The Tel Aviv and Berlin based Trio has been bringing the butter for the past five years now. The band consists of three producers that came together to make banging music, which they seem to be effortlessly shaking out of their sleeves. The Le Flah crew must’ve gotten hooked on their music same time as me. They got Buttering Trio over to Zurich for their first „Le Lah“ event, where I got the chance to sit down with the band to talk about their music, goats, falafels and space. This meme here actually sums up perfectly what is coming at you.
So tell me, how did this all come together? What’s the story?
Rejoicer: Keren and me used to date in High School and magically bumped into each other in Berlin, when we both lived there. So we started jamming again but didn’t really get serious with it until we moved back to Tel Aviv. That’s where we recorded our first EP „Party Bear“. We then got a few shows. One interesting gig we did, was to do music for this film. It was a silent film from the 20’s called „Voyage To The Moon“. That was actually the first gig we did with Beno. He then started playing with us from there. So after that we wrote „A Little Goat“ together. We didn’t release the track but there’s a video clip of it that plays in the garden. From there on things just started to grow naturally.
Beno: Yeah, I met these two groovy characters that already had their own sound. I just came and added my spice. But if you listen to the first EP you can still really recognize their sound up to today.
Keren: It’s changing though!
The first EP does sound very different to the second. I guess you all have your personal preferences that come together. Where do you find inspiration for you music?
Beno: It can be anything. It can be a film or movie that I saw. A talk with a friend I had. Music I listened to. Situations I have in my life. So for me, it can be anything. The inspiration is everywhere. It changes, depending on what and where it hits you. You can get it from the weather. It’s all around you.
Rejoicer: A lot of the time, the answer is: music that inspires music. But most of the time it’s not like that. I think it’s interesting when I meet people that react to everything! Not just to the music of other artists. That’s always a beautiful thing to see.
How would you define your own music? You’ve been described as a trip-hop or nu-soul band. But your music has such an original sound to it. There’s not really one style you can put on it.
Keren: No, you can’t. I think the show is very trippy that way. I really felt that at our show last night. It starts as something and through the experiences we have during the show it ends as something else. You were asking about influences before. Where we live we get a lot of influences from everywhere. Like in „Ganja Man“ you hear the indian influence, then there’s jazz, reggae, hip-hop, rock, egyptian sound, classical…
Rejoicer: Climate has a lot of influence on music as well. When you work in different climates and work at different places on earth, it feels completely different. It goes through the air, before it comes to you. Like in Israel there’s a lot of sand in the air. So you listen to music with less high frequencies because the sand blocks it. That’s a fact!
So that would explain how the „Toast LP“ has these different vibes to it, since the beats you recorded came alive in three different places.
Rejoicer: We didn’t really focus on working on it at different places. We just kind of went with the flow.
For „Jam“ you went into the studio and just jammed for three consecutive days, hence the name „Jam“. That must be some raw, intuitive music there. Can you tell me a bit more about the whole process?
Rejoicer: Harake, a project of Kol HaCampus 106fm radio initiated the whole thing. The general idea was to get into the studio, without any songs in advance, and jam using our equipment and some extra instruments to create a live album.
Beno: It’s a really cool station! They play a lot of non commercial hip-hop. It’s not based in Tel Aviv but you can listen to it around Israel. They let us play at their studio for three days.
Keren: So it has this feel of a live jam. I mean we did all the recordings there, but then we started to do some serious editing.
Rejoicer: A lot of editing!
While you were recording, the session took an unexpected twist due to the November 2012 bombings in Israel/Palestine. The alarms set off at peak moments which then gave birth to the songs „Master of Rockets“, „I Cried For You“, „What Is Madness“. So you used the energy from what was happening around you to make something beautiful! How does that work? What was going on through your head then?
Keren: It’s stressful, when the alarms go off. I mean I panicked. Before we went to the studio there were a ton of alarms. When the first alarm went off I was in a closet like: „What the fuck?! What am I supposed to do?!“ I had no idea, because the last time it happened was when I was six. But after the second or third one you get used to it. You even go outside to have a look out for the bomb. It’s not like in Gaza where things are really fucked up. You have to be really unlucky to get hit where we live. But the music is definitely influenced by this energy. For sure. But it’s not one of fear.
With this background information I thought the songs you produced during that time would have more of a sad or melancholic feel. But you listen to them and it’s still all groovy! It has this hopefulness to it as if you were like: „Look it’s fucked up here, but we’re not letting that negativity into our space.“ You’re extracting positivity out of a difficult situation, and I really like that.
Keren: I think that’s all we can really do. Try and spread this message of love, hope and foolishness. We might not be activists in a common sense of word. But sometimes I feel like I am, or wish to be one.
Like with „Make Falafel, Not War“?
Rejoicer: I guess, yeah. I mean we wrote „Make Falafel, Not War“. And the lyrics to it are:
„I eat falafel
You eat falafel
I eat shit from the occupation
You eat shit from the occupation
Why do we need this shit?“
Beno came up with the first two phrases, which are in hebrew and arabic. Keren’s sister then had the idea to make it political, which we all ended up agreeing with. The falafel comes in because really we are all the same. We all eat falafel and hummus and are stuck in the same little land. The phrases that then follow are in arabic only.
Another thing I realized when I listened to your music is that it has this really spacey, intergalactic vibe to it. A fan on your Bandcamp page must’ve thought the same thing because he described your music as: „Border of the sound between earth and space“. I mean looking up into the sky in the evening and seeing the stars and the moon, it kind of puts everything into perspective for me, knowing that there’s something bigger out there.
Keren: Yeah, I think this „zooming out“ is essential. It’s definitely a game of perspective.
Beno: The way I see it, is that in music you’ve got influences from the past but you still want to do something that is new. In film and music, writers have always written about the stars and all these things you can not see from here. Maybe that’s also so you don’t have to think about other things, like Israel and Palestine for us. You think about the future instead and maybe make music that doesn’t really fit into what other people have done. It can be inspired by the past but you do something new with it - so you get that spacey vibe. I mean we also do really minimalistic music because we are only bass, vocals & some simple beats. So that leaves us a lot of room for the effects to fill in the „space“.
I’m definitely ready for some spacing out now. Thank you so much for your time!
Buttering Trio are currently working on their fourth album having already released one track, „From The Tree“. Looks like they have a lot more to bring to the table from where that came from, so definitely keep an eye out for these guys!
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