The Choice is a new group from Israel made up of four musicians “gathered to create personal and communicative music together”. The band is composed of Gadi Ben Elisha, Eran Zilberberg, Gil “Koli” Plotnik, and Alon Sharr (finalist during the first season of Israel’s taping of The Voice). They are preparing to release a new album titled “Daddy” and will be touring Europe during the remaining months of 2014. Enjoy our interview with the band below!
Could you give us some insight into the band members’ musical backgrounds? How did you all meet and begin performing and creating music together?
“The music industry in Israel is a tight-knit community. Alon and Gil were childhood friends who randomly met again after 15 years. All of us played together in one way or another in different ensembles and productions within the Israeli music scene. Alon was a finalist on the first season on the Israeli version of the popular TV show The Voice. The rest of the band has been involved in leading productions in Israel for over a decade. Each band member has been heavily involved in the Israeli music scene and is a star in his own field, making The Choice a “supergroup” of sorts.”
What can you tell us about the music scene of Tel Aviv? How has living in Tel Aviv influenced the band and its members, both musically and personally?
“There has been a notable boom in the quality of bands recently, making Tel Aviv a great place to hear and play new music. The scene has produced some incredible musicians already (across) varied genres. Tel Aviv is an amazing city, vibrant in culture and music, a city which has granted us many amazing opportunities. The venues are getting better all the time and Israeli audiences love to come out and enjoy themselves. Our own interaction with the local music scene comes by word-of-mouth, as we don’t necessarily see ourselves as fitting into any of the niches that are being formed. Still, the essence of any artist and any music scene is that of connecting people to a certain vibe. Our goal is simply that: to express ourselves as artists and reflect our souls in our unique sound.”
Alon, what can you tell us about the experience you had being on the television show The Voice?
“The program gave me the opportunity to meet industry insiders, while also gaining national recognition without compromising my identity. I hope my past brought and will bring continued exposure to the band.”
Gadi, Eran, and Gil, how did performing in other local Israeli bands help condition and prepare you to join The Choice?
“We are grateful for every moment that we have been able to make a living in music while learning how the industry works. (The formation of) The Choice came at the perfect time for us and was a train none of us wanted to miss. We all agree that the maximum expression of our talents exists within the framework of a real band with a strong vocalist and producer rather than a collection of session musicians and guest stars. From the band’s first rehearsal, we knew that we had found what we were searching for.”
What life experiences and events led to the writing and recording of your new album “Daddy”? What can you tell us about the first single (‘Extacy’)?
“As soon as the band formed, material manifested quickly. Alon (lead singer and songwriter) had piles of new and old songs from which we compiled material that would reflect the group’s (unified) message. Alon’s songs are influenced by events in his life (recently his own illness, as well as the passing of his father, international entertainer Yoel Sharr). We felt that ‘Extacy’ was a great introduction to what this band was about and was chosen to be our single because it represented the essence of our album.”
Could you give us some insight into the lyrical and subject matter that is discussed and delved into on “Daddy”?
“The album is about the journey I (Alon) went through, where I arrived at a point where I could no longer see the light at the end of the tunnel. The chorus for ‘Extacy’ is perhaps the best example of how I felt: I was metaphorically falling from a great height, and in many ways this band stopped my fall. We aim to make music from our own hearts to touch the hearts of others. We want to excite and stir emotions. If people are moved and thrilled by our music, we have obtained our goal.”
What can you tell us about the making of your video(s) for ‘Let You Go’? What about the video for ‘Extacy’?
“People enjoy being in the company of a band, whether it be during rehearsals or live performances, and we have received extraordinary support so far. Many people helped in any way possible and we were lucky to meet a fantastic professional photographer during one of our shows (Shir Hassin, who went on to direct the music video for ‘Let It Go’). We went on to collaborate in the production of that music video (which we will launch officially shortly). ‘Extacy’ was directed by Guy Hecht, who is both an excellent photographer and director, as well as a longtime fan of the band. Our experience on the day of filming with Guy unified the band. It also allowed us to understand how we want to represent ourselves visually, and not only in terms of our sound.”
What gear/musical equipment does the band use to achieve and showcase their sound? Is there a unique or particular way that the band goes about recording when in the studio?
“From the very start we have been open to using any tool that would help us express our ideas. Gadi uses Benado Effects and his trusted Les Paul and Gil rocks a ridiculous see-through custom drum kit; generally we aim to deliver a big rock sound live while incorporating a few gadgets and tricks we’ve picked up along the way. It was important when recording our debut album to paint a picture of the band as it sounds on stage. We recorded the basic tracks in one room with everyone playing to capture the band’s sound as it is in performance. In post-production, we added electronics and even wind instruments when it matched our vision. Despite years of studio experience between us we consciously decided not to adopt a specific work pattern and were eager to open up and experiment. We all loved learning and adapting throughout the recording process.”
What do the remaining months of 2014 hold in store for The Choice? Can you tell us about the upcoming United States tour you have planned for 2015?
“We are in the process of accumulating a fanbase in Israel. The buzz around the band has been increasing within the local industry. We even performed on the final episode of the Israeli television production Big Brother, where last season’s winner joined us on stage (which for Alon was a funny way of coming full-circle on the whole reality TV genre). We are expecting to play larger concerts in Israel, and since most of our songs are in English, we also expect to start building a fanbase in Europe and the United States. ‘Extacy’ has been getting great feedback from everyone who has heard it and we can’t wait to unveil what we have in store next. We are very excited to play to American audiences; in our experience, American fans have been warm, and enthusiastic, appreciative and receptive to good music. We are sure that if given the opportunity, we can capture (the attention of) that kind of crowd.”