Techno Tuesday: Roy Rosenfeld dives into the Israeli dance scene, and mixing music and politics
Techno Tuesday is a feature on Dancing Astronaut documenting the culture of underground dance music. We’ll bring you exclusive interviews, tracks, and narratives from artists within the techno, tech house, and deep house world in an effort to shed light on some of the best talent outside the world of mainstream dance music.
Israel is a hotbed for melodically-inclined wizards, and Roy Rosenfeld is certainly no exception from this trend. Though his name has recently broken surface as a rising force in the dance world, he’s been cutting his teeth for quite some time on the underground circuit and building a repertoire that includes releases on labels like Traum and Parquet, and collaborations with his fellow compatriots and powerhouses including Guy Mantzur and Chicola.
Rosenfeld’s music has evolved considerably, but nonetheless has always possessed a certain hypnotic quality to it. Whether outputting raw, techy cuts or providing listeners ethereal bliss through imprints like All Day I Dream, one commonality is that remains is his ability to forge utter weapons for the dancefloor. His track “Epika” on Kompakt truly sealed his legend a few years ago, and since then, he’s become a commodity for festivals and clubs alike.
Being from a country known for its divisiveness, it’s not uncommon for Rosenfeld to receive constant requests for his thoughts on politics, society, etc. He provides an ample response to this, and also divulges on his musicality, the Israeli dance scene, and more in this edition
of Techno Tuesday.
Hey Roy, Thanks for joining us. Let’s start off with your upbringing. What is the scene like in Israel?
It’s really really good. Lots of clubs are getting international bookings almost weekly.
External productions host the hottest names such as Marco Carola, Tale of Us, Stephan Bodzin, Solomun etc.
When you say external productions, do you mean like outdoor parties in parks and gardens and such?
There are many outdoor parties in Israel, mostly around Tel Aviv indeed! As I mentioned before, some productions host the most popular underground DJ’s which must be giant parties (5k-15k people). There are also really good productions that throw smaller outdoor events, high-quality ones as well.
However, Techno and House aren’t new to Tel Aviv. They’ve been around for many years, although it was a much smaller scene back then. You could always find nice underground clubs which host Techno DJs. Now it’s becoming very popular all around the country. Even the mainstream people are listening to techno in the clubs, now.
If we go back 10-15 years ago, Techno was mostly just the warm up acts for the Psytrance at outdoor parties or just served as a side-dish. Psytrance scene is still very big in Israel though. Some of the most popular Psytrance DJs in the world come from Israel.
Israel seems like incredibly interesting place, given its location and neighbors. Do you feel that dance music has the ability overcome the barriers of political / country boundaries?
Well it’s tricky here. It’s not so easy for our neighbours to enter israel and due to safety concerns of both peoples, it wouldn’t be easy to mix the crowds at the same venue since it too risky, unfortunately. Personally, I’ve never mixed politics with music and art and feel that music is here to connect people and to make everything much prettier. I just don’t think it’s good and fair to mention politics and music in the same page. Music is the most beautiful language in the world and it’s universal!
Why shouldn’t House & Techno, or even art for that matter, be mixed with politics? If not politics, then what?
Why should they? Same reason why water can’t go along with oil, or vodka with whiskey. Politics should be separate from music. We should let music connect people rather than separate us.
House & Techno have nothing do with politics. I mean, any producer can throw in a leader’s quotes as vocals on their tracks and I also know a few singers that do it. Some lefties, some righties, that’s their way to reach their crowds. Personally, I’m not there at all. Music should stay pure and let our imagine do the rest.
At the end of the day art is showing the realities of modern times to express the views of the people or the personal views of an individual. There are other ways to show the reality through music without being a provocateur or by taking a side, which is why making music is so beautiful — imagination.
House & Techno or most genres in general are being written with love and passion. It’s a way to express feelings and emotions. Once you shout out your political view through the music for me it can’t really even be considered Art anymore. It’s more like saying your opinion than letting the music speak for itself
What should definitely be mixed with House & Techno are Respect, Peace, and Joy.
Do you feel that being Israeli has an impact on the way the world sees you?
Being Israeli doesn’t make a big difference at all, because music is a universal language even though there are some countries I can’t play for; I’m not allowed to enter. But on the other hand, I’ve never seen this kind of situation where being Israeli has affected the way people treat/look at me or my friends.
How does the local government in Tel-Aviv feel about the outdoor parties, venues, and dance music events in general?
They don’t really interfere but they sometimes make it hard for promoters. I believe it’s like this everywhere in the world. Israel is a very open minded place though. The big cities sometimes shut down the longest or most central streets so the masses can walk freely and dance to music parades. In Tel Aviv we have huge gatherings of up to 100k people. Who counts, though? It’s a very happy and colorful place. Definitely a 24/7 city! You can easily find any kind of music everywhere, anytime. Lots of clubs/bars work over the week and of course on the weekends.
When did you start making music?
I was playing with some toys around 2003. First release was in 2009. That was when I decided to take things one step forward. I started playing piano when I was 12. That was the age I wrote my first melody. I got into electronic music when I was 15. My dad bought me a hardware sequencer – Roland RM1X. I was able to make a whole track on it. Then around 17 I started producing on computer and external gear/instruments.
How do you play?
I used to play on Traktor with loops on top but I decided to go back to CDJs and I find it more easy and attractive for my DJ sets. Maybe one day I’ll go back to Traktor, who knows.
Plans for 2018?
I’m working a lot in the studio these days. Very exciting projects- some of them to be released, some of them not (only for my gigs).
Next release following my All Day I Dream EP will be my debut on one of my favorite labels, Lost & Found, run by Guy J.
Besides that, I have plans to go to some new territories around the world in the next months, some of them in Israel. I’m also working on a new movement in Tel Aviv with my good friends Khen and Eli Nissan – We call it ‘Yesterday’. This group will be focusing on putting the main sound of Tel Aviv at the front of the clubbing scene in the big city and in Israel, in general. We’re very excited about it!