Interview: Itamar Haluts
I got a chance to chat with Itamar Haluts—a singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist from Tel Aviv. He released his album "Alexandra-Clyde" on July 4th, 2017.
Jesse: Itamar, I particularly enjoyed Winter Blues off your latest album. What inspired this song and the album as a whole?
Itamar: This song was inspired by some very cold weeks, but was actually written on a sunny day—I was just jamming with the guitar and it just happened. Most of the album was written while I was traveling and working in New Zealand, and was very much inspired by that. Just me and my guitar, traveling around. Alexandra and Clyde are the actual cities where I lived and worked.
Jesse: What motivated your travels and what kind of work were you doing?
Itamar: Mostly exploring myself, it was time to think about my life, where it was going, and who I was in this world. I was working in an orchard, a lot of fruit picking and some casual maintenance during the winter.
Jesse: I myself am on one of these quests as we speak [laughs]. Anyway, getting back to the music, I noticed you collaborated with several musicians on your latest album "Alexandra-Clyde". I also noticed a couple share your last name. Who are all these musicians and how did you successfully collaborate with so many creative minds?
Itamar: Well, first, the ones that share the same last name are my father and brother, who sang background vocals in On a Train. Both are musicians, and actually the whole album was recorded by me and my father in a recording studio that he built! Second, I produced this album mainly by myself, recording and playing most of the instruments. But I knew I couldn't do it all by myself—and on some songs I really wanted to get a live basic track, without click—so I searched for local musicians who I had good connections with. Some friends of mine have studied in music school, so most of the connections were from there. I tried to match each song with the right guests, it took a while—but now most of those guests are playing with me on live shows now, which is awesome. Good connections.
Jesse: Very, very cool man. So, what's it like recording an album with your Dad in a recording studio he built!?
Itamar: It was a great experience. It was the first big project for both of us, so it was very exciting and very difficult. Working with family can be very frustrating at times, but most of the time it works incredibly. We've built some microphones and other audio gear together, and he built most of the guitars used in this album.
Jesse: You just blew my mind. So, y'all also build your own mics and your Dad builds guitars? How did you and your Dad get into all of this?
Itamar: [Laughs] Yeah, it's great! Mainly a lot of research... I wanted to have the good old fashioned mics, and my dad has good knowledge with electronics. The DIY way is a lot cheaper than searching for vintage mics.
Jesse: Well, whatever you two built, your sound is incredible. In fact, your sound is very reminiscent of The Beatles. Which leads me to my next question—which artists have had the greatest impact on you and your music?
Itamar: Probably The Beatles, Paul Simon, Clapton, CSN, Pink Floyd, Stevie Wonder and the list goes on and on...
Jesse: Cool. Could you tell us a little bit about the local music scene in Tel Aviv and what it was like growing up in Israel?
Itamar: There's a lot of really cool stuff going on here, the thing is you can find almost everything in the local scene. A lot of very talented musicians. Growing up here was alright, although I have always loved the 60's and 70's music from England and the USA. There was a lot of very nice music in Israel in the 70's as well.
Jesse: Interesting. So are you working on any future musical projects?
Itamar: Right now I'm trying to reach as many ears as I can with this album, but definitely thinking about the next one, there are a lot of new directions that I would like to explore.
Jesse: Very cool. Well hey Itamar, this has been great. Thank you so much for chatting with me and good luck my friend!
Itamar: Thanks man! It was my pleasure and it was very fun talking with you! Please keep in touch!
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