Interview: Ziv (Re-arbeiten)
The relationship I’ve had with Israel’s project, Re-Arbeiten, is almost a year, where we have exchanged ideas, especially with its member Natalie Bar. This time I had the opportunity to speak with her leader Ziv, They come from a long tradition in electronic music and that although in their country music IDM is not something very recognized (as in the whole world), they continue to fight with their ideals and collaborate with musical projects around the world with Remixes they make, I was lucky that they made me two. Let’s see what Ziv tells us, as part of the music and how Re-arbeiten develops among other things.
By Manuel Knwell
I would like to know how you start in music and how to get to form Re-arbeiten?
I was interested in electronic music and studio technology from quite and early age i think around when i was 13 i studied some classical piano but i got bored with it very soon and one day my sister’s husband who was an amateur jazz pianist bought a Prophet 5 and the moment i saw it my life was changed forever i remember that i did not leave the machine for about 12 hours , from there i started stalking the local music store owner where he had a few Roland and Yamaha synths and i did not leave until i learned to use them all. That was the start, i immigrated from Budapest (Hungary) to Israel and slowly started buying synths so when i was around 15 i already had a small studio. After that i found out that in this country the whole electronic music scene was very primitive or naive so gradually i taught myself sound engineering and i kind a became the electronics guy in the studio that i worked in.
And in which year is born Re-arbeiten?
During the 90’s in Israel the Goa Trance scene was very dominant but i could not really find my place in that scene because i was always interested in the more darker alternative scenes of industrial and avantgarde sounds well Re-Arbeiten was not born in one particular moment it was a gradual thing Natalie and i were always curious in experimenting with sound so it just started as something that would satisfy our need for sound experimentation and Natalie one day just invented the name kind of a mix of words on Rework so we split the the words Re and Arbeiten in German so the Kraftwerkian influence was there in the name so we need to credit Natalie with the name there, She knew my great love for Kraftwerk and kinda became a tribute word on it although the name has no meaning (it just looks nice written down) haha I think that all happened about 5, 6 years ago.
Ziv, and how has been the reception in the musical world with Re-arbeiten? What do you think of your work in Israel?
Well as you may know what we do sometimes is not very communicative but we got lucky that our friends that run the Block Club in Tel Aviv got interested and with the club’s amazing sound system our live sets had drawn more and more people that wanted to know what those two weirdoes are doing with those sounds and machines so gradually they got used to our sonic adventures and people really are into it in our live gigs they sometimes are dancing to it as well which was totally unexpected considering the fact that there are no two bars sometimes repetitive so as i mentioned it was a pleasant surprise and the fact that we get to perform there once a month gradually is building a crowd of people that are into our sounds although the IDM scene in Israel is almost non existent people conception of IDM starts and stops at maximum Aphex Twin here.
To me gives the impression and it is something that I have heard that the IDM is the top of the electronic and to appreciate it you have to go through many styles to be able to say ok, this is extraordinary, you think about it?
Of course as many musicians of that category or genre i cannot agree with the term IDM it is something so much wider so much more complex in influences that to put it in one definition it limits the scope and the ,meaning of this type of art form for me personally it is the mix or the intersection between modern art abstract art science and technological expression so as you said the sources and influences are vast and of course you need a long musical journey to arrive at the gates of IDM as you put it but at the same time i feel it is a very personal journey as well each artist and their own definition of this genre.
How has the return of cult projects such as Boards of Canada, Autechre or Aphex twin and has had a positive effect on their music?
Oh well as you know we are great fans and have tons of respect to those Titans of electronica i believe we are influenced by their musical output of course especially Autechre that we consider them to be one of our most influential groups, not by god forbid imitating but by being guided by their journey and sometimes we feel that whenever there is a new Autechre album we need to keep up with the demands of their guidance we always think that they are so advanced sometimes creating pieces that are way ahead of the current sounds they always sound like they are like 5 years into the future sometimes even more but at the same time we listen to tons of music that is from the 50′ 60′ like musique concrete and modern classical music and of course other IDM musicians but we try not to limit our influences to one particular genre it could sometimes start even from a piece of noise that caught our ear or even our refrigerator that makes craziest sounds sometimes haha!
Ziv, has it become a fashion to buy similar synthesizers and boast of playing them when they actually do nothing?
The studio that we share with our artist friend collective has many great synths but as the old cliche sais «it’s not the gear it’s the ear» we don’t feel blinded by gear if it serves a purpose we will use it but if a piece of software does the job better we will use it we love analog synths and we have just started collecting and building our little modular eurorack setup, as i said it is so purpose driven
Being a lover of synthesizers, if you had to recommend one, to make music, which would be serious and why?
Wow! that is not an easy question but i think an 808 and a Juno 60 or even the sweet little Arturia Minibrute with a couple of effects even as plugins is enough of a good starting point. I find simple easy and accessible gear is important i kinda don’t like those two many menu and page driven machines it’s annoying and distracting , you wanna dive into making music not try to figure out which button takes you to the right menu if you just want to change one tiny parameter.
Tell us Ziv are planning to record a new album and tell us what it is based to make your jam when you play live?
We are always are recording new material if we think that a group of pieces have something in common maybe it will become an album and for the live setup we use a Minibrute a Microbrute a Beatstep a Tr-09 a Keystep the Novation Launchpad Pro and sometimes some other pieces of gear depends all synced to Ableton where we run little pieces of beats and sounds that we compose into pieces live and we assemble them together as coherently as we can of course we are also busy with tons of remixes (as you know yourself hehe) right now we are working one project for Section 27 which are sounds recorded by the artist Dissolved …from 2000-2006 that are bits and pieces of smaples that we try to assemble to create new pieces out of them
What is your experience with software, which do you prefer to produce your music? and because?
I think during my years, i have always tried to learn as many platforms as i could for years it was Cubase because of the ease of use and the flexibility but nowadays i am very satisfied with Ableton and reaktor because i find both of those platforms very creative and intuitive together with Max for Live, but i still mix on Nuendo or Cubase and master our stuff on Sequoia.
What do you think of the work done by Sakamoto and Alva Noto?
Wow well those are two amazing artists Sakamoto is truly one of our great composers of our generation from films that he had done the music for and up to his collaboration with David Sylvian and of course Alva Noto another giant who is very influential as well, i love them both very much as most of the people from Raster Noton btw Byetone who is from the same label was at the Block club were he performed the same evening as us and was very interested and impressed by our live gig and work.
What would your dream of working on an album with a musician you admire?
Well i think the answer would be very obvious don’t you think hahaha? Autechre with Autechre and some Autechre too but we would not refuse to Richard D James or Squarepusher or Alessandro Cortini but we can’t complain we have a chance to work with some wonderful artists from around the world yourself included of course, it is a very interesting and inspiring process.
You have done a lot of remixes catalog, what are your favorites and what is the contribution that these have in the current music?
It’s very hard to choose each and every remix has brought us joy and inspiration on many levels including some wonderful friendships so we kinda can not choose one. This is exactly like the music we love to listen to , there is no one band or song that is more than the other each with it’s own little microcosmos
I know that he is a cinephile, to what movie would you like to do the soundtrack and why?
Hehe! tricky question we did not expect it, well i would not mind doing the soundtrack to Tarkovski’s Stalker or Andrei Rublev i think it could be awesome , also if one day somebody would do a Neuromancer (William Gibson) adaptation i would tot not mind , we are suckers for science fiction and cyberpunk even if you know Tetsuo the Iron Man would be awesome as well. or if someday there would be a Jodorowsky’ s Moebius project it would be great although Moebius is not alive , still though hehe…
Turning to another subject, I would like to quote a quote from Sir Yehudi Menuhin: «It is unjust for the people of Israel to fight against their Palestinian brethren,» that cost them the medal of honor they give to the greatest Jews in the world, and Was exciliated by that phrase for a long time, what do you think about it?
We are not political in our views it does not mean that we have no say in those matters all injustice is wrong does not matter towards who, if it is one individual or a whole nation, our hearts stop every time there is violence in our country regretfully we have no influence over those matters, we wish it would never happen, but it does ,and not just here but today regretfully all over the world . Not that it ever stopped war. As long as there are people who benefit financially from the suffering of others there will be conflicts and injustices and there is nothing we can do about it and it feels terrifying…as Thom York said once Music is an escape from reality ….so we choose to escape…..maybe it is cowardly but we are not naive about the power of individuals ……you have none….even if there are songs that say you do…..we don’t believe that…it’s being delusional.
What do you think of the labels that nowadays publish music for paid download, do not feel that many of them are just cheating the musicians, you have edited by any label?
As some feminist writer (whose name we cannot remember right now) once said «Telling the truth out loud is a revolutionary act» and this is something we do we had no such experience but maybe we were lucky , and it is very regretful that someone will do that ugly act to an artist , i think artists that experienced such things should share that information in order for others not to fall into that trap.
Did you have to go outside of Israel to play? And have plans to do a tour?
I had toured with other projects and of course when the time will be right we will surely do that but my tours were long before i met at the end of the 90’s and around 2000-2001 but for now i think it is better for our music to tour by itself around the world long before we will follow.