Efrat Darky, founder and leading member of Brownies.
(photo credit: Adi Adar)
Efrat Darky, founder and leading member of Israeli band Brownies, has a unique notion of what a band is.
Now in its sixth year, Brownies has gone through so many permutations that perhaps the word “band” is inappropriate, and “a musicians’ collective” is more apt.
The group consists of Darky, bass player and Darky’s partner Oded Adar and drummer Noam Friedrich.
But in its first incarnation, Brownies was not even a band: In 2006, Darky was studying acting, after working in the production of live shows. Aviv Geffen and Matti Caspi were among the acts he produced.
Darky wrote her first album with then roommate Tomer Ben-Ari, who played most instruments and also produced. It was only afterwards that she decided to launch a tour, and the performing band was put together in retrospect, after the songs on the album (titled Home Made Recipe ) were arranged for the rock ensemble.
Ben-Ari, a busy musician himself, declined to perform but gave Darky his blessing, and the guitar player of the live band, Eyal Sucher, helped arrange the album for performance. Brownies in that incarnation included five members.
The tour was a grueling attempt to reach out to as many audiences as possible, covering ground from Eilat in the South to Kiryat Shmona in the North. After the tour, the band released the album. It won some unlikely fans when it was chosen to be the soundtrack for the Israeli vampire TV series Hatzuya . Since the show has become a teenage hit in many countries, especially in Latin America, Home Made Recipe rode the show’s success to thousands of listeners worldwide. Darky, who follows the YouTube statistics of her songs, says there are fan-made clips accompanying Brownies songs from 37 countries.
After the release of Home Made Recipe , Darky decided to take time to think. One of the singles she released during that time, “Frozen,” typifies the state of Brownies after the tumultuous tour and release of the first album.
For the next album, Darky teamed up with producer and mixer Simon Vinestock, who had worked with several high-caliber artists such as David Bowier. The plan was to record the album over the course of a year. Eventually, only three songs were finished and released as an EP entitled M20SRV .
Clips have been released for two of the EP’s songs. “Fire” was edited by Oded Sharer, and the clip for “Midnight Highway” was created by Anat Z.K.
Since the release of M20SRV , recorded with a multitude of guest musicians, Brownies is again on a route of transformation.
The “real” second album, currently in initial production stages, will be in a different style, Darky says. The band’s style is eclectic but can generally be described as electro-rock. A strong stylistic influence is Massive Attack, but some songs tend to a heavier, rockier sound.
Darky, who plays guitar but also used computers in her creative process, says the next Brownies record will be very different from M20SRV .
“Our next album will be more organic because Oded and I are synchronized in our musical tastes. It will be a more personal and more minimalist record, but it will still retain the line of electronic rock,” she says. “In the past, it was all work around the computer. We still use computers, but I prefer working with people than around a machine because you build together from the base up; it is truer,” she adds.
On M20SRV , Darky says that “the process was hard, and while I am very proud of the result, I want to do something less urban and less mechanical this time around.”
Why, one may ask, are the songs in English? “Communicating in English helps us reach as many pairs of ears as possible,” Darky explains. “When I was 18, I stopped being religious. It was in music that I found the sensation of holiness in life that I was looking for. When you make music, there is a frequency in the air, a vibration like the vibration of many people praying together.
This is the place from which we try to communicate with people all around the globe. We are happy to reach audiences all over the place, and English helps us do so.”The Brownies’ music can be heard on browniespecial.com and on the band’s Facebook page, facebook.com/browniesband