Interview: Five Minutes with Tee Dee Dees

 Image credit: Nir Arieli

Ori Mark, writer turned singer, has just shared his debut single ‘War’ under the sobriquet Tee Dee Dees. Based in Tel-Aviv, Israel, the singer embraced his inner “indie pop diva” at the age of 37, taking a step away from his current career as chief editor at the Haaretz Magazine and into the limelight of music. The singer has previously released two albums in Hebrew, one of which was produced by Gil Lewis, and has performed on all of the major stages in his home city. Taking inspiration from the likes of Django Django and MGMT, Tee Dee Dees latest single is a shimmering synth-pop delight that is sure to make its way into the hearts of both young and old alike.

Join us as we sit down with the creative individual and explore the unique mind behind ‘War’. The single is slated for release on the 30th of July via Alaska Music and is taken from his upcoming album, 1^2=1.

Pre-save: ‘War’

Set the tone for us. Why the arts?

The answer that pops into my head is that being on stage is one of the most powerful experiences there is. But the truth is, music just imposes itself on me.

Which comes first when you’re producing – the sound or the idea?

The melody comes to me first of all. The words and the instruments and the sound come later. Sometimes I go for months with a melody in my head until it becomes a song.

Does your material feature any collaborations?

Usually, the most important collaboration for me is with the drummer. In my previous album in Hebrew, I was inspired by working with Nathan Karen (Basement Jacks). On the upcoming album, Tomer Z (Blackfield) held it all together.

What’s on your current playlist?

When saints go machine!

Tell us about the chemistry you have with your fans on stage.

The crowd has tremendous power over me. Once I see people responding to my music I allow myself to become something else, completely liberated. Sometimes people who talk to me after a show can’t believe that it is the same person.

What techniques do you experiment with to get your original sound?

There is nothing I will not do to get to the sound I imagine. On the last album, there were times when we couldn’t get to a particular drum sound, until I finally recorded myself vocally, with my mouth – and it worked.

Take us through a day in the recording studio.

This is a bit of a tricky question because I really try to make every day look different, especially on days of singing recordings. For example, I tried to sing one of the songs on the album while lying down, not exactly an ideal thing, but then when I tried to sing while standing I could not recreate the feeling, so the take recorded while lying down was the one chosen.

Was there a specific moment in your life where you thought, “this is what I want to do”?

I started writing songs in first grade at the latest. I think by the age of ten I was already recording myself on tape and making a cover and everything. Even then I knew that was what I wanted to do when I grew up.

What do you keep close by while you’re playing a set?

When I perform, I try to have someone close to me near the stage. In cases where I lose concentration, I look at him and imagine he is the only person in the crowd. It helps me get back in focus.

Any emerging artists on your radar?

These days I’m listening to Lowly, a young band from Denmark. They manage to get into your heart without pressing too hard.

What gets your creative juices flowing?

A lot of the songs I wrote popped up after visits to museums of contemporary art. When I see something inspiring, well, I’m inspired. 

Take us through your collection of gear, tech or software that accompanies your creative expression.

No gear! The truth is I’m a pretty technophobic person. I create most of the music in my head or with the help of acoustic instruments. Luckily I have a partner with Magic Touch when it comes to technology, his name is Ben Shopen. He is my angel.

Any side projects you’re working on?

Not really. As a weekly magazine editor and as a dad, I barely have time for my project.

How have you refined your craft since you entered the industry?

I try to learn from everything that happens to me. A few years ago there was a time when I dived into the nightlife. It started as hedonism, but the electronic sound slowly found its way into my songs.

Breakdown the news for us: what can we expect from you this year?

I plan to release a few singles from my album, perform in Tel Aviv, perform at a festival in Budapest, and I very much hope in other places as well.

Famous last words?

Tel Aviv is amazing. Come visit here the moment the Coronavirus is over.

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By Sarah Britton