Ayat interview (02/2009)
|Conducted by:||Lucas (e-mail)|
The opportunity to interview the Arabic Black metal band Ayat came by and I thought interviewing them would result in an interesting and entertaining read. So I gathered a bunch of questions and asked for Filthy Fuck's response and here's what it turned out to be. Enjoy.
- Hello, this is Lucas from Metal Storm! Thanks for agreeing to do this interview with me, I'd like to take this opportunity to get to know more about your band and your beliefs. But first and foremost: how are you man?
Like shit. Thanks for asking.
- Now, you're often referred to as "the world's first Anti-Islamic Black metal band". After a little research though, I discovered that you're not at all pleased with that claim. So here's your chance to put the record straight, explain why you received that reputation and why it's wrong.
We received this reputation because we are against Islam as individuals. Yet we are not the first and we are not only that. In any case, this is the only thing people talk about when they mention Ayat and we’re sick of it. So here it is again: AYAT IS AGAINST THE RELIGIOUS ESTABLISHMENT IN ALL ITS FORMS.
- What does "Ayat" mean?
Miracles, or verses (or rather stanzas) from the Koran. It’s Arabic.
- You're from Lebanon, which is a country most of Metal Storm's readers won't know much about, so can you give us a little insight in the situation over there? What's the political climate like?
Your readers should google it. Believe me, it’s effortless.
- And how does your band relate to that? In an older interview I found this quote: "Islam, although being the dominant faith that it is with more than a billion adherents, was a topic that was never explored in Black Metal. It was as if Christianity was that much worse and that the Muslim countries are paradises on earth and there was actually nothing to complain about. There IS a lot to complain about." With all due respect, but is the attitude you have really the best way to deal with a subject like this? Or is Ayat just a way of venting your anger, with themes concerning the things that affect your daily life, and not an attempt at starting up a political debate?
If this attitude is the best way to deal with a subject like this? I see you have an opinion there. Care to share it?
As for the attempt to start up a political debate, Ayat has been here since 2001 and we always worked at an underground level, we have always been outcast and rejected, and we never complained and we never asked for help we would never get anyway. We worked hard instead of making asses of ourselves in public. And it’s not until we became “known” because of our work that our name and our beliefs started to become a problem. Now people, especially Arab Metalheads, are stepping up and are voicing their opinions regarding our existence, discussing if we should be allowed. Well, how grand. Allowed where? In the tame, broken, bashed-with-boots, authority-obedient Muslim Metal Scene? We are giving Arab metalheads a bad name? NO. We are the forefronts of Arab extreme Metal and that’s plain to see. We’re giving them a hard time? Well fuck them, I’m not the one who dictatored their asses to submission. I am a member of that same society, and I chose to speak up and risked my life thereof, they needn’t take the step with us, just refraining from stabbing our backs repeatedly would be enough. Muslim Metalheads are personalizing all their fears and hatreds in us because they can escape authority by blaming us, making us in the process THE anti-islamic band par excellence. We ruined the image they were trying to give to their local police. I’m sick of pampering those fuckers. The Muslim world is in terrible shape, if that’s the best Muslims can do then I don’t see why my ranting is so out of place.
Ok, here goes: Take our records as motivators. When you get better we’ll stop playing music. It’s a promise.
- To stick to the Lebanon subject, what can you tell us about the metal scene over there? Besides you, as far as I know, the only other band that ever got a little attention in the underground is the doom act Kimaera… what else have you got to offer?
We're not part of the Lebanese Metal scene anymore and Damar is the only band worth checking out.
- Is the scene close, are there many gigs (or are they not allowed)? How many people are there to support the band?
We don't play live events. Last time we did, we had a hundred maybe. Everyone we thought would come was there. That’s about it. A little more than hundred.
There are gigs of course with lots of lights and awesome stuff happening on stage and female vocalists in gothic corsets and cavalcades of keyboards but we don’t watch them nor take part in them.
- Your style is characterized by a primitive, raw and hateful approach to punkish Black metal. What are your influences?
Bands with a primitive, raw and hateful approach are a great inspiration to our work.
- Do you have sources of influence or inspiration, outside of metal/music?
- And what are your thoughts on Black metal's evolution, after the prime of the Second Wave? Depressive Black metal, the recent Orthodox Black metal movement, a tidal wave of bands mixing Black metal with innumerable non-Black influences? The only possibility for Black metal to survive, or exactly that which might kill it?
Black Metal is doing fine I believe. I know no Metal Heads and know no scene so I can tell you, from here, it’s looking great. I’m still listening to the old stuff and some of the new is awesome and some of it is crap and it’s always been like that (the Second wave had its array of shit as well). And I don’t think of Black Metal as a movement anymore, it’s just a certain intensity in the music. A violent epileptic mimic of hatred. A way to sublimate the worst in us. If you need to combine other influences to get to that feeling, by all means then do it.
And Black Metal will always survive, especially in our age of conservation and archiving, and it will be BOTH, 1. more refined and corrupt and 2. more orthodox and boring. We will inevitably have more of the two. Any single band introducing anything new will be looked upon with awe for their ingenious ideas, then classified, then viewed, then copied, and will generate a whole new branch of “Orthodox” bands. And Orthodoxy after all is a matter of timing.
I don’t care where IT goes, I don’t think IT is going anywhere for starters. First wave, second wave, third wave, I don’t buy that crap. There’s just a bunch of people playing music at different time intervals. But still, the more varied it is, the better I think. Yet with avant-gardism comes great responsibility. You have to make it work. For example, if I hear of a band mixing Zulu culture imagery and music into Black Metal, I’m gonna throw an ear no doubt. At worst, I would piss on myself so much I’m laughing and that alone would be worthwhile. Much better than enduring the horrendous experience of another Darkthrone worship band.
- And in that light: what about the internet and downloading? A blessing for Black metal because the amount of exposure skyrocketed, or a curse because of all the "bed room Black metal bands"?
Well you always have to start somewhere and a bedroom is as good as any place. If the music is good it’s gonna get the attention it needs sooner or later. The internet keeps the option of later open.
- Should we read anything into the "Six Years" part of the album title "Six Years Of Dormant Hatred"? Anything that happened six years ago? Something that recently happened that caused an important change for you? Or is it just a fun title?
No, it's just a fun title, Lucas. We thought we'd be cute and we came up with that.
Ayat's 2008 début "Six Years Of Dormant Hatred
- That about wraps it up, anything interesting concerning the band we should all know? Upcoming tours, interesting news, that sort of stuff?
Doctor Cripples is foregoing medical attention in London to regain use of his paralyzed lump of a body so you can expect some nasty drumming on the next album. Sadogoat is fucking prostitutes by the score of gazillions instead of making music. And I’m growing more insane I feel by the minute, I’m drinking like a hole and I can’t sleep. Three or four songs ready for the next album. Still working on the rest. Like always, we will take our time.
- Once again thanks for the interview, and as is Metal Storm's tradition, the last words are yours:
||Posted on 19.02.2009 by If you're interested in extreme, often emotional and underground music, check out my reviews. I retired from reviewing, but I really used to be into that stuff.|
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