We are Jonathan Dagan and Shay Raviv, living in the north of Israel, aged 20 both.
What's your musical background?
Shay: I studied classical music for ten years, mainly the piano, I played a lot in front of really old people and in a certain point it became really boring, so I bought some electronic equipment and started fooling around.
Jonathan: I started with the guitar, after seeing Michael J. fox in "Back to the Future 1" playing "Johnny Be Good", I was nine years old and wanted to be like him... Well, I started to study playing the guitar for few years and got a little older. I played in a few progressive rock bands, and then figured I can't interact with more that one man in the studio, so I decided to work only with myself. I worked on some rock industrial stuff, quite experimental, and from there rolled on to electronic music.
How did you discover music and electronic music in particular?
Shay: I always loved music, I always knew that I want to make it and that I have a lot to give. When I grew up I started to like more experimental music. Suddenly noise sounded more harmonic to me than regular music and simple notes and chords, and then electronic music gave me the chance to work with noise and notes at the same time.
Jonathan: I guess I just answered that, but I'll add that as a child I really liked music. I think that my first love in the music was Jerry Lee Lewis, he made me really like the thing called music. As a child I used to listen to him a lot and I learned to appreciate the power of music. After that I searched my direction in this world, and as I said, Michael J. helped a lot...
When did you decide you wanna make music? Why?
We both always thought that the music that was around us is great, and it still is. But when we grew up we started to see that we have a certain attitude, or a certain way to see and feel beyond the common sound and the common way to bring feel into sound. Than it was really important for us to show ourselves that we can use the sound and the music in a different way- that goes through noise and unorthodox sounds, and still keeps the feel and emotion in the music. So we started challenging ourselves.
How did you meet each other?
Jonathan: We both went to the same high school, but we weren't actually friends, we only knew each other by face. We both had home studios, and each of us worked in his studio on his own projects. At the time I was working on a strange little piece of my own. Then one day at school Shay came to me and got me to listen in his mini disc to a piece that he made. I was stunned, it was amazing. So I invited him to hear my unfinished piece, and we ditched school that day, went to my studio and that unfinished piece grew to be Divine Conflict, the first track in our album.
How did you started? Can you give us a short account from the first day in the studio till you knew an album is coming out?
Shay: Well, the first day Jonathan told you about. In that first day we sort of understood that each one of us has what the other doesn't, and that our chemistry is real good, so we started to work very often. We missed almost all the final tests in school because we were playing a lot, almost all the time. Actually, we didn't think of what will come out from our tracks, we just had a lot of fun playing together. After few months of playing we finally realized that we actually hold in our hands almost a full album (something like fifty minutes of music). So we approached some labels in the UK and none of them replied accept from a very famous one, that said that the music is great, but not to the "name" that they want to do for their company. So we decided that we have to get an Israeli Label that we can bug on from a close range, and through that Israeli label we'll get our music outside of the country. Well, that Israeli Label turned out to be BNE, They have great distribution outside Israel, and that is exactly what we were looking for, so we signed with them, finished the album, closed it, printed it, took it out of print, changed it, printed it again, and here we are.
Shay: The name? Well, it has a certain meaning, but never mind it right now...
What and who influenced you in your music writing?
Jonathan: My main influences come from any innovative thing that comes along. At first it was from innovative rock bands such as: Placebo, Primus. Dream Theater and few others... than, when rock was my main interest I discovered Nine Inch Nails. That made me fall in love with mixing guitars and the feel and elements of rock with electronic music, later it lead me to listen to more industrial music such as: Young Gods, Front242, Front Line Assembly, Ministry, God Lives Underwater and stuff like that, which influenced me a lot and still does. From there I rolled on to electronic sounds from Eat static, Koxbox, Underworld, Square Pusher, Orbital and a lot more.
Shay: My influences, when I started with electronic music, were Process, Eat static and Koxbox, later I started to find a lot more in Bjork, Depeche Mode, Anne Clark, and other acts like that, that combine very well the feel with the electronica.
Jonathan: Expect the unexpected... Well, I don't know exactly how to define this album, it has no definition, it combines psychedelic tunes with breakbeat, with dub, ska, jungle, chill-out, industrial, techno, mmm.. Well, it's Violet style... none of the styles of music I wrote above can really categorize this album, but I can say that these styles influenced us a lot. I can just say that this album is an intense experience, and if you don't like to really LISTEN to music and learn or feel the music you hear- just don't listen to this album. It'll be a waste of time... And for the people that can open up, that really want to hear something new and go through some experience in listening- Well, this album is something you wouldn't forget, it'll take you somewhere else.
Shay: This album is something that came strait from the heart, our work was very spontaneous and that is why this album is so unique in the electronic field. It combines a lot of styles, and it's hard to say in what shelve it should be in the CD store. But again, in this album, you can be amazed from what we did in certain field\style, but you'll be far more amazed from the feel of it, and how it strikes in.
What's your favorite track on the CD? Why?
Jonathan: I think my favorites are Substance 44 and Inside the Glass Shell. In Substance 44 there are great lines of guitar and keyboards, melodically, the lines there are very special and are very emotional, and not in a fluffy sense, but in a very special sense that comes from the back door... you know, comes from other place, I mean, you feel something from this music that you felt before only from corny flutes and bird sounds, and fuck it, how much longer can musician use the same scheme to transfer the same feel?... I want to reach that feel, but by using other sounds, going through other way and reach the same "goal"... that is Substance 44 for me. I think we achieved that very proudly. About the structure of this part, well, somehow it all flows good, it combines a lot of parts in it, and it all sits together very well, and sounds really good as one piece. About Inside the Glass Shell- the structure is very good for the same reasons, and the melodies are kind of noise there, and i really like it, the rhythm is really groovy, the production is very "fat" and comes good with that groovyness, and when the vocals come in, I think it turns out to be a wonderful part- the lyrics, the melody of the voice, the fx on the voice, all together turn up to be very interesting and harmonic.
Shay: My favorites are Substance 44 and Fingering Nuns on Mars. About Substance 44- Jonathan said everything there is to be said. And Fingering Nuns on Mars, first of all, the rhythm there is very unique and we sat only on it for few good days. The layers that we put on it were really original and interesting. First the vocals which have an Arabic tune that went really good with the breakbeat, than morphing on to the synth melodies that also fit in a special way, than the Arabic violins with the vocals, turned up to be very good together. All the track is made of few different parts, that are very different from each other. Still when you play it all in one time it all sits together very well, and the story changes in a natural way there.
Is your music psychedelic?
Shay: You can say that about most of our music, but that's not our main "goal", i mean, if we finished a track, and it doesn't have psychedelic elements we wouldn't say "oh, lets open this track again and put in some psychedelic elements- we have to, most of our music is like that". No, because each track is independent- one can be very psychedelic and one can be only a little strange, and one can turn up to be a regular "song" you know.
Do you define your music as dance music or home-listening?
Jonathan: We have a lot of tunes that can be played in parties in fit in really good, whenever we play in a party the reaction is a big mess, in the good sense, people dance to this music, though it's not the common party music. We'll be very happy to see more freestyle parties. I think also that our music can be home listening, because it's interesting, and it's fun to only listen to.
Shay: We took out many tracks that were supposed to be in the album, which were really for dancing. These tracks we play when we perform in a party. So I think that the tracks that are now on the album, most of them, are for home listening, they are very interesting and most of them don't break walls, like the tracks that were there before.
Are you planning to play live? Do you think you can find a crowd in Israel?
Jonathan: We have a live set, but I'm not sure that right now the Israeli crowd is open to something that is not 4/4 , the crowd here is maybe more open than before, but I'm not sure that it's already the right time. Just wait a year from now, when other acts will start doing freestyle, and I'm sure that it'll happen. Right now, there are people here that appreciate this style and the experimental music, but I'm not sure that they are the ones that go to parties.
Shay: I think that this is a period that people here can open themselves up, trance is not that big anymore, and the club and house and all that is getting less and less interesting, as Jonathan said, a year from now, this scene will be seen.
How do you actually make the music? How is a track built? Who does what? Where are you on the Midi-audio debate?
Shay: Technically we work with Cubase VST and all kinds of other processing software. We mostly record sequences on midi and then transfer them to audio files with shit loads of effects. Every track we build has no particular structure and we don't think in means structures and "square beats". I think the midi audio debate is shit. We work audio because the number of options for us is bigger but if someone has a lot of money to invest and buy the best effects, compressors and so on it doesn't really matter. In the building process we do every thing together, we are both on the same level technically which is very important for us cause we know exactly what we want to do.
Jonathan: The way we work turned to be a really good way to work together, and I suggest to all you music makers to follow, this is how it works: we both have an idea, then one of us does it on the Cubase, than the other one hates it but doesn't say it, than the one who did the line, goes to the bathroom or just having a break, so the one who hated it cruelly deletes the line while the other one is away, and when he comes back he does the same to the other. Well, it takes a little longer than other bands to finish a piece, but it's a good way... it takes a lot to get us both satisfied from the same part, but when we are, it means that the part is really good.
What's the last CD you bought?
Shay: The last buy I did was few weeks ago, I got Depeche Mode- Exciter and Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon Soundtrack.
Jonathan: My last buy was for 3 CDs: Orbital- The Altogether, Sebastian Teller- Lincroyable Verite, and Radiohead- Amnesiac.
What is your favorite CD right now?
Shay: Still- Pink Floyd- Wish You Were Here.
Jonathan: Still- Nine Inch Nails- The Downward Spiral.
Future plans? Your Dream?
We both would like to do big gigs, with a lot of musicians, and that's the main dream, our future plan is to go on with Violet Vision to different directions, and keep on playing.