Interview – Meytal Cohen

meytal promo 3

Meytal is a pretty common name in Israel, but who knew as the seventh child was born to the Cohen family that her given name would become her life’s passion? Raised in a traditional family where each person is expected to serve their country in the National Israeli Army for two years and then enter a higher educational status to become a doctor, lawyer or educator, there was something in Meytal’s spirit that called her in another direction. The direction of drums and Metal music. Having developed a huge fan base via YouTube by performing Metal drum covers, Meytal has developed her own sense of who she is in the world of Metal/Rock and the formation of a band, remarkably called Meytal. Now touring with Queensrÿche on their Human Condition Tour 2016, we recently caught up with Meytal while they were on tour and she radiated her found passion with a smile that wins Rock-n-Roll hearts. Although still a relatively young musician, Meytal brings with her a seasoned presence of professionalism and dedication to her art. – First and foremost, congratulations on your spot supporting Queensrÿche out on tour. You have been working very hard through the years to build your career as a musician. Before we go any further, can you tell us the origin of your name?

Meytal Cohen – It’s a pretty common name in Israel actually, not that unique. I used to not like it, but now I do as you don’t hear it here in The States, so it’s pretty cool. – It certainly is a cool name. For those who do not know, what does it mean in Hebrew?

Meytal Cohen – It means “Morning Dew.” Hebrew names are very American Indianish in that our names mean something. We don’t have middle names in Israel, it’s kind of casual. Not like here in The States where people have three of four names. – That is quite interesting. You actually served in the National Israeli Army for two years as mandatory service. Thereafter, you suffered a severe back injury. What happened exactly?

Meytal Cohen – I moved from Israel to attend LA Music Academy in Los Angeles, CA. I was looking to make connections and friends. I was invited to go on a little vacation trip, and during our return home, we were in a car accident. It was an unfortunate incident as we rolled off a little cliff three times. I don’t really remember much of it. – Wow, that is tough. Thankfully you are better now. Did this accident interrupt your schooling?

Meytal Cohen – Yeah, I had to move back home and do physical therapy. I had to wear a back brace for six months. Then I came back and finished the music school program.
meytal promo 4 – That is great that you were able to return after such an accident. You seem to be very comfortable, as drumming is a natural extension of who you are, sitting among the massive artwork of drums and cymbals.

Meytal Cohen – Um, I don’t think I am still where I want to be. It is something you have to keep up and practice. If I don’t practice for a week, I feel like my limbs don’t work. They don’t do what I want them to do. It is a lot of work, but I am not one of those people who like to practice too much. You can never practice too hard, but the best way for me to practice is to learn a new song. – It is that type of determination and hard work which will take you even further. When you were learning under the tutelage of your music teacher, “Isaac,” in Israel, did he teach from theory, or how was his presentation?

Meytal Cohen – It was very much from books and styles. We did rudiments. Studied Jazz, Punk. He came from a background that was very studious in learning music. – It sounds like a good experience. Did his style of teaching work for you?

Meytal Cohen – Yes. It was very hands on. When I moved to the music school, I was very focused on Jazz and also a lot of sight-reading. Although, it wasn’t the right time for me. Now I can benefit from it a lot more though.

meytal promo 2 – That is great that you can apply it now. Do you feel that the structure you received during your two years of military service has helped you now that you are on the road and touring?

Meytal Cohen – Being in the Army definitely makes you less spoiled. I guess it does kind of change your perspective, and it is possible it has affected it. – Right, it may even be subconscious. The Rock/Metal genre has been very male dominated historically. What has your experience been like thus far in this world?

Meytal Cohen – Yeah, there aren’t many girl drummers. I think it kind of works to your advantage, but at the same time, it doesn’t. I feel like it was a little harder to fit in the way the industry is. When I would go and audition, people would be surprised and doubtful, but hey, it worked on YouTube! – That is very true. Well, it seems the the scene is making tremendous strides toward more equality amongst the sexes. Do you see yourself then as a pioneer for equality?

Meytal Cohen – I think it changed the views for a lot of people who think girls can’t do this. It’s like a whole generation is being okay with girls being drummers. I think I may have a little to do that. I get a lot of emails and videos from girls who have been inspired to do it. – That is wonderful to hear that. Does being an inspiration ever feel like a big responsibility, especially as you have this young thirteen year-old girl standing in front of you ready to take on the world of drumming?

Meytal Cohen – It’s funny you say that, because when I first started out, as soon as I realized the responsibility of playing, and all the eyes are on you, knowing if you don’t do a good job, you’re proving girls can’t play. I think that’s the big reason I chose the YouTube route. Doing it that way, I didn’t feel like, in the beginning, I was under the pressure. I could take my time and perfect it to get it right. – Understandable. In contrast, how have you approached the element of playing live?

Meytal Cohen – I really just try to focus on having fun and I got some tips from people who have been on the road a lot; that you don’t have to be perfect. This is more about the vibe and having a good time. People aren’t scrutinizing everything. It seems to have an improvisation to it, as I had dropped a stick and you just have to keep finding ways to go on.

Meytal live at The Marque Tempe, AZ 1-12-16
Meytal live at The Marque Tempe, AZ 1-12-16 – Playing live definitely gives you a unique moment and tests your merit. The audience knows that, and I think they like seeing the human side of those they love onstage.

Meytal Cohen – They even like it when you kind of mess up (laughed). It proves you’re human and it isn’t a big deal like I thought it was going to be before this tour. – Right, you just have to try and relax and everything will work itself out. You’ve created instructional videos for drumming, YouTube covers, brought in merchandise, as well as released your album Alchemy. With so much accomplished so far, how many YouTube covers are you up to now?

Meytal Cohen – Around one-hundred twenty. I kind of stopped counting, and my focus has moved into my original music. This year I only did maybe four drum covers, taking harder songs so I can learn to be an even better drummer. It has really helped me see what all drummers put themselves through to be great drummers. It is amazing. Readers can go to for more information.

 Light Drop Music
Light Drop Music – That is amazing. Interestingly, you originally were studying in high school to be an actress. Would you still like to pursue that venue as well?

Meytal Cohen – My first kind of love in high school was theater. My friends from high school who knew me as an aspiring actress are surprised when they find out I didn’t go that direction. I would love the opportunity to do something in a film or on Television. – That would be pretty cool. Is there anyone in particular you would like to work with or be directed by?

Metal Cohen – I would love to work with Quentin Tarantino! That would be like a dream! – Tarantino is certainly a fantastic director. Let’s hope you get that opportunity at some point in your career. Seeing you are touring more, would the band like to be part of Vans Warped Tour someday?

Meytal Cohen – We really hope we can. This tour with Queensryche has been a dream come true, but we would love to be a part of more festivals, and especially the Warped Tour.

Tour Dates:
Jan 19 Charlotte, NC Amos’ Southend *
Jan 20 Philadelphia, PA Theatre of Living Arts *
Jan 21 Elmhurst, NY Blackthorn 51 **
Jan 22 Sayreville, NJ Starland *
Jan 23 Boston, MA The Palladium *
Jan 24 Lancaster, PA Chameleon *
Jan 25 Washington, DC 9:30 Club *
Jan 26 Louisville, KY Diamond Pub Concert Hall ***
Jan 27 Cincinnati, OH Bogart’s *
Jan 28 Peoria, IL Limelight *
Jan 29 Turtle Lake, WI St. Croix Casino
Jan 30 Milwaukee, WI The Rave *
Jan 31 Chicago, IL Concord *
Feb 02 Kansas City, MO Knuckle heads *
Feb 03 Denver, CO Summit *
Feb 04 Salt Lake City, UT In The Venue *
* Opening for Queensrÿche
** Headlining show
*** Opening for Epica

For more on Meytal Cohen: | maximummeytal.comFacebook | Twitter | YouTube
Purchase Alchemy: iTunes |

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