Interview with Myrath’s Malek Ben Arbia
Oct 30th 2010 Rami Rouhana Interviews

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Myrath is one of the biggest oriental metal bands originating from the Arab world who specialize in mixing traditional Tunisian music with metal with the assistance of one great “Kevin Codfert” which is very familiar with french band Adagio.

I would like to thank Mr Malek Ben Arbia for this exciting interview on behalf of Lebmetal.com and all Lebmetal.com readers.

malek_big_10

Rami: What are the main differences between Hope and Desert Call in your opinion?

Malek Ben Arbia: First of all I wish to thank you for this interview; I highly appreciate your valuable support.

Well when we wrote HOPE back in 2006 we were still in our teen years so it reflected our experience, inspiration and influences at that time.

Even though we have introduced Tunisian melodies and used some Arabian scales in HOPE, the album was more progressive and the Symphony X influence was still present especially on the vocals.

When we released the album “Hope” in 2007 it was praised by most critics and fans. However in view of the comments of some critics and the advice of Kevin Codfert (our producer), we knew that we had to come up with a style of our own by putting more emphasis on the Arabian tunes and especially by staying away from the influence of our favorite bands.

When Zaher Zorgati joined the band in the summer of 2007, we had the versatile singer and composer we were looking for to use the mix between metal and Tunisian tunes in a much more melodic and emotional way and still keep the powerful metal side. So when we started writing “Desert Call” we just let our inspiration of the moment guide us throughout the composing process, knowing that the inspiration to combine prog-power Metal with traditional Tunisian melodies comes naturally from our occidental influence and Arabian background. To this respect I wish to emphasize the fact that each song comes from the heart, we never fabricate music and this is certainly the main reason why the tracks of our albums are so diverse.

Rami: In what ways did the producer contribute to the recording process of Desert Call?

Malek Ben Arbia: Kevin Codfert has largely contributed to the success of DESERT CALL.

Since he is also a sound engineer, he came to Tunisia to record the album then he mixed and produced it in his home studio in Nanterre-France,

Kevin got also involved in the arrangement process so as to put more emphasis on the oriental orchestration side in such a way that Myrath will have a distinctive style and sound.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rlsGn3uKcpw

Rami: What do you think distinguishes Myrath from other metal bands in the Oriental Metal fusion genre?

Malek Ben Arbia: I don’t know all the bands in the Oriental Metal fusion genre, but judging from the ones I know I can say that Myrath uses traditional Tunisian tunes while others use oriental tunes, in addition in many tracks Zaher sings in English but in an Arabian way that is using quarter of step.

Rami: In what aspect is the new album different from Desert Call? Any potential release date?

Malek Ben Arbia: The new album will be in line with DESERT CALL but with a lot more Arabian tunes.

We have already finished the pre-production of the new album and we plan to record the final version of this album next November/December so we can release it during first quarter 2011.

Rami: What shows have you done up till now in the Middle East? Any upcoming show in the area?

Malek Ben Arbia: Well, unfortunately we have never played in the Middle East even though some organizers did get in touch with us. However we could not come to terms.

We obviously would love to play in the Middle East and meet our Arab brothers of the metal community but the festival / concert organizers need to give us the opportunity to do so by offering us reasonable terms and conditions.

We are certainly not after the money but we cannot afford to accept unreasonable proposals.

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Rami: What bands is Myrath eager to share the stage with?

Malek Ben Arbia: Personally I would love to share the stage with Symphony X, as it’s still my favorite band.

Rami: What oriental instruments are considered challenging to blend in oriental metal music?

Malek Ben Arbia: Probably the mezoued, because the notes are different from the ones you would play using occidental instruments, they even sound out of tune.

Rami: What oriental instruments are yet to play a major part in your music?

Malek Ben Arbia: Well, Myrath is a metal band so Guitar, bass, drums and keys are the instruments that play the major parts in our music.

However we do use the most appropriate oriental instruments to record the orchestration parts (to do so we hire session musicians).

In the next album if we need to add new oriental instruments such as OUD, we will do so for production purposes only and not for the sake of adding a new instrument.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S4zWaLXWiYE

Rami: Do you think a fretless guitar can push the oriental metal forward?

Malek Ben Arbia: Yes with a fretless guitar you can play the quarter of step you find in the oriental music (even though I can do the same thing using my 7 strings Ibanez guitar) however Myrath is a Metal band that adds oriental tunes to its music in a reasonable way, there is a balance that we have to keep. But who knows maybe one of these days I will try a fretless guitar.

Rami: There have been many musical blends of cultural music with metal music, why have Oriental Metal taken the most of interest?

Malek Ben Arbia: Well I guess nowadays every style of metal has been explored to the point that too many bands just sound alike

Many labels and metal fans are looking for new sounds, which they can probably find in the exotic oriental melodies yet the most difficult part is to find the right

balance to blend occidental and oriental music in a wise and attractive way, this is what Myrath tries to do.

Rami: Do you have a message to Myrath fans in the Middle East and to the Lebmetal.com readers?

Malek Ben Arbia: I take this opportunity to thank all our fans in the Middle East and the Lebmetal.com readers for their valuable support and look forward to meeting them as soon as we are offered the opportunity to play in the region.

Thank You

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  • Patrick Ziade

    Damn, I got chills by listening to the youtube vids. I’ve known these guys since 2008 when I listened to their first album. They were impressive, but man this new album is one hell of a record it seems. The choruses are so beautiful. Pure genius work