With more and more underground international acts taking the bait and coming to China to tour, Israeli art rock band has been pulling no punches on their first China tour. From Hong Kong (a show which I sadly missed during m visit last week) all the way up to Beijing, for the JUE Festival’s closing day this Sunday, the band has been getting their story out there and allowed me to interview them as to prepare us for what they have in store – and it sounds like we’re in for a treat. Here’s what they had to say.
You guys label yourselves as “art rock” – what exactly does that entail?
Eatliz cuts up slices of every music genre we feel like and cook it with the major spice which is rock. We can mix prog or indie or metal, but we don\’t stick to one obvious rock genre. We come from rock but the artistic search is always there.
You’re very well known for your vibrant live shows – any hints as to what to expect when you hit the stage on March 25th? Do you guys travel with a vibrant wardrobe everywhere you go?
We will be debuting our new concert at JUE festival, so it\’s like the complete Eatliz experience, combining new visual elements and sounds from our next album. Lee likes to dress up, it\’s fun and part of our shows, so yeah, the wardrobe is in.
Israel has a population a third of the size of Beijing – how does living in such a relatively small area shape your music? What is the alternative music scene like in cities like Tel Aviv?
Eatliz is based in Tel Aviv, and this is our home town, but we feel like our music does not have limits. It\’s getting into Europe, the US and now also to China or where ever people look for it. Tel Aviv is the center of the alternative music in Israel and culture in general. The fact that this country and music scene are relatively small, helps building a community very fast. It\’s easy to get the word out for new acts or exciting things that are going on, lots of musicians and bands are collaborating with each other and also play in several bands. There is a constant energy of action going on, and a vibe of creativity in the air. This feeling of density is finding its way to our music which is very hectic and unstable.
International music has shaped a lot of the music culture within China, especially that of rock – where do your influences come from? How much of your sound was influenced by your “roots”? Do you consider yourself in ways an ambassador of contemporary Israeli music?
International music has also shaped Israeli rock. Eatliz\’s influences range from Middle eastern music to acts like Lush, Pixies and Radiohead, and also Celtic and classical music. These roots are still dominant in our music, though we keep our ears open for good stuff coming. The term ambassadors might be a bit frightening, but we definitely reflect one of the many colors of contemporary Israeli music.
Many of your lyrics touch upon subjects that are universal? Where do your ideas and lyrics come from? What inspires you?
Our lyrics deal with all kinds of relationships and emotions, even if it\’s surreal. The ideas comes from the mindset that Guy, who’s the main writer, is in at the period of writing. He really brings himself to it and it helps him deal with the world. So the inspiration is Guy\’s life and also some TV series he likes that find themselves in the lyrics.
Your music videos have gained numerous accolades – what’s the process behind these highly inventive videos? It looks like a lot time went into the videos, notably “Lose This Child” – is patience important for the creative process?
Since every video was made in a different animation technique, the process behind it is a bit different. What is common is that you have to have a food idea before getting into it. 2 of our videos, Attractive and Lose this Child, were directed by the Grammy nominated directors Yuval and Merav Nathan who had the idea and they are masters in getting it done. They specialize in stop motion technique, and yes, you have to have inhuman patience if you\’re going to deal with any kind of animation; 2D, 3D, stop motion. you name it.
While working on Lose this Child, for example, the directors had very limited time frame they could shoot because it was filmed at night. Every night they only got 15 photos, which are only 1 second of video. Now you do the math for how much night are needed for a complete music video.
You will be showcasing your music videos at The Hutong the day before your show on March 24th? Any tips or pointers to people out there itching to shoot a music video?
Do it only if you have a real passion for it. Don’t compromise on your art and bring your soul into it. Don’t wait for the budget to begin the process of making your idea. If you have a good idea, a good script and you believe in it – just get started and see how far you can push it by yourself and the rest will follow.
What are you most excited about seeing on your trip to China? Do you plan on checking out any local music while here?
We are very excited about the big culture differences. As we see it, China is not destroyed by the western cynical and we are curious to see how it reflects in the art and music. We are also looking forward to share the stage with some local act and see them live. To see the Great Wall would be amazing for sure!
Thanks guys for the insightful interview! My interest is definitely perked – see their Music Video and Animation Screening w/ Q & A at The Hutong this Saturday, March 24th, at 6pm and catch them play alongside Devil Music Ensemble (US) at Tango on Sunday, March 25th, at 7 pm. Check out their bandcamp page to listen to their full albums.