Tel Aviv Trio Garden City Movement Drop "Recollections"
Plus we talk to the band about Boiler Room bust ups and the future. (Ask Nostradamus.)
Tel Aviv trio Garden City Movement first made waves back in March 2014 with their haunting video for “Move On” (watch it below). By splicing together frames from the past and present, the two starring Israeli actresses beautifully depict the first flush of love and the brutal comedown in desertion. Since its release “Move On” has clocked over half a million views, not to mention a nod at the LA Film Festival for “Best Music Video” this past summer.
Comprised of Johnny Sharoni, Joe Saar, and singer Roi Avital, Garden City Movement take their love of Ethiopian music and artists like Glenn Branca and The Jacobites, to create music that’s wonderfully distinct, yet tough to classify. Their sound melds super mellow glitch-tronics—note the nice use of the sitar on “Terracotta”—and pitch-shifted, cut and paste vocals with an R&B bent.
We’re stoked to premiere GCM’s darkly glittering new single “Recollections,” which should find favor with fans of SBTRKT, FKA twigs, as much as Washed Out and Seoul.
I hopped on Skype with Johnny Sharoni, to talk Boiler Room bust-ups, Tel Aviv, and what the hell Garden City Movement is exactly.
Noisey: Tell me a little bit about Tel Aviv. I know pretty much nothing about that place.
Johnny Sharoni: Tel Aviv is an amazing inspiring city that sometimes feels like it has its own autonomy, so we laugh about it and call it the State of Tel Aviv. There's a blend of different people, food, music and great beaches, which make it one of the best.
So you’re the third member of the band, and a renowned music journalist and radio DJ. This obviously isn’t your first merry go round with music. Given your past experiences with music, what elements do you feel you bring to the band in your creative process?
Maybe I bring just a bit of a different view and approach about promotion. When we first started out I was brought in to write lyrics, but during the first session, we realized we inspire each other to be more creative. Now we all work on the music together.
How would you describe the Garden City Movement aesthetic?
I guess it's a mixture of so many different influences that go through our commentary with a strong focus on textures. We're all about the textures.
Boiler Rooms are the best. Wasn’t your Boiler Room in Tel Aviv broken up by police?
The moment we were about to start the show the police came in and demanded the sound be turned down. You can hear Skinny from The BR crew talking about it at the beginning of the video, so we actually played with zero volume. It was so hard and even a bit impossible. Most of our gear is electronic. You can see how pissed I am during the video. But when I got home and watched it for the first time, I was like, “OK, we did a great job under the circumstances.” Boiler Room Tel Aviv was something we'd dreamed about for three years before it happened. Best weekend ever.
You guys performed at Glastonbury last year. That must have been quite an experience…
What a festival. We had a great show. You can't really understand what it’s like until you experience it. It’s like the whole festival is on an astral plain. The first day it was dry, but as soon as it rained it became all muddy and it went from a fun festival to some strange cult land. I hope we perform at Glasto again soon. We really want to go back.
How comfortable are you guys on-stage together? Do you like performing?
I can speak for myself and say that it feels great. We insist on playing a full live show. We're all really dependent on one another to make it work, so each member makes the most out of it. The energy is amazing. When you listen to our albums there's a chill kind of vibe that gets a somewhat different translation when it’s live.
In an age where electronic music is everywhere, how do you guys distinguish your sound?
I don't think we can really define our music accurately. It’s really built from so many layers. When you listen to our tracks, you notice that even though they have kind of the same atmospheric lines, they're really different from one another. As I said, we're more into musical textures than into falling into strict genre settings.
Cool. Anyway, I’m intrigued by your BLDG5 artwork. It looks like a Transformer. What’s that all about?
Haha. I guess everyone sees something else in the label's logo—some see a fox, a fly, or two Easter Island heads facing each other. That's what's great about it.
Lame question alert! What’s the hell is a “Garden City Movement”?
Garden City Movement is actually a method of urban planning. We thought it works well with our attitude towards creation, but you know, after all, we just liked the name.
EP dropping soon, European tour to follow. What’s next?
Only Nostradamus knows. I hope touring this summer, then getting into the studio to record our debut album.
Garden City Movement’s EP, Modern West, is out 4.6 via The Vinyl Factory.