It's a one-man project, of a guy named Yuli. It started in summer of '97, and as it was necessary to name it, I came up with BLT. It's short for Bacon, Lettuce, Tomato, some kind of sandwich. It shows in a way, lack of ego in music, the name itself and what it says are not the important thing. It is a kind of antithesis to blasting names, which a lot of groups use, especially in trance. Apart from that it's a great sandwich I remember as a favorite from the time I spent in Australia.
Not professionally- I was involved in playing blues, r&b, a kind of vagabond guitar music. I was travelling around the world with a guitar for two years, going around and jamming. You arrive at some hostel in Australia, and there's a Dutch guy sitting there and plying. And you find yourself stuck there for three months, because he has a great guitar, and there's good chemistry. Suddenly people are coming to hear you play, travelers, people from the neighborhood- this sort of stuff.
So even the now traditional Israeli "round the world" trip was about music for you?
Music is life. When I was 6 years old and still living in Russia, my mom came from Hungary with Jean Michel Jarre's Oxygen. I was hooked to it for a year- without understanding of course too much about electronic music. I was always in music, even if not writing it physically.
So what is your musical history?
I was eating and breathing music since I was born, because everyone in my family are pianists. Of course I've learned to play the piano as well, from age 4 to 11, when I came to Israel. I'm not sorry- not for starting and not for stopping. It's obvious that I grew up on a lot of classical music, jazz, and as I said, Jean Michel Jarre. As part of my teenage rebellion I started to listen to art rock (Peter Gabriel's Genesis, Jethro Tull, King Krimson, etc.). I was always drawn to instrumental music, music that tells the story itself- I like legends and stories, thing that take you to another world for a while. A good musical creation can be a great refuge.
Also in writing?
Of course, that's why I write music.
How does that work exactly?
Well, in difficult emotional situation, or when there's a great need to express yourself and you can't do it physically, you can expect a smashing track. For example, Human Cube Factory (out on the new Xerox compilation- In My Brain), was written because I've been having these strong feeling that as individuals we are expected and pushed by society to be little screws in the machine. We are being cloned, maybe not physically as Dolly the sheep, but internally. If I though when I was in high school, that once I'm out of there, it will be over, I know today it just goes worse. The track tries to convey this feelings, it full of pistons, and a machine producing more and more and more. The track closing my new album, Presence, was written in a time when I was very very happy and I believe it is felt there, it's much lighter with a positive power in it.
What happened after you discovered art rock?
There was another side, which is very important to me- the blues side, especially Mississippi blues- Muddy Waters, Willie Dikson, etc. Very simple music and much people's music opposing the electronic complexity. In between you can place old Zeppelin and Deep Purple.
Do you have this connection in your music?
It's hard for me to analyze my track, but if I must- they're very simple, some will say too simple. I believe you can make any job in minimum tools and simply. I like minimal simple ways. In most of my tracks, there's a story, some kind of progression, I do not like things standing in one place, I try to lead things. For me the object is to tell a story, to move to different directions, and along the way to raise some questions that the listener can ask himself/herself. That you can do with a good sample, sitting well in the track and with the sound, a sample like that can add color and arouse thought.
With such background, how did you end up in trance?
The year 1992 was a big change for me. I was travelling in India and of course I went through Goa, where I expanded myself towards electro-psychedelic music. Music, which by the way, I used to hate till than. The story was then Dance2Trance and a lot of great vibe. Two years later in the Goa season of 94-95 I was hooked up with Astral Projection, Baby Doc, Hardfloor and Total Eclipse, and of course heading them all were the masters: Nick Barber (Doof) and Simon Posford (Hallucinogen). In 1997 my friends decided that that's it and both me a synth for my birthday. Since then I'm in electronic music, from ambient to tenchno, as long as there's some psychedelia in it.
Since then you've manage in quite a short time to release quite a lot of music, Vinyl and a debut CD in Krembo, a lot of tracks on different compilations, some collaborations with other artists as P.Cok, Enertopia & Psy Craft. And now after a long time, a second CD- tell us about it.
It's called Presence, the reason being I think it has a lot of presence. It's a mixture of styles, and it has a lot, I think. After playing in a lot of parties lately, I can say it has something unique, something I feel is new in Israeli and world trance. I put a lot of effort in to powerful quality sound, there are no nonsense tracks and fillers. It took me a year and a half to reach a final product that I can say is very close to what I wanted to achieve. It went through a lot of phases until it got the final shape. About four months ago the project started speeding when Eyal from Hommega took the driver sit, and than it got the final tuning to the right place.
But it's pretty different than typical Hommega Full On stuff?
The truth is that I was very surprised here. Hommega is developing and changing and it has a lot of new interesting things under it's wings. I think I can say that today it is the Israeli label that represent the best quality music in Israeli trance today, especially because of the big diversity in musical styles. I think there's a lot to be expected from Hommega.
What music rocks your world right now?
The truth is that my world is rocking mainly with quiet radio stations. Since the studio sessions are long and usually accompanied by high volume electronic music, I do try not to listen to 4/4 at home (trance, house, techno, etc.) I have a CD player in my car (skipping...) and that's where I listen to new electro stuff I don't listen to at home. I have to say that I really enjoy Eminem these days, not only he's the best rapper I've heard (the Larry Bird of rap), but also the Bob Dylan of the new millennium. In the electronic arena, Juno Reactor are still god, along with Eat Static and Quirk, most of the other stuff I hear is just recycling. In the Israeli side of things I would like to mention Domestic and Psy Craft as the ones that do something for me lately. I figure that with the Age of Aquarius we are due to get a lot of quality music in the coming year- I hope that also in Trance!!
What's your motto in music?
I want to take the listener's mind from point A to B, and do it in the grooviest way. It is not an easy task but I have few more years till I'm 70, so I stand a good chance. There are a lot of tracks with good quality sound today, that get me for a minute but can't take me for a 7-8 minute ride. I think people today are trying to finish a track, and not to ask what is behind it, what is the difference in us, what change has it left in us.
This is very deep, maybe too deep. Aren't you afraid you are supplying something that is too deep to the average trancer?
I'm not mainstream, I'm underground. I think trance should be an answer and an alternative to the industrialized music of today.
But it seems that here in Israel the direction is heading to a simpler kind of trance?
Israel is very Americanized, a lot of trance styles do not fit the mainstream (and trance is very very popular here). People do not seem to understand that there is room for everything. Let's take a party for example, if the night would be as it should, dark with spaces, you'll be able to welcome the morning the right way. The demand here to play full on powerful music in high BPM, leaves no effect for the morning. The way people view music in Israel, and not just trance, is very narrow- come, finish, go. We hear a CD we like it, great, it's the best CD. Everything has to be now, fast, no patience. The best thing I heard in my life took me time. People here are not really ready to open to something new.
Can we deduct from that, that you aim your music mainly to Europe, overseas?
Everyone can deduct what he wants. I aim my music to people that can and like to enjoy the experience of entering a stage of consciousness that is a state of trance, actually. I call it dancing in your head. For me everyone that likes dancing in their head, should like what I do, well, they don't have to, but I sure hope they will. My basic presumption is that once someone is dancing within his head, his or her legs will move as well.
What do you do in your life apart from music?
In the beginning of this month I got back to studying- third year of Chinese medicine. Most people I know don't like to study, but I'm pretty happy from going back to student life. Dealing with music is really a great thing and a great privilege that I got somehow, but when it becomes the only thing in your life, with no diversity to it, there's a good chance for a dead end. Apart from being a 'doctor' and writing music, I'm a big fan of Harry Potter right now and recommend all- especially those without too much time- a must- no. 1 frustration pacifier...
How is the situation in Israel and the area affecting your music?
I believe that the topmost right I have as a being and a human being is to live and to exist, and there is no greater right than this- and it doesn't really matters if you live a dog's life or a filthy rich life… Any other thing in life- including music- diminishes and loses all value when people are taking each others lives. Unfortunately, I realize that a deadlier and more destructive species than us humans, never walked the earth. I really hope that we all sober up and start living in order to live, or just to be- and the sooner the better.
What are your future plans?
The truth is that I've learned not to make plans in this area of my life. The situation in the scene is not good and making music requires time, effort and the bottom line- a lot of money.
And a more optimist, if less realistic, forecast?
Hopes? For me the top limit is Massive Attack and Chemical Brothers- if I get there, I believe I will feel content, and that I reached the level I want to be in.