Since Betzefer and Orphaned Land Israel is no unknown spot on the metal map anymore, and now also Epidemic from the north Israeli town of Nahariya want to show what they are made of. Already touring for 6 years in their own country, they now dare to take the next step towards international recognition. In the interview the two guitarists/vocalists Jonathan Segal and Joseph Everjil talk about adversities of a Metal band in Israel, how the political situation in the country affects their music, possible plans to leave the country and why cookies aren´t “Metal”.
First of all could you please introduce the band? What are the band members´ best and worst character traits? Jonathan Segal (Guitar and growl vocals): I like to get into trouble, but I´m also known for facing them. Joseph Everjil (Guitar and clean vocals): I may seem innocent, but I think I´m pretty reliable for a long term. Wolf Kash (Bass guitar): I´m quiet and peaceful, but very aggressive when needed. Erz Simon (Drums and vocals): Funny and noisy, but sensitive and considerate.
Being a Metal band is Israel doesn´t seem to be so easy. How´s the metal scene over there? Does it even exist? Jonathan: The scene is alive and well, it gets stronger everyday. But still, being a metal band here is pretty tough.
Is there more of a solidarity among Metal bands then? Bands sticking together to help each other out? Jonathan: I heard of many bands helping each other in Israel. I think the metal scene all over the world is very helpful towards each other. Joseph: Kna´an and Winterhorde (two bands from Northern Israel) cooperated with us many times and we help back however we can. All three bands did a gig in Haifa´s ´´City-hall´´ (the biggest club in north Israel). We actually did it for the northern metal fans because being a metal band in northern Israel is much harder than in Tel-Aviv´s area.
Is it difficult to get a tour or find venues that will let you play? Jonathan: Yeah, the club owners don´t really support metal in any way. But of course when the money is right, it´s usually not that hard.
Would you ever consider relocating to another (more Metal interested) country to pursue your career in music? Jonathan: That´s our main goal. Joseph: Anywhere will be fine, as long as it would be easier to do music there.
How did it all come together with the band? Jonathan: The day I bought my first guitar was the day I decided I wanna make ears bleed. I got together with a couple of friends and I kind of convinced them to buy instruments and join me. But they were all musicians before the band.
How would you describe your music? What are your influences music- and lyricwise? Jonathan: We try not to label the band but now we can definitely call it ´´Metal´´, maybe even ´´Death-Thrash Metal´´. But we really try to keep an open mind because we´re really just playing music. The lyrics are a little bit influenced by great artists like Deicide, Megadeth, Marilyn Manson, Henry Rollins and Body Count. We try to keep it straight with our message, we don´t care if we offend anyone because we don´t represent hate.
Do you think there´s some kind of “Middle East” metal or are most bands influenced by American/European metal bands? Joseph: There´s all kinds of bands in Israel some Americanized some more Middle Eastern sound. There´s a little bit of everything in Israel.
Are you concerned with political issues in your music? Joseph: It´s hard to ignore the situation and there´s too much going on in the world to ignore it. Jonathan: I actually wrote a song about the situation in Israel. "For what?" is a song that basically asks the politicians ´´why do we kill and get killed?
Who do you want to reach and what do you want to achieve with your music? Jonathan: Everybody should be able to listen to us, we will try our best to reach anyone with an open mind.
What are your ambitions as a band? How far would you go for being successful? Jonathan: Anything we need to. As long as we don´t sell our souls to the devil like most ´´SUCKsessful´´ assholes on MTV do.
What are you doing besides the band (working/studying)? Jonathan: I´m a screen-writer; I do movie scripts in my free time. Joseph: I work at a cell-phone company. Wolf: I´m a bar tender at a rock bar. Erz: I do other music projects from singing Middle Eastern songs to composing electronic music.
When searching for bands called Epidemic there are a lot coming up ranging from hip hop to hardcore. Aren´t you afraid you might get confused with a dreadful rap act from South Carolina? Jonathan: The name is not the band but I think everything will be alright as long as no one will actually think that he can own a word like ´´epidemic´´. I don´t know if too many people know that but there was another Slayer and Nirvana before they came along. So I don´t think we´re doing anything wrong.
Israel wasn´t doing too well in the last Eurovision Song Contests. If you would be asked to represent your country at next year´s competition would you do it? Jonathan: Sure, we would do it. But we would just wind-up losing like Tea-Packs [this year´s Israeli contestants losing already in the semi-finals, edit]; who are great and honest, but I guess they were too honest for everybody…the world rather denies the facts as usual.
As you were already touring for 6 years around Israel, do you have some funny or creepy touring stories to tell? Joseph: Well one time we we´re supposed to do a gig in Afula, (a city in the north) but the police arrived and aggressively stopped us from playing the second we were about to play the first note.
What are the band´s future plans or projects? Is there a whole album coming up? Joseph: We are basically looking for the right record deal that will help us to record and distribute our first album. Jonathan: We´re planning to work in Canada or the US. That´s our main direction for our plans soon. But who knows we might end up in Europe.
My Israeli friend always has to send me this yummy white chocolate with cookies from Israel. Do you have a sweet tooth as well?
We don´t eat cookies. It conflicts with our image. :)
Good luck with your future projects!
Songs can be checked out here: www.myspace.com/epidemiconline