Yotam Avni Talks Political Partying

Yotam Avni is from a part of the world rarely associated with techno. His party AVADON has helped to foster a scene in his Tel-Aviv hometown, where the political climate is currently creating a unique partying dynamic akin to cities like Tbilisi and Bucharest.

The rest of the world is still yet to discover Tel-Aviv’s parties, but Avni is by now known internationally: his own ghostly productions have come out on established labels like Innervisions, and most notably Stroboscopic Artefacts.

With a remix for Dense & Pika on their Kneaded Pains imprint, it’s also more than appropriate that he should join their showcase in Room Two this weekend. As we prepare to welcome him for his EC1 debut, we caught up with Avni to hear more about his early journalism career, Tel-Aviv, and where he goes looking for new records.

Can you tell us more about yourself for those who may not be familiar?

My name is Yotam Avni, I’m a DJ and producer from Tel-Aviv. I’ve released music for record labels such as Stroboscopic Artefacts, Ovum and Innervisions.

You worked as a journalist when you were a lot younger – did you ever meet any musical inspirations through this? Did you have plans to pursue a career as a DJ?

I was a music journalist for a while, that was really my first main passion. Over the years I had the great honour and pleasure of interviewing everyone from Giles Peterson to Jeff Mills and Marshall Allen (Sun-Ra Arkestra). To this day I own a far bigger collection of magazines than records.

When did you start AVADON? Was this a success from the beginning?

AVADON started out about 4 years ago. It was the first main night in Tel-Aviv dedicated to the post-Berghain techno sound. It was through this platform that I developed close relationships with Lucy, Steve Rachmad, Psyk and all the rest of the many guests we had. Because of the good word from our guests and for semi-political reasons, its name really took off internationally so I'm very proud and happy about that.

There’s been a lot of attention put on lesser known scenes across the world recently – like Tbilisi or Bucharest for example. Can you describe the local scene in Tel-Aviv?

Tel-Aviv is truly amazing. We have great food, great weather and we have an amazing clubbing scene considering the size of the city. The fact that we are far from both Europe and the States means we’ve adopted the best of both culture worlds. People here are really educated and because of the political tensions, they tend to party really hard.

How do you think this scene is perceived internationally?

I'm not sure, it depends where. I think that in the UK there's a lot of political awareness of what is happening in our borders which leads to a lot of hate and criticism to our government. I think this is a shame though, as a lot of people don’t realise that Tel-Aviv is a liberal city with a mix of a variety of races.

Do you have access to good record shops? Where is your favourite place to seek out new music?

We do have one or two decent record shops, which are mainly good for digging old obscure stuff. Personally, I’m a Discogs nerd.

Your music has been described as having religious connotations at times. Is this a conscious move, and has your home town/country had any impact on this?

I was always into ‘spiritual’ themes in music. I grew up on a lot of 60s/70s Free Jazz and when I first started DJing I was heavily into Afro/Gospel House vibes. I guess it’s only when I got into producing for Stroboscopic Artefacts more recently that I started to explore some middle-eastern spirituals. I’m very happy with this direction.

You’re playing with us as part of Kneaded Pains in Room Two – your remix appears on one of the records. Where did you first come into contact with Dense & Pika?

I first met Alex when he came to play in Tel-Aviv but even before that we were in touch online. When I met him in Tel-Aviv one of the first things I told him was that I was looking for a remix to work on since I’d finished a few original EPs and he instantly offered me the single to work on.

You’ve also become closely affiliated with Lucy’s defining Stroboscopic Artefacts – can we expect any more from this soon?

For sure. Stroboscopic Artefacts is my main output, it’s an amazing platform for me to get weird and experimental with my productions.

Saturday 22nd April

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