Interview: Illia Gorovitz
Now that I think about it, maybe the fact I’ve not been playing gigs lately made me change the way I work in the studio a little. In the last two years or so, I'm trying to build a setup that allows me to create music live that goes one step further then just improvising and making noise
I first discovered the music of Ilia Gorovitz when we met at a Baba Yaga gig at The Lexington in the before time, when live music still existed. Having delved further into Illia’s work, I’ve come to find a discography full of excellent material and a DIY ethos that has raised a lot of questions in my brain. So, as often when my curiosity gets the best of me, I’ve hounded the artist for participation in a long-winded interrogation, here are the results:
(((O))): So, first of all tell us about Edelfaul Recordings, how that came about, what Edelfaul means or is named after and I guess, a general summary of what the label does/releases?
Ilia Gorovitz: So Edelfaul Recordings started August of last year, a few months after I moved to Berlin, Germany. It happened after Sunra Bullock and I started playing together as a duo and were thinking of a way to release our music. Sunra also had more material from other projects and friends he wanted to release, so we decided to set up a Bandcamp page and do just that. Release music by various projects by us and friends, past and future. The name Edelfaul means Noble Rot in German. I came across this expression in a movie (The House That Jack Built) and it’s a name for a one of the ways for making wine. I just love the contrast of the expression and the English version was taken so we used the German one.
(((O))): Who are some of the artists that Edelfaul Recordings is working with and what kind of stuff are they doing?
IG: At the moment the main artists in the label is basically Sunra and I. We have collaborations we did with other musicians friends like the album I made together with Shoham Manela who is a super talented saxophone player I know from Jerusalem. Also, there is another collaboration I made with C_C, a great producer from Belgium which will be released later this year. The next releases that me or Sunra are not involved in are by Wuzi Khan, a good friend of Sunra (together they have a band called X.A.Cute that will be featured on the label as well) who makes these cool dub psyched beats and Zombient, a experimental electronic producer from Tel Aviv Israel.
(((O))): You were involved in making a fucking amazing album Animals Are Built For Cages by HYNOM. What was your role and are you still working with HYNOM?
IG: Thanks. I joined HYNOM about a year after they were formed, after the guy who was on electronics left the band. They approached me about taking his place and I agreed even though I never did anything like that in a band before. But, I’m glad I did, it was a great experience playing and writing music with those guys. I am no longer in the band. After the album
release we kinda went our separate ways. Nothing bad, just life circumstances. I think the guys are still playing together and might release more music under the HYNOM name. I feel I’ve grown a lot as a musician during that time and also as a mixing engineer after mixing the album, which was not an easy task for me as I didn’t have a lot of experience at that time.
(((O))): Who would you say are your main influences and what are you listening to these days?
IG: It’s always hard for me to name influences because there are so many, but names that come to mind are the band Swans who really taught me the power of repetition. NAH, a producer/drummer who his 2015 show in Jerusalem I will never forget, seeing how much energy one guy on a drum set can emit and how everyone in the crowd couldn’t resist it. A big influence on my drumming style is DRB, the drummer of the San Diego collective DRUMETRICS and now-days it’s drummers like Julian Sartorius, Laurence Pike and João Pais Filipe. These days it’s hard for me to listen to albums and listen to songs more then once or twice.. I guess I’m stuck in this hyper mode of always searching for something new and there is always something to discover. But the stuff I find myself coming back for at the moment are the band GOAT (not the Swedish, the Japanese one), Horse Lords, a great band from NY. The debut album by Hannah Silva, Talk in a bit and the song ‘Kage no Nai Hito’ by Asa-Chang & Junray.
(((O))): What was it like playing music in Israel as opposed to Germany or the UK?
IG: I guess for me, it’s not that a big of difference because usually the music I play, not a lot of people will be into. It was easier though to play gigs in Jerusalem because the people making the gigs are friends of mine and also, in general there is a lot of room for more experimental and left-field music in Jerusalem. Obviously, there is room for it also here in Berlin, but, I’m not a part of the scene here yet so it’s harder to get gigs. All in all, in my experience playing in Israel and Europe, it’s always a relatively small group of like minded individuals who are organising underground events with a crowd of 50 people. To me it feels like you have distant relatives all over the world and when you visit them they bring all their weird friends (when I’m not performing, I’m one of them) over for a drink.
(((O))): I’ve noticed that you do quite a bit of mixing, are you more-orientated to producing or drumming?
IG: I would say I’m more oriented to drumming, it comes more naturally and I enjoy it more. In both I haven’t had any professional training. Mixing for me was a practical thing I had to learn cause I couldn’t afford paying someone every time I need to mix something, plus I’m very specific in what I want to hear and I feel like when working with someone or letting someone else do it there is always misunderstanding for the obvious reason that you hear things differently, so I just prefer doing it myself. But, I do think an outside ear is important because you loose objectivity quick and in my case begin to hate your work so I often ask the opinion of close friends who I value their opinion.
(((O))): I also really like your artwork, personally, I feel like an album should be approached as a uniform artistic entity. I like to do the video, the music and the art myself so it’s cohesive. Do you feel as though this has benefits to the recipients understanding of what you’re creating or is it more of a pragmatic necessity?
IG: Thanks again. I think it’s a mixture of both. I always appreciate an artist more when I know he does a lot by himself and also it helps you understand the mind of that artist better. But like I said about the mixing, always when you involve someone else in the process, there will be compromise, especially when it’s a friend which in my case happens a lot. So if I can, I will always prefer to do it myself.
(((O))): How has the global lockdown effected your music?
IG: Now that I think about it, maybe the fact I’ve not been playing gigs lately made me change the way I work in the studio a little. In the last two years or so, I’m trying to build a setup that allows me to create music live that goes one step further then just improvising and making noise(what I feel like I’m doing at the moment and can be cool sometimes but it is not what I’m trying to do) and also record it without the need to arrange and edit it after, which is the part I usually start to dislike my work. But, with my latest release, I started with a minimal setup, improvised a part and than later arranged and added sounds to add more of a story to the composition and I don’t hate the result. so I think I’ll keep exploring this method a little more.
(((O))): Do you have anything you currently want to promote?
IG: Yeah, two singles. one by Stumpf, the duo I have with Sunra Bullock that we made a video for together with the amazing dancer, Luciana Matilda. And one from our latest release by Sunra Bullock where he basically took recordings from the first ever Stumpf sessions and dubbed them.
To keep up with all of Illia’s latest releases, you can follow Edelfaul Recordings on Bandcamp here.