Interview with Morgan Berthet

 I started listening to Myrath back in 2015 with the single “Merciless Times”, and had the opportunity to see them perform live later that summer, supporting Finnish metal band HIM, in Timisoara (Romania). Now, with the release of their sixth album, “Shehili” I couldn’t miss the chance of asking them a few questions about the band’s history, their new album, the new sound they are developing, their upcoming DVD, and so much more. Here’s what drummer Morgan Berthet had to say:

‘’Let’s start with a little presentation. Who is Myrath and how was the band formed?’’

Morgan: ‘’Myrath, which means legacy, was formed a long time ago, made of each grain of a thousand years old Tunisian sand… No, we’re not that old but we’re releasing our 5th album “Shehili”, the third with that line up, we’re mainly from Tunisia, half the band being in France.’’


‘’How would you describe the last couple of years for the band?’’

Morgan:  ‘’Pretty exciting, after a few complicated years after the release of “Tales of The Sands”, we clearly felt like something was changing with our previous album “Legacy”, and now even more with “Shehili”. We did some amazing tours, few opportunities to play in big festivals and venues pretty much everywhere and we proudly saw a lot of new faces to our shows.’’

‘’It’s been 12 years since your debut with “Hope” in 2007, how would you describe the progression of the band’s sound since then?’’

Morgan: ‘’The good thing is we grew bigger with each album; now we clearly think we stepped somewhere new with “Legacy” and “Shehili”, and things accelerated clearly since 2016.’’


‘’We are all influenced by different things as we get older and experience more. For you, what has changed as a songwriter and the way you approach music?’’

Morgan: ‘’Well at some point, when you’re done showing off your technics, you’re gonna want to put feelings, you wanna touch people and you try to create things not just for you, not just to be happy about what you do, but to make the people who listen to you happy. You wanna put more colors in what you’re doing, so you get better at arranging songs and that’s clearly what we’ve been doing more and more, you try to put your skill in making a song efficient, with a structure that could seduce more people, with a groove that could make people wanna dance. We’re also used to working with each other, more and more, so things are more obvious, we waste less time and we can focus on details (which are everything almost). That’s mainly what changed or if that didn’t really change, where we are more efficient.’’


‘’“Shehili” has been out for some time now. How has the reception been so far?’’

Morgan: ‘’We couldn’t be happier, it looks like more and more people discover Myrath, we receive tons of messages from our fans every day. You never really know what to expect when you release something, if we knew that would mean we have like a secret ingredient that works. But we don’t, so it’s always something big when you receive that much attention and love.’’

‘’What does the word ‘shehili’ mean to you, and why was it chosen as an album title?’’

Morgan: ‘’Shehili is that warm wind coming from the desert. It’s the first Tunisian word used to name one of our albums. And something warm is clearly what we wanna bring, that’s how we want people to feel during our show, we try to bring the warmth of Tunisia.’’


‘’What made you decide to create this type of music, with Arabic lyrics, Tunisian folk influences, and using authentic instruments?’’

Morgan: ‘’Myrath means legacy, we’re Tunisian, influenced by what we were listening to when we were young which is mainly occidental if we talk about Metal here, but very fond of the music we have in Tunisia. The things that people missed sometimes is that we’re doing oriental metal but more precisely Tunisian, we borrow stuff from Morocco, from Egypt, from Turkey but mainly in Tunisia. We just decided it could be cool to represent Tunisia with our music, to mix occidental metal with traditional Tunisian music, instruments, history, etc… Now only the amount of fans supporting us made us think we were doing that matter, and that’s why we’re still pushing in that direction. We couldn’t be prouder when Tunisian fans tell us they’re proud of what we’re doing, and we couldn’t be happier to see how it seduces fans abroad, everywhere.’’


‘’What is the weirdest instrument you have used in your music?’’

Morgan: ‘’What is weird? We have some guitars, some flutes or percussions in Tunisia that would be really weird for someone in New York, but I bet a saxophone would be a sick instrument for an Indian-American Tribe, haha. We didn’t use anything too weird for us for sure as we’re used to those instruments.’’

‘’What does oriental metal (or blazing desert metal) have to offer differently than, for example, symphonic metal?’’

Morgan: ‘’When you say Symphonic I often see something with a Lyrical/Opera type of vocals, which is kinda wrong. We do have the arrangements you could have in Symphonic Metal music, a lot of different instruments. Now I think not a lot of bands use those we use, not a lot of Symphonic Metal try to put some groove in their songs, and obviously, even less come from where we come. So even though we’d agree we belong to the Symphonic Metal branch, a Symphonic band from the US won’t sound like one from Sweden or one in Tunisia. Oriental Metal is clearly a way to clarify what kind of sonorities you can expect.’’


‘’What does it feel like being one of the best bands in this metal genre?’’

Morgan: ‘’We don’t know about who the best is or not, but we feel bless to be recognized, to sometimes be a reference even, that means a lot for us and a lot for our Tunisian fans.’’


‘’Do you see oriental / blazing desert metal as an entirely different genre, or do you see it more as a category under folk metal?’’

Morgan: ‘’It might obviously be a genre in Metal and more precisely Folk metal, now the word “Desert” might be obvious, that should help see from where we come and what kind of Metal we do.’’

‘’The album has a very massive sound, yet it feels organic. What can you tell us about the recording process and the production?’’

Morgan: ‘’We put a lot in trying to make it sound organic, more “Rock” than “Metal” maybe. The recording process was quite the same, we just needed bigger rooms for drums, a different way to mix things together for sure and we kinda had to adapt everything depending on which song we were working on. They don’t all sound the same, they’ve not all been mixed the same way, that was changed from the previous albums.’’

‘’What are some of the main lyrical themes of “Shehili”?’’

Morgan: ‘’We don’t really have a main one, we just try to send something positive although we often speak about things that are sad, that hurt us, that are not right at all, we just want people who listen to our albums to feel good when it’s done, just like we want our fans to be happy during our shows, that’s the main energy we try to give.’’


‘’One of the songs I really like is “Mersal”, which is a duet with Lotfi Bouchnak. How did that collaboration came to be? ‘’

Morgan: ‘’We met him few years ago and that was like a plan, someday we’ll do something together. Lofti Bouchnak is a really open minded musician and he really enjoy doing things where we don’t really expect him. We simply asked him to be on a song for “Shehili” and things went pretty fast to make it real.’’


‘’Do you have a favorite song on this record?’’

Morgan: ‘’Each member has a song he really likes, I think “Shehili”, “Monster In My Closet” and “Lili Twil” might be the 3 biggest but you know what, we’re gonna tour, after 100 shows that’s when you know if you really liked a song or not, if after 20 shows you’re still feeling things, then you’re good to go.’’

‘’With “No Holding Back” you closed the trilogy that also includes the videos for “Believer” and “Dance”. In hindsight, when you did “Believer” did you know that the story would continue in some form?’’

Morgan: ‘’Closed I don’t know, but that’s the end of a chapter for sure. We didn’t know about the entire scenario, but we knew we’d have to continue for a few more video clips, yes. That’s why the second time we shot the 2 other clips in a raw, to have something more legit, didn’t wanna be 3 years older between each clip haha.’’


‘’Who came up with the story for the videos?’’

Morgan: ‘’Mainly Elyes (Keyboards) and then we discuss what we could really do or not visually speaking.’’

‘’I know you have another release coming sometime in the near future, hinted by the video for “Born to Survive”. What can you tell us about the upcoming live DVD?’’

Morgan: ‘’We put everything we could to do that DVD, we wanted it to be done in Tunisia, we wanted that night to be special for our fans, I think we succeeded, although we had to face every possible problem. We made it, so far it looks beautiful and we can’t wait to see the final version and to release it later this year.’’

‘’How was playing the Roman Theatre of Carthage last summer?’’

Morgan: ‘’What do you want me to say, 5 years ago we were playing in Tunisia in front of 500 people, for the DVD they were over 7000, the Theater is beautiful, the mood was perfect, it was a magical the night, the night we clearly wanted to offer to our fans.’’


‘’How is the upcoming tour shaping up and what surprises can the fans expect?’’

Morgan: ‘’We’re about to perform at Sweden Rock, Wacken, one festival in Tunisia, then Japan in September and a European Tour in November, we’re currently working on the visual aspect of the show, can’t say much but we’ll have few surprises, always, we always try to do more.’’

Disclaimer: In the time it took to set up the interview, and publish it, Myrath have already performed at Sweden Rock Festival (on June 8th), not only on their scheduled slot, but also replacing Behemoth, who couldn’t make it due to flight traffic problem. Check the video to see their magnificent performance!

‘’What other themes or sounds do you wish to experiment with in the future?’’

Morgan: ‘’Nothing’s clear yet, when we did “Legacy” we didn’t know how would be “Shehili”, we just know we have to be better, we have to work faster, we have to propose always more. So we’re just planning on working twice as much as we did on “Shehili”.’’

‘’As an outsider I only know of a few metal bands from Tunisia, namely Carthagods, Persona, and Bitter Heart, but it seems that it has the highest export of metal bands compared to other African / Middle Eastern countries. Why do you think that is, and as an insider, how do you see the Tunisian metal scene?’’

Morgan: ‘’There are more and more bands in Tunisia, and finally some are able to reach metalheads outside Tunisia and sometimes even tour abroad which was really hard a few years ago. We often try to speak about other bands we have there, and you mentioned 3 of them. So far we’re the living proof you can do it, you can tour abroad, you can be signed by giant labels, etc… we wish the very same to every bands in Tunisia.’’


‘’Tell us something about Myrath that we might not know.‘’

Morgan: ‘’Hmm I cannot go too far on that one… although I wish I could haha.

To stay on a professional side, you know nothing, you don’t know when the DVD will be out, you don’t know we’ve already started doing stuff for the next album, you don’t know where we’ll be playing in 2020… this is a small list of things you might not know :) ‘’


‘’Is there anything else you would like to add? Something I might have missed?’’

Morgan: ‘’I think with 25 questions we kinda had to develop a lot, haha’’


‘’Is there anything you’d like to say, now that we have reached the end of the interview?’’

Morgan: ‘’Thank you for the interview we had fun here, thanks for the readers, thank to each fan we have around the world, be patient, we’re coming !’’

Read the review of “Shehili” at this link.  


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By Andrea

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