In Israel there are wars taking place, violence and conflict are aspects that are not foreign to those who live there; they have become a part of everyday life. Each person takes it differently, there are those who are sucked into war and become violent themselves, some become militant, others turn nationalistic and patriotic, some turn active in either Pro war/Anti war.
Then there are the artists. The musicians who stop and slow it down. They really think about what is happening before taking action. They are the ones who watch things with a suspicious eye and process the scenes they are held captive to. It is their job to create artistic statements that will make other people stop and think too. You could call it a coping mechanism, but it is their responsibility to question everything.
I interviewed Juval Haring, a musician who lives in the centre of the chaos and below you can find out what he had to say. It is very interesting to gain an insider’s perspective on the hot topic of war, and how they cope on a daily basis.
The Record Stache (TRS) – As a musician in this difficult time, what is your opinion on what is happening?
Juval Haring (JH) – Great moments of inspiration consist of great moments of depression. It’s not like I hang around waiting for something bad to happen. However certain things that happen in the world are so colossally awful that they also include hints of inspiration. I would say that living here whilst stuff like this happens is oddly inspiring.
TRS – What inspires you to keep making music?
JH – Everything in my life has been against it. I have lost a ton of money on touring and printing vinyls. I guess I keep going back to it because it is comforting. Coming back home from a boring day at the office, picking up the guitar and writing a song about disappearing into the ocean is like therapy. It’s also a statement. Like, they can’t tell me what to do. Although on a more abstract level, it’s me against the world. Anger is so important to me sometimes to keep me alive.
TRS – Has your music received any opposition?
JH – Not really. It has just been ignored by most people. Israeli crossover bands (between underground and popular) are either Balkan, or electronic orientated. There are also a few English speaking Indie bands that sound kind of Swedish or kind of British. Ironically, I think people here have a hard time swallowing a Hebrew speaking pop band. It just hasn’t been done that much.
TRS – Do you think the underground culture is a coping mechanism for some people?
JH – Yes, definitely. It is a place to grow old peacefully, away from the rat race.
TRS – Who are your musical heroes and why?
JH – Ronit Bergman of the band Plastic Venus, Adam Coman of the band The Disposables. Rami Fortis and people who used Hebrew in rock in a very unique way. True punks.
TRS – Has anybody given you any advice that has helped you?
JH – My wife told me not to be an idiot. Best advice I ever got.
TRS – Is there a message that you would like to send out to the readers?
JH – Check out Bela Tar, Ashkara Metim, Ed Turner and the Daniloff Center, Love Grenade and Suicidal Furniture. They are great local bands.
Juval is a member of the Tel Aviv band, Vaadat Chagrim, which translates to Exemptions Committee. They are currently preparing the release of their upcoming album. Below, Juval describes the emotion and meaning behind the five singles that have been released so far.
“Though we sing in Hebrew, I believe most of you will understand what we mean to convey. These are songs about the end of the world, but every word has to do with local images, geography, urbanisms, and human decay. We, as well as our brothers/sisters on the other side of the border are under attack by forces larger than a single citizen. The end of the world is such a rich and stimulating topic, but when you come from a place like Israel, it is also a truth to be dealt with. And we live this option daily, all of us here under the middle eastern sun.
We thought to maybe break down a few of the songs for you so you understand what they are about:”
“The World Is Long Lost” – The song basically says: lets go to the beach and fall in love, and not take it seriously because there is no tomorrow (and we’ve come to accept it here, financially and politically), and the world is long lost.
“Odisea” – The song is a journey through Tel Aviv, and it imagines how iconic buildings in the city are destroyed in a great war. these icons include a 70s shopping center in the heart of Tel Aviv, a central bus station built in the late 80s in the south of the city. both icons were built with the original intention of improving the city, but gradually because of an architectural catastrophe.
“Where It Ends” – Many people in Tel Aviv feel stuck, living in a circle. The songs is called “Where It Ends” because it speaks about someone who went out last night and woke up in the morning at home but couldn’t remember where he had finished the night.
“Witches” – Named after and a homage to a very important Israeli rock band from the 90s. “Witches” is a fantasy story about the Witches female lead singer. It talks about her as a girl meeting a real witch, that gave her the ability to play guitar. In real life , she the lead singer died in a car crash. The song imagines that it is the witch that returned to claim her.
“Kezef” – A song about the feeling that everything here in Israel is temporary. “Kezef” means sea foam. The foam disappears after the wave subsides. As people, culture, and music come and go, they disappear like the sea foam on the shores of the city.