"Let it be"
Niv Ast creates music that works in all settings and transcends genres. His openness to a wide range of sound is what has both made him a widely loved favourite, but also someone who operates in his own parallel musical world. We had a chance to talk to him, so enjoy your reading and check out his latest releases.
Hi Niv! Where can we find you right now? How did you start off your day?
Hey guys. Sitting at my girlfriend’s living room with a strong AC after a Shakshuka sandwich and chamomile tea.
Are you from a musical family? What music do you remember playing around the house when you were young?
Not really. My mom did put some Beatles records on sometimes and my father was watching every live show or video of Arik Einstein in the television, but that’s about it.
What was your introduction to electronic music? Was it your first real musical love or were you a keen listener of all sounds when you were younger?
First time I was really introduced to electronic music was when I was around 17t years old. I went to a dubstep party which I wasn’t familiar with at the time. I remember hearing the sound of the beat and the bass... I couldn’t sleep that night just because of the vibrations...
In and out of the electronic music circle, who is an inspiration to you and why?
Pff.. I had lots of inspirations all over my life.. musical wise I’d Jimi Hendrix, Cody Chesnutt, Thom Yorke, James Blake and of course Oasis & The Beatles.
What have been the most influential factors or moments on/in your career so far?
Got lots of them also! But one specific strong moment was at the Calvi on the Rocks festival two years ago. I was about to play my first ever electronic live show (I’d had lots of shows before in a variety of formats).. It was a really nice stage, there were lots of musicians who I appreciate, and I was feeling very grateful for being able to play my music, travel to beautiful places like this (Corsica), meet incredible people and earn money in the process. Shout out to Daniel Weil who invited me to play.
What is the balance for you between DJing and production? Do you prefer one to the other?
I will quote Nadav Spigel (Autarkic) : “I love to DJ. Playing live can be an emotional burden on my being, but I understand that my essence as a musician is clearer when I play live.”
Is your production style influenced by your tastes as a DJ? Or are you a DJ turned producer?
Its not separated. Same person. So everything is effecting everything. The linear view is that I am a producer turned DJ, but it might as easily be the other way around ☺
How much has your own sound changed over the years?
I was making a different style of music for couple of years. If you dig down you can find 3 albums of a way slower indie trip-hop vibe, where I was singing a lot. For the last 3 years I am focusing on dance music. Much more faster and intuitive production. Of course my love for rock ‘n roll, punk and garage is still with me and will stay forever.
What does your studio look like? And what type of hardware/software do you like to work with?
I have a mini studio at home. Computer, Monitors, Soundcard, Guitar, Microphone, Korg Minilogue and that’s about it. I use a lot of samples, plugins and sound manipulations.
Your new ‘I Remember’ EP is released in July on Correspondant? Can you tell us a little about it? What did you want to transmit? What inspired you?
The whole EP is kinda dark. Very guitar based. Shady vocals. But each track is a bomb on the dance floor. The main track ‘I Remember’ is more of a story about memories and longing for a feeling. The two other originals are headbanging rocknrollers. And the last one with Cornelius Doctor is a trippy broken beat funny track I enjoyed producing with Guillaume, my good friend from Lyon.
2020 was shaping up to be your strongest to date, on the music front. Excellent releases with Optimo Music and Hardfist, and now the Correspondant. Is this a rich vein of creative form right now, or simply the natural progression, for you?
I’m super honored to release in these amazing labels. I’ve been working my ass off for lots of years and its amazing to see everything coming together so perfectly.
We love the ‘Staccato Sentimento’, you collaboration with Rina from your Hard Fist release. Can you tell us how that track came together?
Rina is my really good friend from Tel-Aviv. Staccato Sentimento was created in one day on the first time we met in the studio. So the magic was in the air and present with each snare hit ☺ Thank you for the kind words on the track.
You are Tel Aviv born and bred. Israel has been a hotbed for electronic talent for some years now. What key factors would you attribute the success down to?
I’d love to list a whole stream of reasons… But I think it mostly comes down to the fact that we’re just a bunch of stubborn motherfuckers.
Is there any artist in particular, Israeli or otherwise, who constantly surprises you?
Kanye west. Mostly production wise, ever since his first album ‘The College Dropout’. He is constantly inventing himself over and over again. Sometimes he uses an element totally out of mix because he wants that specific vibe. I find it inspiring.
In your eyes – how big of an impact will Coronavirus have on the music industry?
Hopefully we will all be more grateful for being able to do it and live from it. More respect between each other and understanding we are in it together.
Have there been any go-to albums or producers helping you get through the crisis with their music?
Kanye West is always my go to artist in times of crises.
What are you most looking forward to doing when the corona pandemic is over?
What makes you happy?
My family, my girlfriend, my friends.. and a whole free day to watch Netflix.
What’s next on the agenda for Niv Ast? What projects are you working on at the moment?
I’m always working on new tracks.. Very nice releases for the end of the year are planned. Also we (Eliezer & Me) are working hard on our label New Day Everyday. We have a lot of upcoming releases this year.
Do you have any final words of wisdom?
LET IT BE.