Sehr angetan war ich von der Band Eternal Struggle und ihrem Debütalbum Year Of The Gun (Review hier). Dementsprechend hatte ich auch Bock auf ein Interview. Das gute Teil ist ziemlich lang geworden und ich brauche etwas zum Übersetzen. Ich wollte euch aber das Interview so lange nicht vorenthalten. Daher könnt ihr hier erstmal die englische Version lesen. Eine Übersetzung folgt noch. Die Fragen beantwortete Sänger Ori Frank.
To be honest with you, we try to stay out of the inner-politics here. The truth is, we don’t stand for nor against either side, and that is because it is not about sides.
AFL: First things first. We are AWY FROM LIFE, who are you?
We are Eternal Struggle, a metal/hardcore band from Tel-Aviv, Israel. Nice to be here, Gripweed!
AFL: What’s the meaning behind your bandname?
The name of the band represents the day-to-day conflict/struggle in our lives which we have to face within our overwhelmingly complex society here in the Middle-East.
AFL: As stated in your promotext, you call yourself a band from Israel, not an Israeli band. What do you want to say with this?
Well, we are born and raised in Israel, as Israelis. We do love the people here, the food is fresh, the nature is spectacular, the brotherhood, the rawness, and even the harshness, not to mention the fascinating history. However, we do not represent our government’s views or policy. In recent times there has been an uprising amongst the far-right, which we don’t stand for nor identify with. Comparable to the shame Donald Trump brought onto many Americans – forced to put their pride aside, as it more often than not comes hand-in-hand with nationalism, supremacy, entitlement and bigotry, and furthers the agendas of hate, division and control. That said, we just happen to be from Israel, and that comes with some very heavy baggage.
AFL: Especially for people from Germany, it’s hard to take a stand in the conflict between Israel and Palestine. It’s a disputed point in the German left as well. What’s your standpoint? Now with Bennett–Lapid government there may be rough weeks coming. What are your thoughts and how did you manage the last weeks?
To be honest with you, we try to stay out of the inner-politics here. The truth is, we don’t stand for nor against either side, and that is because it is not about sides. It is not even about the notorious ‚Israel vs. Palestine‘ conflict. What it is is mostly manipulation and deception of the media and corrupt governments. Both Israel and Hamas governments exploit their citizens as pawns for media wars. It’s all very highly disturbing and annoying, really, but it is good to see a change in the politics for the first time in 12 years! Bibi Netanyahu was finally overthrown and replaced by a new rotating government, which includes 9 women as well as a Palestinian Arab Israeli, leading the political Islamic movement, which is really the most diverse it’s ever been. Many extreme opposites in the new government with nothing in common besides desperately wanting change. After 12 hard years with Bibi, it’s difficult to feel optimistic, also considering Bennet might even be more right-wing than Bibi was, but there is diversity now, so hopefully we’re in for a positive surprise.
The truth is, taking a side is losing to the hate war. Defending Palestine does not give anyone the right to be an anti-semite. Defending Israel does not give anyone the right to be anti-arab or islamaphopic. A huge portion of the protests against the Israeli government have evolved into very hateful movements. Demonizing one side of people just furthers the divide and war. The irony is that most Israelis and Palestinians are simply looking to coexist in peace, but radical governments and agenda-pushing media on youtube and the news will always spin it differently than it truly is, and again increasing the divide. It’s just sad.
We encourage you and anyone in doubt or curiosity to come visit and have a look for themselves and to not be afraid to think for themselves and not what others are suggesting/bullying you to think. Come meet the people, have discussion, ask questions and that will be the most honest source of information you’ll encounter. Beware of fake news. It’s super trendy out here in the Middle-East. Question everything.
AFL: How is the punk/hardcore scene in Israel?
Yes, nice to get back to talkin‘ music. The local scene is actually thriving more than ever right now! All COVID restrictions have been lifted and there are at least 3 local punk/metal shows every week for the past 2-3 months and lots of great new music has been coming out of here, as well! Lots of veteran bands are active again and many new bands keep emerging. It’s an intimate but extremely passionate, dedicated and highly active scene. Most Israeli punks have multiple bands and do everything DIY. Once in a while an international band will come through and add Tel-Aviv to their UK/EU tour, so we’ve seen Turnstile, Biohazard, Deez Nuts (RIP Sk), Comeback Kid, Nasty, Bane (RIP Stu), The Business, and many others come play here, which is awesome but fairly rare.
AFL: Back to the band’s history. As a newcomer you played Wacken, the biggest Metal festival in Europe. How did you get there and how was the response from the crowd?
Playing W:O:A was a huge milestone for us! We won our slot at Wacken through the International Metal Battle. There was a huge competition between alot of Metal bands and we won in our country and were booked to come represent with a live performance and the response was wild! We were totally shocked by how many people rocked out at our show and the energy was great. We only had 6 songs at the time, so we gave it our best and had a fun time playing our music to a large crowd that never heard of us. It was such a unique experience and we can’t wait to rock at Wacken once again!
AFL: You’re connected with the NYHC scene, especially Brian ‚Mitts‘ Daniels (ex-Madball). How did he find you or did you find him?
Our manager Avi was living in NYC at the time and after the Wacken he returned back to New York and went to a Madball show in Brooklyn. (It was actually Hoya’s birthday show) He got backstage after the madness and sat down with Mitts who was super nice to him, where they spoke and Avi gave him a hard copy of our 2016 EP Breaking & Entering. He took it and listened to it on the way home and a few days later we we’re already talking with Mitts on instagram and set up a conference call which was when we decided to work together on our first full length album. Meeting Mitts in person and having him involved in this record was one of the greatest experiences we’ve ever had and it led to a bonded friendship which is really cool and this album is really our most ambitious and feels like the biggest achievement in our lives!
AFL: Your debut “Year of the Gun” is out now on Demons Run Amok. How did you end up on the label?
After the mixdown and mastering were done and we had the album cover art ready, we started low-key scouting for labels that would get behind this record and give it a good home. We sent the album to a friend of Mitts named Jacob who formerly worked for Nuclear. He listened to the album and loved it but knew that they weren’t after hardcore but more heavy metal, guitar solos, etc but said that he had someone in mind that would want to grab it, which turned out to be Demons Run Amo Entertainment. We had a look at their impressive and extensive roster of so much great music, including bands we personally admire, so once we got on a call with them and also learned that they are awesome, down-to-earth people and truly dedicated, we signed a contract for the album to go into pressing under their label. Shortly after that, we joined forces with Berlin based tourbooking heavyweights, M.A.D. Meanwhile everyone has been taking great care of us and we can’t wait to tour through Germany, Europe and the greater world.
AFL: Year of the Gun came out one month ago. How are the reactions so far?
Thus far, all the reactions have been GREAT! The anticipation was so high already and all at once, all sorts of positive and truly heartwarming reviews started popping up every day. It’s been hard to keep up with it all and translate articles from German, Dutch, Spanish, etc. but everyone has for the most part had only great things to say, which feels nice to receive a welcome into the worldwide scene. We are receiving great support from our fans, friends and families and are looking forward to hitting the stages! We do hope to push it even further and reach its maximum potential. We were concerned the album release would be filtered out and buried in all the social media panic between Covid19, politics and the war that had literally just broken out. What a coincidence, huh?
AFL: What are your lyrics about?
Our lyrics speak about a number of things, some of them are about the inner-conflicts we have with ourselves as Israelis who live amongst a very pro-military society. We were all drafted into the IDF right after high-school and we served blindly and proudly at the time but when your mandatory 3 year service ends you are thrown back into civilian life and emotion begins to surface, something you are taught to detach from. you begin to feel rather than to obey, and to re-think your actions. Many of the things you not only witnessed but are also accountable for kinda leaves a traumatic scar on you and a lot of inner-conflict. A handful of the songs tackle the frustrations of ‚the grind‘ and fighting for some inner peace of mind, without interference. Here in our region we endure a lot of hardship and difficult moments on a daily basis, like in many capitalist countries, working around the clock in a never ending race filled with stress, sorrow and depression. Sometimes you just can’t contain it and it has to come out, that’s my lyrical theme, so to speak.
AFL: One of the songs is in Spanish language. How come? And what are the lyrics about?
It’s a cool story! That’s our bassist Rojo singing on that one. He is from Argentina originally, hence the Spanish. When we were all in the studio recording the first day, Mitts told us that the album needs to surpass 30 minutes to be considered an LP by definition and we we’re missing only a minute, so that very night we all sat down to write a brand new super fast song, and to have it ready to record the next day. Quite a challenge but we were so hyped and inspired from having Mitts and Drew Stone with us there so we wrote it in no time. We used some text that didn’t make it into the record initially and we translated it togeter into Spanish, adding another voice to the record. This is how the track ‚Propaganda‘ was born.
AFL: The last song is a remix of the title track. I love this track. How did you connect with Alec Empire of Atari Teenage Riot?
Thanks! I’m happy that you love it! We do, too! We all met ATR when we were invited to open for them at their debut performance here in Israel back in 2017. It was an exciting and monumental moment for us and meeting them was such an inspiring and humbling experience, especially after growing up on their music and ethics. Our manager Avi wrote to Alec Empire and sent him our album, and Alec really loved what he heard and remembered us and our show and agreed to contribute a remix to the album, choosing the album title track ‚Year of the Gun‘. The remix absolutely blew us away and we are proud to have Alec a part of our struggling family. In his own words, it was the most fun he has had since working with Slayer! Just wait until you see the crazy music video we have ready for it! coming very soon!
AFL: What are you’re favourite bands from Germany?
ATR, Rammstein, Wolf Down, Nasty, Final Prayer, and a recent favorite, Slope. They are so damn good!
AFL: And which bands from Israel can you recommend?
Tons of good bands to recommend from here! you should check out Aason, Kids Insane, Dust, Tabarnak, Moom, Nidfakta, Helem, and many, many more.
AFL: How did the Covid pandemic affect you and you’re plans?
Well before the Covid started we were already in the talks with MAD about finding a tour to join, which was supposed to be with either Death before Dishonor or Wisdom in Chains – and than the pandemic hit and it all froze, including our original release date, so it was delayed considering the lockdowns and without the possibility of performing. Delays from the pressing plant operating undering limited covid restrictions.. Planning and rehearsing became increasingly difficult but we are fully prepared and super eager to get on the first flight possible to Europe or anywhere to tour this album. Hopefully we will have a string of shows abroad later this year, if not early next year. Promoters/Bookers: Hit us up!
AFL: What are you’re next plans?
The main plan is to tour as much as humanly possible. We are already working on new material and have an epic collaboration in the works. something huge and unpredictable! Let’s just say it will be a blend of 2 different worlds more alike that one may think! stay tuned for further hints! 😉
AFL: This is the end of the interview. What else would you like to tell us?
Thank you so much Gripweed taking the time to have this chat with me and Simon for continuously supporting us. It’s people like you that bring the community together and expose the new blood so thank you for all that you do with Away from Life. We do want to add that our album YEAR OF THE GUN is out and is available worldwide and we recommend everyone to give it a spin! and to always keep the PMA alive and kicking. Cheers!