Satan Is A Great Bastard Yet I Love It

Orphaned Land proudly defend their values and the Star of David. The interview took place in a room between two doors that wouldn’t stop opening to give way to the people working on the concert. For his part, Yossi Saharon, the guitarist, is calling his family back in Israel right beside us. Kobi Farhi, the vocalist, a little uneasy regarding all this, asks me several times if all this mess does not bother me. Kobi answered our questions with a soothing softness in his voice and movements. The extreme depth of this man and of his band’s songs is reflected in this interview. Anti-Semitism, culture, Judaism… If you’re obtuse and narrow-minded, this is definitely not for you.
« In fact, I like Satan, it is a good friend. He teaches you about life not with the books but with a punch into your face. When you put your hand into the fire and you burn, you learn not to do it again. He teaches you in the hard way but I like it. Satan is a great bastard yet I love it. »

You always take time to record your albums, do you think it helps you to compose better? Kobi Farhi (vocals) :
Yes, to write an Orphaned Land album is very difficult and we are very much devoted to what we do. Our album is always full of informations and it is hard to deal with the amount of variety of the compositions. It always takes time, we try to figure out the way to make it faster because of the fans and the record company. They keep on hastening for that. Everybody tells us that we should make an album every two years, it would make us much bigger. It is what we are trying to do but we can never compromise on our music, this is very complicated.
Are you doing it with your hearts?
Yes, completely and without any compromises, it definitely comes from our hearts. It is an entailment to record a whole album but when you have it on your hands it is always nice.
Steven Wilson from Porcupine Tree mixed your album. What did he bring you?
First of all, Steven is an amazing musician, we are fans of everything he is doing with Procupine Tree. He played the keyboard on the album and he did all the mixing. Having him not only as a good technician but also as a musician is a great added value to our music. There are always a lot of layers in our compositions so if they are not mixed properly it becomes a disaster. Steven was the right person, he was fascinating by our music, by all these combinations of metal and progressive musics and melodies and riffs. It was a great cooperation and I think that he did an amazing job.
Do you like bands like Porcupine Tree, Catatonia or Opeth?
Yes, I like good music in general. Opeth, Procupine Tree, Catatonia are great bands and of course Steven is a real genius, Opeth as well. I like them very much.
Who is OrWarrior in your new album’s title?
It is you and all the listeners of the program. there is an OrWarrior in everyone of us, he is just not awaken. We live in this spiritual darkness and disappointement. We blame our parents and priests or the government for all of our troubles but at the end of the day we are not aware of the power that we have. You can shape your own reality, you can choose everything into your life. You can move to another country, you can commit suicide, you can change your religion…
Is it like freedom?
Yes, being Orwarrior means that all your inner life is awesome. When the light is on, we can see that there is a table, a watch, a chair, a computer but if it were dark we could see anything. The light brings you informations, knowledge. It gives us the possibility to see what is going on. If you can see with the light everything which is in a room, imagine all we can see about ourselves. This is Orwarrior.

You must read a lot to be informed of the subjects you deal with. What kind of books do you read?
All kind. I like adventure books and things like that. In reality I learn a lot from being an Israeli and living in my own country. Israel is combined with different cultures and religions, it is the best place to try to make a sinergy and harmony. The biggest inspiration for us is definitely having such a big conflict in the Middle East and we don’t really need books, I think that life is enough,since it is a reality in itself. It creates such a massive energy to see on one hand all of the Jews around you, coming from Europe, Asia or Africa, from all over the world, just trying to unite them and to witness on the other hand, those wars in the name of religion. Just living there is a great inspiration to know how to make a balance out of it. If our songs would be translated to our lives it would be a worldwide peace. Our music is like heaven on earth, because everyone lives peacefully together in it.
« Music is the best weapon in our world and people don’t really understand this. It can unite enemies, they can love the same song. »

Do you sometimes compose your music according to the subject you want to develop?
No, the way we write music is very strange , we find the concept and the story we want to tell. We have a bank of riffs and then, it becomes like a puzzle. If we have a very angry part we go to the angry riff, you cannot see the picture immediately you have to add pieces after pieces, it never repeats itself. Until the last minute, we do not know ourselves how the album is going to look like.
Do you think that music is a good way to open people’s mind to culture or to pass on a message?
Definitely, music is the best weapon in our world and people don’t really understand this. It can unite enemies, they can love the same song. Music is a privilege that politicians do not have. They always take care of their own interests, of their own nation while music is for everyone everywhere. Music is entering into your heart like a bullet. Orphaned Land is a proof that music can override bombs and even enemies.We are Israli and we have dozen of Arab fans, this is crazy! It is not two football teams who are fighting together but two nations. We are touring with a Muslim band and we are a Jewish band, it is a great example on how music soothes the savage breast. Religion is supposed to be about morality, compassion, just helping each other. It doesn’t make sense that people believing in the same God or having a similar religion are fighting. Religion has become prisoner of some politicians who are making it that way. We are doing the best that we can to change this situation through our music.
Israel is a country where traditions are important. Have you got traditional beliefs and values and how do you put them into practice on tour? Because playing Metal makes everyone thinks about the « Sex Drugs and Rock’n’Roll » motto, How do you deal with that?
We keep drugs out of our lives, all of the band members are not even smocking cigarettes, we also do not drink alcohol, we have sex but not during duty. The subject of the band is so spiritual…For example, I never went home with a groupie. These feelings do not match to the mood in which we are while singing our lyrics. We use rock’n’roll and metal as a filter to pass on a very positive message coming from a very extreme place. On tour we only focus on working and conveying a message. We are traditional and religious but not according to the society’s definition. To be religious is to be a good person, to accept the ones who are different from you and to be curious enough to know them, this is our religion.
Do you think that sometimes religion, instead of gathering people, can devide ?
Religion in nature does not, but what people make out of it, yes. They use badly the high power of religion though in reality religion is the very simple thing at the end of the day, it gives you some clues to be a good human being,not to steal, not to rape, not to murder, to give charity, to help the one in needs. I really feel pity for those who are speaking in the name of God. I don’t think that he has anything to do with what they are doing. All this animosity cannot come from God. I don’t see any anger looking at an orange or a banana or a baby born… The anger belongs to the darkest side of our lives.
France is a secular country. What do you think of secularism?
Everyone should have his own right to do whathever he wants. Freedom is essential. I think that a nation should have differences from religions. Secularism is important, a country should not be religious. Of course in Israel traditions are omnipresent but it is also a secular country.
« In my opinion, a country should be secular but should also re-establish traditions such as respecting the one who is different. But I am just a musician what do I know? »

But in France we lose our traditions…
It’s tricky, you can be secular but you need to change your education to be able to appreciate the value of life. When Children are buying video games just to kill everyone, we can see that there is a real lack of education, what would prevent them from killing in real life? In my opinion, a country should be secular but should also re-establish traditions such as respecting the one who is different. But I am just a musician what do I know?
Do you think that human beings are violent?
I think that humans are choosing violence, it is always easier to choose it. If you have a gun and a problem with your neighbour you can shoot him in his head, and he won’t exist anymore. It is the wrong solution, the right thing to do is to deal with it. He is a human being, he is alive you don’t have the right to take his life. You need to talk to him. If people could listen to each other, it would be the best way to understand their troubles to try and solve them.

You are promoting peace, do you really believe that one day peace will be possible between Israel and Palestine?
Everything begins with education. If we taught Israeli and Palestinian that life is sacred, that it is not your right to take a life. If we taught children that the one who is different from you is interesting and not dangerous, then, we would have a chance. Cultural exchanges would help us to become friends and being richer… We have to remember that God created everyone, it is the only hope.
Jewish people has a tough past, full of tragedies. Do the events between 1939 and 1945 inspire you?
They do not for the band but for me, as a human being, they are major. Jews have always been persecuted and having now Israel as a country is very important. The holocaust is a great lesson on how we could take the extreme level of hate and darkness. It has happened in so many places, not only in the Middle East! History teaches us how to change our way.
Have you ever been to Poland to see concentration camps?
I’ve been to Poland because in the past I was engaged to a Polish girl. I went to a Jewish cemetry but not to a concentration camp yet However, I want to.
Do you suffer anti-Semitism?
Yes, they sometimes write on our tour bus « Jews out », someone also gave a necklace with the swastika to our guitarist, but what can I do? I’m defenetly not happy when it happens, I would really like to talk to this kind of person. People can judge easily. We don’t really understand why there is this ante-Semitism but it’s part of our life. I hate it, I want to believe that it will change. I can take his head and put it on the table, it is easy but I prefer not to be rude I just wish to be able to speak with him and to convince him that he is holding a wrong opinion.
Do you think he would be able to hear you?
The thing is that sometimes extremists don’t want to hear. They are the ones I’m the most afraid of not because they are extremist but because they will not listen.
What do you think about the Armenian genocide?
I think that any kind of genocides is such a big tragedy! Armenians are suffering from the same disaster as Jews. It is not over, right know thousand of people are slaughtered in Darfour. We are not speaking enough about it, it happens just as we are living our lives. We don’t do nothing as if nothing were happening, as if it were not history!
Do you think that we can be punished for our sins? Is it easy not to sin being a rock’n’roll star?
We create our own reality by the choices we make in life, we have this inner mecanism which will punish us.
So you believe in Hell.
Of course, I believe that we are now in Hell. Fortunately there are also angels on earth trying to improve life in Hell.
Do you listen to true black metal or to satanist bands?
Yes, I really like black metal bands such as Satyricon or Cradle of Filth’s first album. In fact, I like Satan, it is a good friend. He teaches you about life not with the books but with a punch into your face. When you put your hand into the fire and you burn, you learn not to do it again. He teaches you in the hard way but I like it. Satan is a great bastard yet I love it. Interview conducted at Le Marché Gare, Lyon, France in may 2010. Myspace de Orphaned land : http://www.myspace.com/orphanedmyspace

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