Cxemcast 040 – Anna Haleta
Tel Aviv is emerging on the world’s musical map. What did contribute to this rapid development and elevation?
In the late 90's - early 2000's, there was huge scene in Tel Aviv with a variety of clubs, parties and afterparties. Then, intifada, terrorist attacks and periodic military clashes took place in the country. Things that can be called ‘excesses’ were influence by this situation in the first place. Which life delights can we talk about when people are dying, buses explode, there are no tourists and artists are afraid to perform due to such conditions and environment.
However, despite the war that took place a few years ago, Israel’s nightlife could survive. This is largely the merit of such clubs as The Block, Breakfast, Deli, Bootleg that bring cool artists weekly, establishing Tel Aviv on the world map of electronic scene. Now several interesting events take place in the city at one night, not counting strong gay scene, which is directly related to the development of nightlife in Tel Aviv.
Do people still go to clubs despite the permanent war?
Well, local audience still goes to clubs during the war, but less frequently. Such events immediately influence the country’s budget – everything gets more expensive, less money are spent on entertainment, not talking about a mood to go out somewhere. Nevertheless, the events were still held and not all foreign artists canceled. We went through it carefully. War in Israel is always just a matter of a few weeks, but the impact is felt for a long time. Political situation here is a hot topic. There are divergent and contradictive views on what’s happening here, so not all artists are ready to play.
Do the authorities support the development of country’s nightlife?
The government doesn’t support the nightlife, just the mainstream one - and if it doesn’t kill music, it certainly doesn’t develop it, as well as the entire scene. The authorities just use the club culture, which suddenly broke out here, and gay culture – even more. Everything created here is the handiwork of people, not the government. Authority is false.
You're one of the founders of Pacotek promo-group. How long has it been existing and what has changed during this time?
Pacotek was created Tsahy Suzanna and me in 2003 in Jerusalem. There were almost no parties, raves, clubs, electronic events in the city.
At that time I just started playing, as well as Tsahy, so we had to create the scene for performances on our own. However, we had hell of a lot of enthusiasm, we organized many risky illegal raves around Jerusalem and in the city. We hacked locks on abandoned sites, put ours instead and held raves there. Everything happened like that until the event, which took place at the military base (which we thought was abandoned), when dozens of people wearing police caps simultaneously appeared on the dance floor and severely closed the event.
From that time on, it was hard to get rid of the police. We tried to keep doing raves, but almost every time they ended up dramatically or didn’t even begin at all. We did it not only for the original rave atmosphere - most of all we loved music, so we had to move to less pleasant rooms, which reduced the number of visitors sharply. It was important for us to have good sound and music, as well we were trying hard to keep a decent level of visual elements. However, a small room on the third floor of a building is quite boring - it's not an underground parking in the center of Jerusalem, where one can’t see its ending. Our goal was to convert visitors focus solely on music, we brought our favorite artists, many of who were still little known at the time.
Eventually, we moved our activities in the concert hall, where people finally felt why we had been doing all this at all. Afterwards, there were clubs and parties in Tel Aviv. Over the years, we have brought many amazing musicians: Daniel Bell, Cassy, Levon Vincent, Steffi, Tama Sumo, Fred P, Mike Huckaby, everyone from Dial Records label, Shinedoe and many others. Today Pacotek organizes one event per month, preferably with local artists. On its tenth anniversary, we released a record and are now preparing the next one, but still a little slowly. As for me, now I’m the resident of The Block club, but neither I, nor Tsahy, don’t leave Pacotek aside, despite a huge workload. Sometimes we personally take part in the organization of the event, where perfectly ‘our’ by spirit artists is playing.
What has largely contributed to the rapid recovery of the scene: performances of foreign artists or local enthusiasm?
Bringing foreigners musicians is always important. However, today, when a local DJ starts his set after a foreign guest, nobody goes home as it was before. Clubs have recently started making regular events where local DJs have an opportunity to play at the ‘prime time’ of the party, not just at the beginning or the end. In addition, the parties have become longer, which is also important.
Who would you allocate among Israeli musicians?
Among the famous ones - Red Axes. Also Deepa & Biri. I’d also mention a couple of young guys, who started to play five years ago and opened their record label - Parallax Recordings. This list can be long. Afik Naim has recently released a record at Steffi on Dolly.
When did you become interested in music and start playing?
Interest in electronic music came to me abruptly, around 2000. I remember in 2001 I heard the first techno album on the headphones headphones - it was Plastikman - Consumed (1998). I immediately started going to raves and standing in front of DJs, watching them. Then I was sure that he played some old records and edited samples on the go. However, I quickly was explained how everything works and I started to make my own raves already in 2002. In early 2003, friends brought me controller and player with a pitch from Grundig. This is how I learned to mix what was playing on CD at home.
Do you write music?
I have completed 15-20 tracks, but honestly, I do it only when I have inspiration. It’s going well, but you need to sit with tracks and spend time working on them, and I like DJing more than anything. Time that I can spend on writing tracks, I spend on looking for records. I understand that a career is built in a certain way, but the most important thing is to be honest with yourself. If I want to compose tracks, I will do it. There are conditions for it.
Recently, Fact Magazine has published an article saying that it really doesn’t matter which media to play with, be it vinyl or laptop. Do you agree with it?
Many programs have their own sound and it’s not always good, but with records or flash memories there are no such problems, Pioneer perfectly recreates the audio files. Although I prefer vinyl, I always have a flash memory with a few dozen tracks – mine and from other producers. I have to must all be translated into a number - if something happens with the bag, although the files remain.
Do you have a large collection of records?
Not a huge one. I choose records like with tweezers, without caving in instant whims. In addition, I’ve never had money for big purchases. At the time, I was lucky to look through collections of DJs who switched to digital, where I was fortunate to find some worthy rarities that are now valued a lot. Of all the genres, I'm looking for honest, frank music. Like many, I guess.
Do you like non-dance music?
I love various bands from Sade to Psychic TV and Swans, I like modern classics, which can dive into as in a bottomless pit... I also take interest in medieval mass and singled artists representing different genres: from post-Soviet pop of90’s to Mamonov. I have a friend, Mikhail Brin, great DJ and producer, who always introduces me me absolutely incredible things. For example, yesterday, he gave me a record of early Mika Vainio Gagarin Kombinaatti.
How do you react to articles in magazines that discuss the topic of female DJs, gender inequality etc. Does it affect you?
Why should I be affected? I don’t think about it, though I’m often asked about in/equality. Although, are all men or all women are equal? Just kidding, of course. I only suffer from the fact that it's hard to carry the bag and I don’t always have someone to help, but in general my sets never have any political context.
Club music is still marginal in some countries. In fact, such situation is relic and stereotypical. Do you agree?
Club music sounds everywhere nowadays: I’ve heard great and chic soul at Silpo (supermarket chain in Ukraine - ed.) while visiting my mom in Kirovohrad.
Do you come from Kirovohrad?
Yes, I do and that is why I come visit Ukraine often, I still have my family living Kirovohrad and Novhorodka. There are not much of us, but I come as soon as I can. In general, I’ve never forgotten Ukraine, even though I left 21 years ago.
Interviewed by Bohdan Konakov.