Music & Interview
Elad Magdasi … Israeli DJ & producer based in Berlin
Hi Elad. After many years seeing each other it’s nice to have you for our “Music & Interview” feature. Let’s start at the very very beginning. Where were you born and how did you raise up? What kind of music did you love in your teenage years?
I’m so happy we get to do this. We do know each other very long so it’s about time. I was born and raised in Israel in a city called Rishon Lezion. I moved to Tel Aviv when I was 22 and then moved to Berlin in 2013. Growing up I listened to pop, rock, indie, new york house, I was into many genres. Later on I was into artists like The Knife, Soulwax, Groove Armada, Goldfrapp, Madonna, Michael Jackson, Moby, Royksopp & more…
(Promo picture of Elad Magdasi 2017 by Sylwana Zybura)
As mentioned before we met a lot of times in Berlin’s clubs. You and your friends mostly danced in the special corner of special dancefloor. What does clubbing mean to you and your friends? Why did you choose this corner that’s becoming a little fame now?
Going out dancing is something very special and crucial in my life. The combination of music, good friends and dancing is what makes raving one of the most amazing experiences I go through in Berlin. Dancing to good music in high volume is so powerful, it makes me really happy and keeps my musical gears running. I didn’t come up with the concept of the Front Left corner, it was there when I started going out, I just joined it because my friends adopted it before and I fell in love with it. There is a curtain free minded, “all is welcome spirit”, in that corner. It happens in other areas too i’m sure, but there I met so many new people that had a similar friendly party vibe.
(Promo picture of Elad Magdasi 2018 by Mathias Weber)
We talked about the “Front Left” corner. It’s also the name of your very own record label. When did you get the idea of founding your own label? What’s your purpose/intention of your label? Do you have a strategy or concept for it? The releasing artists at the moment are friends I know from the front left corner. One special thing about your label is that you always offer a digital bonus track that can be downloaded after the purchase of the physical release. What’s the idea behind that? As we know FLR01 was your very first output. Did you ever send your stuff to other labels before founding your own label?
Back in 2014 when I just started going out in Berlin, I used to give USB sticks to DJs I admired with my music on it. One morning I gave my favorite DJ one of those sticks, after he finished his closing set. Nothing much happened after, until he played again maybe 3 months later. All of a sudden, I was hearing my track on the dancefloor, without any warning or expectations. I was blown away, and that made me realize my music might be worth releasing. Releasing via other labels was a very hard, an almost impossible task, so I had to form my own label.
The concept is releasing music from artists who share the front left vibe. Often they are friends who dance together at the front left corner, sometimes it’s friends who are like family to us and share the same mindset. The digital bonus track is there to add some surprise to each release and to give back to the vinyl collectors who support the label. I indeed sent my music to other labels, before doing FLR01, without any results. Inboxes from famous labels are so full, most of them don’t really accept new artists and I get it. I had to take matters into my own hands.
(video of Elad’s track “Finger Trip”, taken from FLR01)
The third release on Front Left Records features a very special artist – your boyfriend or better said your husband Mathias. How did you work together? Was it different to work with him instead of working alone on your stuff? Was it hard to stop thinking about the tracks when you want some private time?
Making music with my husband is super fun. We share a similar taste in music and he has a very good ear for rhythm. I always consult with him about my own tunes, he gives me amazing feedback. The production process is similar, just involving two minds. We just start a session and mess around with ideas, until something clicks. Then we evolve it by adding detail and more development.
(video of track “Magnet” by Elad Magdasi & Mathias Weber, taken from FLR03)
Already from the start (of the label) you worked with established techno “stars” like Matrixxman (we interviewed him a few months ago
) or on the latest release with Kyle Geiger. How would you describe the way of getting in contact and the way you worked with them? Can you tell us something about these collaborations?
I think more than 80% of the people I met in Berlin I met in Berghain. Sometimes through friends & dancelfoor moments, like with Kyle – we just clicked and got closer and closer throughout time. I love Kyle!!
With Charlie (aka Matrixxman), we met during his first gig in Berghain, for a brief moment. Later on, I sent him my track “Finger Trip” from FLR01. He loved it so much that he offered to remix it, I was so thankful. Right there I knew this person is a friend for life.
(video of Kyle Geiger’s “Neverends”, taken from FLR05)
After releasing your own tracks there will be some remixes made by you (e.g. on Verschwender’s EP “Face Of Silence” via Seelen Records). How do you decide if you want to make a remix? After you agreed to work on it, how do you start with the creation? What’s different to your own production? What’s the process of working on a remix and what’s the process of creating an own track?
What Charlie did to me for FLR01 was so noble, it inspires me to give back to the community and to people I love with the same gesture. Verschwender sent me a bunch of his tracks long ago. I loved one of them so much that I was super happy to contribute a remix for his release. Same with Eònan’s first release which just came out. I like those people personally and I love their music, so it made total sense to jump in and make remixes for them. The process is also very similar to my own tracks, I just know I have to use one element or another, not always. It’s also nice to have a remix that doesn’t sound at all like the original.
(full stream of Elad’s remix of “Face Of Silence” on Seelen Records)
Beside being a techno producer and DJ you are also known for creating your music videos. You’re a visual artist – an art director. Is that your “real” job? What inspires you for the music and what for the videos/visual art? Can you tell us something about the way you create a visual art like a graphic and a video?
Yes, my main job is making videos & animation. I love the abstract world, shapes & lights, but my work is all over the place – I do whatever is needed. Inspiration comes from the depth of my brains I guess, but also from the outside world. Sometimes when I dance in a club and watch the light show ideas come up – it’s a nice combination between music and visuals.
Being able to direct music videos for my own releases is a lot of fun, the final creation is unique. Normally I would start by writing the ideas, forming a script, producing the shoot itself (with the help of my great friends). I usually film all the videos with friends (or friends of friends) – people who love the label and the music. Then I will do the first edit, then move on to coloring & visual FX.
(example of Elad’s work)
I saw cute pictures of your marriage with Mathias. If I remember right we met at Berlin’s demonstration after the bomb attack against the club Pulse in Orlando. Is the gay movement a political thing for you or more something private?
I am not involved much in politics, but it is important to me to support diversity, equality & open mindness. Love should unite us all – if you open your heart to people, you will be loved back. I surround myself with people who believe in that way, and try when I can, to spread the message. Before LGBTQ marriage was legal in Germany, I posted my marriage video publicly with a text about equality – it was important for me to use my experience to show all that love is love.
(promo picture of Elad & his husband Mathias)
You are often back to Israel, right? Could you please compare the club scene there with the one in Berlin? What about the queer scene? Israel is a popular country for holidays within the gay community…
I visit Israel about 2 times a year to visit family and/or play in local clubs. The club scene has changed a lot since I left in 2013. When I was living there techno was non-existing. Now you can find great techno parties in places like Alphabet or The Block. One of the best gay/queer parties in town is called PAG and they play techno, so i’m happy to see people like it there as well.
Tel Aviv is very open minded. With a beautiful beach and amazing food – I can see why it’s a popular destination, I love it there.
I am really interested in the music you inspired, you love since ages and you still play from time to time. So please name 10 records/tracks and tell us why they are important for you.
This is a hard one. Techno-ly speaking, these ones are some of my alltime favs:
01. How Is Your Evening So Far by Josh Wink & Lil’ Louis
02. Luvsucka by Monika Kruse
03. Number In Between by Adam Beyer & Jesper Dahlback
04. See The Light by Roberto Bosco
05. Minus Orange by Richie Hawtin
06. Groove La Chord by Aril Brikha
07. Inland by Ed Davenport
08. Schöneberg by Marmion
09. Oraganon by Ignacio
10. X-Trak 1 by Percy X
(full stream of “Schöneberg” by Marmion)
It’s already the last question (one more than planned) … so we have to ask you about the things coming up. Any nice records planned? Some special gigs (e.g. your second appearance at Berghain)?
Next up is a split EP, between me and a very special friend (hint: he runs a dutch label). EP will be out in May, with 4 music videos.
EP “Liquid Dreams” on Anagram
EP “Kinky Kicks” on Key Vinyl
Verschwender’s “Face Of Silence EP” w/ Elad Magdasi remix on Seelen
all stuff on Front Left Records
Tracklist of Exclusive Mix:
Front Left Records