Alon Waisman’s music career began when he was 12, with a trashcan and a Sting music video.
“I just started banging on the trashcan, and I just felt like I had to do it,” the Rishon Lezion singer/ songwriter, pilot and father told The Jerusalem Post.
“That was probably the first sign that I was really into playing drums.”
Waisman describes his upcoming album, The AW Project, featuring both Israeli and international musicians, as ranging from classic rock or easy listening.
Waisman wrote all of the music and lyrics, and did the mixing and mastering himself. He said he likes doing this because he gets to see the project from zero to completion.
Doing all the editing himself allowed him to mix in tracks from other musicians; many of them close friends, from as far away as the United States. He sent tracks to renown guitarist Oz Noy, a Rishon native who now lives in New York. Noy contributed his parts and sent them back to Waisman who added in using digital editing software.
When he started the latest album, he said he planned for it to be in Hebrew like his first effort a few years ago. But as he was recording songs, realized he wanted them to be in English.
“It feels just as natural for me to sing in English, he said. “Because I grew up listening to that, most of the songs I heard as a kid were in English.”
With the album due out next month, Waisman is planning a tour in Israel and the United States.
Although music is not his main profession Waisman said he tries to do it as professionally as he can.
He puts “every bit” of spare time that he has into recording.
When flying for work, he brings his iPad and a small keyboard, so he can write song lyrics in his hotel between flights. “There is this peace and quiet during that time, you can sit down and look back,” Waisman said. “You have no interruptions, you can have the consistency of working on lyrics.”
Waisman said he draws inspiration for his lyrics by taking the simple every day things in life and bringing them to the extremes.
His instrument collection, he says, has expanded since his first, makeshift drum set. He now records out of his home studio in Rishon Lezion, which doubles as a bomb shelter. The studio features everything he needs to make and record his music, including a drum set, keyboard and a Mac.
When missiles from the Gaza Strip fell in Rishon in 2012, the entire family gathered in the studio.
“I didn’t want my kid to hear all the sirens so I immediately played music,” Waisman said.
Waisman’s daughter Michal is now five, and he described her as one of his biggest critics.
“You can feel the reaction, whether a song was good for her or not,” Waisman said. “From a fiveyear old’s perspective, I can really feel with zero filters whether she likes it or not.”
He said he hopes his daughter will grow up to enjoy music as much as he does.
Aside from his daughter’s criticism, Waisman said one of the hardest parts of composing music is figuring out if others like it.
“Friends usually say, ‘wow this is great, we love it,’ because they love you, because they are your friends,” Waisman said.
He uses a website called Reverbnation to get feedback on his songs, which allows him to post songs and receive a crowd review.
He also sends his songs to his US-based music pro Bill Hunn, who is promoting Waisman’s songs in the US.
“[He] sends me the songs as he puts them together and I give my feedback and get other opinions,” said Hunn.
The two met through a mutual friend and Hunn said he loved Waisman’s songs and decided to take him on as a client.
“He has many good ones, so for the first month I just listened and tried to decide what song to pitch first,” Hunn said.
He ended up choosing “Ephi,” off of the upcoming album, which he describes as a “sweet song” about a friend who passed away too soon. The song features the vocals of Noa Avana and piano by Ohad Goldbart.
Hunn said that although breaking through in another country is hard and requires, talent, hard work, patience and a budget, the AW Project is off to a great start and is getting great reaction.
“He’s a very positive musical voice and the world could use more of that,” Hunn said.