Hi Shahar, thanks a bunch for taking the time out of your busy schedule to do this interview!
Could you start it off by telling us a little bit about yourself in the trivial sense?
Shahar: Thanks for the interview!, I’m Shahar Melamed, 26 years old, originally from the northern city of Haifa, Israel. I’ve been writing music for some time now, and have just released my third album. I have also been DJing for quite a while, including a 5 year weekly residency at Luna club in Haifa. Besides that there’s been the usual festivals, tours, etc., etc.
Why have you abandoned the Depth of Despair project? Does the change of name also stand for a change in your life?
Shahar: Well, the D.O.D album was released quite some time ago (2004), and of course a lot has changed since. I started DJing regularly and getting lots of feedbacks. I was also getting more and more into the clubbier side of things, and the music I was writing was evolving accordingly. Nevertheless, I still love glitchy / downtempo stuff and hope to write some more music in the same vain as DOD in the future.
Could you tell us why and when you started the Indepth project?
Shahar: I started the Indepth project to set it apart from the more down tempo stuff that was DOD. You can say this is more of a dance floor oriented project, as opposed to a more “studio” one like DOD, which is basically a mix of sounds that I love and find inspiring.
Shahar: Zero Sum is an album which I have worked on for over a year, and to me it feels like the most complete thing I have written till now. With this album I got a lot of inspiration from the techno, minimal and electro sounds. I think the “feel” of my music is there, but the state of mind and the means of expression are new and different.
What about the artwork for this album?
Shahar: Well, I love albums and artwork and the whole package thing, so we worked on this one for quite a bit. We had a few different covers (5-6), and we reached a point we could not choose. Eventually we put all 5 covers on Facebook and let people help us decide. Dozens of votes and opinions later, we ended up doing a completely new one, which is an oil painting that we did, broke up in Photoshop, and then re-assembled. Irit Tal is the woman behind this awesome work!
How did you end up releasing with Spiral Trax?
Shahar: The story with Spiral Trax was quite simple – the album was pretty much ready, but I had also moved to the center of Israel and had to re-build my studio, which took some time. I sent Spiral Trax a few tracks near the end of the year, and from there things went super smooth!
Zero Sum seems to be a nice contribution to the minimal techno world which is fairly huge around the club scene these days.
Shahar: Techno is indeed a big inspiration. I think the techno scene has some mind blowing sounds and ideas, with a big freedom for creativity, and obviously some top notch production value. Techno for me was always the banging “Tresor” kind of stripped down beats that made my head dizzy, but there’s so much other stuff that is really deep and trippy, with a more emotional / psychedelic side too that I really connect to.
Since you were a resident DJ at the Luna Club in Israel for many years, would you like to say some words about the present evolution of club music from your point of view?
Shahar: I’m not sure I know that much about the evolution of club music…I think that we can see here in Israel, our scene opening up to a lot of different sounds which in the past were pretty underground - which is awesome!.
Do you consider your music to be club music?
Shahar: Actually it’s kitchen music…haha …I really don’t know. It is meant to make people have a good time, and I hope it succeeds in that.
Inside the cover sleeve rockers always used to give thanks to their inspirational bands. What used to be your personal inspiration in sounds to become what you are today in your musical project, and who or what today in life is giving you the inspiration needed to keep it going?
Shahar: My inspiration comes from a basic love for creating music. Sometimes it’s really fun, sometimes on dry studio days it can be very frustrating, but it is something that I love and will always do. Ideas can come from anything - music, films, parties and so on.
Which music has been on high rotation in your music player lately?
Shahar: I listen to a lot of Tool, Sonic Youth, Dredg….instrumental stuff like Explosions in the Sky, Russian Circles, and Telefon Tel Aviv.
Besides that - obviously a ton of music for DJ sets, these days mainly techno, progressive and so on – anything good really.
Since you started releasing music you have been moving around different genres like downtempo electronica, trance, progressive, breaks and techno- why the changes?
Shahar: That is true. I love a listening to lots of different styles, and trying out different things, whether it is down tempo, techno or it can be Mexican mariachi music ;)
It’s always good to evolve and try out different expressions. Either that or maybe I just have a very short attention span….lol
Any guesses on what will come next; got any exciting side or future projects to proclaim about?
Shahar: Now that the new album is out, I am working on a few remixes for Spiral Trax, mainly a remix for Atmos, and one for Karl Johan. Besides that, after a few months of mostly DJing, I’m beginning to write some new tunes as well.
What’s your favorite piece of hardware/software at the moment?
Shahar: I really suck at being a technology geek – I usually stick to what works. Mainly it’s the good old’ orange Microwave XT. Software-wise, I’m an Ableton-Live addict.
Want to recollect your memory about one of your best party experiences?
What about one of the funniest/shocking/worst episodes in a party?
Shahar: Well a pretty recent one would be this year’s Doof Festival right here in Israel.
I came there to play Zero Sum in full for the first time, so I was a bit nervous!
On top of that, it started raining like hell pretty much the second I started playing… eventually people didn’t care about the rain and were totally into it, so I was very wet, but also very happy…it was a bit like playing in the shower really.
Track playing: Indepth – The Crack (Spiral Trax)
When it comes to DJing music in front of a crowd, do you have any preferences for playing live or not? Regardless, how do you go about doing your spinning music ritual? Do you do anything, like use effects, rearranging sounds, melodies or using external inputs?
Shahar: These days I tend to prefer DJing to playing live. DJing for me means a lot more freedom and flow, and you can take good stuff from here and there and make your own journey. If it’s live, then it’s mostly an Ableton live set with a keyboard, and the live versions of released tracks.
Recent DJ Set
What makes a good DJ?
Shahar: Love the music you play and believe in it. Tell a story!
If you have a cool hat like deadmau5, that also helps ;-)
What have you been doing today before taking the time to answer some probing questions?
Shahar: Actually, trying to figure out which Atmos track to remix…hard to choose... any suggestions maybe? haha
Any last words you’d like to lay down to the readers out there?