila" (1996) there was a change more directly toward a wavelength much more folk and progressive, with fewer predominance of death and doom how was that change? What was carried out in a progressive way?
Most of the change came from the change of taste in our musical tastes. We were acquainted to more progressive, sophisticated bands, like Dream Theatre, and also At the Gates, and influenced by this direction more. We learned to appreciate music which is less simple and more complex, and wanted to create something which is more in that direction. We weren’t a “simple” band to begin with, and in the early days the direction was being more progressive and smart.
6. *After "The norra Alila" there was a "stand by" for several years in Orphaned Land. What was the cause of this "stand by"?
After El Norra Alila our contract with Holy Records ended, and we got a new offer from Century Media, which we accepted. Then something happened. Things really changed. We started listening to other things than metal and “getting out” from the scene, exploring other territories. Some of us did some career choices which conflicted with the band. It was impossible to go on and play in this way, our minds just weren’t into it. I was sure that the band was finished. But then we got an offer to play in Turkey, and we also got lots of reaction from fans all over the world, so we decided to give it another shot, and just went on from there.
7. * The change of Label in Mabool, Century media, represented a breakthrough in thedistribution and knowledge of the band. ? What other advantages were in such achange"?
All the advantages of moving from a smaller label to a bigger one, some of them you mentioned. A bigger label has more manpower, and handles things more professionally and efficiently. Both labels are great, and both were just right for us in the point of where we stood.
8. * The message of Orphaned Land , may be the union of the people more beyond of the religion and any political side, but what is the message that you want to give to your listeners?
I think that the main message is that music can break all boundaries. Music can also be an instrument for carrying messages. People might not listen to each other when they speak, but music, and art in general, like cinema for example, can carry out ideas which people listen to and adopt. So we want to be a band that carries out positive ideas and that has some positive reaction over people. We have many friends from Arab and Muslim countries which love us and we love them, and we are the living proof that our nations can get along if we open our hearts and minds to each other.
9. *Last year Orphaned Land play in Spain, how were those concerts? i read that , soon you will do a tour as the headliner across europe, will visit Spain again?
Spain was great, we absolutely love Spain. Our first time in Spain was in 2005 with Paradise Lost, and the second was on the concerts you mentioned. We had concerts in Madrid and Barcelona, and had lots of fun. On our next tour we will return to Spain again, that’s for sure, and I it’s going to be as great.
10. * In the past year you released " The Never Ending Way of ORwarriOR ", which i think is a album more powerful and forceful than the mabool. Are you satisfied with the reception that has had ?
Of course we do. We got really good responses. The album got “album of the year” titles from a few magazines and got really good ratings, and also people’s responses were amazing. The album is not an easy album, it’s quite long and complex, and even though, people the time listening to it and getting into it, and that’s our reward.
11. *Currently which are your favorite groups?
Currently, I still love the classical metal bands I loved 20 years ago. I love also lots of bands from outside the metal scene. Anything that is good and that is well produced, or that you can hear that people’s mind is into it, is good for me, I have no boundaries like style or genre.
12. * I live in Canary Islands, do you know Canary Islands?
I only know that they are named after a type of dog, and not bird, like one might think. Apart from that I’m quite ignorant about the place. I admit that I don’t know where it is or what language is spoken there. But it does sound like a cool and exotic place in a way and I’d love to be there, and if we’re invited to play there it will be our pleasure.
13. * This is all Matti , thank you for giving us this interview from Israel, and staydoing as good as always, your efforts are very appreciate. Any final word orsomething.
Thanks to all our fans, in the Canary Islands, and all over the world. Our efforts would be worthless without you. Thanks!
Interview by Forense (Carlos Benitez)