“The basic idea of religion is nice, the people destroy it.”
Read on for more quote-worthy statements from Orphaned Land vocalist, Kobi Farhi.
I have to ask otherwise it will be playing on my mind all day. I was told that in Israel, they have a satellite TV channel set up for pets, is that true?
To be honest, I don’t have a TV so I’m the last one to ask. If they do have it, it’s really nice actually. Actually, animals and pets are really loved in Israel. There are many cats on the street and people really like animals so maybe it makes sense.
I know that for some Arabs, I mean I have a lot of Arab friends but, for some of the religious guys a dog is like a curse. They’re not really fond of dogs they don’t really raise them – maybe the secular people but definitely not the religious ones.
See, my dad (who was born in Algeria) isn’t religious, but I came home from school and sung a Jewish song I learnt that day. There seems to be something inbuilt that caused his disdain.
Of course – brainwashing isn’t only religious, but politically mainly, I think. People sometimes say if you take out religion, religion is the source of all evil but this is not true in my opinion because politics is the source of all evil. The basic idea of religion is nice, the people destroy it. When you think about anything else, it’s the same thing.
We spoke about our mutual love for Salim Halali, a famous musician who was Jewish but born in Algeria who often fused the Moroccan language with Jewish music . “That’s the whole thing about music for me, because it is mixing everything and that is the magic of music.”
So is that why you chose music? Your message is so strong, out of everything,
you could have done dance!
Of course, music is the best way to express my thoughts and feelings. Metal music is even more because it gives you the opportunity to, first to find people who are willing to listen, metal people are always great fans of artworks, stories. They drink beer and sing also a lot, but metal people are really serious people when it comes to their music and metal music shouts whatever truth it be, it shouts it into the face of other people. Let me put it this way, you can see a metal fan from a distance, you cannot see a jazz fan or any other music style. Metal is a religion in a way. That is why I think music is definitely the best instrument to do it in.
I’ve said this before! The way it works…
I mean, you have a dress code, a colour, a community, people from all over are united over metal and you put your idols on your wall and you worship them in a way. You follow their messages, their words and their way of living, so they are your Rabbis and Imams.
Normally people get mad when I come to that conclusion…
Because when you say ‘religion’ automatically, it’s like a switch, their brain goes. It’s like your father when he heard ‘Jewish’ it’s automatically. It is not even something you wish to do, he is programmed to react like that way and that is what we are trying to break with music. It is good that you are doing it also. We’re programmed with brainwashing all throughout our lives, like coca cola.
Let me put it this way, the court judge’s people who have committed crimes. They hear a witness, from this side from that side, they examine exhibits blah blah blah for a period – of I don’t know – a few months. Then, only after that, does the judge decide to convict or not to convict and still jail is full of people who are innocent. The people, what are they doing? They just judge. They don’t even think. Again, coming back to what I said about your father’s reaction, people reacting towards religion, people reacting towards women backstage, we judge without facts without looking and it is very small to act like that but we were raised to be like that. I’m aware of it and I’m trying not to do it but the world is really a prisoner of the brainwashing of politicians, of women about Jews about Muslims, anything about gays you name it…
Then how do you overcome it? It’s all to do with people and we’re all people.
For me, Orphaned Land changed how I look about anything because being in Orphaned Land I meet people all the time from everything. So I come to a show in Paris and half the participants are Muslims and Arabs, we’re from Israel. The only thing I get after the show is presents and gifts, so it makes you wonder: how can I judge all Muslims? How can I judge all Arabs? How can I think like that? How can people think the way they thought about Jews back in World War II? It doesn’t seem that we’re getting anywhere better to be honest. But I can only influence my own point of view and I can do interviews and speak to people – but I’m very small. At the end of the day, I’m very very very small and we’re a Jewish band from Israel having dozens of fans in the middle east, I cannot find anyone more famous in the Arab world than we are. It’s a great thing, it’s a miracle, it’s a movement of people who follow an Israeli band and co-exist in their messages and we have a small peace between us if it is up to us. Then again at the end of the day, we didn’t save the life of any kid in Syria with our songs. So it’s the best I can do, but it is nothing yet.
I asked how the musical language is perceived by fans in Europe.
It sounds different to what the mind is used to. We use the quarter tones, classical music in the west use half tones. It is those quarter tones. It could sound to some people like it is out of tune so it sounds different it sounds exotic but it takes them to a whole trip which is amazing, they can go and feel. They see some different feelings we sing with a lot of feelings and I think what is different is always interesting because what you are familiar with and what you are used to it becomes boring in a way. Metal music in a way of whole society was something different, the alternative for mainstream for pop. Then going into metal and inside the metal, searching for your on genre. But, every show that we play we gain new fans, any time and everywhere because people are seeing something different and we tell a story. We are Israeli’s coming from the middle east having a huge Arab fan-base and people support that.
Spoke about media, how ‘death sells’ how there is a lot of good in the world but the media shows the crap.
That’s how they control the people, with fear. Somebody is coming to kill us we will protect you. It’s always about survival, you can never prosper, you can never shine, it’s always about staying alive and putting your nose above the shithole. It’s very depressing, but I think we’re the same like back in the days when you had all these empires, it’s the same thing today, but they’re just more clever. They put the word ‘freedom’ in it, you have your ‘freedom’ you can choose, you can vote, you can do whatever you want…but at the end of the day, it’s the same bullshit.
Did you see George Carlin? The ‘religion is bullshit’. What he says about God…’he loves you, but he needs money. He’s all –loving, all-powerful, but he can’t handle money’. I think Carlin is God, literally, who has come down to earth to laugh about us.
We are only human; there is only so much we can know. If we were meant to know, we would. Whatever you need to know at a given time, you know. So, that is all the information you need right now.
That’s true. I think that the most religious people I ever get to meet are the simple good human beings. A good human being is religious. I mean religious in the sense that if God is there and loves someone or thinks that someone represents him, you can be a good human being. That’s it. Nothing else.
What are your plans for Orphaned Land now, what are you up to the rest of the year?
We are going to do summer festivals and touring, maybe the US after 70,000 tons of metal that we will be playing next year. We are writing a new album these days and there is a side-project with the band that will be released a month from now, some music that we wrote for a theatre in Germany. So it is busy. We are celebrating 25 years this year so we’re touring Europe, so if you’re around come over.
Catch Orphaned Land as they hit Europe in the next few months.
For an upload of the full interview transcript, go to: https://www.facebook.com/KinksMNR
Photos by Angelique Van Huijzen of Headbanger Heritage
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