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In the Studio: Coldplay Producer Teams Up with Israeli-Palestinian Musicians

Danton Supple, who worked on albums such as ‘X&Y’ and ‘A Rush of Blood to the Head’, is producing a multi-lingual single featuring multiple artists from the conflict regions

Mohan Kumar K Dec 07, 2015
(From left) Mizrachi, Tayeb and Kinrot with the studio engineer

(From left) Mizrachi, Tayeb and Kinrot with the studio engineer. Photo: Mohan Kumar K

It could well have been an Israeli alt-rock supergroup in the making, but for the time being, a super song was in progress inside the cozy little Pluto Studio in the deep south of Tel Aviv, where I was invited to hang out with some of the chief custodians of Israel’s independent music scene.

As I stepped inside the recording space, an eclectic bunch of musicians were bouncing off ideas and whipping up tunes — Israeli pop-rock artist and actor Ninet Tayeb was sponging out melodies and lyrics in her head even as her husband, guitarist Yossi Mizrachi worked on grooves [his band Acollective played at Bacardi NH7 Weekender, Shillong and IIT Kanpur a couple of months ago]. Guitarist and composer Uri Kinrot of rock band Ouzo Bazooka and Boom Pam was figuring additional Arabic scale riffs while Ethiopian-origin singer-songwriter Gili Yalo hunched over penning his part of the lyrics. The others artists lending their chops in the studio included Palestinian world musician Bassam Beroumi, Israeli beat maker Doron Plascow and Palestinian rap artist Sameh Zakout aka Saz.

“I’ve no idea of what exactly is happening here,” says Tayeb, who has performed and recorded with some of the heavyweights in the industry including Porcupine Tree’s Steven Wilson on his album Hand.Cannot.Erase and Australian super group The Dead Daisies.

“I’m actually touring with Steven from January to March and that’s fucking incredible!” Tayeb says. With four albums to her credit, she is looking forward to launching her next record in a few months. She adds, “Jeremy [Hulsh; music promoter] called us to work on this song and most of us here are collaborating for the first time.”

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On Hulsh’s behest, the musicians had gathered for the impromptu jig in a bid to compose a single to be produced by British music producer Danton Supple, who worked on Coldplay’s 2005 album X&Y. “The initiative has been organized by Tune in Tel Aviv, Israel’s international music conference on behalf of Seymour Stein, VP of Warner Music along with AMPLIFIED, a new label imprint in UK created to discover new sounds coming out of conflict regions typically known for violence rather than music,” says Hulsh.

 

(from left) Ohad Peretz of The Commoner's Tale and Supple

(from left) Ohad Peretz of The Commoner’s Tale and Supple. Photo: Mohan Kumar K

This collaborative project is definitely special ”“ not only because it is a get-together of some of the biggest Israeli and Palestinian artists for a cause, but it is an initiative to roll out the first-ever major pilot project in music from strife-ridden zones. In this case, a perfect blend of literally every sound coming out of Israel and Palestine.

Ask him how he roped in Supple for the project and Hulsh says, “He is a board member at Oleh! Records, Israel’s music export office which produces Tune in Tel Aviv Music Conference. He was going to speak at the conference this year, and I simply asked him to get involved, and he connected with the project immediately and agreed to volunteer his time.”

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Supple, who was also the mixing engineer for Coldplay’s 2002 album A Rush of Blood to the Head, found the project interesting because of the diverse sounds it offered. “I already knew Saz and Ninet and loved what I heard of the other artists. It was the first time they had experienced a joint writing session too and, although uneasy at first, I think they all enjoyed it,” says Supple, who is also working on Tel Aviv band The Commoner’s Tale on a separate project.

Meanwhile, at the jam, Yalo, who is about to release his debut EP, experimented with two divergent music styles. “I’m writing down the lyrics and will improvise on it, maybe a little Ethiopian style and a little bit of R&B and see what we can take from it,” he says. Mizrachi and Kinrot chugged out catchy parts and progressions and Tayeb launched into some acoustic guitar chords to complement them. Presently, Mizrachi took to the piano to run some melodies. The momentum broke after Hulsh butted in with a quick apology for killing the vibe to facilitate a news channel crew that was waiting for a byte form the musicians. The jamming and recording continued with Yola crooning away in his husky baritone while Saz juggled out his brand of vocal calisthenics. Ready with the demo song that has been performed in English, Arabic, and Amharit [Ethiopian dialect], Supple will complete the production in London in the coming days and it will be released by Warner music soon.

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