Electra - vive Tel Aviv - Rock out of Israel - in White Trash this Friday - indieberlin interview
Israeli trio Electra conclude their first German tour.
By Jason Kenny.
Israeli three-piece Electra took advantage of the recent Berlin Music Week to launch their first German tour. When IndieBerlin caught up with the high energy dance rockers, the band were taking a day’s break in the Netherlands before heading to a show in Hamburg.
It might be their first trip to Germany, but they're no strangers to the touring bus. Coast to coast tours through the US have become regular additions to the band’s diary since their debut album Heartbreak For Fools came out two years ago. The landscape might change, but rock’n’roll fans aren’t too dissimilar around the globe.
“Generally speaking, no,” confirms frontman Nitzan Horesh. “There’s this rock’n’roll community everywhere. They dress the same and listen to the same music. That’s one thing that is good about globalisation. You know each genre that you want to and it’s all quite similar all over the world. Even in Israel. It’s good for us.”
The trio draw on the energy that punctuated rock in the middle of last decade. There’s trace elements of Franz Ferdinand and The Arctic Monkeys throughout their sound. There’s also something of a throwback to Buddy Holly-era rock’n’roll that lurks in the background.
Horesh spent some time in London years ago and saw friends’ bands going through image and sound changes over months in order to stay fashionable. The emerging Tel Aviv scene is distant enough to allow bands to grow at their own pace, and supportive enough to provide the opportunities Electra needed to get the ball rolling.
“The problem for us, when we started out, is there aren’t as many rock bands in Israel,” Horesh says. “The scene in Tel Aviv is growing pretty fast. It’s quite an interesting time to be in Tel Aviv. And everywhere we travel is quite the same. The same backstage and the beers, the girls.” He laughs. “It’s alright.”
Electra, rounded out by drummer Boaz Wolf and bassist Doron Farhi, have been playing Tel Aviv for six years. The last four years have seen them signed with Anova, one of the largest labels in Israel.
“Outisde of the whole political scene, there’s a real sense of things getting stronger and better in Tel Aviv, especially in the music scene. There’s definitely some nice bands and some nice sounds.”
Their second record sees the trio expand on their garage rock sound. Horesh says the outside influences come naturally to the band, since there’s little local rock traditions to draw on.
“The Israeli pop and rock scene is quite, how should I put it,” Horesh ponders. “So blank and not interesting. So I can’t say we were influenced by Israeli music. But Mediterranean music, some Arabian influences. Just influences, it’s not an Arabic album. There’s some Mexican sounds there too. We like many things.”
The multiple tours through the US might be responsible for the surf rock influence. The first two singles from the record, particularly latest single Starve, serve as an introduction to the fresh cocktail of sounds.
“This album we wrote off the stuff while touring the States,” Horesh says. “It was influenced by some other stuff. It’s more elastic, maybe. We didn’t just try to get the sound we have on stage for a recording but we were trying to experiment with some stuff. We’ve got more stuff [with] inspiration from surf music or even Mediterranean music, some ballads. It got more interesting.”
Though the songs were written on the road, and the studio time was booked, Electra decided on a much looser approach to the record. Nerves about a precious or difficult second album weren’t an issue.
“We recorded it without rehearsing at all. We just got in the studio with some demos I wrote and started working on it. We recorded all of it purely analogue. So it was quite an experiment to learn how to play it while recording and not being afraid of how it’s going to sound live. Some of the songs are based on strings and stuff. We just wanted to experiment with stuff. It was a pretty interesting experience for us and I think it came out alright.”
There’s the experimentation of writing for a string section and bringing in other musicians, but at the heart of the record there is still a live three-piece who began kicking around in clubs in Tel Aviv.
“It opened up the three piece thing. There’s a brass section on the record. But on the other hand, we’re a punk band at heart so there some of the most raw and garage rock tunes are also on this album.”
Electra wrap up their German tour this Friday 14 September at White Trash.