ORPHANED LAND is a Israeli Doom/Death/Progressive Metal band which spans a musical journey of more than 20 years.
Incorporating "jewish" and "arabic" influences into their lyrical landscaping - the band are the pioneers of the middle-eastern Progressive Metal genre. The striking factor lies in the fact that the band fuses traditional middle-eastern instruments with modern guitars and drums to create a completely different yet melodic sound.The band has a unique stage presence as well. With traditional jewish, muslim and christian attires, the band sends a strong message of religious harmony not just through their costumes but also their lyrical themes.
The band toured India last year and are set to perform again - 5th February at the IIT Guwahati festival and 7th february at the QBA club in New Delhi.On the eve of their return, we caught them between their flights and had a chat!
IMR: ORPHANED LAND has fallen in love with India – a second tour in a year’s span – how does that feel guys?
Matti Svatitzki: It feels really great. We love India, love the atmosphere and love the people. Some of us were in India for travels even before the shows, and we can't wait to get to India for more shows.
IMR: You’ll pleased your fans from India last time as well as added a huge new following – what exciting things can we expect from you’ll this time?
Matti Svatitzki: Last time we really had fun. The shows were amazing, and people were totally into it. I don't know what will happen now, but if you say we have increased our fan base then I hope this is the case. We're as curious as you about these shows and we'll have to wait and see.
IMR: Your recent release (THE NEVER ENDING WAY OF THE ORWARRIOR) was voted as one of the top Progressive Metal albums of 2011 – from an underground band to a ground-breaking band; tell us your journey in brief?
Matti Svatitzki: It'll be hard to sum it up in only a few words, because we exist for over 20 years and have been through a lot. We began as a Death Metal band when we were teenagers, and with the years we adopted the Middle Eastern style and blended it into our music. We recorded 4 full length albums, and performed with them all around the world. There's a lot more to be told, but you can't squeeze a career of 20 years in just a few rows.
IMR: When most of the bands perform leather clad, sporting tattoos, ORPHANED LAND has a unique stage presentation and costumes. Tell us more about it and how it reflects your culture?
Matti Svatitzki: Kobi, our vocalist, usually goes on stage wearing a galaba, which is a traditional Arab outfit. The other band members, we used to go up on stage dressed up as orthodox Jewish people, and orthodox Muslim people. We wore these outfits first of all because it's cool. It's a part of who we are and what our music is about. It is easier for audience who doesn't know us to get connected to our music.
IMR: Along with guitars, bass and drums – there are a lot of "eastern folk music" instruments we get to hear on your albums – tell us something more about them.
Matti Svatitzki: These instruments are also a lot about who we are. Middle-Eastern Folk Metal is a style which we are its pioneers, we started making it a long years ago and stayed with it since. We thought about how to bring into our music instruments that are native and from the place we come from, and we use instruments from all around the Middle East, places like Egypt, Turkey, Greece and even more. We use these instruments a lot in our albums, and also, when we can, in our live shows as well.
IMR: Your latest album was mixed by Steven Wilson (PORCUPINE TREE) – how did this collaboration take place?
Matti Svatitzki: Steven is spends a lot of time in Israel since he is working with the local artist Aviv Geffen on their project BLACKFIELD. We got close to Steven during his stays here and got him interested in our music. Steven has worked and produced legendary albums before, and it is a privilege that he is a good friend of ours, and that he's working with us. He also sang one of our songs live in our last DVD and made a perfect 10 cover.
IMR: Your music tries to find the commonality between all the Abrahamic Religions (Judaism, Christianity and Islam) – how did your culture/country influence you while choosing this theme for your albums?
Matti Svatitzki: Religion is a central issue in the world. Most of the world is religious, so talking about religion from our point of view is a relevant thing. Israel is a place from which Judaism and Christianity came, Jesus was born and died on the cross here, and some cities in Israel are extremely sacred for Muslims too. Places here are so sacred to people, that they are really to fight and die for them, and this is exactly where our music and message fit in. We preach for friendship and kindness between people, for ask people to keep open minds and try to see eye to eye with each other. We have many fans in the Arab world, with whom we have very warm and positive relationship, and
we look at them as our brothers, sure not as enemies.
IMR: ORPHANED LAND is classified as Doom or more commonly Progressive Metal – how would you describe your overall sound?
Matti Svatitzki: I think we have been all over the place. There were times in the past when we were considered a Doom-Death band, and in later times we were considered more Prog-Metal band. It depended on the mood we were in and the music we listened to at home when we wrote the music.
IMR: Your music treads on a religious path – did you guys encounter any hurdles while touring etc?
Matti Svatitzki: Up until now there haven't been any extraordinary events. There were some minor anti-Semite events, some guy waved a small Swastika pendant in my face and said "fuck off", and a few small things like that, but except for a few
assholes everything has been good so far.
IMR: Finally, a message from the band to their fans and budding musicians who are inspired by you guys. Thank You!
Matti Svatitzki: It is great that we have a fan base in India! We really love the place, and it is important for us that people get to know and appreciate what we do. We 4 can't wait to play for you guys soon, see you there!
Varun Kodolikar is 22 as of now and graduated in 2011 from Mumbai University. Being a Computer Engineer by profession he did not want to end up doing a '9-5' desk-job. Combining his tilt towards music and passion for writing he decided to venture into freelancing and music promotion
He got introduced to the term "Metal" in 1998 probably by the best possible band to begin with - Iron Maiden. Since then he is only been devouring bands - surviving on them. He doesn't follow a genre - he just follows good music!
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