Interview with Mati of Orphaned Land
During my stay in Atlanta, GA for ProgPower, September 16-17, I was fortunate enough to interview Orphaned Land. I interviewed Orphaned Land guitarist, Mati Svatizki. Mati was very kind, intelligent, and seemed eager to hear my questions and respond. Also, Mati and I were able to have a very interesting discussion after the interview about religion, Israel, the middle east, and the current situation in Israel.
Orphaned Land's live show was MIND BLOWING! Not much is known about Orphaned Land and I was absolutely impressed when I heard them for my first time at ProgPower. Their energy was relentless and the musicianship uncomprable. After their set, I immediately went to buy their latest release, "Mabool", which is even more unique! Orphaned Land have taken, flamenco, classical, death/doom metal music and combined them into one euphoric cd and entitled it, "Mabool".
I urge anyone and everyone to definately check out Orphaned Land if they are playing near you and to go out and get "Mabool". To see and hear Orphaned Land is an experience in itself, you WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED! Not only are the great musicians, but they are also VERY nice people and I believe the following interview portrays that.
Ben (aka savagebutcher): Why is it that you haven't toured the US before?
Mati: ProgPower USA VI was the first time we were invited to play in the U.S. The reason for it is that 'Mabool' is our first album at Century Media. Our previous 2 albums didn't get distributed widely in the U.S. Better late than never.
Ben: Are you enjoying being on Century Media opposed to your old label, Holy Records?
Mati: We owe Holy Records a great deal because they were the ones who gave us our first break, but the move to Century Media was only natural since we were growing and our style was changing. We felt that Century Media could take better care of us. Century Media is a bigger label and they deal with things differently, I don't think that there is any room for comparison.
Ben: How do you feel the band has evolved from when it first started under the name "Resurrection"?
Mati: The "Resurrection" days were around 13 years ago and we were kids then (I was 15 years old). We were only starting out and we had a different vision regarding what we wanted to create and regarding how we saw music and how we saw life in general. We have grown since than, physically and mentally, and nowadays I feel that we have much more to offer. We've seen, heard and have been exposed to many more things since then and we try to deliver that through our music.
Ben: What has changed for the band in your current release, 'Mabool' compared to your last two releases?
Mati: 'Mabool' was released seven years after our previous album, 'El Norra Alila.' In these seven years we have made a lot of decisions regarding our musical tastes and our vision of what we want to make of our music. I think that you can hear that the music has many more progressive elements, more clean vocals, and many people also say that it is much more mature than the previous albums. I think that we all handle our instruments better as well, since time does its trick.
Ben: "Orphaned Land" comes across as a band very much into spirituality, what are your views on religion and spirituality?
Mati: Our vocalist Kobi writes most of the lyrics, and he is a believer. He believes in the principles of the bible and in the biblical god and in life after death and all these things, but he is not what you call religious. Personally, I'm less a believer than he is, and I think most band members are more agnostic, but, all these spiritual questions do bother me, only I try to answer them more rationally.
Ben: How have your personal beliefs and views come across in "Mabool" and your music?
Mati: 'Mabool' is very much inspired by religion. Religion always deals in some way with the apocalypse. Religious people won't be surprised if you told them that tomorrow is the last day for mankind on earth, and Mabool deals with this apocalypse. However, this apocalypse raises many moral questions, questions about right and wrong and good and evil. You don't have to be religious in order to relate to these questions. I think that Mabool carries an important message, even from a non-religious view.
Ben: There seems to be a great sense of pride in Israel, to you, what does it mean to be from Israel?
Mati: Of course there is. Everyone should be proud of who they are and where they come from. Israel is very important to us Jews. We feel safe here. We feel like we can defend ourselves here and not be helpless like we were during World War II. We are also proud in the achievements we made here in the only 50 years of our independence.
Ben: What are your views on the conflicts between Israel and other Arab countries?
Mati: I don't understand this conflict at all. I hope that we all will come to our senses as fast as possible and see through all these conflicts. I believe that this region can prosper, and that the only thing that is holding it back is this misunderstanding between Arabs and Jews.
Ben: What do you all like to do in your spare time when your not busy making music?
Mati: First of all, making music is not our main thing for the moment. We all have other jobs that take much of our time. Some of us have university degrees or are going through processes in order to get one. Our real passion in life is music though, and we would not give it up for the world.
Ben: What is in Orphaned Land's immediate future?
Mati: The band's immediate future is to start working on new material, then the Wacken road show European tour in March 2006, and after that maybe a DVD next summer.
Ben: Any parting words or advice you'd like to give?
Mati: Be patient with one another and do what you want to do. Stay Orphaned forever. Cheers. Matti on behalf of Orphaned Land.
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