Interview with Melik Melek Khelifa

Bitter Heart & Persona

To promote the new Bitter Heart album called ‘’Rotten’’ we did an interview with guitarist and vocalist Melik Melek Khelifa! He is also known for his guitar skills in Tunisian metal band Persona. Curious to read his answers? Continue reading below!


‘’How did you come up with the name? (For the band and the album)’’

Melik: ‘’I think that the name 'Bitter Heart' fits pretty well the genre that we play; it carries the opposition between the soft and the angry side of our music - with the words 'heart' and 'bitter' respectively.


As for the album title, we chose the 4th track 'Rotten'. It is in my opinion one of our best/most interesting songs. It talks about realizing that everyone is flawed in one way or another, and that it is OK to be so. There is also hope in that song as the narrator aspires to find someone who is equally flawed. So with just a word lots of meanings are carried out, and I think that it fits our first album.’’


‘’What band(s) / artist(s) have inspired you to become musicians?’’

Melik: ‘’I started playing the guitar and singing listening to Nirvana and Metallica in the mid 90's, so they are my main influences. Besides them I love Queen, Led Zeppelin and Megadeth just to name a few.’’


‘’Do you have any musical training?’’

Melik: ‘’When I was younger I got a classical training in piano, violin and flute. But for the guitar and singing I am self-taught.’’


‘’How would you describe your music to someone who doesn’t know the band?’’

Melik: ‘’I would say that it's a mix between the singing of Alice In Chains, the choruses of Type O Negative and a hint of riffs from Queens of the Stone Age.’’

‘’What is the main inspiration behind the music?’’

Melik: ‘’The main inspiration behind the music would be human emotions and complexities. Nothing is ever 100% black or white; everything comes in shades and that's what makes life interesting and inspires me to compose.’’


‘’What is your favorite song from the album, and why?’’

Melik: ‘’If I had to choose just one song that would be Rotten. But I also really like Lose Myself and Cosmic Orgasmic. Each of these 3 songs has a different mood, and my preference depends on the mood that I am in.’’


‘’Who is the main writer in the band, or are you all equally involved in the creative process?’’

Melik: ‘’I came up with the core of the music ideas and the lyrics; but the creative process was finalized with the whole band; the songs took their final form during rehearsals with inputs from all 3 band members.


‘’What can you tell me about it in terms of lyrical content, musical styles / influences and production?’’

Melik: ‘’My major influences when it comes to music and lyrics come from the 90's Grunge/Alternative Rock scene. As for the production, we had a couple ideas that we tried to incorporate in the album - even though we had a somewhat limited budget. As an example: we added Piano and Synth tracks on a couple of songs that weren't there on the DEMO versions.’’


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

Melik: ‘’I think that as I grow older I try to make more 'direct' and less convoluted songs, if that ever makes sense. Before I was OK doing 8 or 9 minutes songs, now I'm trying to get to the point in half as much time as that.’’


‘’Are you planning on making a video clip with one of the tracks?’’

Melik: ‘’Yes definitely ! We shot a video for Lose Myself and we should release it sometime at the end of January.’’


‘’Is there anything  on this album that makes it special to you? Did you do something different in some way? Things you would not have done with Persona etc.’’

Melik: ‘’Even though this is the 3rd album that I worked on, it still feels very special to me. All three albums were recorded in my bedroom/music room on my old PC, so there's a "Home" feeling that is always there when I listen to them.


The difference with the other 2 albums from Persona is that I did the mixing and the mastering on this one (due to the limited budget). The final sound is a bit dirtier, but I think that it serves the music genre that we play.’’

‘’Are there new themes or new sounds you wish to experiment with in the future?’’

Melik: ‘’I would love to work with a producer so we could exchange ideas and try different approaches. The core of the band is Rock/Grunge/Metal, but I'm not against trying more adventurous sounds.’’


‘’Do you have any touring plans?’’

Melik: ‘’Not as of yet.’’


‘’What do you think about the way music affects people’s lives, even changing them?’’

Melik: ‘’I think that it's not a myth: I started listening to Grunge/Metal as as teenager, and here I am 20 years later still listening to it, playing it and talking about it. Music had a massive impact on my life. It's through music that I met most of the people that I know, and it's through passion for music that I met my significant other.’’


‘’Outside of the business aspect, how has music affected you, personally?’’

Melik: ‘’It made me meet a lot of new people!’’


‘’Would you consider writing songs in your  own language?’’

Melik: ‘’MAYBE in a VERY distant future.’’


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

Melik: ‘’I would like to thank you for giving us the opportunity to talk about our music, this is Bitter Heart's very first interview - So thanks a lot :) !!’’


‘’Do you have any kind of life advice for our readers & us?’’

Melik‘’Everyone deals with different issues so I guess there's no one advice that fits all. But if I had to give one it would be to accept yourself the way you are, and to be happy with who you are before trying to please others.’’


Read the review of ‘’Rotten’’ here!


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By Tamar