Interview with Ashmedi of Melechesh - Metaldays 2016A bit of small talk about Russian women
Ashmedi: What’s your name?
Ashmedi: Where are you from?
Olga: I’m from Russia originally.
Ashmedi: “Kak dela, spasibo, mojno govorit somnoi, mojno govorit skazat Olga” (“How are you? Thank you. You can talk to me / Can you talk to me? You can call me Olga”)
Olga: Yeah, that’s good!
Ashmedi: And you live here in central Europe, or ..?
Olga: No, I’m traveling to all the festivals.
Ashmedi: When I said “mojno govorit Olga,” you know why? It’s because I had a girlfriend named Olga! So she taught me “mojno govorit Olgde” or something.
Olga: You can say Olya too!
Olga: With regard to your website, I noticed it’s outdated.
Ashmedi: Yes, it’s very outdated. Someone built a new one. I’m kind of running the whole show, so much to do. There is a new website but there’s so much going on right now. People get their info from Facebook right now.
Olga: Tell me about your writing process.
Ashmedi: It takes time to write an album. I write every day and I’m also on tour. I also need to be inspired. I would like to have something different, not streamlined. Well, so it takes a while.
Olga: I didn’t realize you write everything!
Ashmedi: Pretty much everything. I mean we both co-write. But I write sitting, writing, arranging. I like it. It’s a really nice thing to do, but it takes time. And sometimes it really saps your energy. I feel like every album takes so much of my life. I love writing albums that sound fantastical, like, surreal, but still rock-rooted.. bass, drums, guitar – that’s a band. No matter what style of riffing you’re doing, so it’s not gimmicky … and then I like that you can apply it to life, but it still sounds rock-and-roll / metal. It’s still original and mystical. That’s the spice to it. It’s not some of that Disneyland shit, it’s rock’n’roll.
Olga: So you used to live in Israel?
Ashmedi: My family are Armenian and Romanical and I was born in Jerusalem. They moved there, I was born there. And I lived in a few parts of the world. I always come back there. I’ve been there in the last 19 years, then Europe, Holland, now in Germany, but this year I’ve been in Jerusalem a lot, my brother got kids so I go visit my nieces. I like the weather there and the night life there, believe it or not – I like it more than in Europe because the bars are open ‘til the morning.. very cool night life there. Some people don’t know that, but.. And I saw on BBC that it’s one of the hottest spots in Europe or in the area – it’s Tel Aviv actually, so it’s really fun – party, party, party. So I enjoy it, the going out. But I got in trouble.
Olga: What did you do?
Ashmedi: I beat up a guy and they put me in jail for it. But I don’t beat up people, really. I was visiting … I finished touring and I had time off and I went to visit my family. I was having the time of my life – going out every day.. I have several friends that own or manage bars. So we go hang out there, I feel at home, you know.
Ashmedi: And it’s funny because it’s the same thing I did as a teenager, it’s like reconnecting and I forgot how nice it is in the summer in the warm weather. I’ve never been arrested in my life like that. This guy comes and threatens me. Like literally threatens to kill me. After a while, I’m having a whole intimidation – or instigation – so I beat him up. I punched him, I thought it’s self-defense. They arrested me, not him. Three days in a prison cell – I hated that. And then 10 weeks in-house arrest.
Olga: So you just stayed home the whole time?
Ashmedi: Yes. TEN weeks in my mother’s house. I’m a 40-year old man. I’ve been living alone 20 years or something. Now try that! And she’s retired now. She had a business. So I’m just looking at her and she’s looking at me like, “Ten.. weeks..” We argue a lot – she’s a feisty lady, just like I’m a feisty person. But at least we have a big garden. Small house but big garden. And you can go out to the garden. Imagine if it was one of those peole living in an apartment because ther’s a lot of people who live in aparmtents with nothing to do. At least I could go out, sit in the garden, have some wine, and friends could visit. But 10 weeks.. trust me, I did go crazy a few times. But then after the 10 weeks, they allowed me to go to Europe, the rule was that I could go to shows. And then they made it to night house arrest, so everybody in Jerusalem started calling me Cinderella because at midnight I had to be home. So even the barman and everyone was like “Hey, you gotta go now! You gotta go now! We’ll get you a cab!” And then I came to Europe for a couple of months to do touring.