“You are my hiding place;/You will protect me from trouble/And surround me with songs of deliverance.” This psalm (32, 7) explains the title (“Deliverance”) of the last sonic delivery by Tel-Aviv born Yair Etziony, coming out on his own imprint False Industries. This album – the 6th in his discography – is the first one following Yair’s relocation to Berlin, and it was partially inspired by his new environment. Let’s try to discover how.
Chain D.L.K.: Hi, Yair! How are you?
Yair Etziony: Thanks, I am fine, enjoying the “lovely” weather in Berlin. Slowly recovering from a very strong flu.
Chain D.L.K.: The last of your sonic entity I heard (before your new output) is relatively old…an album “3 Stigmata” on Lamour…I maybe missed one…before speaking about what happened in between these two outputs, can you introduce yourself to our readers?
Yair Etziony: Hello, I am Yair Etziony. I am a composer and a musician who makes weird dark and cinematic music. I was DJing for many years, started with Drum & Bass and then moved to Techno and house. I ran and curated (with other friends, of course) lines such “Micropeople,” “Exercise” and “Sunday Xenax,” and all of them had a special place in the development of music and nightlife culture in Tel Aviv. I started making music with my friend Rani Golan in 2002 under the name Faction, and our debut album was released on the British label Neo Ouija. Since then, I’ve made music under various names and monikers. I released solo albums in Japan (Spekk), Sweden (Lamour) and on many other labels.
I also played in two bands; one is Scorpio 70, where we recorded Giallo-inspired jams, and the “Farthest South,” which was more of a free improvisation thing.
About my musical output, in a way, you’re right; I did not release music for a long time, but I actually released an EP on Tim Martin’s label Handstitched. The EP is called “Metamorphosis,” the same as a book by Franz Kafka. “Metamorphosis” was released in November 2017, and it’s the first proper release I’ve finished since I moved.
3 Stigmata was the last album I wrote in my old studio that was based in Tel Aviv, back in 2015.
A little bit after that, I moved with my spouse Sivan to Germany. The change was at first drastic; the fact is I did not know how comfortable I was living in that city. When I moved, my priorities changed. I needed to create a base of operations for myself, and that took some time. We moved to many apartments in a short time, and I could not find a place which was comfortable. I felt it was time to make changes in some basic paradigms I had for writing and producing music.
I never stopped writing music, I just felt that I was testing and looking for something new. After some trial and error, in 2017, I felt I had something, and from there it was easy. I was booked to play in Superbooth 2017, and not so long after I recorded a lot of music.
Chain D.L.K.: Why did you give life to False Industries? Do you think something was missing in the music industry that False Industries could compensate for?
Yair Etziony: My idea for the label was to create a community, weird collaborations, where people who coming from different kinds of music and scenes can create something interesting together. There is a certain vibe that all of the artists share; for example, the remix Maps and Diagrams did to Matt Baldwin when a San Fransisco-based psychedelic guitar player meets a British electronic music artist. This is the kind of ideas that push the label forward.
Chain D.L.K.: The album I quoted (3 Stigmata) was inspired by the same-named novel by Philip K. Dick…a pretty dystopian piece of literature. How did you try to intercross your music and other forms of art (literature in particular)?
Yair Etziony: At the time when I was writing 3 Stigmata, I was ill with kidney stones and could not do much. I was reading the book, and a bit after I changed my old studio to a new setup; I had only CVGATE devices running with one clock. I used to play with this setup for an hour or so a day, for a week or two.
Then, when I heard the music I recorded, it was obvious that the music is very much derived from the book, and from there the decision to write a soundtrack made more sense.
With PKD, it’s even easier. I feel that his books can give the reader a very precise feeling of “what it is to be human,” and let’s not forget he wrote them in the 60s and 70s. We live in the future he was seeing, with the “Internet of things,” fast computer networks, digital newspapers, and global warming.
There is a certain narrative in the book, and I wanted that narrative to be felt with music.
Chain D.L.K.: What did it happen after 3 Stigmata?
Yair Etziony: Like I said, moving to a new country was not easy, but it also changed the way I feel about my own music. I was mainly testing new ideas and setups for the whole time, but most of that stuff did not feel like a coherent album for me. I decided to put more emphasis on modular synths, and all the releases that follow are based on that instrument, either solo or with other tools.
Chain D.L.K.: Your brand new album “Deliverance” is the first output after you left Tel Aviv and moved to Berlin… Would you say this event of your life or the new environment had an influence on your sound? If so, how?
Yair Etziony: Yes, I normally take a lot of inspiration from my surroundings, going for walks in the city. Tel Aviv is a sunny city with lovely beaches and very loud manners, while Berlin is cloudy, quiet and cold. I think you can hear it in the sound palette I chose for “Deliverance.” In Tel Aviv, you commute mainly by car or by foot, while in Berlin it’s mainly trains or bicycle. When we moved, I felt uncomfortable in public transportation, since it was not something I used so much. I think you can hear the slow movement of the trains in “Deliverance.”
Chain D.L.K.: Apropos of Berlin…some of your outputs seem to have clues of the so-called Berlin School, that branch of electronic music that was forged in the 70s and had a strong influence on the musical production that came years later…do you confirm my impression?
Yair Etziony: Yes, of course, I really love Conrad Schnitzler, Tangerine Dream, Klaus Schulze, Manuel Gottsching, Ash Ra Tempel, and Gunter Schickert, to name few. I think for a short time, there was an explosion of innovation coming from young German musicians. I was actually supposed to do a thesis on this subject when I studied for my MA in Modern German history, but I could never finish it. I think that those artists with new instruments and their new ideas (they felt blues was British and American and wanted something new and German) were very much ahead of their time. I think some of us only started to understand how amazing this music was, only when we got a bit older.
Chain D.L.K.: An almost obvious question…why did you leave Tel Aviv?
Yair Etziony: Well, after living in Tel Aviv for more than 10 years, I and my spouse felt bored and, in perspective, one might say very comfortable there. Tel Aviv really changed in the last couple of years before we moved; many friends left the city, it became very expensive, we found less interest in events and clubs. I think for the younger people who arrived, the city seemed exciting, but for us, “it wasn’t the same again.”
We wanted a change, and we had a talk about the whole thing, and I just left my work and took some time off to rest (I had the kidney stone thing from question 2), and both of us agreed that we would move to another place. I wanted to move the desert, and she wanted to Berlin. I am happy we moved to here.
Chain D.L.K.: Besides the inspiration for your new environment, are there any other sources of inspiration for Deliverance?
Yair Etziony: For me, it can be many things; films, books, music, plastic art. I like reading old myths from anywhere around the world and find so much inspiration there. I love constructivist art and certain buildings as inspiring.
I take many pictures every day on my mobile device, and that inspires me too. I work a lot with computers and networks, and I think some of that inspires me deeply. I also love to do long walks. I think those are the most important moments of inspiration, at least for me.
Chain D.L.K.: ‘Am Aller Ecke’… German for ‘Behind the corner’, isn’t it? The title of a track (the second one of the list) that could be labeled as very anxious and obscure…how did you make it? Do you remember the moment or the images you matched to it?
Yair Etziony: I was drinking with friends in a bar called “Aller Eck,” which is at the corner of Aller Street in Neukölln, and when I went to the toilet I got the idea for the album, “Deliverance.” The funny thing is that I took a picture of the wall; I did not want to forget the moment and not the idea. The track was self-made on a modular system, and I added some overdubs from the Arturia plugin so I could get that Yamaha CS-80 vibe to it. It was the instrument Vangelis used when he wrote the soundtrack for “Blade Runner,” and I wanted something of that vibe there. A good friend of mine once told me, that when the infinite arrives, it’s a horrible feeling, since we are finite.
The idea is we can imagine the infinite, but can’t deal with it.
Chain D.L.K.: ‘Gesundbrunnen Ghosts’ sound closer to some morbid dark-industrial stuff that drew inspiration from soundtracks of horror movies of the 70s…how did you forge its sound?
Yair Etziony: This was the first tune I finished when I worked on this album. It was recorded in an older studio and is played 100% on a modular synth. Back then, I worked near the Gesundbrunnen S-Bahn station, and walking there at night felt like there were ghosts hidden. I adore 70s horror and sci-fi soundtracks, so yes, something from that for sure is everywhere in “Deliverance.” The tune was created with a complex analog oscillator, and low pass gates; the idea was to get a sound that was eerie and new, but has a sentiment of the vintage sound.
Chain D.L.K.: “Unheimlich” (German for ‘creepy’) is another descriptive title for the related track… Why did you explore this emotional set on “Deliverance”? Do you think that getting the listener closer to it is a way to initiate to a sometimes scary reality and liberate from the globalized brainwashing/brainfuck?
Yair Etziony: The idea to name the track “Unheimlich” came from the idea of the Uncanny in the philosophy of Martin Heidegger. It’s less about creepy and more about not feeling at home, or feeling strange. It’s when objects in the world lose their meaning and we feel like strangers to ourselves; without being deeply into Heidegger’s philosophy, I would say that some moments of Uncanny can lead to moments of “Deliverance.” As I see it, our reality and use of technology are making us feel even more strange, even at home, and I think the music represents a side of me, a side that looks at our society and feels strange about it.
Chain D.L.K.: The title-track is maybe my fav…what are you going to deliver by means of its amazing sound?
Yair Etziony: “Deliverance” was one of the last tunes I finished. I like the idea that it ends the album in a kind of optimistic mode. Well, maybe not super optimistic, but there is at least an acceptance of a humanistic condition which means some piece of mind. As a good friend of mine once said: “Deliverance” can be taken in two ways; one is the religious idea that God will deliver you, and the second is that as a creator or a composer, which is me, delivering a work of art.
Chain D.L.K.: Many of our readers could be interested in the equipment you used to forge “Deliverance”…any words about it?
Yair Etziony: I recorded “Deliverance” with a modular eurorack system. I use analog VCAs and Low Pass Gate’s to give everything this 70s vintage synth sound that I love so much. In the same setup, I use many envelope generators and weird sequencers to randomize things a lot. I really love the modules from Verbose Electronics, Make Noise, Mutable Instruments, and Erica Synths.
I used some old Roland machines such as MC-202, SH-101, and TR-606. Everything was recorded to a UAD interface, and in the box, I used some Arturia plugins and Stylus for some beat making. For mixing, I used UAD and Fab filter plugins, which are good.
Chain D.L.K.: Any work in progress?
Yair Etziony: Of course. I just finished another album for Swedish label Lamour which is called “As Above So Below.” I am working on a nice collaboration with another Israeli ex-pat who lives in Berlin. Her name is Daniela Orvin, and I really like her music. It’s different than what I do, so it is interesting. I also started a more Drum & Bass inspired project which is called DEC. And I also play in a project with 2 friends and like-minded musicians Martin Maischen and Arik Hayut. We call our selves “Eshkolot.”
visit False Industries (Yair’ label) on the web at: false-ind.com