The first Q&A for 2018 is a blitz but amazing interview with the one of Tel Aviv’s most young promising jazz-hip-hop-soul bands, the four-piece Alaska Snack Time. Young men with synths, a guitar, digital and acoustic drums, a saxophone and the help of vocoder on some tunes (yes, indeed they are multi-instrumentists) are audacious explorers of new ways to create soul music for the future.
Thanks to "Jazz Nouveau" series by Twin Arts in Club Control I had the pleasure of talking to this ambitious band. Alaska Snack Time already released a debut album and are currently preparing their new LP: "Know Your Enemy". They describe their influences as a mix of electronic music, African rhythms, hip-hop and jazz, providing a refreshing experience. Their motto seems to be: "No indifferent ears!".
IM: Hi guys! Could you please introduce yourselves with two sentences?
AST: We are a four people band from Tel Aviv, and we try to create a unique experience combining feelings, thoughts, and emotions for our listeners. But first of all, before everything else, we are just four best friends.
IM: Can you guys talk a bit about "State of Bliss" and your collaboration?
AST: "State Of Bliss" is a booking, management and production agency run by Itay "Pumik" Goldstein & Tori Baba. They take care of our booking (mostly in Israel) and we've been working together for about a year. We are grateful for them pushing us around the world. We consider them more than collaborators, we cherish our friendship a lot.
IM: What records from "Raw Tapes" do you like the most? Which artists are a must see live for you?
AST: "Raw Tapes" is one of the coolest labels in Israel. They have lots of amazing artist such as Echo, Layerz & Nitay Hershkovitz.
All the four of us play in Echo Morgenstern's band, and we perform many of her solo songs from the album "Calling On Wonders". She is also part of the hip-hop, funk and Balkan duo Echo & Tito.
IM: Can we discuss a bit about your live Gear? Is it different from what you have and experiment with in the studio?
AST: We divide our work into two different moments. One of them is the live set, which contains saxophone, guitar, drums (+Electronic drums), plus synthesizers and samplers. And then, when we get in the studio, anything can happen.
Yuval also plays bass, Rom plays the trumpet, and we really love to bring friends and colleagues to the studio and play around together. That is why our recorded material sounds pretty different from the live act.
IM: I can guess that you dwell in Soul, Funk, Jazz and hip-hop. What are your defining favorite albums from these genres?
AST: We get influenced by almost every kind of music we are exposed to, but it is mostly black American music. From artists like Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter and Ray Charles, through Baby Huey, Funkadelic and Roy Ayers, to contemporaries such as Christian Scott, Stefon Harris and Robert Glasper. Glasper's "Black Radio" is one of our favorite albums.
IM: How did you find Control Club and the Romanian audience? I know you had a short stay in Bucharest but I saw you had some friends around right?
AST: It’s too bad that we couldn't stay for a bit more in Bucharest. This was our first time in Romania, for all four of us, and we really liked it! The club is amazing, with extremely professional staff, what we call a great restaurant and of course – the wonderful audience. We definitely plan to come back soon.
"The new album contains more lyrics and vocals than the first one, we have a full horn section, a string quartet and special features worth waiting for."
IM: You are preparing for a second album, "Know Your Enemy". What can you share with us about it?
AST: With Yonatan Albalak as producer onboard, we are working hard on this new one for quite some time. We just can't wait to share it with the world. The new album contains more lyrics and vocals than the first one, we have a full horn section, a string quartet and special features worth waiting for.
IM: How about your perspective on the Israeli scene? Have you got bands you would call peers and mentors? What clubs would you recommend in Israel?
AST: Israel is one of the best places for music lovers, with artists and bands that you wouldn't and couldn’t find anywhere else. Israel was founded mostly by immigrants from all over the world (including Romania), so every artist has a different historic and cultural background. When these musicians from different backgrounds collaborate, they can develop their music and create something original and unique. Some good examples are the Hoodna Orchestra, Awa, and Hila Ruach.
We all live in Tel Aviv, which is not such a big city but it has a variety of cool clubs and music venues. We definitely recommend "Kuli Alma", "Pasaz" and "Teder".
IM: What Country or Continent are you really eager to play in?
AST: We would like to play anywhere people want to have us, it just doesn't matter where. This year for example we've been to India for a long tour. We felt that the crowd understand our music and they responded very well to it, even though the cultural differences we obviously present.
IM: What is your favorite art piece or artist in the Tel Aviv National Museum? Are you art lovers?
AST: Tel Aviv has plenty of museums and galleries. But for us, the greatest art is actually on the streets. In our neighborhood, Florentin, there's a lot of cool graffiti and street art, not only it attracts many tourists but fascinates even us, the locals. Almost every day we meet people gathering around staring at our building’s walls for example.
"greatest art is actually on the streets. In our neighborhood, "Florentin", there's a lot of cool graffiti and street art, not only it attracts many tourists but fascinates even us, the locals. "