The Jerusalem-born, Tel Aviv-based producer Roy Rosenfeld has a reputation as one of the last true leaders of the authentic club culture and this release proves that his talents stretch even way beyond that. With a mind as distinctive as his soul, though, Rosenfeld puts that nostalgic structure in a globetrotting artistic framework which makes everything both familiar and innovative. His creative ability to respond to the context according to the circumstances is impeccable. Accordingly high are the expectations of a producer of his caliber, but those expectations are more than met by the groundbreaking opus found on this 40-minute material out on Guy J’s imprint Lost & Found. The title track floats on a cool Middle Eastern ambience with a sophisticated late night theme exposing those seductive traces of piano wandering, while the sequencing throughout the album is handled perfectly. One might think a genre only has so much potential to be taken to new places, but Roy doesn’t feel that way.
This unique release includes two guest artists – Guy J and Eli Nissan, making this new 5-track release even more special. Guy J and Roy Rosenfeld have joined forces to create ‘Aroma’, an album’s peak, and one that deserves to reach a bigger audience. To make everything better, Eli Nissan jumps in with an awesome conception into the track ‘There’ with his peculiar hypnotic vibes. The transcendent mood is maintained throughout the album. The styles may vary, but the feel is profound and trance-inducing. It is a synthesizer album with a difference, an inner journey detached from the outside world.
You can now listen to the closing track ‘Otro’ while reading the great interview Roy gave us exclusively on When We Dip. The Jerusalem-born producer talks about his studio work during the lockdown and much more. Enjoy!
Release Date: December 18th, 2020. Buy Here
We live in the age where global corporations invest their money into their media lackeys, who then decide the new musical genius based on the number of zeroes of the transaction. Thanks to this tradition, it becomes impossible to spot the real McCoy. What if the real musical genius was a next-door neighbor with a sense of humor, who enjoys the simple, but good food, and spends his free time on the basketball court hanging out with his best friends?
Without the conglomerates behind him, Roy Rosenfeld is an electronic music producer who prefers independence over glamour and enjoys his life in Tel-Aviv. He breaks the rules, takes risks, and blends various styles into a genre of his own. Guy J’s label Found has just released Roy Rosenfeld’s Phase, one of the most innovative albums in 2020. It is the embodiment of his studio expertise, philosophy, and brilliance.
Rosenfeld is so modest that he insists on calling his material a mini-album, even though it is a minute longer than Jean-Michel Jarre’s Oxygène, one of the best selling albums in the history of electronic music. This interview is a chance to find out more about his understanding of the world, music, and lifestyle.
WWD: There is something special in your music. Your technical skills are crucial, but also your ability to flawlessly incorporate ethnic melodies with your futuristic approach. One of my dear friends, Jerry Ropero, told me that the only way to bring something new to the table in the music business is by fusing elements from completely different genres into electronic music. What’s your angle on that?
Roy: Thanks for the compliments! It means a lot to me! Yes, Jerry is right. Like in every field in life, taking a bit from here and a bit from there and putting it all together is the best way to bring something new to the table. In my opinion, that’s what art is all about.
In 2014 I went to one of the Q&A sessions with Richie Hawtin during the Amsterdam Dance Event. Someone asked him- “what does it take to sign new music with your records label ‘Minus’- what’s the best advice you can give us?”
Richie answered- “send me something that I’ve never heard before, don’t send me music that sounds like one of the label’s artists because I have THEM already!” Nothing can beat this once you hear it from one of the most important characters of the electronic dance music scene.
At that point in my career, I was really into Minimal House music, so-called – Techno House. I still like those grooves, and I think I kept them in my current productions, but by the time the topping of my work has been changed back into my melodic roots, which are inspired by some modern and classic ethnic Israeli songs.
In my teenage years, I loved listening to Euro/Club Trance music, Latin music, and yeah, Funk music, which was always there, even though I didn’t know it’s called Funk music. I just liked it. That is my musical roots. If we go production-wise, then I’m a big fan of my good friend Sebastien Leger plus Guy J and all my Lost family, just to mention some.
WWD: Was it quite a ride to create this album during a global pandemic? Did the recording begin before there was much thought of the Coronavirus?
I had only finished one track on this mini-album before Coronavirus showed up, which is “Drop of Wisdom.” Once I finalized the rest, I realized that “Drop of Wisdom” can fit in the album perfectly as the 4th track of the release. Many people think it’s great to spend time in the studio while the world is in a state of chaos. The truth is very different, at least for me. I made some music, but it was more difficult than usual as the stress for the future of humanity is real, politically, economically, and health-wise. Then to your question- yes, it’s been a ride to produce new music at those hard times, but I’m glad it’s finished, and even more happy to share my very first collaborations with my good friends – Eli Nissan and Guy J.
WWD: Guy J lives in Malta for years, did your collaboration happen in your studio, his studio, or did you switch parts online? What was the creative process there?
Guy lives in St. Julian’s, and I live in Tel-Aviv. He’s a friend for life, besides being one of my biggest inspirations in the studio. So, we were talking about this collaboration a few times before we began. However, we couldn’t come up with something that got us both excited enough to start an online ‘ping-pong’ session. After suggesting him to make our talked-about collaboration on my Found release, Guy has sent me an idea for a track. I was very impressed by the concept he presented, and we immediately started working together on “Aroma.”
WWD: You’ve also collaborated with Eli Nissan. You just recently remixed his track, and you have a new production on your album? What is your relationship with Eli?
Eli is a love story. Everyone who bumps into Eli falls in love immediately. That’s a fact! Eli is someone I go to eat a plate of hummus with weekly. He’s one of my best friends, and I’m lucky to have him in my life. People like him are hard to find!
WWD: How did your collaboration start?
While eating hummus, I asked him if he’s down to make a collaboration track for my Found release in December. In the beginning, we worked separately. Nevertheless, then we moved the session into my studio. It was an easy and fun process because we both knew what we wanted to achieve.
WWD: If the current situation was any different, would you be on tour after releasing your album?
Well, what’s wrong with your question is that I’m releasing music almost every couple of months, which means releases aren’t a reason for touring, anyway. Some artists release their material once a year and make a lot of noise about it on social media as a starting point for their tour. I have nothing against that, but I don’t do it!
WWD: The pandemic changed a lot of routines in the music business. How do you see the situation in the music industry resolving?
I’m positive. We are all waiting for the COVID-19 vaccine to show up so the panic will slow down and disappear. Once that happens, we will go back to normal, or at least something similar to the normality we used to have. Of course, there are going to be some new rules, but I don’t think it’ll affect the electronic dance music industry in the long run, as people seem to forget about everything while dancing. So, I guess that the summer of 2021 will be looking like the summer of 2019.
WWD: How successfully do you express your emotions through your music?
Every track I make is expressing my emotions while producing them. Some of them also have a real story behind them, some of them are just a reflection of my current feelings, but I don’t remember when was the last time I made a track just out of boredom.
WWD: Are you one of those artists who are never satisfied with their work, or can you enjoy the new level you have reached creating a work of art?
I see what you mean, but I’ll be fair and say that I’m satisfied with my music and the feedback too. On the other hand, I can easily say that I’d be happy to update some mixdowns and structures of older tracks I made in the past.
Of course, one’s opinion changes by other people’s feedback, but now when your music is still fresh and unburdened by success, what’s your favorite track on your new album?
I’ll be a good and boring daddy and say that I love them equally, ha, ha! “Otro” was produced as the outro track of my set at the We Are Lost Festival in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in February 2020. It was one of the most exciting moments of my career as a producer and a DJ, so you can tell I have some extra feelings for this track. “Phase” is the title track of the release, and it’s called like that as a little reminder that the hard times we’re experiencing right now are just a phase. “Aroma” and “There” are my first collaborations with Guy and Eli, so I’m very honored and excited with them. I can’t wait to play them out loud.
WWD: How many times do you need to say “no” to offers that bring short-term profits to maintain your character and achieve admirable success in the long run?
Sadly, many times a year, although I always appreciate offers, even if they aren’t my cup of tea.
WWD: How does the Tel-Aviv life affect your work?
The food is so good, so it surely slows down my workflow. I’m joking! Tel-Aviv is amazing! Maybe now it’s not the best moment in time to be a judge of it, but usually, it offers everything I need. I’m pretty sure it affected my musical vision, and perhaps the city even affected my general attitude. It’s a 24/7 city, and you can’t allow yourself to stay behind.
WWD: You’ve invested time, effort, and money into becoming a skillful producer. Are there any other talents besides music in your life?
Sports mainly! I have been playing basketball for 25 years now, as well as football with my good friends Khen and Yariv Etzion A.K.A. Stereo Underground weekly. By the way, do the Playstation skills count?
Interview by Damir Ludvig