When you think of Israel you’ll be forgiven for not immediately thinking of the country’s musical output, barring of course Eurovision entries. Eatliz are going to change all of that.
Eatliz, hailing from the capital Tel Aviv, formed in 2001 and via numerous lineup changes have become arguably the most interesting, relevant and innovative band ever to have hailed from the Middle East.
We spoke to them about their constantly shifting members, the music scene in Tel Aviv and how they’re using animation as an artistic vehicle for their music.
Hey Eatliz. Please introduce yourselves.
We are a 5 piece female-fronted art rock group from Tel Aviv, with constantly changing band members. You can say it kinda became our thing.
You’re a supergroup, how did that formation come about?
Guy Ben Shetrit, the mastermind behind Eatliz, was also the founder of the Israeli cult group Infectzia. Since the scene is pretty small here, and everyone knows everyone, it was easy for him to gather around him some top musicians.
You describe your sound as ‘complicated pop’. Without using the word ‘complicated’, how would you describe yourselves in just three words?
Pop going wrong.
You’ve had quite a few personnel changes since 2001, what’s it like embedding new members into the band?
With each new band member we have a whole new world to get familiar with. It’s exciting and brings a fresh perspective, so new things are formed and interesting things happen inside the music and the whole atmosphere of the band. It brings change, and change means unexpected adventures.
Over the course of your three albums, how would you say your sound has changed?
Our first two releases were very prog/metal influenced, Mr. Bungle style. In our third album we started playing with electronics and focusing our sound in the sense of more on the melody and less on the tricks around it, arrangements and rhythm wise. Our upcoming album bring us to an era of warm electronics and forceful beats, while we maintain the Bi-Polar mood of dark vs. shiny.
It’s been almost three years since your last, Teasing Nature, is there a new album in the pipeline?
Yes. Right now we are in the final stages of finishing our fourth album All Of It, and have already released the debut single ‘Miserable’, which received great reviews from blogs all over the world, and is broadcasted on major Israeli radio stations. This album brings a new experience for us, working with an outside producer, Itamar Zigler from Balkan Beat Box.
You’ve toured all over the world; do you find that crowds in certain countries act differently to others? Which has been the most receptive crowd you’ve played in front of?
You know, you’d think that people will react different, but as a matter of a fact, they don’t. We were lucky to have very receptive crowds, be it in Spain, the States, Canada or Hong Kong. People really appreciate it when you are coming all the way from Israel to their town and they show lots of love. The most surprising welcoming was in China, where the crowd was very excited to meet us and the people were so warm and excited about our music. They even knew some of the lyrics of the songs. It’s a culture so different than ours, and still they made us feel at home.
What’s the music scene like in Tel Aviv, and Israel as a whole?
There is a great indie scene in Israel that’s developing rapidly, most of it is focused in Tel Aviv. You can say it’s pretty packed with talent, it feels like the mini version of Berlin or New York. It seems like everyone is working on a solo project or forming a band. Since it’s a small city, it’s easy to create a buzz around a new act, but at the same time, it’s difficult to maintain this buzz for a long time, since compared to other bigger cities in Europe there aren’t actually that many people that are into indie music. There is a growing attention of people from the international music scene on Israeli acts, and there are all sorts of collaborations and communications formed these days. Genre wise, the scene is all over the place; from grindcore bands to electronic, folk, groove and alternative bands.
Animation is a big part of the visual side of the band, and you’ve won awards for some of your videos. How did you get involved in it as a medium?
Guy is also an accomplished animator, director and a visual artist. It took three years to finish the animation video clip for ‘Hey’. Ben Shetrit came up with the idea and had also directed it and led a group of animators to the final goal. The video clip won many prizes in festivals all over the world. It was only natural to keep combining the visual world with the music, and this became a concept for the band.
What sort of music are you listening to at the moment? Is it having an influence on your own work?
At the moment we are influenced by bands that create interesting combinations of electronic music and haunting female vocals such as Blonde Redhead and The Knife. We are always influenced by bands we love like The Pixies, Radiohead, Deerhoof and Die Antwoord.