Interview: Five Minutes with Gidon Schocken
Innovative electronic producer Gidon Schocken has just released his latest single ‘‘Say It Right (Nelly Furtado cover feat. Tahel)’. While originally born within the USA, Schocken relocated to Israel as a youngster, where he found his creative niche and currently resides in Tel Aviv.
Schocken aims to strike a unique balance as an electronic producer by trying to create an acoustic as possible sound while keeping it modern. To do this, he samples and modulates mostly live instruments while receiving influence from a variety of more technically orientated artists such as Massive Attack, The Prodigy, The Chemical Brothers. The result is an artist who has been able to embrace both worlds without letting them consume him.
We caught up with the man behind the music and learned what else drives him in the industry.
Set the tone for us. Why the arts?
For me, creating art has become a way to learn and process myself, exploring emotions and feelings that are sometimes unconscious or difficult to explain. It’s a form of escapism for me, I constantly find myself being moved by music and art at levels that words don’t reach.
Which comes first when you’re producing – the sound or the idea?
Usually the sound, my music is mostly sample-based, so I’ll be playing around with random sounds until I reach an interesting point. But at times when working with other musicians, we start with an idea that shapes the sound.
Does your material feature any collaborations?
Yes, collaborations are a must for me. It always creates an interesting experience and adds another layer to the track, especially if it’s a vocalist. Some of my upcoming tracks are with Tahel Klein, Orly Eitan, Afik Doari, Filippo Fabbri, Ori Lichtik, Vlada Gilburt, Linoy Ella Segal & Avital Tamir and more
What’s on your current playlist?
At the moment Lorn, Sebastian, Jon Hopkins, Throwing Snow, HVOB, Amon Tobin, Cid Rim, Weval, Surachai, Daughters, Holly Herndon, Haelos, Brutus, Christian Loffler, Raketkanon, Slowthai, Sevdaliza, Kiasmos, Acid Baby Jesus, Helms Alee
Tell us about the chemistry you have with your fans on stage.
Playing live is always a magical experience 🙂 I’m a solo artist and I try to play as many of the parts as I can, so I’m mostly concentrating on playing, upcoming cues, not messing up etc. But when I look up and see the crowd, there’s a moment of connection that you just don’t feel in other situations.
What techniques do you experiment with to get your original sound?
My tracks are heavily sample-based, so most of the experimentation is done by slicing, reversing, looping, modulating, layering several on top of each other then adding tons of effects.
Take us through a day in the recording studio.
I’m working on several different projects at the same time, so a lot of time goes to prioritisation about when to do what. Then I kinda get lost in what I decide to do, sound design, mixing, working out an idea etc. Breaks are really important for me, stopping and thinking about what I’m doing, what to do next, how to get there etc.
Was there a specific moment in your life where you thought, “this is what I want to do”?
Pretty sure it’s the first time I started playing the guitar, 13-14 years old. From that point, it was several other moments that just made that feeling stronger.
What do you keep close by while you’re playing a set?
Any emerging artists on your radar?
Weval, Mouthe, Brutus, Cid Rim, Black Pumas, Former
What gets your creative juices flowing?
Friends, other artists, nature, meditation
Take us through your collection of gear, tech or software that accompanies your creative expression.
Ableton is my main DAW, for recordings I use the Rode NTK, I’ve got a Musicman guitar, vox 30w amp, Roland f-90 keyboard, cheap bass + bass amp. All my synths are Reaktor, specifically the Form plug which is a sample-based synth. Then just the basic Ableton plugs, almost all my channels have the max reverb, drum buss, pedal, echo, glue compressor chain. For vocals I like using iZotope Nectar, they also have a really nice vintage eq I sometimes use.
Any side projects you’re working on?
I’m on the production side of a few tracks by local artists, Silona Bee, Vlada Gilburt, Linoy Ella Segal & Tomer Jamchi, and playing guitar in a live techno trio with Ori Lichtik and Yaron Sobel.
How have you refined your craft since you entered the industry?
Spent hours upon hours just listening to music, trying to imitate the sound, dynamics, eq, compression etc. Every track I work on has a very specific reference/s and it’s helped a lot to aim higher and much more specifically.
Breakdown the news for us: what can we expect from you this year?
Lots of stuff going on, my first album is coming out soon, the next one is almost ready. Live shows are starting to come in, all kinds of tracks I’ve been working on with other artists will be released soon. Exciting times!
Famous last words?
Make more music.
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