Interview with Yishai Sweartz (Vocals)
Interview by Rossy Maguire
Hey there and thank you for your time. To begin, how did you guys all meet and what’s the meaning behind the band’s name?
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 serious crisis having to face the lash strike of reality and devastated dreams, so we started to compose songs step by step and it was obvious from the first song that it was gonna be a reflection of our feelings back then; our lives back then were far from being normal and balanced – depression, drinking, anxiety, stress, panics attacks, stress, etc, etc.
The reason it took so long is: when we started (as Moonskin) back in 2002 the band was our savior. We wrote few songs, played a few shows, opened for Epica here in Tel Aviv, than we started to feel more normal in our personal lives, less depressed, we both got married, and I felt like having my life goin’ down the right path. I felt much better and I felt I can’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 ever happened to me) and feeling happier, it will be fake, it will be like going to work, so I told Maor that I don’t want to continue this any longer as I don’t want to fake it; it was a purely artistic way of thinking.
So we stopped around 2006.
In 2010 my life took a serious change again, I got divorced, I felt so full of grief for 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 savior 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 album and played with Paradise Lost, Rotting Christ, Swallow The Sun, Kreator, Tribulation and we were about to play with Tiamat and Samael and than the covid-19 madness started sadly…
The name TOMORROW’S RAIN we took from the song “Fragile” by Sting as it represents the whole concept.
When did you first start getting into music and know you wanted to join a band?
At the age of 12. I was deep into music, it was 1987 and my world was THE CURE, THE SMITHS, SISTERS OF MERCY and BAUHAUS on one side and JUDAS PRIEST, METALLICA, DIO, IRON MAIDEN, etc on the other side. In 1991 I had my first band at 15, and in 1992 played my first show.
Have you been in bands previously?
Yes, I’ve been in BETRAYER (1991-1999) and NAIL WITHIN (2001-2002), both released a debut each.
You’re about to release your debut album “Hollow” in September this year. What is the concept behind the album?
I write only about my own life. I come from a poetry background; I released a poetry 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 been writing 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” are my life story, painful as it is, but its also a story about strength, to about-face the fears. Writing the songs in this album is a great example how to use this pain for a good and creative cause, and that’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.
“Hollow” features an all-star array of musicians from My Dying Bride to The Sisters of Mercy. What has it been like to work with these musicians?
My idea was to welcome them with open arms to our house and have each one of them to leave something from his own for our body of art. We thought about each part and gave each guest exactly the parts I thought fit him, 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. With 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. I think you can easily recognize Greg Mackintosh’s special solo in “In The Corner Of A Dead End Street” and the same goes for Aaron from My Dying Bride in “Fear”, they all gave me a small part of themselves and for this I will thank them forever.
Most of them are in fact friends that I have known for many years: I knew Sakis from Rotting Christ in 1993 and always kept in touch so he 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 didn’t know personally until 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 a person I consider a friend and it’s a great honour for us as a band to have him singing with us in the album.
Can the fans of the artists you’ve collaborated with expect to hear their influences reflected throughout “Hollow”?
We are influenced by Paradise Lost and My Dying Bride for example but I don’t think we are influenced by Draconian or Swallow The Sun, BUT for example, me and Anders from Draconian are in the same age range, we both entered the scene in the same year with the same music influenced us, so you can find similarities because we grew up on the same music in same years; we have the same roots coming from the same school and being in the same class with the same teachers… 🙂
How would you describe your music to someone who has never heard it?
Embracing influences from the 80’s Gothic Rock/Post Punk (Fields Of The Nephilim, The Sisters Of Mercy, The Mission and similar) hand in hand with Doom/Death touches from the genre’s golden years.
Do you have a favourite track or tracks from “Hollow”?
It changes from day to day.
Where do you draw your influences from when it comes to producing new music/lyrics?
Sadly from my life.
What is the music scene like where you are based in Tel Aviv?
It’s a small but supportive metal scene with many shows of European known bands and also active interesting local bands we can mention: Dim Aura, Scardust, Arallu, Subterranean Masquerade, Desert, and of course Orphaned Land.
Adding to the previous question, how has the pandemic affected Tel Aviv and yourself for that matter?
The positive side is in fact that it’s easier because everybody’s at home in front of the computer 24/7 and not on tour or on vacation. The only problematic two points are that there are no shows to push the album and play live and the fact that people are afraid to spend money because they don’t know what tomorrow will bring.
On top of that, you can add that we get zero support from our horrible government.
Is there anyone or anywhere you would like to play and haven’t yet?
We only played in Israel so far so of course we are very interested to play around the world.
How do you think the music industry has changed over the years?
Do you have three days to hear me blabbering about it?… 🙂 Seriously, it changed A LOT and not for good, the value of music went down sadly.
I’ve seen that Tomorrow’s Rain has been signed to AOP Records. Do you think it’s important for a band to be signed to a label to be recognised in today’s society? What are your thoughts?
It depends on a few aspects like what are your targets, your abilities to sacrifice things in life and what is the idea behind it all. We are very happy on A.O.P Records, very satisfied.
What is your writing/recording procedure like? Do you have a preferred way of doing things to get the creative juices flowing?
No rules, no mechanism, we just do what feels right.
What genres of music do you like to listen to personally? Any new bands that have caught your attention recently and would recommend
I love music, I listen to everything from Marduk and Napalm Death to Genesis and Nick Cave, and everything in between.
Lately, I find myself listening a lot to King Diamond, The Cure, and Judas Priest, nothing new though, but the new Psychotic Waltz album is great, as is the new My Dying Bride, and I fell in love with “The Devil’s Blood” in the last years.
What are the pro’s/cons of being in a band?
Too old to start thinkin’ about it…😊 It’s a lot of satisfaction on one side but it’s a hard ride with a huge price to pay on the other side
Outside of creating music, is there anything you like to do for fun? Any hobbies?
Literature, football and sex.
What are your plans once Covid-19 has settled?
To play as many shows as we can, to get life to normalize again finally. I think the whole situation discourages the people from day to day life, but when despair crawls in it brings also inspiration, so I hope that bands will not give up and use this crazy period as a source of creativity, as a crisis to grow from, to write about the things they feel inside, etc. At least that’s what we will do.
Thank you for your time, is there anything you’d like to say to our readers?
Thank you very much for the interview and the support, keep supporting interesting bands and always stay hungry for good music.