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Sergei Metalheart (Desert)

Interview with Sergei Metalheart from Desert
by David Campbell at 25 March 2015, 12:35 AM

DESERT is an Epic Dark Metal band from Israel, and “Never Regret” is their second full-length album release on Raven Records. Having recently shared the stage with some massive bands like ELUVEITIE, they are one of Israel's greatest Metallic exports. Dave had a lengthy chat with guitarist Sergei Metalheart about the new material, the band's origins, and the rewards for crossing musical borders.

Hi, Sergei! “Never Regret” is your second full length album release to date. What was the composition and recording process like for these tracks, and what kinds of things inspire you in writing your music?

Hi and thanx for having me! Well, the composition and the recording process were different for many reasons. First of all, the songs were written by two additional band members (Me and Sergei the bass player) as well. Before that, only Max (the guitarist) and Oleg (keyboardist) were on this position. I joined the band in the late 2009, when they're actually finished the Star Of Delusive Hopes album recording. Sergei joined the band in 2010. So the previous album was written by only two guys. I'm also a writer and arranger, so Sergei as well. We both played in The Afterlife band almost 8 years before we've joined Desert. On this album, we had actually 4 guys writing songs and at some point we found it too difficult to merge all the stuff together and we decided to make the step that Desert never made before and we recruited a producer.

Our choice was our good old friend Alex Zvulun and his brother Vitaly (A.G.Studio). These guys made an insane work of producing, recording, mixing, mastering and we are very happy with the results. It was a massive work in terms of guitar playing and vocals. You can actually hear the difference on this matters between the new and previous albums. Generally, i don't have certain inspiration when I'm writing music. I'm listening to a lot of music from lot of genres. I like the melodies mixed with heavy guitars. This is my main direction. I'm not the guy of pointless riffing.

How have you all grown as a band since the first demo album? Are you satisfied with how far you have come so far? If not what are some areas that you are still developing and looking forward to?

I wasn't a band member in it's early days, but i know these guys personally from those days. Although the band exists since 2002, the real activity started when Alexei joined the band in 2004 and leaded the band since then. They had some line up problems during the years, but they did not bad at all, specially in comparison to other local bands. Since 2010, me, Sergei and Assaf are in the band and this line up is the strongest one that Desert ever had and all great things and most important issues Desert went through, were because of this line up. I can't tell you that I'm completely satisfied how far we came. But it's not so bad if you take in consideration that this line up is active only 4 years and we are based in Israel. This fact doesn't make our band and touring life easier, you know :)
We are always developing the new areas and we have a strong global fan base and we have some indication for that. But we never rest and work hard to achieve new targets in our career.

Take us to the formation of the band. How did you all come together? Tell us about your personalities and how these things keep you connected as a group? Who is the comedian of the bunch…there is always one!

Well, we're all funny guys when we drunk hahaha but most of the time it's me and Oleg who take care of the comedy stuff. We have some creativity in this area. After drinking, Sergei, simply, beating our asses on comedian issues. He is a really funny dude when he is drunk :) He can't control it even :) He is a natural born drunk entertainer.  Max is the "silent killer". You know what i mean? Those silent guys, who have the dead bodies in the trunk. Alexei is the most serious guy in the band and it's always great to make fun of him. Max was the one who started the band. He was a huge fun of that power metal we all know and he wanted to play some. So he found some guys to play with and they played all this Dragonforce and Edguyish stuff. Really generic stuff. Until Alexei joined the band :)

What bands did you all listen to growing up? What bands would you say influenced you most in the formation of your sound?

We are listening to a lot of music. I mean, really. Tons of it. But i van mention the bands like Judas Priest, Manowar, Iron Maiden, Helloween, Stratovarius, Testament, Iced Earth etc. In matters of the sound formation, i can mention the Iced Earth, Manowar, Moonspell and Blind Guardian.

This is the first time I have heard your music. Though I feel it is Power Metal at the core, I don’t think this simple label accurately describes your music because of all of the other elements that are present. How would you describe it to your fans? What kind of lyrical themes seem to interest you most?

Exactly! its' not a Power Metal as it is. It's a huge mix of all the influences of each member. We found out that we all listening to a different styles of music and specially Metal. And i think it's great. It brings a lot of new dimensions for our style creation. Anyway, we can describe it as Dark Epic Metal. But you definitely can find inspirations from melodic death, doom, gothic and hard rock in our music. All the lyrical themes are still remain the same line from the previous album. Historic events, themes of courage, bravery and willing for freedom. But, there are some fictional characters, Alexei was inspired of when he wrote the lyrics. He is travelling a lot and he can hear a lot of interesting stories he can be inspired of and write the lyrics from it.

One of the most enjoyable elements I found in the new album was the varied use of piano and keyboards. I really think it strengthens your overall sound, but without being overbearing? How did you approach these instruments into your songwriting?

Thanx! This is a good point. Actually, Oleg is a full time writer in the band and he is a multi-instrumentalist. He is a real freak. He loves to combine and merge lot of things. He is very creative. Half of the songs on this album came from his ideas, which were written on the keyboards base. That why keyboards aren't sounded "off" on the album. they are really merged with other instruments and we tried and put the focus on that during the album production.

What will the band be doing after the release of the new album? Are there any tour dates set? What bands would you most like to tour with if you had your wish?

We have some dates booked already, like the show with the russian band Catharsis. And we have some show to be announced, headline tour and etc. We have some interesting offers for some project related to the band. And we already started to write the new songs as well. We like touring. A lot. I think the best tour mates we can wish for is our friends from Sabaton. We had a lot of shows with them and all them were great in every matter. They are really cool dudes and good friends. I think that tour with Powerwolf might be super cool as well.

One of the things I enjoy most working for Metal Temple is making friends and acquaintances from all over the world. I understand that you grew up in Russia and later in Israel, is that correct? Can you tell me what is was like growing up in these different countries? What kinds of things do you really like to highlight in your culture?

Yes, most of the band members have Russian origins. Except of Assaf. He was born in Israel. But his parents have origins in Slovakia. Others guys were born in Russia and Ukraine and moved to Israel at some point. I don't know about the other guys in the band, but when i moved to Israel it was in early 90's after the Soviet Union break and when i landed here it was a really cultural shock. Nothing prepared you to this. The weather (i came from Siberia), the mentality, the life vision and priorities, the conflicts, the wars etc. It was totally different. At some point you get used to it and even like in some ways. I really like the Morrocan and Yemen food, actually. Not all the dishes, but lot of them. What i like here in matters of culture, that it's very open minded, specially in comparison to what we had in Soviet Union.

I feel that many of my fellow Americans don’t go out of their way to learn about much beyond their borders. I find this is especially true when it comes to music, although they are missing out greatly. One of the things I struggle with is how to get the word out to them about bands like DESERT and many others. Do you have any suggestions in regards to this?

This is the main theme that I'm trying to figure out. logically, in internet era it's supposed to be easier to get your listeners and fans. But it's turned to be not so easy at all. And I'm gentle on this state. What i found out is that you have to be social. In every possible way. Otherwise - you don't exist. I'm really not a fan of this way - but this is how it works today. And you have to be creative to grab the attention.

When it comes to great guitarists who are some of your favorites? How about some of your favorite singers?

Zakk Wylde, Glen Tipton, Eric Peterson, Randy Rhoads, Victor Smolski - the guitarists i can really favor.
Rob Halford, Dio, Bruce Dickinson, Ralf Scheepers, King Diamond - in case of singers.

What interests and hobbies do the band members have? What kinds of things do you do in your free time when not making music? Do any of you have families and children?

All of us have day jobs. Most of us have families. Me and Alexei have kids (me - 3, Alexei -2). Right now i'm making music at work as well - working for guitar making company ERG Custom Guitars. Assaf is a student in music academy. Me and Alexei are doing a promoter work as well. Other guys have a normal jobs and boring stuff to do like everyone :)

Where fan fans get the new album? What is next on the horizon for Desert?

The simple way is to buy our album directly from us on our Merch section on our website
What is next - lots of shows and the new album on the horizon. check out for updates on our website and Facebook page which is very active:
Thank you all for your support and attention!


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Edited 01 February 2023

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