We were lucky enough to grab some more time with one of our Israeli artists, Guy Mantzur – who’s career has blown up big-time, since the last time we spoke!
So Guy…. Bedrock, Kompakt, Lost & Found, Sudbeat… there aren’t many artists that are able to make an impact across a true global underground array of labels. How long has it taken you to build up your career until this point?
Guy Mantzur: From the way i see it, building up a career – its an unending issue , even when you get to certain point when you have shows booked for the next months and your release schedule is full , still you always have to be focused, to think ahead and plan the next moves this industry changing really fast and you have to be aware of it. So my answer to the question is that the build up of your career takes as long as you are in the music industry.
Israel has a profound music history in terms of both contemporary progressive music and a wild psychedelic scene. What is the event and party scene like in Tel Aviv? Where would you recommend a electronic music enthusiast to go in terms of raves, record shops and the underground culture of Israel? Who were your musical friends as you were growing into becoming a professional DJ/Producer?
Guy Mantzur: Israel is a great place for music lovers, we don’t have closing times for clubs or parties and there are underground parties every day.
I played last weekend in the desert on a party name Terra and my set time was 9am to midday, that’s just an example of how long parties can be here.
The music style here contains everything from Trance to Progressive and Techno. I think that the big amount of a great talented local producers and DJs creates this situation, that you can hear good music almost every day of the week, even if its a local DJ.
I got into the scene when the New York house was at his biggest peak, so artists like Little Louie Vega, Frankie Knuckles & Francois K used to come here a lot, a bit later we got into the edge of Sasha & Digweed and it took my heart into it , it made me realize what music should feel like.
There are lots of things to do in the city, every week there is an open air party in different locations and music genres, add to this a lot of clubs (some of them opens 7 days a week), it all makes this city a very good base for underground music.
There’s no denying that people will always be influenced by the press and scared about visiting countries, due to conflicts that existed; a comparable situation to Israel is in Northern Ireland. You’ve already told us there’s a monumental dance music scene in Tel Aviv so do you think people should just go-ahead and ignore the negative news stories?
Guy Mantzur: I can tell you for sure that its nothing like the media shows, Tel Aviv and lots of other central cities are peaceful , full of beautiful things and chilling vibes.
We had here two weeks ago the Love Parade, it was during all week with open air parties spreading all over the city, the biggest one was 250,000 people . I always being asked by people this question and hear their concerns of coming to Israel, but after they come – they see that its nothing like the media shows.
People are tired of wars, people just want to love and live their life in piece, the conflict is just between small groups of radicals from both sides that creates lots of mess and showing things in a wrong light
Your co-run label, Plattenbank, is once again a who’s who of the underground house and techno scene featuring Marc Romboy, BOg, Khen and Jimmy Van M to name a few. What would you say are the deciding factors that help you make the decision as to whether you write for your own label or whether you contribute to another? How vital is it for an artist to run their own label?
Guy Mantzur: Plattenbank for me is my baby! I never thought about making a big label when I started it. I just thought it will be great to have a platform to release my own music and music I love. We’ve both grown together, so as my career develops the label does it with me hand in hand .
The decision of what tracks of mine I will release on the label comes from my heart. Sometimes there are some tracks that I know that PB is the only place for me to release them. I also think its important to release in other labels because it helps to explore your music into new crowds and territories.
I feel that running a label is a must thing for me and my career because it gives me the full freedom to do things 100% as my vision tells me. I release music I love to play and hear, so it kind of reflects who I am and what I’m playing.
A lot of your recent music is revealing a more organic soul and less of the robotic toughness that comes with heavily powered synth-lines and bass of the European Progressive Techno sound of recent years. When the mood across the electronic music scene changes; how long does it take for a dj/producer to leave certain style alone and transition to another to remain relevant?
I never was a fan of robotic programming synths and tracks that sounds they were made by a computer – Guy Mantzur
My roots are live music, guitars, vocals, writing songs… I`m playing piano from the age of 6 and going to see lots of live shows… basically I grow up listening to music by artists like Neil Young, Lennon, Bob Dylan etc… so you can hear this influences in my music always.
I love the organic sounds and love it when things are sounding lo-fi, not 100% quantized. I think that that’s what makes the music human, warm and beautiful.
There are often stories and motives behind the creation of a piece of music. Is there a story behind your epic track from last year with Khen “Children With No Name” and if so what was it?
Guy Mantzur: Creating this song was a long journey, as you know there are lots of tracks where I collaborate with Khen, but the creating of this one took us way more time then anything we did before, it was an inner self journey into our inner children, it’s easy to say what you want the song to talk about, but it’s very hard to put it into words and music. In the minute we came out with the phrase “children with no name” – the whole pic got brighter.
I think that each person have a point in his life when he starts to ask himself questions regarding his life, why am I here? Who am I? Is this the best way for me? In this certain point of life you become a child with no name, flowing in the wind, looking for meaning… then when you find it, you got your name back and you can shout it out loud.
What do you feel is the impact to your songs when they are heavily supported on the various YouTube channels that broadcast your music? And how would you react if your music appeared on YouTube channels without your prior permission? Do you think it’s possible an artist can develop or even survive without this kind of exposure and support?
Guy Mantzur: I think that having your music exposed in any way is blissful thing, and in these days there is no way to avoid it, trying to fight it will be waste of time, especially with the Spotify edge that came and changed the game. I think that the exposure is always good, this new edge for music brings with it many changes and benefits that can help all artists.
And lastly, here’s a scenario for you; in the none too distant future, fuel as we know it has become so scarce that we can only make two long distance journeys for the rest of our life. Where do you choose to go and why?
Guy Mantzur: My instinct answer is to give you two destinations where i like to play at, but after thinking twice, I will answer bit different:
First I will do South America tour , traveling and preforming in Argentina always feeds my soul and gives me high levels of inspiration .
Second place I will go to one of those magical blue distant islands and spend some time with my beloved once