We had the good fortune of connecting with Erez Aviram and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Erez, what’s something about your industry that outsiders are probably unaware of?
The amount of work. The notion an outsider might have is that musicians are focused on one thing – music. And this notion is wrong, because musicians are always doing at least a dozen different things not related to music – booking, public relations and graphics to name a few. This also means that the amount of work is endless and even at the end of the day, I feel I could have done more, write another bar or improve a mix. Most of the time I’m not even aware of it myself because I’m busy doing the work.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
What I am currently most excited about is my 8 piece ensemble. It is a where I can experiment with instrumentation, form and groove. During my final year at the Music Academy in Jerusalem, my teacher asked me what do I want to do musically and I had no answer. I still don’t have an answer. I have desires. That is why my career path has never been a straight line. In my catalog you will find a Progressive Rock album, two piano solo EPs, an orchestral single and film scores. They are all snapshots of what I listened to and was inspired from at the time. I recently finished a score for a film about Ethiopian Jews who came to Israel in the 90’s. The music is a hybrid between Ethiopian Jazz and traditional-movie-scores-orchestral sound. When the director and I first discussed the music, I had no idea what I am going to write because it was a genre I have never heard of before. That said, I was fortunate enough to know people who play Ethiopian Jazz and they were kind enough to give me some of their time and knowledge. They introduced me to scales, rhythms and traditions that I used while writing the score and became a part of my skill set as well. That is one of the things I love most about film scoring, I get to write in styles and genres that I would have never imagined of experimenting with, all tailored to the film’s needs. With my ensemble, I get to be the screenwriter. When I compose a new piece for them, I think of a story I want to tell in an abstract way. The melodies are the characters and they go through a journey. Like with film scoring, I do my best to make the audience care about this journey. Only this time, it is live music. There is something about live music that dies once you record it – almost like those tribesmen who believe that a taking a picture of someone steals a part of their soul. Every time we play, the show is not the same and that is what makes it a living thing.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I imagine a week off and it feels so good! In any case, I live in New York so I would take them first to see some live music in the city. Smalls, Village Vanguard, Birdland are all good options in Manhattan but because I live in Brooklyn, we will go to Barbes at some point. Later that week, we will go to the parks, first Washington Square Park and then Bryant Park and the library. If it is a nice day we can head out to Domino Park in Williamsburg for the sunset or Prospect Park for a long stroll and to meet some friends. During the weekend, we will definitely catch a film at the Alamo and drinks at a decent Mexican place.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
There are too many people to count who have had varying levels of influence on my career and music. Nevertheless, the musicians who perform my compositions play a big part in my life. Every time I get to hear a composition being played live, I discover a new piece of information about it and then can make the music better.. These experiences taught me the most valuable lessons in music and helped define my musical identity.
Dror Pikielny Noa Semo Aviram