Hello Marvin, and thank you for taking the time to do an interview with MetalHeads Forever Magazine.
Please introduce yourself. Where are you from and what do you do?
My name is Marvin Spira, i am 46 years old and I was born in Brazil. I have been living in Israel since i was 14 years old. Rock music and especially Metal have always been the most important thing in my life. I’ve been singing in bands for more than 20 years and promoting and organizing musical events from 13 years more or less.
What has really gotten you into music, especially into Metal?
I always liked music. I used to listen to a lot of Brazilian music from early childhood, and I was aware of the 2 greatest Brazilian rock stars of the seventies, Raul Seixas and Rita Lee. I loved their music, but as far as i was concerned , the only other Rock artists I knew of were The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and Elvis.
Althought I liked music, it wasn’t really that important to me…It all changed one unsuspecting evening in 1980 , when i went with my mother and sister to the movies to watch Flash Gordon. The music in the movie totally caught my attention, it was by Queen. I have never before heard a guitar played in such a way, the sounds coming out of it sparked my imagination, the drumming, the synths, Freddie’s voice, the whole thing ! I couldn’t believe that music could be so awesome, daring, inspiring, uplifting and wonderous. I realized at that moment that it was it, the thing i was looking for , but couldn’t quite put a finger on it. My life changed forever at that moment, I mean, these loud and distorted guitar sounds were everything I wanted and not only did I became a huge Queen fan, I started to look for other bands with that kind of sound and feel. From there to discovering Kiss, Alice Cooper, David Bowie , Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Rush, Jimi Hendrix and others was very quick. Less than 2 years after that, when introduced to Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Scorpions, Motorhead, Rainbow, Def Leppard , Ozzy etc. I became a Metalhead for life. It gave me a whole new perspective on things, became my law, my religion, my philosophy and I never looked back…The funny thing here is that I didn’t choose it, it actually chose me !
What is your favourite genres of Metal?
Most people will probably be taken by surprise, but my favorite genre isn’t even Metal. The Progressive Rock from the seventies is what I like the most. Bands such as Van Der Graaf Generator, King Crimson, Yes, Jethro Tull, Gong, Hawkwind, Genesis , Rush, Gentle Giant and guys like Frank Zappa are what I listen to more than anything else…As far as Metal goes , my favourite band is Black Sabbath, the classic Heavy Metal bands of the seventies and early eighties will always be my favourites! I also really like Progressive, Black, Doom , Atmospheric and Avant Garde Metal …I don’t like Death Metal in general , or bands that try to emulate Pantera or Lamb of God, altought these are great bands, there’s far too many imitators out there and it puts the music in a cage full of cliches and itbores me to death…I also loathe most of the so called Glam scene of the eighties, in my opinion most of it are terrible and shouldn’t even be considered Metal.
Let’s discuss your work as a musical producer. Where did you start? What was the first gig you organized?
The main reason I started was in order to promote my own band. I was aware that if I didn’t take care of things myself and organize our own gigs, no one else would. So it was 2003 and I bought equipment for the band and found a bomb shelter that was turned into a rehearsal room. I created Heavy Duty productions and started organizing events around my home town of Naharya , which is located in the north of Israel near the Lebanese border. I quickly became the guy that all local bands turned to for concerts and promotion , even rehearsals and gear renting. With my profits , I constantly upgraded my gear , buying more and better tools. The first gig was something that we just brought the gear to our town main street around the afternoon and played in front of the passing crowd alongside a few other bands from our town, people would pass by and stay to listen, some even parked their vehicles and came to see what was happening. It was awesome, totally spontaneous. That’s how it all started and soon enough I started making bigger and better concerts not just around Naharya , but also in Haifa , Tel Aviv, Beer Sheva and other places and I’m still doing it now.
Are you satisfied with the Israeli Metal scene? Please tell us about it.
At the moment I am satisfied, not only with my place in the local scene, but also with the new generation of bands that have started playing and performing in the last few years. There are many interesting bands playing all kinds of metal out there and most of them are good and their members are very friendly and good people. Something that, unfortunately, in the past couldn’t be said. There were many people out there who were driven by colossal egos (as if they were at least as big as Maiden or Ozzy) and had a bad attitude, who thought that they deserve everything , while not doing enough to really achieve it. Also, here in Israel, usually people don’t like to help each other unless they are close friends. Many people are envious of the success of others and many times try to bring you down and say bad things about you behind your back, including telling lies. Fortunately, things are progressively getting better all the time. The new bands are all very friendly, helpful and supportive. People are realizing that the way to make things better is by supporting each other and being helpful, after all. It’s all a collective effort that gets better results and it’s in everyones best interest. Many of the older bands who are still active, who I had good working relations with in the past are still out there playing and touring and releasing albums. I still work with many of them, there is a genuine feel of warmth and friendship in the scene today. Another good thing is the rising in concerts from international bands. This year in particular, we had and are still having many concerts here, more than ever before.
Please recommend us some local acts that we all should listen to.
First and foremost , my all time favorite band in the scene , Winterhorde, who released a most awesome album that is as good as anything being done anywhere in the world in terms of metal. Secondly, I want to mention Scardust , a progressive metal band who released their debut ep last year and are currently working on their full length album. Their singer Noa Gruman is doubtless the best and most versatile metal singer in Israel. She can do anything with her voice, the other band members are very skilled and their concerts make your jaw drop !
Besides these two there are many others who i want to mention, there’s Venus in Fear , Edellom, Orpheus Blade, Sinnery, Katastrof, Obsidian Tide, Stormy Atmosphere, I Foreign I, Dim Aura, Magen, Infy, Arallu and many others .
What does your work mean to you personally?
It means everything, it’s the air I breathe, it’s my fuel for life and it’s something that I just have to do. Not just because I love it and it comes naturally for me, but it also gives my life meaning and it makes me happy. I just can’t picture myself not doing it.
You are working on Israel’s biggest Annual Metal Fest, Summer Fury IV. What can you tell us about it? About the bands you chose, and about the unique location?
It is a very special event to me personally. I am glad to be doing it again this year, together with Igor Benditkis, my partner, who is also Katastrof’s guitar player. The lineup for this year is a great one, showcasing many different types of metal. I am very happy to have Prey for Nothing as a headline band, they have not been available for it since the first one , back in 2008. The festival always takes place in the northern city of Haifa, it’s the biggest event in the local scene and the whole reason it takes place in the northern part of Israel is to focus more attention on the north and what’s happening her. We are planning it in a big way, it will be the best of the best in terms of organizing, promoting and executing… Nobody should miss this!
What is your essential 5 records for a metalhead to listen to?
That’s a very hard question, not to mention unfair…Only 5 ? I’m gonna bend the rules a bit on this one and give you 5 all time essential classics and 5 modern , current albums that are the best in my opinion…
The classics :
- Black Sabbath-Vol. 4
- Black Sabbath-Sabbath Bloody Sabbath
- Iron Maiden-Piece of Mind
- Ozzy Osbourne-Diary of a Madman
- Dio-Holy Diver
- Ne Obliviscaris-Portal of I
- Vintersorg-the Focusing Blur
- Orphaned Land-Mabool
Is there anything else you would like to tell us about?
There are many things I have set in motion, the big Summer Fury Metal Fest returns to Haifa this year for the fourth time. There’s also the one off comeback concert of a very important black metal band in Tel Aviv on October 20th, and many other concerts booked in the next 5 months. In 2017, I am taking two Israeli bands with me to Brazil for a mini tour. But the most important thing that I can say to everyone out there who might read this is to just give wings to your imagination, work hard, persevere and follow your dreams and ambitions. If you love what you do and follow your heart with passion, never give up, strive for the best and never pay attention to anyone who tells you that you can’t do it, or try to bring you down in any way, you will see that eventually , it pays off and things work out for the best, so stay strong and determined and never surrender!
by Zohar Belkin