Thursday, May 24th, 2012. Posted by Jörn Sieveneck.
Maybe UMLALA is the first big indie rock band from Israel. Their first album “Stand Go Show Shout”, which will be released on May 18th, is a mix of indie, meth, rock, hip-hop, classic and hype-rock with a little bit of naive, young freshness – but harder than expected.
This is our interview with Josef Laimon, Umlala’s singer. This Interview was originally posted on bastardmagazine.de.
Foreword by Josef: Hi, I’ve read all your questions and may I just say, these are the most normal and sensible questions I’ve ever been asked. Thank you for not asking me how to convert PDF to JPEG, I appreciate it. A lot. – You’re welcome and cheers :) And if you want, I can help you convert PDF to JPEG ;) Jörn.
Hi :) How are you doing? What is your current state of mind before we continue with the interview?
I’m quite well thank you. My current state of mind is floral and quite flirty. I’m filled with joy and bizarreness. And I’m growing a beard.
You have just moved to Berlin, how do you like the city? Do you have done some sight-seeing already?
Actually I am currently answering these questions from London. I’ll be in Berlin next week. But I’ve been there twice in the past, and have fallen in love with it every time.
Who put you up to move from Jerusalem to Berlin? What makes both cities special and worth living in? And why not for instance London?
Actually as a band we have been showcasing in Hamburg, and as I said before I’ve been to Berlin several times, I find Berlin the right city to start in. Jerusalem is special… because everything people argue about becomes special. Plus it has a good breeze, and some say its beautiful to. Berlin is special because its not Jerusalem, and there is a sense of freedom, that is hard to explain. London is always an option, my mom was actually born in London, and it might just be the next stop.
I’ve read in your Short Bio on the label’s website, that there is a small but vibrant music scene in Jerusalem. I’ve heard about this in some documentaries about the Arab region, why is this kind of music playing a relatively minor role there?
A minor? Umm.. well just like in every country in the world, easy or pop music is always in the front, and ironically the popular music in Israel is ‘Arab’ music. Which I like to. the small music scene that you are talking about is still quite new (a few years) and most bands included in that scene are quite boring and trashy. Therefore if it was up to me I would keep it there.
Your “lyrics are a collection of nonsense and self-criticism, backed by strange humor and natural sadness”, what’s the story behind that?
When I write a song I don’t think about a subject, I just write whatever goes through my mind at that moment. I don’t control it 100%, so sometimes it seems like a collection of nonsense. But for me, and it might be only me, it means way more then that. And if I would to explain my lyrics it would be more sad then happy. More grey then pink. But with lots of humor.
What was the idea behind “My PDF Files”, our unofficial anthem of the Bastard Magazine?
Well me and my friend Aaron, we know each other since the age of 12, recieved a PDF file of a poster that we needed to print to promote our DJ set. We wanted to upload it to Facebook, but it allows only JPEG format files. After an hour of struggle sweat and tears, we gave up. And after half an hour we had the PDF song.
A google search after “Umlala” spits out a lot of social profiles: myspace since 2008, soundcloud, bandcamp, just to name a few. Why do have profiles on exactly these platforms, which one is your favorite platform? Why do you have a myspace account since 2008, one year before the official formation of the band. Do you still use myspace or are your fans now on facebook? What about twitter? Do you tweet?
Well back in 2008 Myspace was the hotspot. Soundcloud was always one of my favorite site for uploading music. Bandcamp is a good place for us to distribute the album online. Facebook – I think is obvious.
Just to make it clear, Umlala didn’t exist in 2008. But we (me and Aaron) used the name Umlala for every project we released.
We don’t really use Myspace anymore, but we’re totally updating our Facebook. We Tweet when we get personal. So that’s about 8 times a year, but we’re slowly getting into it.
What has changed from 2008/09 to today’s music landscape from your point of view, what is better, what is worse?
I think music in general is at its best place its ever been. New artists from new genres are making incredible music. If its on their computers, or if its with their bands. It feels like the media and audience in general accept things that are more experimental then traditional, which is a great thing.
Is it possible to make a living with your music or do you have daily jobs too? If so, what are you doing for a living?
Well until now we did have day jobs, even though I believe we can make a living from our music but we choose to put money back into the band then in our pockets. If its for visuals, lights, videos, recordings, producers etc.
Over the next few days your second album will be released, what can we expect?
That is actually our first album, the second one is being released in space. You can expect one of the best live acts you’ve ever seen, and a different energy then what you are used to.
Thank you for your time and the interview and “see you in Cologne” :)
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