For starters, please introduce the band and the people behind it.
Ori Frank: We’re ETERNAL STRUGGLE from Israel, originally from the 09 district, currently in the 03 district. We’ve been around for a handful of years. We’re a group of four dudes that record and perform some really hard hitting music that seems to fall somewhere in between Metal and Punk.
We just dropped our debut album “Year of the Gun”, featuring Omer Meir on guitars, Ori Koren on drums, Guilad Pinevsky on Bass, and myself, Ori Frank, on vocals.
Since you’re from Israel, a pressing topic is the most recent escalation of the conflict with Palestine. How have you experienced the latest attacks by Hamas?
Ori Frank: Well, without going into Middle-East politics, as it’s too much to get into here (but maybe one day over a beer!), we are deeply affected by the uprising waves of violence; lynches, stabbings, shootings, etc – all due to political agenda, and it’s saddening, to say the least.
So many civilian casualties, and the blood is on the hands of both Hamas and the Israeli government. Not Israeli or Palestinian people, but the governments and militaries. It doesn’t feel like either side is looking out for the people, but rather exploiting both Israelis and Palestinians as pawns for the propaganda machine.
It doesn’t feel like progress and ‘Peace in the Middle-East’ seems like a distant dream as long as religious extremists are in power. It’s all very disturbing and I truly hope things will ‘settle down’ sooner than later and we don’t encounter another fighting round of rocket fire.
What are your thoughts on the anti-Israel protests in some countries (including Germany) in the wake of the counterstrike by the Israeli military?
Ori Frank: Protesting is not only okay, but a basic human right. Protest is important, however, it’s extremely important to know what you are protesting/defending/boycotting etc. Knowledge is power and history is written. People need to hold themselves accountable to do their own homework and deeply research from valid sources before getting political.
Facts are important. People with good intentions are easily hijacked by hate/blame driven protests. In recent events, I’ve noticed that the protests have actually become catalysts for racism. It is despicable to use protest to push agenda driven hate. Antisemitism has increased by 500% since the so-called protests of the Israeli government, led by misinformation and soviet-esqe propaganda.
People are so impressionable and easily gaslighted. Every instagram model from two years ago became the face of the ‘revolution’. It’s pathetic. People really need to educate themselves and get better sources than social media. Racism and neo-nazi subculture in disguise of ‘protest’ should be unacceptable to all people who believe in democracy.
The corona pandemic has hit Israel less stronger than most countries. Regarding crisis management: what went better in your region?
Ori Frank: Covid-19 hit the entire world damn hard. I think that we are lucky considering we had a ‘lower’ death-toll than other countries, but I also believe it would have been possible to minimize it much more so. Even the very management of the crisis had a heavy political toll.
Thankfully, we had the vaccinations early enough and the majority of the population took it. It’s a very small country, so thanks to that, there are no more restrictions, live concerts are back, clubs, bars, sports and almost anything else is back to ‘normal’. It’s a huge relief and we’re waiting for Europe to open up officially so we can tour there. Hopefully no new virus shows up in the near future.
The underground club and music scene is still suffering immensely and many venues around the globe might not survive the crisis regardless of the growing number of vaccinated people. What are your thoughts on the impact Covid-19 will have on the cultural diversity perspectively?
Ori Frank: Live music culture has suffered hard from this pandemic. Only the corporate venues survived, really. We had venue owners hunger striking for weeks outside the prime minister’s home in Jerusalem. Not just venue owners, but all independent music industry professionals, sound engineers, stage tech, tour guides, djs – it was truly a devastating time in history. And many will not recover from it.
In Israel we didn’t know which venues would survive the lockdowns and how many bands would remain active after such a long forced hiatus. We did our best to support each other by buying each other’s music and merchandise, etc. As of recently, live shows are back and restrictions and limitations have been lifted and we’re feeling optimistic.
We’re experiencing a huge comeback in live music with attendance counts higher than ever. People really missed a live interactive experience and it raised awareness of how much live music culture is important to us and why we should not take it for granted. Israel is a small country so it came back quickly, but it will come back everywhere else, and likely, stronger and more diverse than ever.
Let’s talk about music and more specifically your debut album “Year of the Gun”: It’s a highly political record, even for hardcore standards. What are the main topics/messages you’re dealing with in your lyrics?
Ori Frank: “Year of the Gun” has a heavy lyrical focus on inner-conflicts I face with myself as an Israeli. Most of my life I spent living the typical Israeli lifestyle. As a teenager, the thing you most look forward to is getting drafted into the military. You become a soldier and defend the country. You fight for your brothers and your roots.
But years later after you draft out and join civilian life, you start to travel and see the greater world, you meet different people from
different cultures, you gain new perspectives and then all the second-thoughts kick in. You begin to question the entirety of your culture and middle-eastern upbringing amongst army pride. You remember all the friends you have met and lost. How could this be normal? Is there another way?
It’s a total mindfuck that many could never understand, so I also tried to write some lyrics on some important social-issues. That’s basically the main train of thought that fueled me to write these songs.
How came the cooperation with hardcore heavyweights Brian ’Mitts’ Daniels and Tue Madsen – and what are your impressions of collaborating with them?
Ori Frank: We had the amazing privilege to work with these legends! The ‘Mitts story’ all started when our band manager Avi was living in NYC a few years back and he went to a MADBALL show in Brooklyn and barged backstage and there he met Mitts, armed with our 2016 EP “Breaking and Entering”. Mitts played the EP on his drive home from the show and expressed that he was impressed with the band, eventually leading to Mitts offering to produce our first full-length LP.
He told his friend/affiliate Drew Stone about this (then) upcoming project with us and we began speaking with Stone and we hit it off right away and decided he had to be there to document it for the ‘books’ and to join us in this endeavour! About a year later we all met in Tel-Aviv, Israel, and were recording a full record in just 10 days! Feels like it was just yesterday.
We have a slightly longer history with Tue Madsen. Summer 2017, right before our show at Wacken Open Air, we recorded our single “Falling Forward” and after already DIY-ing it on the previous EP, we dreamt to have it mixed and mastered by our all-time favorite engineer, Tue Madsen of Antfarm Studios in Denmark.
Our manager Avi was able to make this happen. Tue is responsible for so many great albums that we’ve all loved for years and he is known for his distinct imprint on bands such as THE HAUNTED, SICK OF IT ALL, MESHUGGAH, SUICIDE SILENCE and so many more that for us it was a childhood dream to know that he will edit our music.
That said, “Year of the Gun” is our second time working with Tue and he did such an incredible job, was incredibly quick and patient with us and such a pleasure to work with. We wouldn’t have it any other way!
Which bands or artists would you consider most influencial on your music?
Ori Frank: There is a wide spectrum of influence on our music. You’ve got the obvious classics: SEPULTURA, SICK OF IT ALL, SLAYER, HATEBREED, MADBALL, LAMB OF GOD, RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE, PANTERA, MOTÖRHEAD and so many others. As well as many of the newer school bands like TURNSTILE, CODE ORANGE, FEVER 333, CLIPPING etc.
But each one of us are also deep in different worlds and subcultures of music that inspires us to innovate such as rave music, hip-hop, rap, jungle and breakbeats. I even have a side project; a breakcore trio called QUEEN ANNE’S REVENGE that put out an EP on the Dutch label PRSPCT. We’re all sound design nerds, finding inspiration everywhere!
How have the reactions on “Year of the Gun” been so far?
Ori Frank: We are receiving great reactions so far! We are overwhelmed and humbled. It was a bit frightening for us at first considering the timing of the record dropping between a global pandemic and a war going on at home. We were worried it might get drowned out amongst the mass hysteria that took over all media, but the timing turned out to be ironically in our favor.
People are not only interested in our music, but seem to be genuinely interested in our message, and we’ve been reading some really heartwarming reviews from around the world and it gives us the motivation to keep pushing it forward. Thanks to all of YOU we made it into iTunes top 200 metal releases and it feels great. We’re really looking forward to seeing where this album goes now that it’s out worldwide!
What comes next for you guys – as far as corona allows planning ahead again?
Ori Frank: We’ve got a few wild cards up our sleeves, but we can’t expose them just yet! Haha. But seriously, we are firstly focused on touring this album. We joined the M.A.D. Tourbooking agency during the first lockdown and now we are vaccinated and ready to get on any flight to any country interested in hosting us. “Year of the Gun” is in full effect!
Any last words you would like to share?
Ori Frank: We would really like to thank you for this interview and we want to tell everybody to focus on good things, do not let politics divide us. We all need to unite together and tear down racism, stereotype, prejudice once and for all and walk together into better times.
Do not let your guard down. Everyone is trying to shove hate and fear into our minds so we need to try harder to see and enjoy the good in this life. We must shift our focus from destruction to creation, to accept one another, and to always work to keep up the PMA! See you soon at a concert!