Interviews

ORPHANED LAND’S KOBI FARHI: THE ULTIMATE JEW ON JEW INTERVIEW

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Oh, sure, we’ve done Jew on Jew with a half-Jew and a dude who has spent a lot of time in Israel and is a self-proclaimed “bad Jew,” but Orphaned Land vocalist Kobi Farhi? The dude is FROM Israel! He calls himself a “proud Jew!” With all due respect to Eyal and Mookie, on the Jew scale they can’t even touch Kobi. Hell, the guy has probably forgotten more about Judaism than Vince or myself ever even knew.

With Orphaned Land’s excellent new album, The Never Ending Way Of ORwarriOR, out today on Century Media, now seemed like the perfect time to pick Kobi’s brain about all things Jew-y. After the jump, get Kobi’s thoughts on everything from serving in the Israeli military to the conflict in the Middle East to frum porn. L’chaim!

Jews and metal do not so well mix. How did you come to be entranced by the dark side?

Of course they mix, aren’t we the proof?! We were very young and played death metal, around about eighteen years ago, and then we understood the world will not care about us if we just sound like Morbid Angel or any other American band. We wanted to contribute something, to take advantage of the region we come from, so that’s how we formed our style. We call it Middle Eastern Metal, and we feel we’re contributing to the worldwide metal scene while trying to be huge light in a very darkened scene ;)

From the very little amount of time I’ve spent there, it seems like there’s actually a pretty big metal scene in Israel. Would you agree with that statement? And, if so, what is the scene like there? Are there any other good Israeli metal bands you’d recommend?

The scene here is big indeed. Lamb Of God and Metallica are to play in Israel in May. All the big metal bands and even some smaller ones have played here already. Each and every one is always impressed with the Israeli metal fans. The scene is active – we have bars, metal shops, portals and a huge community.

I’d reccomand you to check out these bands if you’re already not familiar: Amaseffer, The Fading, Distorted, Whorecore, Betzefer, Usless ID, Spawn Of Evil, Eternal Grey and Arallu.

How did your parents react to your career choice? Do they still hope you’ll settle down and become a dentist?

You should add a doctor, a lawyer or an engineer. They had hopes for me, but I was a self-made man ever since I was sixteen. I knew very well what I wanted to do, and I put making money at the bottom of my priorities. It’s not easy at the end of the day, but that was my choice and I’m happy with it. Being a musician is a huge sacrifice in many ways, but it is also a great honor and privilege to be a part of a platform that gives people hope and light and unforgettable moments where they could feel their heart. Music does this.

When your mother first saw your tattoos, did she try to guilt you by declaring “Now you can never be buried in a Jewish cemetery!”?

Haha! Well, my mother is not that Orthodox, but I myself always find it myself a bit that the “Kaddisha” fellas will mess with my dead corpse after I’m gone.

Have you or any of your band mates served in the Israeli military? On a scale of Woody Allen to Menachem Begin, how scared should I be of you?

I am the only one who did Army service. It was only for a year, though. We all felt that we can contribute more to our nation and country as musicians than as fighters. I think we help way more as a metal band than tank operators. In the scale of fear I would say – Amy Winehouse.

True or false: Israeli girls in military uniforms are HOT.

HOT!

Frum porn: your thoughts?

WHAT THE FUCK?! I had to Google “frum porn” to see what the hell it even is! I’m not a huge porn fan anyway. I do like hot Chani’s though…

Gene Simmons, David Draiman, Scott Ian, and Tracii Guns are all drowning in a giant bowl of matzo ball soup, and you can only rescue one of them. Who do you save, and why?

Gene Simmons, so he will cover one of OL’s songs in Hebrew on his next Kiss record… that should remind him who he is!

What do you think is the biggest misperception about the state of Israel?
That we control the world.

Finally, and on a more serious note: what’s your take on the Israeli/Palestinian conflict? Do you see any hope for a resolution in the future, or do you think we can look forward to thousands of more years of war?

We are dealing with this thing throughout our entire career. We believe that music is the strongest tool to get people closer. For example, you and your worst enemy, you could both love the same band without knowing it. Once you realize this, then you see that it’s possible to have at least one thing in common with each other. That is nothing but a door for a dialog between the both of you. We are proud Israelis and Jews, but as musicians we are not more for the Israelis than we are for the Arabs. Music is for everyone who wants it. The amazing fact is that unbelievable things are happening which prove this. Despite us being Israelis, Orphaned Land has a legion of Arab fans. Some have been thrown in jail because of this. Others have tattoos of our logo on them, which could result in serious trouble for them if the wrong person knew exactly what we were about. Thinking they follow us that way, after being raised and educated that I, the Jew, am the Devil himself, well, all I can say is – I rest my case.

-AR

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