Orphaned Land interview (10/2010)
|With:||Kobi Farhi, Yossi "Sassi" Saharon|
|Conducted by:||Darkside Momo (press-conference)|
This interview is long overdue, as it was done in May, when Orphaned Land played in Paris at the Nouveau Casino (the live report is here, by the way).
It wasn't supposed to be a press conference, but as we were four different interviewers, and because Kobi was recovering from a little cold, we all did the interview together, with Kobi and Yossi answering our many questions.
A Moroccan fan whose name I don't remember (sorry!)
LadyOfDarkness (La Grosse Radio)
Darkside Momo (Metal Storm)
It all started pretty loosely with a discussion going on about which was the first rock band to add oriental music elements to their sound. The Moroccan fan thought it was Les Variations, a 'French' band with Jewish Moroccan members. Kobi didn't know about them, but either stuck with The Beatles after they went to India, or with Erkin Koray, the father of Turkish rock.
Either way, the debate wasn't closed, and we moved on other topics, just after a sidenote by Kobi who remarked that "sometimes in Moroccan spiritual or magic rituals, they dance in a way that really reminds headbanging. You know what I mean? Like Sufis…"
Moroccan fan: Just one other question… In your bio, you say "Jewish Muslim metal" or "it's a union of Arabian and Israeli"... What can you say about that?
Kobi (vocals): It is what we do. We think that Arabs and Israelis and Jews and Moslems are cousins, and they are from the same Father. And for us, mixing both cultures together is just natural. Everything that happens is just politic bullshit… For us this is the most natural thing; music is the universal language. And we are musicians for Moslems just as we are musicians for the Jewish, because music is for everyone, so… We use a lot of Arabian motives and Israelian Jewish motives in our music together, and in our music the Jews and the Arabs are very good friends.
MF: About your message… Whose work is it?
Kobi: I'm very much into shaping the concept of the band, and Yossi is one of the main writers in the band; but I must say it's a cooperation between the whole band. I can lead about the concept issues but the band members need to agree and support this, you know? But Yossi and I, we're kinda pushing the things …
Yossi (guitars): The composition essentially comes from my roots, from my father's melodies when I was a child… So many of the songs, and most of the melodies that you hear in our songs, are things for which the inspiration comes from my father's heritage, in a way.
MF: Your father is a musician?
Yossi: Yeah, all my father's family are musicians. There are ten brothers and everybody plays something, either the oud, or singing… My father sings with us in the album, and also my grandmother, my sister… almost everybody in the family!
Kobi: I can also say I grew as a kid in Jaffa, and Jaffa is a mixture of Jews, Christians and Muslims. We were all mixed up so I used to hear the muezzin calling the Muslims to come to pray, and I used to see the Christians celebrating Christmas, and of course the Jewish celebrating their holidays. And, when I was a kid and I wanted to play football, me and the other kids we didn't mind which religion you have or what is your origin, we just wanted football mates, you know? So this is the simplicity that I carry 'til that moment: "it doesn't matter, we just want to play football!"
Darkside Momo: And now, you just want to play music (to your fans)!
Kobi: Yeah, that's true, that's really true!
Struck: You are happy with soccer… Are you happy with the new trainer of Israel, Luis Fernandez?
Kobi: Er… He'll still have to prove himself (laughs), because we were not that successful till that moment, but I wish him luck, and definitely hope that we can win!
MF: Talking about music… What about the Arab Orchestra of Nazareth?
Kobi: Philharmonic Orchestra, yeah…
Yossi: In the last album when we did the arrangements for the Arabic violins, we had a vision of having them play live with the real instruments and that exact vibe… So it was natural for us to try to collaborate with them, as the Philharmonic Orchestra of Nazareth is essentially Muslims and Christians coming from Nazareth. We've collaborated with them for the violins, the flutes (they play kawala and nay flutes), and it was a very unique experience to work with them, because it was yet another proof of a very natural cooperation, and of music as the universal language. We just sat there and we didn't have to, you know, converse or bitch too much. Everybody understood each other immediately… You know I was in one point there, mumbling a song from my childhood, and one of the Arabic violin players just said "ha, where do you know this song from?" I said "it's from my childhood!" And he said "no, it's from MY childhood!" (laughs) It was sort of an Egyptian song, that my grandmother used to sing to me…
MF: Er… have you heard about a singer called Sapho? Because she played with the Philharmonic Orchestra of Nazareth.
Kobi: I heard. And she sang "El Atlal". I saw her concert on television when she sang it and I really liked it, I really liked the way she singed it. She brings a different colour to the song.
DM: Speaking of the Arab violin players, do you plan to do a show with them, in Israel maybe?
Yossi: Yes we do. We had a very good collaboration with them, and we are planned to collaborate with them in the future. Also live, and possibly even for a DVD, or the next album…
Kobi: And also maybe more countries, not only Israel.
DM: It would be great! Another question about the tour: is Shlomit Levi touring with you, or no?
Kobi: She's a young mother, and now she's devoted to be a mother… Probably in the future, she will be able to, but not now, we let her be a mother!
LadyOfDarkness: Why did you choose Arkan as first support for the tour?
Yossi: It was natural because first of all Arkan are good friends and we have many mutual friends, and Yannick is a very good friend of us and he does our guitar backline on the tour… And also, as Arkan told us we are one of their inspirations, and it was like closing the circle in a way, because it's very similar in the style, and at the same time we respect each other very much…
LoD: So you've known them before?
Yossi: Yes. We've corresponded in the past, and we have been very good friends together.
Kobi: And of course there's the fact that they're Algerian Moslems, and we are Israeli Jewish, and we should also set the example on how musicians can be friends and how they can cooperate together and, just set an example of friendship and harmony between our cultures the way it should be.
S: And now, do you think you are a leader in a kind of music, like oriental progressive metal music?
Kobi: Pioneers, no?
Yossi: Yeah, pioneers for sure.
S: And which are the bands that exist and follow you right now?
Yossi: We've been doing mixing metal as a base with different Middle-Eastern influences for almost 20 years now. We've got contact and responses with many other bands which do this genre and style, bands like Arkan, or…
Kobi: Litham, Odious, from Egypt.
Yossi: Yes. Secret Chiefs 3…
Kobi: Yes, there are bands from Dubai, from Syria, sometimes I forget the names… It's a movement now!
S: OK! There's been a few months since the release of the last album. Are you happy with the results and the response of the audience?
Kobi: We are very happy, but we feel we are not even close yet to feel the potential of our message. I feel this is a message that the world needs and I really believe that… I'm really hopeless with politicians and I trust in music as a thing to unite people. And especially enemies. And, I'm very happy with the results of course, a lot of magazines telling our story, a lot of people appreciate this and support this, and it's of course really important because if they didn't have that reaction, people could have told us that we are naïve.
Kobi: Yeah, "your dreams, your dreams, and you're some kind of hippie living in a wonderland" but this is a fact. We have Jews and Arabs that follow our message, and this is important to prove that this is not just a dream.
MF: And do you consider yourselves more as musicians, or storytellers who have to give a message?
Kobi: If I can only speak on behalf of myself, I consider myself as a warrior of light more than anything, and I'm just using music as a tool, because music is my weapon and I'm some kind of warrior of light, I would say. (Looking to Yossi) Not only me, you as well!
DM: Somehow, the last album is a metaphor of your personal history?...
Kobi: Also yours. (Surprised look from me). I believe that it is in everyone.
DM: I'm only at the beginning of the path... (laughs)
Kobi: It is existing in each and every one of us, this inner light. And when the light in on, you can see the simple truth; when the light is off, you don't see nothing, you ask questions and you are confused. And this is what happens in our world: we're confused because we need to turn on the light.
MF: You said there is media that writes about Orphaned Land, etc. How can you evaluate the huge influence of Orphaned Land in the Arabic Muslim World? Because there's no media, no CD industries…
Kobi: We know it…
Yossi: We get a lot of communication with Arab fans worldwide: through the social networks, through mail… Each of us was in touch with, by now, hundreds and thousands of people… And we also met our fans and friends from Irak, people coming from Syria, from Lebanon, from Dubai, from Jordan, to our shows in Europe and in Turkey. We meet with them, they hug us, they kiss us, they show us their tattoos of the Orphaned Land logo on their body, and they are Muslims coming back to their countries. We know that what we are doing is having effect on the world right now. And we also believe it's only the beginning because the, nature of things is to see the results on the test of time. And on the wings of time you can really measure the impact or true measure of your actions. It's like what happens when, you know, with Bob Marley at the time, his message… And look what reggae brought to the world many years after! And I believe if we begin this now, in many years to come, and after we are gone, we will see the real impact of these actions.
MF: I consider you as politicians… How do you live that in Israel? (Yossi laughs)
Kobi: I would say that we are dealing with politics, but we are not politicians because the politician… the politician always take a side, and he represents this idea, which is the opposite of that idea (makes gestures with his hands). And the musicians? They don't take any side. We are for the Palestinians and for the Israelis and for the Europeans and for everyone. This is the privilege to be a musician. But the subject we are talking about is a political subject; we don't write songs about our love stories or girlfriends… It's about what is going on in our life and country. So this is the politic side in our band.
Yossi: We're not like a party, we don't have, you know, something very specific goal that we wanna do, like do this and that with some territories, or help this and that population or minority get better chances etc. This is not the thing. The thing is our message. Our message is simple: music is the universal language of the world, and we wanna use music to reach between people and help them realise what is in front of their eyes, that "all is one". It's a message of unification, it doesn't matter if you believe in yourself, in God, in Allah, or if you're a pagan or whatever; in the end of the day we are all talking about the same feeling and entity. When we are playing (hums a few notes) it's the same in every language, so this is our message: all is actually one.
DM: Speaking of fans… Have you met in real life the fan who sent you the video you spoke about? In the DVD included with the special edition of ORWarrior, Kobi speaks about a Jordanian fan, that send them a simple video in 2000, when the band was inactive. This video just featured the guy (his head didn't show) showing in Orphaned Land tattoo, with Orphaned Land music playing in the background. This video made Kobi realise the impact of his music and gave a whole new start to Orphaned Land
Kobi: We met a Jordanian fan with an Orphaned Land tattoo. He came all the way to our concert in Turkey, and it was an amazing moment. He gave us this book where it was written that our music is blasphemy and that a guy was thrown to jail for 6 months for just listening to our music… And it was a shock for us. But for me personally it was a moment where I felt obligated to continue and do that because I understood how much music is strong and also a scary movement to some authorities. This is just music! Music for me is just nothing but holiness. It's pure and… Also, I really want to meet the guy that was thrown to jail because I will buy him presents or something. I don't know!
MF: About the albums… Six years of work before the 4th album, and eight years from El Norra Alila to Mabool…
Yossi: (laughs a bit) We… We tend to take the time because er… we are… It has a few aspects to it. One point is that, when we aim for a certain result, we have a dream, and we wanna reach this dream, and personally I'm a big believer of making dreams come true. If you'd tell me 20 years back that we'll be signed with a big label, that was my intention, and it happened. Or ten years back that we would play Wacken on mainstage, it happens. And now one of my dreams, our dream, is to play Desert Rock in Dubai. And one day it will happen, because we know if we dream it will happen. As for the album work we have specific ways in which we envision it. The vision takes time to happen, so we begin to compose material, we begin to collect everything together. We sit together, we listen to it, we create this puzzle, and we omit things or multiply things that we like, etc. And, we try to reach a certain point which is quite perfectionist of us, but when we finalize the play we say "OK, we can live with it" (laughs). And speaking of the next release, we promise to make it quicker now, because I can say personally that my promise is genuine because I also quit my day job to focus 100% on music. Until now, I had a day job that took most of my time, and the band was my life project, it was for twenty years all parallel to everything I had in life and now I'm totally devoted, 100%, for this, so… It's not only the nights and the week-ends, so definitely I believe it will help to make it quicker.
MF: Any gigs in Morocco or Algeria?
Kobi: I wish, I wish…
Yossi: It will happen. In Morocco it will happen for sure.
Kobi: You know what? If it takes time as it takes us the time to release the albums… sometimes there is a thing that the good food, you need to cook it for a long time. So, it takes us time to release the albums and it takes us time to Morocco; I know we will do it. And, from our side, the moment we get the invitation, I am willing to come on a camel, I am willing to walk. (Yossi laughs) I will go there, just need to invite us and we come. At that moment!
LoD: Sapari is a traditional Yemenite song. Why have you chosen this one to begin the album?
Kobi: It's a 400 years old song, and it was written by a Jewish poet, and the lyrics are a conversation of the poet with his soul that came as a dove. And he's asking her "where is she" and she is telling him she's in the high chamber, preparing herself to wear the shape of the body. And it fits the concept of the warrior of light, like an inner conversation that we also have as human beings before the warrior was born into this life, the world that we are living in. So this is the mixture of a conceptual feeling, and also the way we like to do it, with ancient past meeting present, you know, and rearranging that into the way we like it.
LoD: Why did you choose Steven Wilson as a producer, and what was his influence?
Kobi: First of all we are fans, and our music is very complex and very diverse, and if the mix is not good, it's all lost… It's like a good food that was burned. I like to make analogies with food, maybe I'm hungry, I don't know! (laughs) And Steven is a good technician but also a musician, so having him as another mastermind, to be the supervisor of everything was the right choice for music such as ours… Yossi composes so many layers of music and Steven was fascinated by our music and he was really the right one to mix it and we think the result with him is really amazing!
LoD: Was the use of mellotron his idea in the first place?
Kobi: Yes. He says if he plays keyboards it's always a mellotron, or a piano. He doesn't like the synth sound.
LoD: It was a good idea!
Kobi: I think so, too… It's also like 'East meets West', you know, in a way… So I like it as well.
S: This is exactly what he's done with Mikael Akerfeldt… You are not afraid of being considered as the oriental Opeth?
Kobi: Steven himself says that if Opeth would been born in Israel…
Kobi & Yossi: …they would have been Orphaned Land.
Kobi: And the opposite. If we were Scandinavian we would have been Opeth so… We are from the same genre and generation… This is the only similarity that I could find between the bands, using clean vocals, growls, progressive music… But every band have their own flesh and strong composition; Yossi's compositions are completely different than Mikael's, and Mikael's are great, but it's completely different scales… Yossi of course can add what he says about it.
Yossi: Yeah. I think, in terms of inspiration and composition, that it's very different, because the way we get the best inspired to make our own creation is from where we come from; it's just natural that you how will compose depends on the way you are brought and socialized. I always did something with music, like flute and singing but first time with a guitar was at the age of thirteen or something like this, andthe first thing that came out that was really… I was listening to metal and rock but the melodies that kept flowing was harmonies scales and Phrygian which, in terms of music, is the scales that go for Spanish and Middle-Eastern scales…
Kobi: You also use Moroccan rhythms you know? (He hums)
Yossi: Yeah, that's Moroccan beats. So it's normal and natural… When I go on an instrument it comes out this way. I guess if I was born in another place my natural play would have been different.
S: And what metal influences…?
Yossi: We have many… Mine are very vast. Iron Maiden is a huge favourite in every age… but also many non-metal: Depeche Mode, Dead Can Dance, Pink Floyd, I mean I can name many bands that I listen to very much until today like the first time and they're clearly an inspiration.
Kobi: We simply love music, from any time.
S: And since Mabool the death metal aspect of the music is less present… Is it a natural evolution, or to reach more people in order to spread the message?
Kobi: I don't know if this definition is true, because in the new album there are more softer parts on one hand, but on the other hand, you have a song like my friend here (gesturing at me) mentioned, Codeword: Uprising, which is like the craziest growls I've ever done in my life! People say that Mabool is softer than the new album, so… I don't know!
DM: I might agree, yeah.
Kobi: Yeah, I think that Mabool is softer, I think that album is even more extreme, so… I mean, we always go with what we feel, we never think 'let's try to be more commercial' or whatever. If it was like that we wouldn't wait six years to release every album and we would just manufacture them like bread.
Yossi: I think there is… For me, in many aspects, this album is heavier in the composition and arrangements. Much heavier. But in terms of sound, the sonic experience that you get is less heavy. So that's why you feel that Mabool is maybe, in a way, lighter in composition, but in terms of sound it's a bit more aggressive. And that's why you can get mixed between the two. But also theycan't be compared in any way I think, because they are totally different albums… When we began to work on ORWarrior, concept-wise and music-wise, we didn't aim at all to anything that will be like Mabool or Mabool part 2. It was just totally brand-new from the ground up and I think at the end that's what makes the result somewhere in between, it's the mix between the sound and the compositions themselves.
The 'classic' promo shot for ORWarrior
LoD: Who came up with such an amazing idea for your promo pics for the album?
Kobi: It was a combination of the owner of our record company and us. He gave me a ring one night…
Yossi: …on the telephone (smiles)
Kobi: It's not natural that the owner should call you because…
Yossi: He gave him a ring one night, he said yes (everyone laughs) and look !
Kobi: Yeah, he proposed…
DM: Congratulations! (everyone laughs again)
Kobi: We are engaged now! (laughs) So, he told me "you have such a strong message going on in your music, it's so unique, and you don't want to make another photos of you with sunglasses and a Metallica T-shirt doing this , right?" And I told him: "yeah, I don't wanna do that." So he said: "try to think how you can combine elements of your music on the visual so you have the music, you'll have it visually reflected, you will have it on all aspects." And this is how the first idea was born, actually.
DM: Did you have any problems in your country or in Arab countries with these pictures, which can be considered provocative, in a way?
Yossi: Oh, we got various responses… In general, most of them were very good and thought it was original and interesting, but naturally we got responses that they didn't quite understood it, or it offended them in this way or the other… And this is really far from what we meant, but of course you cannot please everyone with this kind of controversial photography. The message in these photos is another example of what we have in the music, and our message is the unification of things. It's the message that All is One and the same time that you hear in our music a Yemenite poet and progressive metal riffs and Hebrew singing on it and some Arab parts… And you see in the photos the same: you see Jesus, you see Moslems holding the Jewish bible, and orthodox Jewish praying like Moslems etc. It's just the antithesis of this.
Kobi: Yeah, what's the difference?
Yossi: There's no difference.
DM: Yeah, I agree…
S: If you had to choose one song to make discover your music to someone who doesn't know Orphaned Land, which song would you choose and why?
Kobi: From my point of view it will be always dependent on who is the person. So I cannot give you an answer
Kobi: I need to sit along and speak and know you better to know that, just to sit which each of you for half an hour and have a drink…
S: Then, which song from Orphaned Land, according to you, represents the most the band?
Kobi: I cannot tell!
Yossi: We don't have a single song, but I think we can come up with a list of few songs that if you listen to them - 4, 5 songs - you'll get a close idea of what Orphaned sounds like… Because we are quite diverse in our creation, some songs might sound heavier and with some message, but if you listen just to them you are far from the truth about what Orphaned Land is really about.
Kobi: For me our albums are one long song, so you have it all there: the Jewish side, the Arab side, the rock, the progressive, everything is there, so I would always recommend an album.
S: So, which album?
Kobi: ORWarrior! (Yossi laughs) ORWarrior for sure, because this is the newborn son, and we are really connected to the message… So definitely this is the album: the lyrics, the artwork, the songs… And it's 78 minutes, you know! We used almost all the time available in the CD. We love our fans and what we do so much that we took everything that is possible to make all of it full of music!
Yossi: You know that it's natural that in every family the parents love all the children but it's also very normal that when a little brother or sister comes they get most of the attention so also here it's normal for our latest creation… It's the most mature by far, composition-wise and arrangements-wise; it's the richest and with the best sound we ever produced, so it's definitely the one people should check out.
DM: Speaking about a totally different song, you did cover "Mercy" by Paradise Lost, a few years ago for Holy Records… Why did you choose this song, and why did you completely rearrange it?
Kobi: Well first of all it was one of the few songs that remained available… We like Paradise Lost so we could have covered a lot of songs… The thing is, as we like to combine past and present and future, we took "Mercy" which was a new song back then, and we took the lyrics of "Gothic" which was an old song. And we also took the saz guitar, with the old lyrics and the new Paradise Lost song and we combined them all together. Again, the way we like to do it.
Yossi: We also considered this one as a sort of experimental track in many ways because we took the saz there just as the Turkish instrument… Also the solo in the end is totally improvised, we have a kind of jungle loop in the middle… So we just played with it, but we really like the outcome.
DM: And did Paradise Lost listen to it? Did they like it?
Yossi: Yeah, very much. We also toured with them, as you also know, one month and a half…
S: Your first date in Paris!
Yossi: Our first show in France was with Paradise Lost.
Kobi: Yeah… It's our second show in Paris, the first was at the Locomotive. A good, now closed, venue.
Yossi: But by now we've had shows in France in quite some cities… Montpellier, Clermont-Ferrand, Toulouse, in Normandy (Cidre et Dragon)…
Kobi: They told us we are sold out for today!
DM: It's true, it's written on the door of the venue, outside…
Yossi: It's our first headline tour…
Kobi: That's great, that's great! Coming for the second time and to be sold out it's…
Yossi: It's superb!
LoD: Do you plan on touring in Eastern Europe, like Russia, or…?
Kobi: Sure! Everywhere we are invited, we will go.
Yossi: We already did shows in Russia, Serbia, Croatia, Bulgaria, all kind of countries but we will definitively go wherever we are invited, regardless of the country.
LoD: Yes, and now Eastern Europe likes your music…
Kobi: We like theirs as well, and the crowd is very warm and… I remember Poland and Russia…
Yossi: In Russia we had great shows, so we'd also love to come to Ukraine… We had great shows in Moscow and St Petersburg at the time.
S: Do you remember your first show in Turkey? I think it was your first gig outside Israel.
Yossi: Yes, of course!
Kobi: And after 6 years of nothing! This was when we met the Arab fans for the first time, and the whole journey was documented to a documentary movie. It was in the national TV back home… And from that point Orphaned Land really started this movement of… of… of being strong and uniting cultures and stuff. It was the moment right there. Because, in a way, we got back in activity because of our Arab fans. I know it's ironic, but knowing that the band is not playing for 6 years and the thing that we have an Arab movement of fans, as Israelis, brought us to the conclusion that "what can we do that is more important than that?" Have a high-tech company? Be a banker? Not for me!
DM: I remember the live CD with the first edition of Mabool, the audience singing on "The Beloved's Cry" is really moving…
Kobi: It's always like this. In Israel, especially.
Yossi: We also enjoy the acoustic shows a lot, although the electric set is what we do mostly on the road, we also have an acoustic set that we've done abroad and obviously in Israel many times… And essentially also most of Orphaned Land's music is written on acoustic instruments…
DM: Before playing with…
Yossi: (interrupting) Yeah, I compose on classic guitar, bouzouki, saz, oud, this kind of instruments. The riffs and basic harmonies and melodies are hardly composed on electric guitars, only later I move them onto electric and then I begin the more progressive parts etc. So in a way what you are listening to is rearrangements of acoustic music, and not the other way around.
Another promo shot for ORWarrior
LoD: And what is your current mood before this concert in Paris?
Yossi: Very excited… And you know we have many good friends here in the crowd today… It's sold out, it's gonna be a full house tonight! So it's just excellent.
S: Do you still have contacts with people at Holy Records?
Kobi: Yeah, of course! We are in touch with them.
Yossi: They should be here tonight!
Kobi: They run the EMP store in France, and they also interviewed us, and they support our albums… So yeah, of course! We remember the day when they were the first ones recognizing our potential…
Yossi: Philippe and Séverine were there in the early years and until today we make in every show a song from the first albums on Holy Records, and also tonight and in every night; I think there is not even one show in our life that we didn't do some songs, ever, from the first one. Even today, with ORWarrior…
S: And what is the question you have been asked too much?
Kobi: Too much?
[b]Kobi: "Why does it take you 6 years to make an album?" (everyone laughs)
S: And what is the question you want me to ask you?
Yossi: Whatever you want! We answer whatever you want.
Kobi: (after thoughtful silence) I want you to ask me "What do you think would be the real solution for the problems that we have in our world?" And I would answer that everything begins and ends with education. The only problems that we have in our world are just a problem of wrong education, in my opinion. I think that kids are raised to hate, to fight, they play with these games where they kill people when they are 3 years old already, and I don't believe that the nature of humankind is bad the way they say. I believe the nature of humankind is to choose. And we can choose to be good. And it's a matter of education. I will take Israeli kids to travel into Palestinian territories, and I would take the Palestinian to travel in our territories. I think it all begins and ends with education.
S: You don't think that the message is coming too late? When people listen to the music, isn't it too late for these people to make the choice, because their education is almost done?
Kobi: But look, this is a fact: we are Israelis and we have dozens of Arab fans!
Yossi: Dozens of thousands…
Kobi: Dozens of thousands of Arab fans, and they were educated to hate us. And this is the proof that music can break all education and boundaries. If it's good and true music.
Yossi: You know, we can tell you from things that happened… We were in a room with a Muslim guy, born and raised in Jordan but living for many years in Saudi, and he told us in our face "I was raised to kill you, I was taught that when I see you, I should kill you." And he did like this (mimicking stabbing) with the remote controller of the TV. Then he looks me in the eye and says: "and then I listened to Orphaned Land. And I thought to myself, it cannot be that the person that composed this music can be this bad!" And it plays with his mind and he says to us "thank you for making me open-minded". And then he hugs us and kisses us, right after this sentence. This is true, this really happened.
Kobi: The fans of Real Madrid never cheer for Barcelona (laughs)! Now you take Israelis and Arabs, they fight each other, but with music they are happy together. What is stronger than that?
S: And how do you deal with an experience of someone who told you that… What were your feelings just after meeting this guy?
Yossi: Oh, I just hugged him!
S: You are proud of what your music can do?
Yossi: Of course we are! You know, at the beginning of the day, when I look at myself, I consider myself as a kid from Israel that just enjoys making music… It's something amazing that happened. This phenomena of notes, which are just air pressure changes, get to the ear, and bound together for meaning and emotions, it never stops to amaze me. And these notes, with our concept, with our message, make people reshape their views about life, about different opinions and beliefs, is simply even beyond my understanding but it's really close to my beliefs. I really believe that this thing that we make, this bridging between people and opinions can happen and will continue to.
S: You never give up? I mean, maybe you have problem with the Israeli government, or with military service…
Kobi: I didn't really do the army, I did only one year. Yeah, I did it for one year, and then we had to record the first album. And the army didn't let me go, so I went away and recorded the album, and then I went to jail.
DM: you were considered as a deserter…
Kobi: Yeah, and then I was so pissed off that I wanted to fight back… According to the army I'm a loony, now. But I really think that we contribute more as musicians, I really think that Yossi's melodies contribute more than me fixing a tank. I don't want to fix a tank, I want to un-built it so it doesn't exist. I hate tanks. So… I think we are also soldiers in an army, right now at this moment, and you, telling our story, you're the soldiers in the same army…
Yossi: We are all Warriors of Light, yeah… All people, which is essentially most, are simple people that just wanna wake up in the morning, do what they love, follow the path that they choose, and don't harm anybody else while they do it. And then a really, really, very small minority, which is at the top of the pyramid, aim for other things for … This is not something that should move away people from the life they deserve, or from living their life according to their wishes.
S: I love your conclusion! When you say that you are a warrior, and we also are warriors because we are spreading your message…
Kobi: And I will tell you even more: everyone is like that because all humans share the same thing… They love, they cry, they really want the world to be good. So the question is: what's happening on the way? We need to turn on this light within us, you know. You don't need to push away the ones who differ from you, because if you get strength from all cultures, you are richer… The music styles that you know, the food that you eat, the friends that you have, the languages that you speak…
Yossi: I think, if you look on religion, it's essentially something that was built on the basics of "how to live your life properly", "what the real values between a person to the other", the basics for health, what you should and shouldn't do in order to expand your life… These are the real meanings of religion, no matter where it was birthed at first place. And then some people took this message on how to live your life harmoniously and with the others, and use it for other ends. And this is one of the instances one when people should cut off and stay each with his own belief, but understand that All Is One. We are united and we are the same, no matter where you come from or where you were raised.
(A long blank…)
Yossi: er… do you have any more questions?
DM: I think it's a good conclusion!
Yossi: Yeah… (laughs)
So, thanks a lot to Kobi and Yossi for their kindness and dedication, and also to Miriam and everyone involved!
||Posted on 07.10.2010 by Once your regular Hellfest reporter, now retired. I (strangely enough) listen to a lot of metal. And enjoy good beers, comics, novels and role-playing games.|
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