Diplomatic relations between Israel and the US may have been bumpy in recent years, but musically they’re on rock solid ground. Look no further than the current US-Israeli combo touring the country – local progressive favorites Eatliz and upcoming indie New York jam band musical explorers Consider the Source.
The mutual love affair between the two groups – which has survived a month-long van tour of the US – began a little more than a year ago when the US trio, consisting of Gabriel Marin on fretless double neck guitar, John Ferrara on bass and Justin Ahiyon on drums were planning their first tour of Israel, which took place in October 2010.
“I went searching out Israeli bands online who I thought would like our sound in the hopes of encouraging them to spread the word about us, and I came across Eatliz,” said Ahiyon, in a phone interview from New York last week before the band’s departure to Israel for the second time.
“I struck up a relationship with their leader Guy Ben-Shetrit, and we found out that we loved each other’s music. We couldn’t work it out scheduling-wise to play together when we got to Israel, but we kept in touch.”
Both bands experienced a whirlwind year since then. Consider the Source,
playing in their own words a blend of instrumental sci-fi,
Middle-Eastern funk that encompasses Indian and Turkish music, alongside
heavy metal and jazzy improvs, toured incessantly, released an album
called That’s What’s Up and emerged as an indie buzz band with their
uncompromising sound and international flavor.
Ben-Shetrit and Eatliz, meanwhile, were enjoying one of the most
productive years of their ten-year existence. The six-piece band,
featuring the distinctive Englishlanguage vocals of Lee Triffon,
released their second album Teasing Nature and made inroads globally,
performing at a giant music festival in Serbia and appearing at the in
vogue South by Southwest indie showcase in Austin, Texas.
It was their SXSW date that prompted the friendship between Eatliz and Consider the Source to expand to the next level.
“As soon as we learned that we were accepted to perform at SXSW and at
another festival in Canada, we thought that this would be a great
opportunity to tour the US and ask Consider the Source to join us,”
Ben-Shetrit said last week.
After a few months of logistics, the idea came to fruition and earlier
this year, the two bands played over 20 back-to-back shows in the
American South and East Coast.
“It was amazing – the experience of a lifetime,” said Ben-Shetrit.
“We would travel by van for hours every day, get to the club, meet the
guys from Consider the Source, set up the equipment, do a sound check,
perform the show, and then do it all again. We utilized ‘car surfing,’
this website that hooks you up with people in homes who will take you in
for the night, find places to stay along the way, and we were able to
meet tons of great people, get a home-town vibe and avoid the sterile
“It really was a blast, traveling the country with them,” added Ahiyon, “they’re such great people.”
NOT CONTENT to just share a bill this time around, when he and Consider
the Source return to Israel for shows with Eatliz this week on October
19 at The Barby Club and October 20 at Doug and Tony in Netanya (they
played on Saturday night at The Yellow Submarine in Jerusalem), Ahiyon
said that there would be some onstage collaborations.
“Their singer Lee is going to do a song with us – it’s something we love
because we don’t have a singer and whenever we do get the chance to
perform with one, it’s really special,” said Ahiyon. “And their drummer
Omry Hanegby is going to join us for a song and our guitarist Gabriel
will be sitting in with them.”
The musical cornucopia suits Ahiyon just fine, with Consider the
Source’s music dredging in diverse influences anchored by the band
members’ adventurous spirit.
“When I met Gabriel, we were the only people I knew that liked Indian,
Turkish and Eastern European music, but we were coming to it from a
totally rock & roll background,” said Ahiyon.
“We weren’t afraid to play those nice melodies but to get heavy with dynamics.
We would go see lots of concerts and we’d love it, but they’d be in one
dynamic range and people would be sitting. When we played, everyone
would go wild.”
Even though the band’s music sounds at times like the players are
falling off an experimental cliff, Ahiyon said that there wasn’t very
much improvisation taking place.
“It’s very premeditated. We started out improvising but as the years went on it’s gotten less,” he said.
“We know what to listen for from each other, when to get quiet, we’re
really reading each other. It’s free, but we’ve done it so often, I
don’t want to say it’s predictable, but we have a really good sense
where the other person is going and we can go there together.”
When Consider the Source takes the stage this week with Eatliz, expect
to see a lot of Ahiyons in the crowd. The drummer’s Israeli father has
13 brothers and sisters living in Israel.
“Israel’s one of my favorite places and not just because I have so much
family here,” said Ahiyon, adding that he visited the country many times
“The music scene is bubbling there. I got to know many Israeli musicians
in New York and they turned me on to everyone from Infected Mushroom to
Boom Pam to Eatliz. There’s lots of vitality in Israel.”
While Consider the Source is attempting to get their name spread around
Israel, Eatliz is trying to achieve the opposite – working for
recognition in the Englishspeaking world. But, as Ben-Shetrit pointed
out, it’s not easy for a band based in Israel to make inroads abroad.
“There’s no doubt that short of relocation, it’s difficult for Israeli bands who make music for an audience abroad,” he said.
“And the band members aren’t 20 years old anymore, able or willing to
pick up and move to New York. There are families, relationships, so we
do what we can do from here.”
“If we were offered an amazing sixmonth tour, of course we’d have to
consider it, and weigh it against the damage of being away from home for
so long. It’s all a balance.”
So, for at least this week, the balance shifts to this side of the
world, as Eatliz hosts Consider the Source on their home turf. For
Ahiyon, the traveling and touring is the realization of a life-long goal
for childhood friends in the band.
“We’ve been talking about this since sixth grade, and we’re really proud
that it’s happening for us,” he said. “We were in Istanbul last year,
and now we’re going to Germany and to Israel. It’s a dream come true.”