|Just returned from Israel where we spent 72 hours making a video for the new single Sunshine. The video is a dream sequence complete with desert, motorcycle, donkey, Bedouins, Moroccan wedding, "the best male belly dancer in Israel", the dead sea, mountains, the shuk, graffiti, and blond hair. The song has a lot of layers of meaning and rather then limit it to my version I will let you all take what you will from it. |
And now the story of the new record: (get comfy)
About two years ago my friend and co-writer Ephraim Rosenstein and I decided to do a record based on the teachings of the Bal Shem Tov, (the founder of the Chassidic movement in 1700's Ukraine). The previous record, "Light", had been based mainly on the ideas of his grandson, (the founder of a chasidic movement called Breslov); the records before that--starting from "Shake Off the Dust"--were based mainly on the inspiration I got from the Chabad branch of Chassidut. So in the fall of 2010, Ephraim and I went to the gravesite of the Bal Shem Tov ("master of the good name" is the translation) in a small town in the Ukraine and spent a week there developing the concept of my new record. This is a story in itself, but to cut to the chase we decided to explore in depth the story of the binding of Issac by his father and to call the record Akeda (binding), Teach Me To Love. After being ready with the concept for a complete record, I went back to Brooklyn and had a few writing sessions with my band the Dub Trio to try and create the songs. The sound here was very similar to our live sound--rock based but incorporating a lot of dub, electronics and very dynamic. Moments more dark and gritty juxtaposed with etherial and cinematic. At the same time I was traveling a lot to LA and met a producer named Kojak from Dr. Luke's camp and we hit it off. During our first writing session together, Dave Holmes (guitarist from Dub Trio), Kojak, and myself wrote and recorded "Sunshine". This was a totally different vibe from what I had been working on. More light hearted, beat driven, and sonically more of a Hip Hop sound then Rock. This created a conflict for me as to which project to work on first. A good conflict to have. Growing up going to Phish concerts and loving live music and at the same time listening to Hip Hop and beat driven music I have always had interest in live instrumentation but also digitally produced music as well. My records have always been a fusion but leaned more towards live instrumentation. I began to record with Kojak over the next year whenever I would be in LA and slowly but surely there were 2 songs then 3 then 6, etc. Up until this point it was a group of songs that were fun, beat driven head bangers, big synths, very melodic and hooky with classic Matisyahu themes running throughout.
After about a year, one day Kojak tells me he's never been to Israel and wants to go have some falafel. So last May, after I was done shooting a movie in Vancouver (which will be out in the early fall), we packed up our files and booked time at a studio in Tel Aviv and added a completely new direction to our music. We incorporated live middle eastern instrumentation. I can't even begin to explain to you the cast of characters that walked into that studio, but we have plenty of footage that I'll be sharing over the web as we get closer to the release. We recorded organic Middle Eastern sounds, wrote new songs and had some amazing special guests, all of which added a new depth to this record and took it to another direction completely. We flew home, (almost without Kojak but that's another story for another time) and I went on a three month, 70 date tour with Dub Trio while Kojak put the files away for another time and spent his time making top 40 hits for Ke$ha and songs for movies (Lorax) and eating edamame Hummus. Fast forward to September, 2011; my wife decides she's sick of winter in Brooklyn (especially after last year’s shenanigan's with no plowing) and we move to LA. Harley gives me a Sportster to get back and forth to the studio (beats LA traffic) and the name of the game is finish the record. We began to incorporate all of our recordings in Tel Aviv and fuse together two very different styles of music into one very unique sound. The record company called me schizophrenic...but stay on your toes ladies and gents...this record is next level. Think Brooklyn meets a caravan of Bedouins traveling through the desert at night, BK to LA to Tel Aviv, Rabbis, shofars, Bal Shem Tov, psychedelic dance party in the desert, searching for God and truth and redemption.
Amidst all of this I went through quite a bit of change. Rather than trying to get into it all I will let the lyrics of the new record do the explaining…I hope you enjoy and find meaning this next batch of songs.
I am so excited and can't wait to share it with you guys soooooo..... stay tuned to the website, facebook,twitter, or whatever your fancy and come along for the ride. The record will be out this summer and we will be on tour and then...I promise, it won't be another 3 years til another record. I will be back in the studio ASAP to cut that super dope rock/ dub/grittiness with Dub Trio.
Peace and love,