With Shehili turning the heads of metal fans across the globe, Myrath is at the top of their musical mastery
From a global perspective, Myrath has spent years churning out some of the most expressive symphonic metal that end in epic stage shows. Each album expands upon the talents and creativity this Tunisian band and their latest release is a testament to the band’s expressive orchestration and massive production.
When Legacy was released in 2016, it sent shockwaves around the world that resulted in exuberant critic and fan reception. The intricate work that went into Shehili built up expectations that did not disappoint. We dig in and learn more about these kings of the metal kingdom.
Shehili is a meticulously produced album. What led to the thought process of making an album of this caliber and what challenges did you face with the band’s vision?
We produced Shehili twice. At the begining, as we didn’t had a lot of money for the album, we ended up (like many bands) using lots of samples on drums. Recording good drums means being able to afford expensive gears and studios. So a lot of bands prefer using samples, which is easier and less expensive. We finished the production this way and gave the CD to our record label Earmusic. The album was sounding good to their ears but they told us, listen, we are gonna give you the opportunity to record real drums in a real big studio at Chameleon Studio in Hamburg. We added lot of value to the album, ending with something much more natural and organic.
We were immediately seduced by the idea. It was a long time since we really wanted to record real drums in a real studio. Our producer Kevin Codfert flew with Morgan to Hamburg and started to work on the new drums with another producer, Eike Freese. This way kevin and Eike worked hard together to refactor the production and add this organic value Earmusic was waiting for.
It had been a lot of work, but I guess we ended with a great album!
What was the motive behind Shehili and what level of personal perseverance came into the writing process?
Like many bands we wanted to make a better album than the previous one. That said, I think that the best way to compose is to avoid putting too much pressure on us. We didn’t calculated anything with Shehili, just writing and experimenting with a lot of material. When something was not sounding good, we just threw it away and kept the best parts. We threw out a lot of material!
It took almost six month to compose the songs, and almost a year to arrange and record the album.
Myrath – Dance
With “Dance” considered an extension of “Believer,” is Shehill a sequel to Legacy or a vision of something else?
Shehili is something totally different from Legacy, except on the song “Dance.” Since the beginning we wanted to do a onirical video trilogy. We knew from the begining that “Believer” will be the first episode of this trilogy. To be consistent with the sound, especially between the first and second episode, we used the same process of work. That’s why we ended with “Dance” which is the little sister of “Believer.”
One of my favorite songs on the album is “You’ve Lost Yourself.” To me it seems like an iconic example of the band’s passion of pushing metal music and lyrical artistry beyond limitations. There are so many emotions going on within this song, can you elaborate on your idea on the concept of passion in your music and its importance to a song like this. How does the lyrics correlates to the band’s philosophical mission?
Regarding the composition process, we always start with the music, and we do the lyrics after all. We think that the music must be emotional before putting emotional lyrics on it. Talking about “You’ve Lost Yourself,” we composed the chorus first, and we tried after all to compose a song around this idea. I think that the chorus of “Youv’e Lost Yourself” is different from all the ideas we had by the past. From what I remember Kevin, our producer, composed this chorus.
Regarding the lyrics we are working with three different lyricists : Aymen Jaouadi, Perrine Perez Fuentes, and Hiba Ghanem. Each of the three lyricists are adding different flavors, and we are really happy to work with them.
Myrath – Born To Survive
I’m not a fan of album intros because many can seem unnecessary. But I feel “Asl” is an important and necessary lead in to “Born To Survive.” What elements of tradition and heritage do you find important to the ideaology of Myrath? From the videos to the music, there seems to be a proud patriotism for Tunisia that you latch on to. Why is that important to you and why do you create that allure?
I don’t think that it’s a matter of patriotism. When you are born in Tunisia, you grow up with all the local musical folklore. “Asl” is just the representation of it, without any calculation from our side. In Shehili you can find all the ingredients of this folklore : Darbokas, Acoustic guitars, fluttes, clarinet, violins etc…
In fact, regarding the videos, we are more in the “Thousand and One Night“ world than in a Tunisian world.
The approach tends to be the same as the one Disney could have on Aladdin for example. It mean that we use an onirical world to tell stories about the actual world crisis.
For example, “Dance“ tells the story of a Syrian dancer who was threatened to death by Isis and who tattooed the words “Dance or die“ on his neck. In fact we use the word “Dance“ to say : Let’s fight against terrorism and all the injustice in the world.
Speaking of the videos, the digital production work for “No Holding Back” is very complex. The band is not shy of well represented video work, but tell me what went into this video and how did the conceptual work come about. Why do something this grandiose?
Nowadays everything is possible with 3D post-production. The video is grandiose because we had the chance to work with a good team who could technically transcribe our ideas. We know of course that it’s not as good as an American blockbuster but for me iCODE team is the best team you could find on earth for the price.
All of our crazy ideas could have have been digitally recreated, and we are so happy with that !!
From an outside perspective, each album pushes to do more and be more. It’s one of the charms of Myrath, and it makes your music interesting and exciting. However, is there now an expectation that you feel puts pressure on the band to make music at a certain level?
The pressure is of course high. But I think that if we start to anticipate the future or calculate it we will not do good music anymore. Myrath music is composed with love and without any calculation. We are gonna try to keep this mentality as long as possible. Magical recipes to compose good songs does not exist. Myrath is a team, Malek, Anis, Elyes, Zaher, Morgan, and Kevin are all part of the process.
I cannot imagine going to certain concerts and not having the visual and aural theatrics that has become a part of that band’s psyche because they have placed themselves within that expectation. At this point, have you placed yourselves in that niche?
You are right, and the band wants to represent all this onirical word on stage. In fact we are actually working on it for the Sweden Rock festival and Wacken. We are going to add real magic tricks on stage. We are gonna construct the new Myrath show with him.
What is it about metal music that inspires you? What is it like in Tunisia both musically and culturally that influenced the formation of Myrath?
Regarding our ethnical influences, as I told you before we grew up in Tunisia surrounded by berber and arabic music. This music is in our blood, and the only fact to be born in Tunisia is good enough to digest all those influence.
Talking about metal, we love many bands as Dream theater, Symphony X, Leprous, Muse, DIO, Metallica . . . . We started as a metal cover band many years ago and at this time we loved the technical skills band like Symphony X could put into their music.
How did you become so well versed in orchestration? How did technicality come to the forefront of the band?
Elyes and Kevin have a strong background in classical music. Kevin was gold medal in piano at the age of 13. So it’s very easy for us as we have two people that can arrange all the orchestrations very fast.
Myrath – No Holding Back
Having said all of the above, Shehill continues where Legacy leaves of yet brings back elements of early Myrath and the Desert Call days. Would you say that is an accurate perception? What is it of the early albums that you look back and find most relevant to you today?
We have no idea. Lots of people are telling us that Shehili is a perfect mix between Legacy and Tales of the Sands. I can understand that because Shehili included much more heavy riffs than Legacy. *laughing* I think that Malek, our guitar player was angry enough for Shehili to compose awesome heavy riffs.
But, like I said, we composed Shehili without any calculation. We did not say Okay, lets put a little bit of legacy, a little bit of Desert Call etc..
With things like Wacken in your future, what events are you excited to perform this summer and what can we expect?
We had a lot of demand to play many festivals, but we choose to work with the Sweden rock and Wacken only as we need to focus on creating a unique show. It costs a lot of money. So we are in, let’s say, an investment process.
I have a deep admiration for the music you make and the bond you have within your culture. Shehill is a celebration and accomplishment that not many bands get to experience. Any final words that tie into that sentiment and for the fans?
I was stunned about the fan’s reaction. Almost 100% of my Facebook feed was about Shehili. That means a lot to me. Just maybe, we ended with something that will change Myrath’s destiny.