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Interviewed by Gary Hill

Interview with Erez Yohanan of Amaseffer from 2008


This interview is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2008  Volume 4 at

Can you catch the readers up a bit on your musical history?

We have no musical history! For all three of us it is the first album we ever released. On the other hand, we have a lot of experience playing live and playing with bands in the past. Basically in the past four years we are totally dedicated to Amaseffer and not playing in other projects.


I know artists are not crazy about having their music pigeon-holed, but how would you describe your sound?

Our sound is a melting pot of cultures, a fusion between East meeting West, rock meeting philharmonic and movie soundtrack meeting theater. The concept is a biblical one and in order for us to capture the spirit of the time we thought to combine them all together.


Who do you see as musical influences?

To be honest, none! When we seat down on writing sessions the first rule is: "black out and forget all you know of!” This is our motto in the band. Yes, we do listen to jazz, classical, rock, pop, metal, Arabic and so on but no chance we will bring this to the table when we work. We start with clean sheets and just switching to "Amaseffer Mode" and we found that this way we write the purest music from the deepest corner of our soul and at the end of the day when we listen to what we have created, it is for us a true moment of achievement. 


Where did the name for the band come from?

Amaseffer is the phonetic translation for the Hebrew word: "Am-Haseffer,” means, “People of the Book.” It is an ancient name given for the Israelites in the bible, refreed to them as people that follow the holy book. We chose this name because of the concept we're dealing with, the ancient atmosphere that we have in our music and we wanted a name the will symbolizes who we really are and what we are all about. This name is a direct link to what we stand for in Amaseffer - the band.


What’s ahead for you?

Soon we set the dates for the pre-production of chapter two of the trilogy, hoping to release it next year.


Are there musicians you’d like to play with in the future?

So many of them, it would be unfair to name a few but if I really need to I would say Geddy Lee of Rush,Sting, Klaus Badelt.


You guys are from Israel. With all the strife in that part of the world, it seems like it would have to have had an effect on your music.  How do you think it’s shaped your artistic vision?

I would say that it had no effect at all. We are not into politics and we write music coming from the deepest corner of our soul. We don't want to "contaminate" it with political views for we are not a political issues kind of band.


How do you see the prospect of Israeli/Palestinian peace?

If our leaders would give up their ego then we would see some progress in our region. It is the core problem. Please forgive me for not going into details on this for, as I said, we are not into politics.


Why did you decide to base the whole album on parts of the Bible – or since you are Jewish (and the books are Old Testament ones) I should say the “Torah?”

I'm a strong believer and it was obvious that when I'm ready to start working on a concept album it would be bible based story. I wanted to take the biggest story in the bible. I wanted to make an epic and one needs an epic story in order to do it. So this was the ultimate story, “the main event” I used to call it.


Do you think that downloading of music is a help or hindrance to the careers of musicians? It’s been said by the major labels that it’s essentially the heart of all the problems they are having in terms of lower sales – would you agree?

I think that once you download an album and you like the band then you should go and buy the album! With so many bands today it would be impossible to obtain even a small fraction of it if you are not super rich.


In a related question how do you feel about fans recording shows and trading them?

Illegal period!


If you were a superhero, what musical artist would be your arch nemesis?

The one who bows before Satan.


What was the last CD you bought, or what have you been listening to lately?

I bought the new album from RiversideRapid Eye Movement.

I listen to two Spanish artists named Vicente Amigo and Diego el cigala, those two are at my top list at the moment.


What about the last concert you attended for your enjoyment?

A show of an Israeli band named:”Distorted.” They just released their new album and it is a great one.


Finally, are there any closing thoughts you’d like to get out there?

Thank you for your kind words and support, God bless you all!

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