Pat Douglas of the Great Falls Tribune recently conducted an interview with MELECHESH (pronounced Mel-uh-kesh) leader Ashmedi. A few excerpts from the chat follow:
On the band’s unique Mediterranean sound:
“Some bands, I think, are mistaking heavy with speed and noise maybe. No disrespect. I am a fan of extreme metal. But, there’s another way of being heavy, which is playing with dynamics. Heaviness is not necessarily speed.”
On incorporating ancient text into his lyrics and songwriting, adding another dimension to the music:
“There’s the ancient text in the literary story called ‘Seven Evil Spirits’. It related a lot to a song I wrote. It had the same concepts as ‘Deluge of Delusional Dreams’, It’s a 5,000-year-old text, but I put my own twist to it. It’s a very fascinating story and so elaborate.”
On being the primary songwriter for the band, constructing everything from the guitar riffs to the drum parts, a process which takes some time:
“It starts out with visions … because most guitar riffs are driven out of pictures in my head and I kind of describe them in music sonically. (I lay) down drums in my head while playing the guitar. Then I make demos for that and I realize the drums there and give them to the drummer and he executes them … in the rehearsal room.”
On writing lyrics:
“It’s challenging because you want to do the best. It’s quite an effort, but it’s also stressful. Sometimes you’re obsessive about it, but in the end, it’s very gratifying. It has to hit certain nerves in my body. When it hits those nerves, it’s MELECHESH.”
On being originally based in Jerusalem before moving to the Netherlands:
“We were the first black metal band in Jerusalem and then a newspaper lied and said we were a Satanic cult, then problems started.
“In East Jerusalem, the more Palestinian area, we were cast-outs. We were literally cast out. I was a notorious person in East Jerusalem because of the Satanic stuff and the music and all of the rumors. (The problems) ended … because we dealt with them.”
On being wanted by authorities:
“It was uncomfortable. It was unpleasant. It just makes you more determined. In a way, for black metal, we practiced what we preached. We did black metal in the most holy city, I suppose that’s something.
“Our first rehearsal was five minutes from the Holy Sepulchre Church where Jesus was crucified. That was kind of inspiring for its own sake.”
On the metal scene in Jerusalem:
“There’s always been metal living there. I grew up listening to metal there. It wasn’t available that much. There’s always been a few local shows (and) one or two metal shops. Now, there’s a metal bar every day playing loud metal and serving beers. Jerusalem’s very nice to hang out. Night life in Amsterdam, for me, is more boring. People don’t understand that, but that’s how it is.”
Read the entire interview at www.greatfallstribune.com.