So- Free Cloud- a third Perfect Stranger album, a seventh album altogether- how does it feel to see it out there?
Yuli: What a relief...
What can people find inside Free Cloud, and why Free Cloud?
Yuli: I think it’s the best bunch of tracks I ever put together on plastic. That is what I think people will find there – I could probably get even little better, hehe, but I won’t get picky – it’s really the best of what Perfect Stranger could deliver by the end of 2008. Free Cloud because lately I felt like that Wild Eyed Boy from Free Cloud, that David Bowie used to sing about 35 years ago… And this album for me is just doing what I feel in my heart - go with my instincts and trying to use the best parts for me from the genres that inspired me and blend it all and see what happens.
Can you tell us a little of how this album was born and made?
Yuli: I felt early spring time that there is a need of an album. Iboga booking was nagging me for half a year before that – telling me it’s necessary that I make one, but I wasn’t in the mood really. But that springtime, I found that I have two or three really nice tracks, and we made space for studio time, almost didn’t take gigs outside of Israel, and the album was done by end of July, so I could actually first time present it at the Glade 2008, which was a great timing…
How are the responses so far?
Yuli: Couldn’t even hope for better.
This album is in my opinion your best together with BLT- Presence. And I’m definitely not alone in saying that about Free Cloud. Why is that do you think? Do you agree?
Yuli: As I said before this one is the best I ever done so far – at least for me. Presence is a good album, but I wouldn’t really compare them.
Can you reflect now, with 7 albums behind you and quite a chunk of years in the music making business, why some albums come out better? Is there something that you can isolate and say- this is important in order to make a good album (equipment, skills, mood, state of mind, etc.)?
Yuli: There are many reasons for it. Its mainly state of mind and skills, in my opinion, but there is more to it then only that. It’s what is out there in the music scene, what is interesting and growing, it’s the weather, the love, the loneliness, many emotions, very hard to point out something specific.
Before this interview I’ve listened again to your first album- Alchemic Anecdote- with all the difference in sound, in some tracks in that album (Alchemic Anecdote, Music, Fog) I feel similarities to the new album, mainly in the monotone technoidic feel. Do you agree? Did you do a full circle in some way in the ten years that passed?
Yuli: Well I don’t think that my look at things as long as it has to do with Trance music change much through the years. The implementation of ideas got better yeah, but the ‘mantra’ thing stayed. The only thing with early works that bothers me is that it’s fairly shitty produced, and the ideas are not living to their real potential.
I think that I can always recognize a track that you’ve made- I’ve been following your music for so long and there’s always that something present there. Can you isolate from all your music over the years the Yuli Fershtat ingredient that is always there? A sound? A groove? A structure? A feel?
Yuli: Its like tantric sex, you always grow that tension, but I bring to satisfaction very rarely hehe... This is for me one of the secrets of Trance music or any kind of really good dance music. You must tease with the tension till it’s unbearable and then tease a little more.
It's hard for me to analyze my tracks, 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.
Does that still stand?
Yuli: Sure it does.
Looking at your albums and tracks over the years, you always go back in time and dress old tunes in new clothes (remix, I mean). Free Cloud holds the latest example, Clear Vision '07. What brings you to do that? Are you having a dialogue with yourself in a time tunnel? Were you always happy with the outcome?
Yuli: There are many times I have looked back and said to myself: ‘This track I once made, could be re-dressed with today’s clothes, and sound 10 times better than it did 8 years ago. Quite a few people told me during the years I’ve been making music that my music sometimes comes ahead of its time, and then it’s harder to digest. So taking old material, that was in a way ahead of its time, with certain ideas, is really interesting, and it seems the output has not been bad at all.
You’ve been touring quite a lot around the world the last few years, how did it affect your life and your music?
Yuli: I got more tired from flights hehe.. My dog has to go to doggie hostel too much but she is a cutie and doesn’t get mad at me at the moment. I guess that I learned from the reactions of the crowd and learned to make the compromise between my own therapy of music making, and what the crowd wants to get.
You’re pretty big in Brazil and it seems that you have a special connection there with the crowd and people- why do you think this happens? Is there something in your life, an Israeli from Russian origins, that could have made it happen? Is it the old Beer Sheva groove?
Yuli: I have no clue, but I have found that the Brazilian crowd is so open-minded and not judgmental, that they just let you be and play your music. If it’s bad they will show it, but if it’s good, even if it’s little unorthodox, they will appreciate it even more
You’ve become quite the DJ, not something you planned, right? How do you like it?
Yuli: Not bad for a geek, I would say.
What’s your favorite thing in DJing and what’s your favorite thing in playing live?
Yuli: I prefer DJing to playing live. I guess because DJing is a much more spontaneous thing. Many tracks in my live act I hate already with all my heart, because even before they are out on CD I heard them 1000 times. DJ set I can play fresh and new music, and that never ends. I can spend hours searching Beatport for new stuff.
In your DJ sets you play mainly techno, current techno influences are very heavily felt in your album- so trance or techno?
Yuli: Trance and Techno.
More and more techno is being played in “trance” parties in the last couple of years, many times it is a lot more psychedelic then what people refer to as “psychedelic trance”. Why is that do you think? Is there really a difference deep down there?
Yuli: Good music is good music is good music. We come to an age where generalization becomes a fatal mistake. Everyone borrows from everyone else. Those that stuck within their genre and do not feed upon talent that is outside of it, will die from boredom. This is how I see it. There is a lot of Techno music today, that is much more trance than most of trance releases today, and in the same breath much more trippy than those same Trance releases. So as I said, as long as it is good, bring it on!
Listening to the world of techno these days I get the feeling I’m traveling back in time to my first party and trance experiences back in the very early 90s (just with better sound)- more diversity, less formulas, less restrictions, more deepness. You’ve been there too, do you agree?
Yuli: Yeah it seems that at the moment there are less formulas in the Techno scene, mostly because there are so many different sound techniques artists use. It’s much more dirty and fat, and it’s about the composer really and not about the quality of the kick and bassline. But usually the kicks and basslines there are also kicking ass ;)
Spending so much time in parties for so many years- do you still experience sometimes those magical moments, a different reality? If yes, can you share with a moment like this from the last year?
Yuli: Don’t know about different reality, but in a party I wasn’t playing at actually, a definite 3rd Empire rave from Independence day of 2008, a bunch of a long-time-no-see friends promised to come, and actually kept the promise, now that was a treat. And while exploring the more lysergic pros and cons at noon time of the party when my mate A Balter was doing his thing on the decks I suddenly felt like digging a big hole in the ground because of that sick Len Faki track – Odysse II, I guess it was, damn it was funny, I thought I am too old for this shit.
Lately there have been a lot of “retro” parties? Why is that, do you think?
Yuli: Maybe because the sound of Goa was more “true” to the music and the idea than most of what is made today.
Do you think Israeli trance still has something to offer? Or maybe better to talk about Israeli electronic music?
Yuli: Israeli music has always a lot of things to offer, as every nation we have a lot of talents, and out of these talents there are some really world caliber artists. But we have also that mentality that makes us a very bad soccer national team. Lack of professionalism and the wish to succeed here and now with cheap formulas, and not enough concern about depth, and actual music in the music.
Along the years you have really supported and helped many new artists, some of which became very successful (Psycraft & Triac to mention a couple), why do you do that? Anyone new under your wings?
Yuli: I need to fix this once and for all – Psycraft were never under my wing.. We grew together as artists in Beer Sheva, and in fact they started making music before I did. Maybe the age did some difference, but PsyCraft were a very innovative band back at the time in Beer Sheva and I learned a lot from them as much as they learned something from met, I guess. Triac I see as a same story altogether. I definitely can say that without the frequent collaborations and brainstorming sessions with Triac guys I would never reach the point of my knowledge today. So I believe that all of this has two ways – it’s always give and take.
I used to teach few students most of them, I don’t really know what happens with them at the moment. My last student was a really talented DJane from Israel by the name of Magit, and as far as I know she is doing really well @ cold Berlin, spinning techno and moving forward with her goals.
I believe that art / knowledge shouldn’t be hidden. The ones that gained the knowledge have to spread it. Not doing so is a “sin” in a way. So from time to time I teach ;)
But at the moment I am feeling great without students, thanks for asking!
Any news names you suggest we follow, in general?
Yuli: In Israel – A Balter for anything to do with Techno. Quantize for some banging Psy Prog
Give us the one track that totally blew you away in the last year?
Yuli: This is a bit unfair question as there were more than one.. But if you insist I would choose Shnorkel by Miki Litvak and Ido Ophir. Not only because of the quality and the size of this epos, but mainly because it came from the land of “fastfood” i.e – Israel. For me it was a very powerful statement – YES WE CAN!
An album that really did it to you in the last year?
Yuli: I really hope Trentemoller wasn’t 2007, but if it did, then still I would choose it once more.
An album from the past that you re-discovered last year?
Yuli: Genesis – The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway from 1976 what a great, inspiring, amazing, trippy piece of art this is – the first CD is simply genius by all means.
Yuli: I am a pretty uninteresting guy so no gossip I guess. Plans? I’m gonna have a nice and warm winter on the southern hemisphere including great great festivals in Brazil and in Australia, some gigs in Europe, a little too little time with my four legged companion back home- Jet Lags – Here we come!!