Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Itamar Ziegler

After reviewing his excellent two LP's for Vanity Project, I spoke to the Israeli-born NY-based innovative musical artiste Itamar Ziegler about his work.

>Please introduce yourself, what do you believe to be your strengths musically? What got you started in music?

I was born in Israel, I’m 29 years old and I moved to NY when I was 21. What got me into music was love. Pure love and passion. And I intend to keep it this way.

My older brother started taking guitar lessons and soon after I started to go to the same teacher. I started with classical guitar but a few months into the lessons my teacher said to me: ”You’ve got a bass player’s fingers, you should play the bass”. And so the bass guitar has been my main instrument since.

My brother and I have always loved music, we would make mixed tapes by recording stuff from the radio and all that. We were living in Israel but listening to the same shit kids in England and America were listening to. Plus we had some middle astern music magic around us… maybe at the time I didn’t appreciate that, but today I do.

These days in NY, I’m a member of a few bands. I play with Pink Noise, indie rock, or as I like to call what we do, interesting rock. I play bass and guitar, me and Sharron, the lead singer, switch all the time…We just completed our second album 'all is nue' (www.pinknoiseny.com). I play with Balkan Beat Box, this is a different world, it’s like a live/electronic gipsy circus. We’ve had a great time touring Europe and the U.S this summer and we are actually coming your way this November to play Scala in London! It’s going to be the best party in town.

Well, there’s more but I guess I should focus on my solo records, right?

I record my music at home, in the living room. It’s my play ground. I play all of the instruments most of the time, sometimes I’ll bring in friends to lay down something. I like the fact that this is purely a recording project. I have no intentions on performing this material live.

>For someone exploring your music for the first time, what one fact about you should they know before they start?

Ah… I don’t let record companies cut my hair…. I’m Jewish… (I’m joking…) Oh man, I don’t know… That I’m human…?

>What inspires you, musically and lyrically?

Everything. I think everything inspires us to do something or to not to something…there are some obvious things but in my case it’s a lot of subconscious stuff, for example, maybe a film I’ve watched two months ago inspired me to write a song, or to feel something that made me change something in the way I play...? Maybe I’m not even aware of it. Lately I’ve been inspired by music from Mali, Africa (Ali Farka Toure, Boubacar Toure, Tinariwen), it’s blues, African style. But that does not mean my next album will be that. Then again, something from that will be there, noticeable or not. I’ve injected lots of PJ Harvey, Bob Marley, early blues, Sly stone and many more to my blood through the years. My talented artists friends here in Brooklyn are an inspiration as well. But the compliment I enjoy the most about my music is when people say it’s not similar to anything...


>If the musical world was ideal, it would…

Be boring…

>How did you end up working on BBC Documentaries and MTV for ‘Pimp My Ride’?

A young film maker who listened to my CD called me and asked whether I’d like to make the music for this documentary film him and his partner are working on. BBC bought the film. I’ve been working on the music, should be done soon. Pimp my ride…well, I used to be in a hip hop group called Sideffect, we came to NY together from Israel in 97’, we were the first hip hop group in Israel… anyway, it’s a long story, there was a documentary film made about it, it’s still running in Israeli television. We broke up long ago but at one point I missed it so I started making some beats on the MPC 2000. I sent a few to a girl that does music licensing and MTV picked it out from her catalogue.

>Why should people buy your records?

So I could pay my bills.

Seriously? Well I HOPE people buy my records because they are thirsty for more originality and creativity in music today. Non of that trendy fashionable stuff. Just honest music.

>Suggest a publicity stunt to increase the Ziegler profile in the UK.

I don’t roll like that…

(To the UK “anti Israeli” community I’ll say don’t judge a book by its cover, or actually don’t judge a bloke by his government. I refused to go to the army. I’m pro solution. Being pro Israeli or pro Palestinian won’t bring us any good. )

>What do you consider your best achievements in music?

These will be some specific pieces I’m really happy with musically. Like 'The Score' from my latest album and 'Kroto' from my first solo album. But that’s only my opinion…

>What more would you like to achieve with your music?

I wish to continue creating interesting music, to improve, to be productive, to be able to live off my music without compromising… I also would like to make more music for films, I’m exited about that.

>On an Itamar Ziegler curated festival bill, who would play?

Day one: Radio head, PJ Harvey, Pixies, Tom Waits, blond red head, the Beatles (if we can go back in time)… Day two: Sly Stone, Ali Farka, boubacar Toure, Tinariwen (from Mali)… This is from the top of my head.

>If you weren't doing music, what would you do with your evenings?

Forget the evenings…I’d like two live two more lives: one as a photographer and one as a cook…

>What are your future plans for gigs and recordings?

Well, I’m going to be touring with BBB in November, then got some NYC dates with Pink Noise, I going to finish the music for the documentary and then I will start squeezing in some work at home towards my next album.

>What, with regards the US music scene, upsets you?

Too much crap. I’m tired of really bad music and bands. Go and do something else, give some respect to music. You won’t make furniture if you aint got the skills for it, would you?

>What, with regards the US music scene, delights you?

Not much. I don’t even know what’s going on in the “US scene”… or in any scene for that matter. I know there is a lot of bullshit out there.

>What are you passionate about in life, apart from music?

My wife. Photography. Cooking. Basketball (to play not to watch). Art. (and..music)

>What is/was your favourite children¹s book?

’The Giving Tree’ by Shel Silverstein.

>Any other words of wisdom?

I think I’ve said too much. Lets let the music talk.

You can buy Itamar's albums from www.itamarziegler.com, or cdbaby.com/itamarziegler1 and cdbaby.com/itamarziegler2.

1 Comments:

At 8:30 AM, Anonymous Dave said...

Easiest way to learn guitar is by watching others play and trying to copy them. Especially blues guitar, which is all about feel.

 

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