Saturday, April 1, 2017

interview: Lelahell

The Algerian death metal indefatigables Lelahell are on the march again, working on a new album and they also are getting ready to head to play shows in Europe. This publication contacted the band to get the scoop on the band’s activities. The interview deals with the ups and downs of being a metal band, and in this case a band in Algeria. In addition, the band offered its views on life in Algeria in general and other broader topics like economics, politics and religion, which makes for a very interesting read. The band’s recordings so far are: Al Intihar (2012) and Al Insane... The (Re)Birth of Abderrahmane (2014). The new album will be called Alif.
Hello, how is life in Algeria for Lelahell in 2017? What can you tell us about the new album Alif? All the recording is finished, correct?
First of all thanks a lot for giving me the opportunity to talk about my band and my music in this interview. Life is quite in Algeria for Lelahell in 2017! We are preparing our new album Alif which is in the mastering process. Each Lelahell release is conceptually linked to the character of Abderrahmane, yet focusing on another evolutionary step—another chapter in his own book. Our new album "Alif" is now focusing on Abderrahmane's first steps in his new life, just like a child learning to speak, walk, learning about the world around him. Yet this is full of foes and fears, that's why Abderrahmane needs to save himself from those dangers.
May will be a very interesting month for Lelahell. The band will play Incineration Fest in the U.K. and do several shows in France. This is very positive for Lelahell!
Those shows belong to the Alif tour from 10 to 24th May (8 countries, 14 or 15 shows) to promote our upcoming album. We played many shows in Europe and we will continue to spread the name of Lelahell all around the globe!
I’m sure that Lelahell would like to play in Europe more because there is a lot support for metal music in Europe. What are the main obstacles that prevent Lelahell from playing more in Europe?
Yeah, we would like to play more in Europe and also in all countries of the world. Lelahell is an underground band that means that the main obstacle for playing overseas is the financial aspect because we have to pay for travel (ticket plane) and also van and sometimes rent backline. So if it is not a tour or a big festival it doesn’t really make a sense to spend so much money for one or two small gigs.
Lelahell’s vocalist and bassist, Lelahel the man, is the founder of the band in 2011. He has many years of experience in other bands like Neanderthalia and Carnavage. Who else are the other members of the band at the moment? Nihil (bass) and Slaveblaster (drums) have been part of the band, but I don’t know if they are still in it.
Nihil (bass) has left the band in 2014 after Al insane tour for personal reasons, and Slaveblaster (drums) left the band in 2016. The actual bass player is Ramzy Curse who is very well known in the local scene because he play in more than 6 different bands and he is very talented! For drums we have a sick and crazy non-human session drummer (you will know more about it soon)!!!
Has Lelahell become more known in northern Africa because the band already has two previous recordings? How’s the Algerian metal scene? Some people often talk about northwest Africa as the Maghreb, as a region: Morocco, Algeria, Lybia, Tunisia, so on and so forth. Does Lelahell have communications with metal bands from those countries?
To be honest I can’t answer to your question, I don’t know if Lelahell is more known in North Africa after those 2 releases because we don’t have too much connection with the other North African scenes, but we know that we got a good fan base in France because when we made our crowdfunding campaign for our new album the majority of contributions came from there.
About Algeria actually we can say that there are some good promising bands that need to work and produce albums. After that we can pretend to have an Algerian Metal Scene!
To be honest we don’t have a lot of contacts with the metal scene from neighbors countries, we just sometimes spent our holidays there. Some years ago we had many friends from Morocco and Tunisia but most of them have stopped playing music.
Does Lelahell have an interest in playing in other scenes in Africa, like in South Africa and Botswana?
In the past we got many offers from South Africa, we also get an offer from Botswana from Tshomarelo the guy behind the band Overthrust who is organizing a festival called “Overthrust Winter Metal Mania Fest 2017” on Friday 26 May 2017 and Saturday 27 May, but we have to pay for travel costs which are 5 times more expensive than the travel costs to Europe! And the same goes for South Africa.
In your opinion, how does the political situation in your country and region affect the metal music scene in Algeria?
When you see the metal scene of a country it reflects the economic and political situation of the country. This music was born in UK and USA in 60s, in that period those two countries were considered as the richest and the most politically stable countries in the world. The metal music is like a fish that needs aquatic environment to survive. The right equipment, the right venues, committed people, good living. In Algeria the actual political situation is uncertain; we don’t really know how all that will evolve. Added to that the expensive cost of life and the stressful days. The Algerian people move to other countries to find quiet and to live a better life.
Algeria had to fight really hard to be independent from France. Yet, after independence it was not happy times, was it? There has been civil war; extreme Islamist groups like the Islamic Salvation Front. There has been terrorism and massacres. In your opinion, what is it that you would like to see happen in Algeria? Do you think that people are tired of extremist and terrorist groups and also tired of the corrupt politicians? Would you like to see more democracy and more tolerance without violence in Algeria? Is that possible? Are there political parties that propose democracy, peaceful resolution of conflicts and that reject the method of political violence?
In 1962 after the independence it was the golden age: small population, strong economy, cultural diversity. In 1992 the F.I.S (Islamic Front of Salvation) won the legislative elections, but the government didn’t accept that the people voted for the FIS, so they cancelled those elections. And after that many Islamist radicalist groups committed many crimes (massacres, bombs, tortures,…) to access to power . We call that period the black decade.
Since 15 years the situation is quieter, but the economic situation is getting worse and worse. There is also a lot of corruption and no freedom of expression. We are tired of this situation; we don’t know where the real exit is!
There is no opposition; all political parties are supporters of the government, so we don’t believe in democracy anymore.
As we all know, there is terrorism in Iraq, Afghanistan, in Turkey and other places where Islam is a predominant religion. In Europe and in the U.S., and other places, some people have become suspicious of Muslims because of the ongoing violence in many countries. Some people suspect that many North African and Middle Eastern peoples who say they are “moderate Muslims” have secret sympathy for jihad, violence, suicide bombings, sharia law, killing Christians, atheists and gays. There are also some people who really support terrorist methods and Islamism. You live in Algeria and your country has experienced war and terrorism. What would you like to say to metalheads in the United States about terrorism and the problem of terrorism in Islamic countries and also in Western countries?
In the 90s during the terrorism period, when we were travelling abroad (Europe and USA) people were treating us like terrorists. They expected that all Algerian are terrorists! This is what the people were watching in the medias in that period!
Stop believing those bulls## medias! You will never understand the main purpose of those terrorist acts! What is happening in Europe and USA have nothing to do with Islam.
Metal music often critiques religion and many metalheads in the West do not believe in religion because of the extremism associated with religion. What is your personal opinion about the extremism, violence and intolerance that takes place in Islamic countries in the name of religion?
Like all other religions, Islam promotes peace, love and harmony /among the people.) The word Islam is derived from the Arabic word Salam (peace). Islam condemns the killing or even the persecution of people. Attacks on civilians around the world by such groups cannot be justified by any religion. It is strongly condemned in all religions, including Islam. Several persons have used terrorism to implement their own agenda, issues or beliefs. None of them represent true religion.
Thanks for your answers and time. Do you have any more news about your band?
As you said before expect a lot of news from Lelahell during the month of May, and don’t forget like our FB page and stay brutal!

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