Israeli star DJ puts the world in trance

He’s been called a superstar Israeli music producer and DJ. But Eran Hersh hasn’t forgotten his roots in Haifa.

 ERAN HERSH (photo credit:  ERAN HERSCH)
(photo credit: ERAN HERSCH)

He’s been called a superstar Israeli music producer and DJ. But Eran Hersh hasn’t forgotten his roots in Haifa.

The 35-year-old Hersh emerged as a household name in the electronic music world after two shows at EDC Las Vegas and Ultra Miami in 2019. Since then, he’s released a string of hit singles, and most recently teamed up with emerging vocalist and songwriter May Kravitz for his latest single, called “Human.”

Having just finished a tour of Europe, the Miami-based Hersh is about to embark on a series of shows in the US.

“I play electric trance but with an Israeli twist. Many people have asked me about it, and I get mixed results when I tell them I’m from Israel,” said Hersh. “But I believe music can inspire, can bring together, and through my music I bring together different cultures. People have changed their perspectives on Israel after listening to my music and talking to me.”

Hersh became a music fan early on, thanks to his father.

Israelis walk along Dado Beach in Haifa on May 16, 2021. (credit: SHIR TOREM/FLASH90)Israelis walk along Dado Beach in Haifa on May 16, 2021. (credit: SHIR TOREM/FLASH90)

“I grew up in a traditional Jewish home, but my father had a club in Rishon Lezion. I used to go there at age 14 to feel the vibe, even though he didn’t feel it was right for children to go to clubs,” said Hersh.

His uncle took him to the famed Oman 17 in Jerusalem, where Hersh saw [legendary Dutch DJ] Teisto play.

“It was phenomenal and inspired me to start to perform.

One weekend, the DJ at his father’s club was a no-show, so he volunteered himself to man the boards.

“When my father arrived and heard the music, he asked ‘Who’s playing? It’s phenomenal!’ When he discovered it was me, he went ballistic at me, but secretly he was proud.”

In 2003, at the age of 17, Hersh and his siblings relocated to Miami, and he was soon gigging at clubs.

Just as his career was really taking off, the coronavirus pandemic hit. However, it presented new opportunities.

With halls and clubs closed, he, like many DJs, moved to livestreaming, where he soon found himself a wider audience as his videos went viral.

“At the same time I was asked by one of the radio shows in Florida to deejay, and quickly I became a hit with commuters in Florida,” he said.

“As soon as restrictions was eased, I received requests to travel around the country and around the world and play my music. It’s an incredible feeling to know while I’m playing in Kiev or France that I’m representing Israel and showing what we are capable of doing.

“I work a lot with musicians from our neighboring countries (without ties with Israel), and at first they say: ‘You come from Israel; we don’t want anything to do with you.’ I explain to them what Israelis go through, and a lot of times they understand what Israel is about.”

Hersh, who lives in Miami with his wife and children, said he tries to keep Jewish tradition. “Sometimes there are parties on Shabbat, and I walk there as often as possible and I do as much minimum work as I can.”

Hersh has steadily released a new song every month, instead of a full album once a year, so he can keep his fans surprised. He is currently working on a project with Orthodox Israeli singer Gad Elbaz.

“I believe that whether we’re Jewish, Arab, Christian, religious or not, we can work together, with the No. 1 factor being the power of the music.”