Romantic nostalgia

Israeli duo Yael Shoshana Cohen and Gil Landau, who started the indie-pop band Lola Marsh, share musical insight into their first full-length album

June 28, 2017 22:18
4 minute read.
Lola Marsh

GIL LANDAU and Yael Shoshana Cohen of Lola Marsh are set to show off their diverse musical palate in two upcoming performances in Israel.. (photo credit: MICHAEL TOPYOL)

They’ve hit the European ground running – touring Germany, France, Switzerland and Romania.

For Gil Landau and Yael Shoshana Cohen, the musical duo at the forefront of the “orchestral-indie-pop folk” band Lola Marsh, music was relevant from a young age.

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Lead guitarist/songwriter Landau started off on the piano at age six, but switched gears in the sixth grade.

“My older brother taught me to play ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ by Nirvana and I realized, ‘OK, this is what I need to do,’” at which point he picked up the guitar and hasn’t put it down since.

Cohen shares, “I loved to dance and sing in front of my parents.”

Lola Marsh’s front woman also studied music in high school, after which she played in the army band.

While both of their musical prologues were written during childhood, their true story began when the two crossed paths years later at Landau’s birthday party in Tel Aviv.

“Gil was playing around on his guitar and I joined in on vocals. We felt this immediate chemistry,” Cohen shares. “That was a very important day for me. We both knew something special was about to happen.”

Afterward, Landau asked Cohen if she would be interested in writing songs together and the two scheduled a meet-up.

Even good chemistry takes time to perfect, though. “At the beginning, it was a little embarrassing; we were shy and awkward,” Landau chuckles.

Cohen adds, “After a couple of meet-ups, we wrote our first song.

We started recording and performing in small clubs around Tel Aviv, and that was the beginning of the story.”

Lola Marsh’s narrative developed from there. Chapter One: Their first single, “Sirens”; Chapter Two: The EP, “You’re Mine,” plus expanding the band; Chapter Three: Touring locally and internationally; and their latest chapter: An inaugural, full length album.

“With ‘Sirens,’ we took a more alternative approach,” Cohen says, when asked how the band’s style has changed over the years. “It’s a difficult question because we are always changing and experimenting with new sounds from the moment we write a lyric right up until production.”

Cohen attributes Lola Marsh’s diverse musical palate to her cultured childhood.

“My parents wanted us to see the world and be open-minded, so we moved a lot – inside Israel, and also to Singapore and Kenya. I remember exploring my parents’ cassette collection, which included every colorful [and eclectic] genre from Indonesian to Japanese music.”

These influences come together in Lola Marsh’s music to form what Cohen calls “a cinematic, nostalgic, romantic” creation. Ironically, while Lola Marsh’s name was chosen based on the tasteful ring to it rather than its meaning, they recently discovered that it encompasses one of these three adjectives.

Cohen recollects, “A Chinese woman came up to us after a show to explain that our name actually means ‘romantic poetry’ in Mandarin.”

An oddly fitting title, even if not intended.

Another of her adjectives, ‘nostalgia,’ seeps through every pore of the new album, especially its title.

“The name ‘Remember Roses’ came from a nostalgic place that forever exists inside my mind,” Cohen explains. “In my parent’s old house, we had this rose garden that my mother tended to with great care. I loved being there among the roses – there was always this amazing smell and feel that I associated with peaceful, quiet moments.”

While Landau prefers not to limit Lola Marsh’s sound to descriptive words as he feels it places barriers on their creation, he adds, “Someone once defined us as ‘orchestral-indie- pop-folk.’ I thought that fit quite well.”

And the rest of the world seems to be receptive to their rich, multi-layered sound. Lola Marsh has taken both the local and international scene by storm and hopes to gain further recognition with their current world tour, which stretches from Europe to the US to Canada for the Montreal Jazz Festival, and includes a peppering of shows in the Holy Land.

This is not Lola Marsh’s first time on tour; however, it is their first time touring with an album to distribute.

“We’ve been waiting for this moment for so long, from the moment we became a duo, to growing into a full, five-person band, to labels and touring... we just wanted to finish our album, to have this defining creation in our hands. We were touring for so long without an album, and to be able to give the audience something after the show is so fulfilling,” Cohen exclaims with verve.

She adds, “When people hear our music, we want them to forget that they are at a festival or standing in a club or sitting in a café. We want to transport them to another world, a cinematic world, like a scene from a movie.”

So what does the next chapter in Lola Marsh’s story hold? “To write, write, write. My dream is to write more songs for movies too,” Cohen reveals, reeling in that third adjective, “cinematic.”

“For now, as Gil reminds me constantly, patience is key. There is no rush. First, we’ll focus on the incredible tour ahead. Then we can focus on our future.”

And oh, what a bright future it is.

Lola Marsh is currently on tour.

They return to Israel in July to perform at the Barby on July 7 and Fringe in Beersheba on July 11. They will also open for the Pixies on July 26 at Caesarea Amphitheater.

For more information follow the band on Facebook:

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