‘Daring, honest, love’ | Interview with Matan Gilboa

A mix of vibrant and sweet arrangements characterise this 40′ mins Jazz journey. 7 instrumental songs, each one with its own unique personality. Read our interview with Matan, the Israeli Jazz composer and multi-instrumentalist below!

Describe your sound in three words please!

Daring, honest, love.

You have been recording and making music alone and as part of a music band for a long time now. How do you think your sound has evolved over the years?

It’s hard to say how my sound has evolved, since it keeps changing all the time. Every time I hear a new artist or piece that touches me, I can feel that it has affected my sound in a way, and I try to make room for it within my creations. But generally described, I think I have a sort of wild core, which at the beginning wasn’t yet tamed, and over the years I have learned (and still am) to balance it.

How has the prolonged isolation due to the pandemic impacted your creativity? Which were/are your daily ‘solutions’?

The worst effect of the pandemic over my music was the fact that through most of the past year it was impossible to rehearse with other people, which unfortunately prevented me from preparing a live show out of my new album ‘Dov’. On the other hand, I wouldn’t necessarily say that it has harmed my creativity, because sometimes being a bit isolated helped me sit quietly and write music, and also work on some other aspects of my album which didn’t require other people’s presence. So I think that while cooperating with other people is amazing, in this case the fact that I compose and record mostly on my own was rather important, since it enabled me to be independent and ‘fly solo’ for a bit.

Which one of your songs represents you the most and why?

Now that is a tough question ☺ I think I would have to say ‘Moonwalker’. When I compose, usually the question that guides me throughout the process is- ‘what do I want to hear now?’ in many cases that is how I choose the next chord, note, or sound. I think Moonwalker is the perfect example of that process, which makes me feel very connected to it. Also, it simply takes me on a journey every time I hear it!

Talk to us about the process of creating your new album ‘Dov’ and especially how it felt to be surrounded by other musicians again, after pursuing a solo career?

Well, to be honest, ‘Dov’ is actually the beginning of my solo career. After playing with ‘Atara’, which was the band I formed prior to ‘Dov’, I decided I wanted to be able to express myself on various instruments, rather than just on the drums. And so I started creating ‘Dov’, on which a major part of the work was done alone at home- composing the music, recording most of the instruments and so on. But the truth is, the part where other people came in was the most exciting! I was lucky to work with amazing players. We would meet up to rehearse and record together, we shared ideas, improvised, and learned from each other. After recording everything, the mixing process was also very special to me, working with a good friend (the wonderful musician Aviad Duvdenvany) along my side, and watching as the album took shape in front of us.

For us, ‘Dov’ was a very pleasant 40min journey. Do you think these days full albums are still relevant? Do people still listen to full albums?

I find albums still very relevant. There is something special about listening to a creation that was made as a unit. As you said, it has the ability to take you on a journey, which sometimes a single track wouldn’t be able to. On the other hand, it is perfectly understandable that sometimes people (myself included) prefer to hear a specific track and not an entire album. Sometimes we’re not looking for a long journey but rather a simpler one. But I wouldn’t say it makes full albums irrelevant, it just means that when creating an album, one should keep in mind that not everyone would necessarily experience it exactly the way intended- and that’s ok. A good way to deal with it is to try to make sure that while the different tracks of the album correspond to each other, they also stand alone and present a journey of their own.

As a multi-instrumentalist I think you are the most appropriate person to answer this one. Which instrument is the hardest to learn?

For me the answer would be saxophone. I admit that it is also the only wind instrument I attempted to learn, which might affect my answer in a way. But still, I always felt that in comparison with other instruments, the saxophone really requires me to engage my whole body, and gain control over parts I didn’t previously know existed!  While achieving a medium level isn’t as hard as drums for example, mastering it to a level that fulfils its potential, in my opinion, is a very difficult task (which I have yet to accomplish). But the sound is unparalleled, and I find it allows me to express myself in a very special way. So I’d say it’s worth it!

Tell us something about yourself that is not related to music!

Apart from making music, I am also a third year undergrad student for Computer Science at the Hebrew University. Admittedly, this subject is quite distant from music and arts in general, but I find it extremely interesting and enriching. Perhaps one day I could combine my fields of interest ☺

Thanks Matan!

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