01. Doxa Sinistra - The Other Stranger
02. Frank Alpine - Dark Places
03. Martial Canterel - Champion
04. Kluentah - Invasion
05. Das Ding - Sad But True
06. Mutant Beat Dance - Hero
07. Tommi Stumpff - Ich Will Gewinnen
08. Mr. Incognito - Macho Man
09. Pearson Sound - Earwig
10. Cardinal & Nun - Murder On A Saturday
11. 808Hz - Crash Release
12. Andres Komatsu - Zapan
13. Lieu Noir ?- The Night Just Did A U-Turn
14. Ian Martin - Last Days
15. Richard H. Kirk ?- Never Lose Your Shadow
DT Podcast 172 comes in fine speaker shredding form from Israeli livewire Rapha. From solitary bedroom studio operator to label co-owner and a resident DJ of Tel Aviv sweet hot spot Alphabet club in little over four years, Rapha has been a busy busy man. Here Rapha takes some time to let us in a little on the Tel Aviv scene and some of the people who have helped him along the way, that time he sent a message to DJ Overdose on Instagram and his love affair with a small rainy city on the Dutch west coast.
Digital Tsunami: Along with PRZ you run the label Chateau Royal. Why did you decide to start to run a label and what does Chateau Royal bring that you felt other labels were missing?
Rapha: There are a lot of great labels out there and honestly the only thing that was missing for us was our own music. We both spend a lot of time in the studio and came to the decision that we should decide the release schedule, artwork and remixes of our own work and so the best option was to start our own label.
DT: The visual identity of the label is quite striking, how did you decide on the aesthetics you were going to use?
R: We had some trouble of finding the right person for doing the artwork but one moment we met Eli Magaziner and shared with him our vision. I was introduced to Eli by Avigad, a local DJ who was working at the Nuweiba record store in Tel-aviv, I’d been talking with Avigad about how we were having some delays because we hadn’t yet found someone to do the artwork. We checked some work Eli had done and arranged to meet up. We explained to him our vision for the label and Eli did a sketch while listening to the first EP, we immediately knew that this was our guy and that sketch ended up being the artwork for the first release. Eli was also very pleased with the idea that we give him our trust to express himself in the way he wants without any limits, taking inspiration from weird medieval times and tarot cards.
DT: For your last release, Room 353 there’s a remix by Hague legend DJ Overdose, how did you go about approaching him to remix your music?
R: We just thought about a few of the producers that we really like as remixers and he was one of the first that come up. I went and sent him a message on Instagram telling him a bit about our label, sent him the tracks and simply asked him if he was up for doing a remix of one of the tracks and he was in. We also invited him to play at our release parties in Alphabet and at the Pergamon club in Jerusalem, it was dope! We were looking for something that would work well on the dancefloor so DJ Overdose was a perfect match. The job was done properly!
DT: What’s the next release planned for Chateau Royal, can you tell us a bit about it?
R: The next release will be out in early February and it’s by PRZ & myself, called ‘JVculture part.1’, the E.P. is made up of some of the tracks that we’ve made together over the past 2 years.
I first met PRZ met around 4 years ago when he heard some of my stuff on Soundcloud and decided to invite me to his studio. This is actually in my hometown Herzliya, so it was pretty convenient for me. I’d listened to his stuff as well and immediately liked what I was hearing. PRZ was (and still is) mostly doing live shows, sometimes with TV.OUT as a trio.
At that time I had a small home studio with a drum machine, one synth and an Ableton controller, so getting to PRZ’s studio with all the iconic synths and machines was like wandering in space for me. Since that moment I started buying my own machines and got a proper studio for myself. Most of the stuff I know about the studio and about mixing I owe to PRZ.
After visiting his studio a couple of times we started to record sessions together. Some of the tracks we made were released on Berlin’s ‘Machinejazz’ and ‘Parallax Records’, some are on this next Chateau Royal release and some may never see the light of day.
DT: Parallax Records is ran by fellow Israelis TV.OUT, Yogg and Pharaoh, how did your music come to be released on their label?
R: I met TV.OUT by sending them some tracks I’d recorded in my old bedroom studio, they liked the stuff and decided to include me on their various artist CD’s and on a release with PRZ called Planet Rogue. All four of the Parallax guys are moving something different in the local scene and it’s blessed.
DT: What’s your relationship with Tel Aviv’s Alphabet Club? How did you become a resident there and what do you think makes the club special?
R: Alphabet is my home, the club has a special atmosphere that lets the people go wild in a warm and safe environment. Actually Charly from TV.OUT was the one who got me into working over there as a technical manager and after some time I was given the chance to play the Gamma room, it was my 2nd club gig and it was pretty good. After two more gigs they made me a resident at the club and the romance started: long nights, crazy situations and a bunch of different slots. Today I have my own electro night called ‘HYPOXIA’ that I’ve ran with Anna Haleta for a year now.
In my opinion Anna Haleta is one the best dj’s we have in Israel right now, she’s super versatile, very professional and a cool person. Anna has been running the iconic ‘Pacotek’ parties in Israel for around 15 years already with Tsaji Soussana. They are true pioneers of the underground scene and had a lot to do with shaping the scene in Tel-aviv and Jerusalem.
Anyway, it was something surreal to run a party together with someone you are admiring as a clubber for many years, so I’m grateful for this. The HYPOXIA parties are doing really good and people become more and more open minded for electro again.
DT: Do you feel there is a strong scene for underground/leftfield acid and electro in Israel and do you think local DJs, producers and promoters are supportive of one another?
R: There is an underground scene over here but it’s small in numbers unfortunately. Although the scene is not big it’s pretty evolved and there is a strong sense of community. I got lucky to get the early support from TV.OUT and releasing my music on their label. Charly & Ori always act like scouts searching for local talents to feature in their Under The Radar compilations, it’s very much appreciated.
I mostly buy records abroad but sometimes I find good records for the Alphabet at ‘Holit’, which is a fresh record shop ran by a few good guys. One of them is Itamar Weiner who also owns the Uganda Bar which is a cool place to have a drink with nice music always. Itamar also runs the legendary local label ‘Confused Machines’ together with Boris and Harel a.k.a Mule Driver. There is also the Nuweiba record shop located at the Teder.FM complex where I can find music for home listening or some rare 2nd hand records.
DT: I sense a lot of love for the works of Den Haag labels such as Bunker & Viewlexx in your music and DJ mixes. Do you have an opinion on why music created in a small rainy city on the Dutch west coast has managed to influence artists from Moscow to Bogata for over two decades now?
R: The Hague is the plague. I feel that a lot of people sense that over there it's mostly about the music, no bullshit. Of course Bunker and Viewlexx are on top the list since the very first years till this day. I think the fact that you’re in a place where there is not much to do outside and the weather is shitty so you get more time in the studio and end up with so much good music.
DT: You recently played in Amsterdam for PAG. Can you tell us a little bit about PAG and what they’re about?
R: PAG is crazy. A group of cool people trying to make everyone go wild, they’re actually running for almost 16 years already, crazy performances and costumes together with top music. In the last 3 years their home was the Alphabet club so naturally the connection happened and I started playing for their nights as well, no doubt it's the craziest party in town.
PAG is a big family in the LGBTQ community, there are four main characters behind it but a lot of people are involved across the whole organisation. It’s them together with a team of performers, residents and a few more people that help with the production. They are a very open minded group and their entire goal is to create parties and make sure that you have a safe space to dance and go wild whilst seeing their crazy performances.
They are expanding abroad now as a showcase. I went with them to play in Amsterdam for a collab with His Dark Elements, a party ran by Pablo Diskko. They also had a night in Paris and they have one in St.Petersburg soon, always bringing their unique vibe with them.
DT: Are there any local DJs or promoters active right now that we’ve not yet heard about in Europe, but you think we should? Please tell us about them and why you think they’re special.
R: There is the MESIVO crew who for the last two years have been about giving the authentic rave experience. They’ve already done two parties in Kiev, the last one with ZMEI which is promoted by Jana Woodstock.
Also, there are some sick producers like Mule Driver, Jack Carel and PRZ. Besides that there are a few good Dj’s over here that have their own uncompromising style without following any trends, I believe that if they’ll keep up the hard and honest work you’ll here about them anyway.
DT: Name the last tune you heard that made you sit back, smile and remember there’s true beauty in the world.
R: I’m a big fan of acid, so I guess that will be ‘Roy Of The Ravers - Transmission 303’, a simple HI-NRG jam with a mindboggeling TB pattern, can listen to this track on loop for hours.