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Betzefer - First contact: metal band checking in from Israel
A few months ago there suddenly was this remarkable news of Roadrunner Records signing an Israeli metal band. got invited to a promo day with this ass-kicking rock ‘n metal band. I met singer Avital who just recovered of a four-day illness and was in a good mood.
Hi, how are you doing?
I am great. I came in from Germany this morning, it feels great to be in the Netherlands again. I really love this country, this is like my eight visit.
How did you first come into contact with heavy metal?
I practically grew on heavy metal like all the guys in the band. The first time I saw a metal band was in ’91, I think. There was a concert with Metallica and Guns ‘n’ Roses in Israel. And from that moment I was totally into these sounds.. That’s what got me into heavy music.

Are there a lot of foreign bands touring in Israel?
No, not now. We haven’t had a big act for the past seven or eight years. But this year actually we have Megadeth coming over to play. That’s really cool and everybody is really excited about that in Israel, so hopefully this will continue. But ever since the war started not too many big acts from the West come here.
Why not, for safety reasons?
Probably also the big promoters are afraid to invest money because they’re afraid that not many people will show up.
An Israeli metal band getting signed to Roadrunner, how did it happen?
Well, we were in Belgium recording our album and we took a week off recording to play some shows. We booked a couple of them in advance just to get some experience with playing outside of Israel, because we never did that before. Then we came across an opportunity that we just couldn’t pass on. Fear Factory was touring in Europe and they decided that they wanted us for a support act, only two days before the show. The promoter of the show knew that we were in the studio at that time so we really got to be in the right place at the right time, it all got sorted out real quick. After the Fear Factory show we got up to a representative of Roadrunner Records, and we exchanged contacts. When we started sending out promo CD’s of our album to record companies naturally we sent one that representative. We also sent one to Roadrunner ourselves, because it was the top label on our wish list anyway; most of our favorite acts are on Roadrunner. Tue Madsen, the guy that produced our album, also gave them a copy, they ended up with three of them, so they really couldn’t ignore the band after that anymore. 

What is the scene in Israel like?
It’s ever-growing. Every year we can see it growing with great heaps, that’s really great. It’s very united, there’s a strong sense of community, a family kind of thing. Perhaps, I guess because it’s really physically isolated, so people need to stick together to share information. If there’s a metal show, and even if it’s not your favorite band playing, you’re still going to show up because you want to be with your friends and be part of a metal meeting.
Are there other Israeli bands worth checking out?
There are a lot of great Isreali bands, playing lots of different genres of metal. Most of them are unsigned though. But there’s for instance Orphaned Land, a really cool Israeli band, who are coming out on Century Media. They’re on tour with Paradise Lost in Europe now. And there’s a lot more coming out, but that will probably be next year.

What do you expect for the future now that you are signed to a major metal label?
Well we’re going to be really focused on promoting this album for the next half year in Europe. What we really want to do is to tour as much as we can, see the whole world and play in front of as many people as we can. In six months we will know in what other parts of the world the album is going to be released.
This year Dynamo pre-party, next year Dynamo Open Air?
Oh, hopefully! We didn’t manage to squeeze into the festival because it was already too late. The album is only going to come out in the beginning of June, but it’s great that we made it to the pre-party. We get to play with Evergrey, that’s pretty cool.
All right, thanks a lot for the interview and good luck with the album!
Thank you and see you somewhere at a show soon!
Betzefer will be playing at the Dynamo pre-party next friday, for more on that show click the link.