Ephrat - 02/09/2008

Israeli progressive rock/metal band EPHRAT will release its debut album, "No One's Words", on August 25 via Inside Out Music. Mastermind, guitarist, flutist, keyboardist and sole composer of the quartet is Omer Ephrat. Alongside Omer, the band consists of Gili Rosenberg, vocalist Lior Seker and drummer Tomer Z, whom experts of the genre know from his collaboration with Blackfield. Then there are two high-carat guests who add additional specks of colour to this diverse album. The most renowned of them is Daniel Gildenlöw, boss and chief visionary of Swedish elite prog rock act Pain Of Salvation, who recorded the lead vocals of the almost 10-minute "The Sum Of Damage Done".


By no means less impressive is Petronella Nettermalm's melancholy voice on "Haze", which lends an interesting Björk/Portishead-esque flair to the track. The cherry on this cake consisting of haunting tracks is the warm, transparent mix courtesy of Steven Wilson, whom Omer Ephrat contacted for the first time by e-mail two years ago.


So let’s welcome a new and extremely promising progressive rock act from Israel whose songs stand for a successful balancing act between traditional elements and the future of the genre. Ephrat delivers a colourful mix of European influences and the atmospheric tone sequences of the Middle East - the benchmark data of a new group could hardly be more promising.

 

 

So there is much to talk about, here you can read what mastermind Omer Ephrat  has to say to the readers of Metal-Experience.com

 

First of all, I’m not familiar with your band so could you tell me something about Ephrat? How did this band get together and could you tell me something about your musical background?

 

That's easy, the band got together when an angel sent Steven Wilson to rescue me ha ha. Seriously – since forever I've been occupied with creating music in my studio without planning anything ahead actually. It took one e-mail to Steven (about 2 years ago) and the next thing you know I got a contract at Insideout when Steven offered himself as the one to do the mixing and mastering. I really can't think of a better starting point for any artist. Then the writing, recording and recruiting started when Gili Rosenberg (bass) Tomer Z (Drums) and Lior Seker (Vocals) joined in and I had the honor of playing host to the Swedish guest vocalists – Daniel and Petronella.
 

As for my musical background I can say that it's very diverse. I began with classical music as my first instruments were piano, flute and clarinet. only later on I discovered the magic of the guitar metal and since then everything got shifted and I got interested In rock, metal and Prog later on.

 

How did you launch into writing the material for ‘No One’s Words’ and how much time did you spend on composing the songs?

 

Most of the writing occurred during 4 months. I really can't explain or define how I write the music, things just come to me and things flow from a specific point and onwards. There's no method or a systematic way that I write and I'm glad that it's like that.

 

What were the goals you had in mind when you started to record ‘No One’s Words’, any elements you definitely wanted to have on the album?

 

Ephrat is nothing but the music. I wanted the music to be real and authentic without any strategic thoughts behind it. I think that if an artist starts writing music or changing it as a result of reasons that have nothing to do with art, like, what people/record labels think, or if they try to understand what's cool today and then change their music accordingly, these are steps that will slowly bury you. You have to be loyal to yourself first of all otherwise you’ve got nothing to sell. Of course as a producer it’s my responsibility to make the album cohesive, professional sounding and etc. but I always balance those two things.

 

In song writing, what is the utmost important ingredient for a song according to you and is there any typical way that your songs come into being?

 

A hard question, mainly because there's no specific way I write them, it starts from a idea and flows to the next and the next thing you know there's a song.

 

What would you say are the main themes in your lyrics and where do you get your inspiration from?

 

The idea was that each vocalist would write the lyrics for the songs he would sing, that way each vocalist is involved deeper in the song than he would have been if he or she just executed ready-written material. You can most certainly feel that in the album, in each one of the songs.

 

 

Is the music written independently of the lyrics or do you try to reflect lyrical ideas through the music?

 

Like I mentioned, the music was written before the lyrics, but the lyrics were written carefully and in accordance with the music.

 

About the song writing, how can we imagine you work on new songs?

 

Songs come to me from nowhere actually, there's an idea that comes to me, I enter the studio and one idea follows the next until there's something I can call a song but who knows, maybe with the next album things will change.

 

What comes first, lyrics or melodies? Is it like you sit down and write a new song because you need more material now or do you wait until you get an idea?

 

Like I mentioned, my procedure of creation is all about the music, the lyrics come much later to serve the music.

 

Could you please describe the implications of the title ‘No One’s Words’, what does it stand for and is there a special meaning behind it?

 

Well that's interesting because there are several lyric writers for the songs and common sense suggests that chances are that the songs will be different from one another. But that was not the case here, everything fell into place and you can say that every song is about (one way or another) people in extreme situations who (metaphorically) write a letter about their situation, a letter that reaches no one.

 

Do you have any favorites on ‘No One’s Words’, songs that you think are somehow above the others?

 

I really can't say, it's like choosing your favorite son. But I can say that "Blocked", for some reason, is the most fun to play (go ahead and try!).

 

How did the recording process proceed and how much time did you spend in the studio?

 

Lots of time, it was very important that everything would fall into place. It took approximately 2 years to finish the album, when every once in a while we entered the studio and completed a new layer to the songs.

 

How did you get in touch with Daniel Gildenlöw and how difficult was it to get him to write the lyrics and to sing on “The Sum of Damage Done“?

 

It wasn't hard at all actually, I contacted him through Insideout. The request included singing and writing the lyrics and he agreed and that was basically it.

It was a thrill working with him and I think he added a whole new face to the album with "The Sum of Damage Done"

 

The album was mixed by Steven Wilson, how did you get in touch with him and how did you get him to mix your album?

 

It turned out that one e-mail with samples of my demos was enough for Steven to mix and master my album. Though you would never expect that from a busy man like him, he really invests in listening to everything that people send him.

 

What made Steven Wilson the perfect man for Ephrat?

 

Well, I think that what I like best in Porcupine Tree is the production and the mix. Many good metal and prog bands with really good music don’t invest in the production, mixing and mastering like they invest in the music itself (the actual playing and arranging) and I think that PT really set a new level in terms of production and mixing. It was surreal to hear him suggesting mixing my future album and it was even more surreal to hear the album after he was done. 

 

In which things/songs on the album can one clearly hear his vision and ideas?

 

Well, he wasn't involved in the writing, only in mixing, but the sound of the album stands out so much today that I must salute this man.

 

Have you received any feedback on your album yet?

 

Actually, not so much until now. A lot of people have heard about the album and the names it holds and automatically people are intrigued by it without hearing the music at all and I guess that’s natural.

 

Are third party opinions (press, fans, etc.) on your music important to you? Or are your music and band the only things that matter?

 

That's a very important issue for me. Of course the success of the album and people’s opinions are important, that's the whole purpose of music. But I really think that if you're trying too hard to please everyone then the final outcome will suck, you can't make something that you don't like because you want others to like it. I guess that you must maintain a liberal mind and try both approaches.

 


Overall, are you pleased with the outcome of the songs or would you have liked to have changed anything in retrospective?

 

I think I'm a little subjective, but I think the final outcome is outstanding, with the emphasis on the guest performances. One thing I would have changed is the editing phase. I edited many of the tracks and I think that as an artist you should not edit your own album. It's a tyring job and you keep hearing your own songs over and over again. You mustn't do anything that might cause you to get tired of your own songs.

 

What do you think is the difference between Ephrat and other bands in the progressive rock scene?

 

Pocupine Tree meets Dream Theatre with an electronic and ethnic scent? I've never heard about a band like that until now, have you?

 

What is your opinion on the progressive rock scene these days, is there anything missing in the scene and what is the scene like in Israel?

 

I think that what describes these times best is that it is a time when the borders are getting more and more blurry. For example, if someone had given me the new Opeth album like 10 years ago I would most certainly have classified it as progressive metal, much variety, changing motifs, switching from growls to normal singing. But now things have changed and you don't have specific rules to each style. And because of that (I think) the prog scene has been pushed out of the way a little.

In Israel, well, there was an awakening in the last few years and exportation started to bloom and I'm glad. There are a lot of talented musicians here and this country is too small for them, the crowd for these types of music is relatively small and their only chance for success is Europe and the US.

 

How would you describe your own music and what are your musical influences, are there any particular bands that have been a big influence in your song writing, metal or otherwise?

 

I think that the perfect answer is: Prog is in my mind and Metal is in my veins.

That simply covers everything. Be clever & sophisticated but keep the spirit of metal alive. about a specific band, I'm afraid I'm a classic guy, the biggest metal and prog groups are all inspiring for me, some more and some less so. I don't want to mention any names as I will always forget the most important ones.

 

Which album has been your biggest musical influence, one that made you think “this is what I want to do!”?

 

A little corny but it's the plain truth: Metallica. When I heard ‘Master Of Puppets’ for the first time I really felt something changing in me. Suddenly what I identified as "noise" as a kid, became the most amazing thing I had ever heard.

 

How do you see the future for Ephrat, what can we expect in the near future, any live shows in Europe?

 

We definitely want to tour and there have been a few suggestions, but only when things will become official we'll publish it.

 

Any last statement?

 

Nope, I think we covered everything.

Thanks!

 

Thanks for your time!

Eugene Straver

 

 

 

Members :

Omer Ephrat - Guitar, Keyboards, Flute

Lior Seker  - Vocals

Gili Rosenberg - Bass

Tomer Z – Drums

 

Albums :

No One’s Words (2008)