Matti Svatitzki

Orphaned Land

Orphaned Land is one of those bands which simply don't fit in any of the plain, common given tags the music industry has smartly created (and always does) during the last couple of decades. They're really a progressive - in mind - band combining tons of interesting elements. Well, if you ask them or their fans what their music's like, you'll most probably get Oriental Metal as an answer which is not an off-track answer, in relation to reality, not at all. I managed to get hold of one of the band's guitarists, Matti Svatitzki, via e-mail and asked him a couple of questions, including the fact that they're set to perform in the U.S.A. for the first time ever, this year...
By Orpheus Spiliotopoulos
March 9, 2005
Matti Svatitzki (Orphaned Land) interview
First of all hi and welcome to Metal Temple Magazine's Interviews section. Since we're an online magazine, I'd like to ask you what you think about the Internet. Do you personally use it a lot? Do you read online magazines? What's your opinion on Mp3s?

Well, personally I love the internet very much. I even work as a technical supporter at the Israeli cable internet network. I think that the internet is a good way for people to communicate and gather information, as long as they don't forget about this beautiful world outside. About mp3s, I use them also, but I don't forget to buy whatever I find good.

Recently Orphaned Land was confirmed for an appearance at this year's ProgPower VI U.S.A. festival, set to take place in Atlanta on September 16-17. What's the feeling within the band for this upcoming appearance at this quite known event?

First of all, it's an honor for us to be invited to such an event. We will play with very good bands, and I think that we'll gain a lot from the experience. This is our debut U.S. show, and I hope that the crowd there will like us, because we sure would like to be invited over again, and again, and again, and over.

If someone who hadn't heard of you stepped up to you and asked you what kind of music Orphaned Land played, how would you describe it to him?

Mmm, that's not an easy one. But I'd probably say that all in all we are a metal band, which uses ethnical Middle Eastern elements and instruments, with the slight use of Progressive Rock touches.

Talk to us a bit about your latest album, Mabool: The Story of The Three Sons Of Seven. Is it a concept album? What does it talk about exactly?

Mabool is a concept album which tells the story of a flood that is destroying the earth as a punishment from God. It is not the same story as the biblical one. It has different characters in it and the plot is quite different, but some elements are the same. Each song represents a chapter in the chronological chain of events. But I wouldn't want to ruin the experience of getting to know the album for yourselves, so I'll stop here.

From your debut album, Sahara (1994), to now (your new release) in what ways do you feel you've changed, inside of you, musically?

We have changed a lot since the early days and until now. At Sahara's time, we were very young and inexperienced, in all fields. We didn't understand the consequences of what we were doing, we were just going with the flow with all that was happening. Also musically, in those days, we were exclusively into Death Metal and Metal in general, and in nowadays our minds are more expanded and we look very much into music from all styles, and you can sense this when you listen to our latest album.

How big is the Metal scene in Israel nowadays? Is it easy being a metal band in Israel, in 2005?

It has never been easy being a metal band in Israel, not in 2005 and not ever. But who said life is easy? It's not easy being any band anywhere. About the scene here, it is not very big. But it is big enough for bands to survive and to expand even to beyond the borders. There are a lot of places for improvement in the scene, but all in all it's fine. Great people and great bands.

What are your personal musical influences?

My personal musical influences come from all fields. In metal I like the band Dream Theatre very much. Also bands like Kreator, Megadeth, Sepultura, Iron Maiden, Slayer and so on. Outside of Metal, I'm very fond of Depeche Mode, U2, Pink Floyd and others. I'm also a bit into electronic music, and I like artists like GMS, Infected Mushroom, Cosmosis, Talamasca and more.

I recently saw the video clip for Ocean Land, a track from your about to be released album Mabool. Who was the director/producer? How easy (fun?) or not was the whole thing (I don't know if singing underwater is an actual effect or not... - hehe!)? Will there be another video clip off Mabool?

The shooting of the video clip wasn't easy, especially for Kobi [Farhi, vocals]. But I tasted a bit of what he had to go through, because I was the one who played the guitar solo underwater (and ruined a perfectly good and working guitar!). We are planning on shooting our next video soon for the song Norra El Norra, also from Mabool. The shootings will take place real soon, so you will be able to find it for download in no-time.

In October 2004 Orphaned Land performed both an acoustic and an electric set in a Shuni Fortress in front of 1.000 people. This sounds quite extraordinaire, well, to me at least. Would you like to share some of your memories from that night with us? Oh and if you may please describe to me what a Shuni Fortress is because I'm not sure how aware I am of what it is exactly.

You know the Romans, right? The guys from the Roman Empire BC etc, etc, right? The ones who crucified Jesus, right? Well, Israel was conquered by them a long time ago, and they built some Roman theaters here. This Shuni site is one of those theatres, so you can imagine how special this show was. It is not common for a Metal band to give a concert in a site like this. It was really amazing, especially because of this special location. It had an open air kind of feeling to it, and I think that the crowd appreciated us taking it outside the ordinary Metal clubs and into a more extraordinary location. It was perfect.

Where's the weirdest place you'd ever want to perform at?

There are a lot of unconventional locations that I wouldn't mind performing at. Metal is too much urban for my taste. It's too grey, while there are many beautiful colors in our world. I wouldn't mind performing in a forest for example, or by a river, or near a mountain, or by the sea...or on a boat!

What has the reaction to Mabool been so far?

We got very good reactions from all around. The crowd likes it, and we got very good reviews in many magazines from all over the world. I think that there's a lot into this album. There is a lot of though and emotion put into it, and I think people sensed it and learned to appreciate it.

What are your plans right now?

We are already booked for a few shows abroad, in festivals and things like that. Our schedule is not completely full, and we are still in negotiations with some promoters regarding more future shows. We are planning to tour everywhere we can with Mabool. So be patient and I'm sure we'll land near you too soon.

How's your cooperation with Century Media going? Mabool is your first album with Century Media, right? Your first two albums were released through Holy Records and your third one through Raven (I think).

Our cooperation with C.M. is wonderful. They support us anyway they can and help us expand, and they do everything in their power to spread our music as vastly as possible. It's great to work with a label in their caliber. About Raven music, they haven't released an album for us. You are talking about our first demo tape, The Beloveds' Cry, which was re-issued on a CD by Raven.

What are your personal ambitions in life, as a person?

I think that life is happening for a reason. I think that life is here for us to enjoy. I try for as much as I can to do things which I believe will make me happier and feel good about myself. Right now the band is a major issue for me and I take it very seriously.

I'd like to thank you for your time and I wish you all the best. The last words of this interview belong to you. Feel free to send out a message to all your fans and our readers around the world.

I want to thank our listeners around this Orphaned World for supporting us in these crazy times. We are very anxious to meet all of you soon on one of our next tours. So until then, stay Orphaned everyone! Live peacefully with each other, lots of respect to you all...Yours truly, Matti.

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