About Me

Interview with Tomorrow’s Rain

Many surprises were revealed in this album, called “Hollow”, via AOP Records, on 11th September. You want to know why? Yishai Sweartz kindly talked with Metal Imperium and shared his thoughts, fears, the guests and what influenced him.
This is a must have and an amazing album. Go get a copy!

M.I. - Hi there, guys. So glad to chat with you. You started under the name Moonskin, in 2002, with vocalist Yishai Sweartz and producer, Maor Applebaum, who later moved to LA and worked with Yngwie J Malmsteen and Mayhem. Why the change? Could you, please, tell us more about you, as a band and the Metal scene in Israel?

Well, we are Tomorrow's Rain, from Tel Aviv, Israel. I formed the band in 2002, with Maor Appelbaum (nowadays a famous mastering guy in L.A) and Guitarist Raffael Mor. I had my previous band, NAIL WITHIN, split up right after a debut album, via Listenable Records, while Maor had his previous band, the Goth act  SLEEPLESS split up. We were in a serious crisis, having to face with the lash strike of reality and devastated dream. We started to compose songs step by step and it was obvious from the first song, that it's going to be a reflection of our feelings back then and our lives back then was far from being normal and balanced, depression, drinking, anxiety, stress and panic attacks, stress, etc.
The reason it took so long is: when we started (as Moonskin) back in 2002, the band was our saviour. Then we wrote a few songs, played a few shows, opened for Epica, here in Tel Aviv. Then we started to feel more normal in our personal lives, less depressed, we both got married, and I felt like my life was going on the right path. I felt much better and I felt I couldn't go on stage night after night, singing songs about my pain and inner demons, while getting married , about to be a father (the greatest thing that ever happened to me) and feel happier, it would be fake, it would be like going to work, so I told Maor that I didn't want to continue this any longer, as I didn't want to fake it. It was a pure artistic way of thinking.
So we stopped around 2006.
In 2010, my life took a a serious change again. I got divorced, I felt so full of grief at the end of this relationship and the only thing in my mind was to protect my kid. I was broken, then I turned to the best saviour I know: music... songs... the band.
I called Rafael and told him 3 words "Let‘s do it"! That's it, simple as that. And about a day, after we were in the studio and a month after we supported Dark Tranquillity and started to write the material you hear now on the album.
Since then, we wrote the albums and played with Paradise Lost, Rotting Christ, Swallow The Sun, Kreator, Tribulation and we were about to play with Tiamat and Samael and then, the Covid 19 madness started, sadly...

M.I. - Your album “Hollow” was released via AOP Records, on 11th September. It was produced, mixed and mastered by Dory Bar Or. How did you meet? In what ways did he help you? Did he give you any advices?

Dory has been a friend for 25 years, a gifted musician, great guitar player and I liked the idea of working with him.

M.I. - Let’s talk about the recording sessions: vocals were recorded at EG Studio by Dory Bar Or. Guitars and Bass were recorded at Raffael Mor Studio. Keyboards were recorded at Shiraz Weiss Studio. Drums were recorded at Bardo Studio by Ofer Froind. Why have you used different studios? Did Dory think that in each studio, you could provide and develop the perfect sound?

In order to sit in a relaxed atmosphere, instead of being charged per hour, by a nervous technician who don’t give a damn which band he records…

M.I. - How many songs did you write, before you decided to go for these ones? Will they be featured on the next album? What was more difficult for you? The lyrics, music or melody?

In the second album, we will use only new updated songs. What was not good enough for the debut, was left unrecorded for a reason, so, of course we will not use it in the future and write better and better songs and not use old leftovers.
We started to write the songs years ago. 2 of the songs are with us from the early days, but the majority of the material was written in the last 3 years. It was a long journey to record… so many guest musicians and keep in mind we also recorded the whole album in Hebrew, as well for a special edition within the Israeli market. So, we recorded around 18 songs and the parts of the guest musicians as Sakis or Greg etc., were all done in Hebrew by famous rock musicians from Israel. The names are not known outside Israel, but the Hebrew guest musicians, as Micha Shitrit, Ricky Gal, Eran Zur, Shlomi Bracha and Avi Balleli are all very known rock artists in Israel, since the 80's, with albums that sold 15.000-80.000 units in Israel only.

M.I. - “It is a record full of sadness. Dreary until the end, with huge and vindictive riffs permeating heavy darkness.” What is the story behind the songs?

I write only about my own life. I am coming from a poetry background, I released a poem book back in 1993, called "Rage Prophet", in Israel, at the age of 18. So, writing for me was always the way to express things I feel. I write songs since I was 12, even when I write about Warrel Dane in "Into The Mouth Of Madness". I write about my feelings through the last year of his life and the day he passed away. Reading the album's lyrics is a journey to my heart, but of course people take the song to the place they feel like and it's great. It's the power of art, in my opinion.
But the lyrics in "Hollow" is basically my life story, painful as it is, but it’s also a story about strength, about facing the fears. Writing the songs in this album, is a great example of how to use this pain for a good and creative cause, and it's more important than how many records you sell or how many tickets or t-shirts you sell. It’s the ability to wake up in the morning without feeling panic attacks, without wanting to stay in bed for the rest of the day.

M.I. - You also covered a Nick Cave’ song: “The Weeping Song”. Why this song and not another one? Does this one have the essential elements you were looking for?

It’s our tribute to Nick Cave and to the whole 80's dark goth rock scene. I grew up on Bauhaus, New Model Army, Sisters Of Mercy, The Mission, Joy Division, Cocteau Twins, etc., etc. and these bands had a huge impact on Tomorrow's Rain. So, it’s our way to say, "we salute you".

M.I. - There’s also a Hebrew version of the record. Was it difficult to make the translation? What was more difficult? To sing in English or on your mother tongue?

No. It wasn’t difficult… we enjoy the journey.

M.I. - You also have some important guests: Fernando Ribeiro (Moonspeell), Aaron Stainthorpe (My Dying Bride), Anders Jacobsson (Draconian), Spiros Antoniou (Septicflesh), Jeff Loomis (guitars – Arch Enemy), Gregor Mackintosh (guitars, Paradise Lost), to name a few. Was it difficult to choose the guests? Who had the idea to contact them? What were their thoughts, on this album?

My idea was to  welcome them with open arms to our house and have each one of them leave something from his own into our body of art. We thought about each part and gave each guest exactly the parts I thought would fit them. For example, in "Misery Rain", I had almost a spoken part, telling a very personal story and every time I sang it in the studio, I thought "it will be great to have Fernando, from Moonspell" doing this part in the same vibe he did similar parts in "Wolfheart", which is an album I really, really love. So, I invited Fernando and he did that part. For Jeff Loomis, we invited him for a song about Warrel Dane. Warrel was a friend of mine and, in fact, was supposed to produce "Hollow". So, inviting Jeff Loomis to play in this personal memorial song for his longtime friend and musical partner, was a great idea, etc. etc. I think you can easily recognize Greg Mackintosh special solo in "In The Corner Of A Dead End Street" and the same goes to Aaron, from My Dying Bride in "Fear". They all gave me a small part of them and, for this, I will thank them forever.
Most of them are, in fact, friends that I have known for many years. I met Sakis, from Rotting Christ, in 1993, and we always kept in touch. So, him and Rotting Christ are family to us, also Anders, from Draconian, Spiros, from Septicflesh, Mikko, from Swallow The Sun and, of course, Kobi, from Orphaned Land are friends and we go many years back. Also, Jeff Loomis, even though I knew him personally only in 2003 or 2004 I think, but it's 17 years. Time flies fast. Paradise Lost played here many times and we opened for them twice and that's how I knew Greg personally. Aaron, from My Dying Bride, is, in fact, the only one I only met personally around 2 years ago, but I am a huge MDB fan since 1991. So, he was one of the people I always wanted to work with and have him on the album. We did all the connections via emails, but we wrote a lot to each other and not only about music. So, he is definitely a person I consider a friend and it’s a great respect for us as a band to have him singing with us in the album.

M.I. - The art design was made by Ziv Lenzner and has a fantastic Doom vibe. How did you contact him and what is the message behind it?

I remember myself sitting in front of the computer, checking websites of many metal and goth album's designers and artists and 99% looks the same. You can replace the logo and there you go, and I was looking for something different, something that will remind the vibe of the album covers of Joy Division, Bauhaus, and even early Darkthrone or the debut Danzig album, a strong connection between elements, that will create the right vibe. Then Ziv Lenzner came to my mind. Ziv is not a metal designer but an Anatomist and artist in Tel Aviv. We grew up as kids and he was leading a death metal band in 1990-1991, I knew he would understand exactly what I wanted, I called him and here we are… He made exactly what I had in mind. There was no need to discuss many things. I gave him the idea and reference and being from the same "school", he knew exactly what to do.

M.I. - “In The Corner Of A Dead End Street” is like a scene from a film. What kind of film is it supposed to be about?  Was it difficult to create the footage for it?

It's the second song we ever wrote, a song about inner fears, paranoia, panic attacks and let yourself out of this mess with the right balance, but it’s also a story about strength, about facing the fears. Writing the songs in this album is a great tool, how to use this pain for a good and creative cause, and it's more important than how many CDs you sell or how many tickets or t-shirts you sell. It’s the ability to wake up early in the morning without feeling panic attacks, without wanting to stay in bed for the rest of the day.

M.I. - “Into the Mouth of Madness” has a very personal meaning: the loss of a good friend. Was it difficult to write or did this song help to ease the pain?

It’s about my friend Warrel Dane (Nevermore), Nevermore's debut was released in 95 and I was totally into it, years passed by and I booked them to play here. That's how I meet Warrel, after the band split up, I booked Warrel to play the "Dead Heart" songs in Tel Aviv with a local band, that's when we got really closer. He spent a few days here, we went to the studio to do some Black Sabbath stuff, we ate and drank a lot, went to see places in the Ancient part of the city etc. etc. He was sober back then and he was sober when Nevermore played here a few years earlier, we talked about the Tomorrow's Rain album, back then still in the writing process, we talked about his ideas to record a covers album of gothic rock songs and I offered him a few ideas, we discussed him coming to Israel again for like 2 weeks to produce the album.  About 2 years later, I booked Sanctuary to play here, mainly to support him, when he came, I realized in minutes that he was not "with us" anymore, he was not in a good shape, it was sad to see, I realized that he would not be able to produce the album, but more important: I was worried about him, I was scared that something bad would happen, I felt it.
A few months later, I was in the car with my (now ex) girlfriend and suddenly I got an WhatsApp message from a common friend of ours, in the States, saying "Warrel has passed away a few hours ago". This song is for him, I miss him, we invited Jeff Loomis to play on that one, amazing guitarist!

M.I. - “Fear” finds sublime depth in its gentle acoustic passages and lumbering riffs. What kind of fear? The pandemic that we are currently living in?

Fear of life!

M.I. - “Misery Rain” sends chills down the spin. Rafael Ortega worked with you on all the videos. How did you get acquainted with Rafael’s work?

Tomer from the Israeli band Subterranean Masquerade told me about him. Rafael did all our videos. He is great.

M.I. - What are your main influences while writing material? 

Life, feelings, fears, and other artists and music we like.

M.I. - Which countries would you like to visit, to introduce your work, with a tour? Will you have another band to tour with you?

Too early and too optimistic to talk about touring now. The world is under attack and nobody knows what the future will bring, but I would like to visit everywhere we have fans, but it’s hard to imagine tours at the moment.

M.I. - Thanks for chatting with us. Any particular words you would like to share with Portugal and the Metal world in general?

We got a lot of support and great feedbacks from Portugal in the last 2 years. So, I want to thank you there for supporting us! Also, hello to our friends from Moonspell and especially Fernando, he is a great soul, I love him! And "Wolfheart" is the pride of Portugal forever – what a great classic! See you there and hopefully play for you in the future! Cheers

For Portuguese version, click here

Questions by Raquel Miranda