Interview with Ashmedi from Melechesh
Jeffrey Tandy – extreme metal music examiner – recently conducted a great interview with Ashmedi from the band Melechesh. If you want to check out his full interview then head over to http://www.examiner.com/extreme-metal-music-in-national/interview-with-ashmedi-of-melechesh
It was quite a radical statement to found a black metal band in Jerusalem. Since you moved to a “safer” setting of The Netherlands, did it change your approach or motivations in making metal?
To be honest, I lost my faith in metal while living in Holland. It’s taken for granted and so casual, like Mcdonald’s. People just treat it as a part of going to the bar and having a beer, and it’s not the way I imagined it. On the other hand, the facilities enable you to continue making music, so it’s a double-edged sword. I appreciate what I have and the infrastructure of Holland, and yeah inspiration is a challenge, but really it comes from within. You lock yourself in your room, and the inspiration comes out.
Weren’t some of your lyrics on The Epigenesis were inspired by living in Holland?
One of the sayings in Holland is, “be normal”. I had guys in other bands saying, “Why are you wearing this occult jewelry? Be normal, man!” Yeah, you’re a headbanger in a metal band, and the minute you say that, the music and art is dead. You’re murdering it. I have the song, “Magickan and The Drones”, which reflects a lot of that kind of thing. It reflects humanity in general, but it best symbolizes a morning in Amsterdam.
If there was something you could do to improve the state of metal in The Netherlands, what would it be?
I don’t even give a f—k. They never gave a f—k about me. I have good friends there, and we exchange ideas, and there’s many talented musicians, but the rest are just drones and robots. I call them the soldiers of metal; they’re not the magicians. They don’t create, they recreate, and they follow instead of leading. But I guess they’re necessary.
What would you say about big European festivals like Wacken in that regard?
It’s for the uninitiated. It’s a place to let yourself go and have a good time.
Can you describe the magickal systems that you primarily use to create your music?
There’s no system. I’m not a systematic guy, and I think there are no absolute terms in spirituality. I try to benefit from every set of beliefs and find what works for me as long as it feels right and honest. It’s chaos, and from that you make order.
What about the inclusion of the tree of life in your imagery?
Yes, well it has been there since the Sumerians, but I also look at it in a pseudo-scientific way. The tree of life could be reflected as an expression of the atom, or DNA, and sacred geometry. It all comes together to make order from chaos. It’s funny in the way that science in spirituality links in this way. Magick is undiscovered science. Like the idea of flying on an airplane 100 yeas ago – hey man, that’s magick.
Getting back to the idea of changing the band’s setting, do you think you could ever make another shocking statement like As Jerusalem Burns?
Well I meant the title in a metaphorical way, because I love the city and I would go crazy if I ever saw it burn. It’s about the mentalities and the status quo there; again, a double meaning. I find it inspiring because it was our first statement about what is going on over there. It could be taken as political or spiritual. All they’re doing over there is bulls—t, and I don’t know what is righteous or evil anymore, because the “righteous” are doing all that crap.
Moloch, Melechesh’s second guitarist, is Palestinian, which technically means he has no legal claim to citizenship in his birthplace. Do situations like this drive your music at all?
No, because it is supposed to be detached from the monkey business that the “good” people are doing. I want that in quotes because the establishment told us that these are the “good people” – the religious figures, the politicians, the guys in suits. We try to move past that to something greater, to transcend it, and have something of a helicopter view of the situation. So I don’t think that really affects Melechesh, though there is this anger in wanting to create your own path, because the system tells you that you cannot. Also, you learn that the planet is made up of Citizen A and Citizen B – the privileged and unprivileged. Sadly, most metalheads come from the privileged.
Why do you say, “sadly”?
Because they act like they are the unprivileged, and they talk about those situations but they don’t know about them. It’s insincere and hypocritical.