Myrath (pronounced Mee-wrath, not my-rath, just to get this straight) are a Tunisian band that plays a variant of metal that is at the same time exotic, progressive, powerful and engaging, extremely rich in textures and awesome ideas with performances to match. In recent years they have based themselves in France and have toured extensively, their latest foray onto stages being a set of dates all around Europe after a brilliant support tour with Symphony X that saw them go down extremely well with crowds all around the continent. With their newest album picked up by a larger company and more than a few things happening for them, it all seems to be happening for these worthy guys, who’ve been around for some ten years now. Elyes Bouchoucha (the band’s keyboardist and original vocalist and a man of many talents) answers on a breadth of topics about the past, the present and the future of the band.
Myrath band pic
Myrath are back with their fourth release, “Legacy”, can you give us some details about its recordings and release?
EB: We recorded the album under a series of peculiar events and circumstances, yet the whole process was very rewarding. We have recorded with members of the Tunisian symphonic orchestra which was an enriching factor. In addition to that, due to the long period of anticipation before the release of “Legacy”, the excitement was overwhelming at every stage of making the album.
If I am not mistaken, Myrath means Legacy, so this is a bit of a “s/t” album in a way… do you think it’s the “absolute statement” of what the band is all about or is there gonna be a Myrath – Myrath album too?!
EB: It is a self-titled album, a statement of who we are in terms of musical identity. “Legacy” is our most personal album so far, and every aspect (the music and the lyrics) is closely related to our experience and circumstances up until the production time, so I don’t expect the upcoming albums to be identical in that respect, for us making music is an unpredictable creative process where we cannot know for sure how it’ll turn out, but we can say that “Legacy” is the signature beginning of our new era, as Myrath.
It took you some 5 years to come up with “Legacy” comparatively a long time in the industry, any particular reasons behind that?
EB: The circumstances were not good for us to be working on a new album during the past 5 years; we have sadly lost our manager, Malek’s dad, Tunisia was in political turmoil and we had to break a curfew on some days to make it to the studio, so the production process of the album was being delayed continually by varying reasons! Although this has contributed in a way to shaping “Legacy” to what it later became, as we had the time to reflect on what we wanted our fourth album to be, and tap into further creative sources & renew our inspiration through several tours which took us from USA to India.
What differences do you think, “Legacy” has when compared to your older releases? Are you happy with how it stands up to them?
EB: “Legacy” is more versatile and balanced, with more Tunisian/North African elements than our previous releases, every instrument has its own role and doesn’t overshadow the rest. We are very happy with how “Legacy” was shaped up after 5 years of waiting, we have moved beyond the old records into a more personal, signature album.
You’ve been with Nightmare records for all your career and in Europe you’ve had some changes between labels, care to indulge a bit? Are you happy with them and what’s your take on how music is being distributed these days? Also you did a vinyl for “Legacy”; do you intend to make all the albums available on the medium?
EB: Nightmare records are plainly great, they actually do take care of their signed artists and we completely trust them in handling everything regarding us in America, they are basically the best. In Europe we had to change as our previous label went bankrupt, and we are now signed with Verycords in France, and Edel / earMusic in Europe, which are also great and very supportive, in Japan we are signed with Kings records. We will definitely be making all of our albums available in vinyl, it is an eternal medium of music and I personally love the sound.
The way the “industry” is heading music is losing more and more it’s intrinsic value, with fewer people wanting to “consume it” and more and more looking at it as a service, they require either free or on the cheap (piracy, streaming etc.) cutting down the livelihood of professional musicians. Has this affected you and what are your thoughts on the future?
EB: It has affected all artists, I believe not only us, to varying degrees, as it affects smaller upcoming bands harder than affecting bands like Metallica for example, because these bands need the revenue to grow and produce. And although it is a convenient tool of getting to know more bands and expanding the band’s audience, I hope that people would actually buy the album after listening to it via streaming, especially in the Arab world, where this problem is most occurring.
The world is being shaken by extreme violence (probably from all sides) with usually innocent people as victims. How does that reflect on you as people/musicians and have you been discriminated or treated poorly as a result of your ethnic background?
EB: It affects us, as citizens of the world, and we feel devastated by the huge amount of fear and hatred being spread all over. Thankfully music is universal, it possesses a bonding factor which helps unite rather than separate, which is basically the message we try to deliver with our music as well, so hopefully we (all musicians and artists) can help balance out the energies in this crazy world. Regarding your second question, we haven’t faced any major bias or discrimination due to our origins, but I dislike the constant focus on religion, people trying to associate us with one religion or the other, our religion is Music and that’s how we’d like to be viewed! (i.n.: Good to hear…)
You’ve just finished a tour with Symphony X. How did that come about and how did it work out for you? This must be your first “Big” tour, other than some smaller ones in France and around central Europe! How did it go?
EB: The tour happened after some communication between our labels, there has been a lot of talk about the desire for a Symphony X/ Myrath tour, & the great guys of Symphony X liked the idea and it finally came about! We started our career covering Symphony X and touring with them was a literal dream come true. The tour was great, and they were very supportive and fun to be around! 
What do you think does the future hold for you? Where do you see the band in 5 years from now? Also since some people were saying that your singer Zaher might be leaving, is there any truth in that, or just some crazy internet forum rumor (started by a felow Tunisian mind you)?
EB: The future of Myrath hopefully holds more albums, more tours, and a lot of enchanting tunes and melodies! 5 years from now we would hopefully have 5 more albums and a larger fan base and we will be further on the path of spreading our musical message all over the world! And don’t worry, Zaher is not going anywhere anytime soon! (i.n.: That’s good to hear too!)
Speaking of which, are there anymore Tunisian bands we should look out for?
EB: There are several Tunisian bands, with their own style of course, Persona, Carthagods and Nawather, to name a few.
Could we look fForward to a Greek date at some point in the future?
EB: I hope so! We receive a lot of messages from our Greek fans asking us to come, but nothing materialized so far as we haven’t been contacted by promoters yet.
Myrath band pic
Time for our “weird questions”. If you found a djinn – and you had 3 wishes (yeah that western cliché) what would you wish for?
EB: 1. Worldwide abundance so people don’t have to pirate music anymore! 2. The disappearance of prejudice from everybody. 3. And finally the ability to tour every single country in the world!
If you could be anyone other than yourself – (man/woman/character/historical figure) who would you want to be and why?
EB: Batman! Lol! On a serious note, I think I would like to experience the life of Ghandi, I would love to see the world from his peaceful point of view and grasp what it is like to choose self-sacrifice for the sake of a greater cause.
If you could travel in time would you go to the past or to the future and why?
EB: I would travel to the past, to the time before the invention of internet, where life was simpler, although harder, and our interactions were more meaningful and lasting.
Usually we ask which one of the 7 deadly sins do you think is more applicable/representative of you? (if that applies/translates)
EB: It is applicable; I think the 7 sins are more universal than religious. Mine could be Wrath perhaps and maybe also over thinking, it is not a sin but it should be! Haha…
If your g/f wife sold your instrument or record collection to buy herself some jewelry, how would you react?
EB: I would sell the jewelry and get my stuff back! Obviously!
Close this as you may wish…
EB: Thank you very much for your time. Thanks to all of our Greek and international fans and we hope to see you very soon in one of our concerts! Peace, love and music!
PS: Photo Credits by Nidhal Marzouk