LIOR loves Port Macquarie; that’s why he keeps coming back to perform. This soulful, calm and collected musician speaks with Candice Rose about his exciting involvement with Morning of the Earth, heading this way in April.
> LIOR, you must be a fan of Port Macquarie because you keep on coming back to support our live music scene! Last year you played at A Day on the Green, Festival Of The Sun and now Morning of the Earth. Have you seen much of the area?
Yeah, I have managed to stop in quite a few times over the years, and I have actually made some good friends there along the way. And when I do a gig, I usually end up staying a few days either side. I think it’s a lovely place, and I love the beaches. I get my fill up there, because I don’t get too much beach time … I live in Melbourne these days!
> What is so special about being a part of the Morning of the Earth production?
To be honest, I didn’t know anything about Morning of the Earth when they first approached me to do it. So I went out and saw the film and completely fell in love with the soundtrack and the film. It is obviously a beautiful piece of work, but what is so special for me is that it is a celebration of nature and of a simple way of life.
And today, in a commodified kind of world that we live in when everything is so saturated and hectic, it is nice to be reminded of the true values and remember a film that was ahead of its time. It’s reasserting those values.
> On the topic of a ‘commodified world’, you are one of the few Australian independent artists to have a debut Gold Album. Some critics say that you try your hardest to avoid commercialism. Why do you think this is important?
It’s not that I have a problem with reaching out to a large number of people. When I talk about commercialism, I refer to the cheapening of music and making it perhaps excessively disposable. I grew up listening to the great artists of the 60s and 70s, who threw their life into their music and art wholly.
I still think there is a special role for music to play in our lives, whether it be jazz or heavy metal; it’s a very sacred and spiritual thing. That’s why I have made the decision to hold on to my artistic control, not because I want to brag about it, but because I believe in it.
> Morning of the Earth is a live-in-concert music and film experience of the surfing movie of the 70s. Do you surf yourself?
I am not a very good surfer, simply because I have not given it enough time over the years. But I lived in Bondi for many years, and going down to the beach was a regular thing of mine. Now I am living in Melbourne and it’s a little bit more difficult, because we don’t exactly have beautiful beaches here! So I am missing it!
> You left the Middle East and relocated to Sydney when you were 10. Do any of your Israeli influences still make their way into your music, do you think?
Yeah, absolutely – particularly with the second album that I put out last year. It has a lot more of an Eastern influence throughout the vocals and string arrangements, which were heading towards more sliding lines in an Eastern way rather than a stepped Western string arrangement, if you like. We definitely tried to infuse some of those flavours.
> Do you head back to Israel often?
I used to go back a lot, but I have not been for about nine years. I am probably due to visit, and I may even go over to do some shows in 2009/2010.
> You have won some very prestigious awards. What is it like having your music recognised on such a big scale?
(Autumn Flow was certified gold by ARIA and was nominated for the J Award, presented by Australian radio station Triple J, for the Australian Album of the Year, as well as 3 ARIA awards – Best Breakthrough Artist, Best Male Artist, and Best Independent Release.)
It’s amazing, and I would be lying if I said that it wasn’t one of my dreams to achieve. I constantly remind myself of how fortunate I am, especially when there is a sea of talented songwriters and performers out there who are not being able to make a living pursuing their artistic ambitions.
I feel really proud that I have never been with a record company, or my success hasn’t been built by them on hype. It has been based on a publicly led, organic following of people who like music. And all of the awards and accolades are a reflection of them. That for me is the most important thing – that it continues to be real and based on a connection with people rather than a marketing machine.
> Did you find it to be a hard slog, or did it all come naturally to you?
It was certainly a hard slog! You have to earn your success and work really hard. Once Autumn Flow came out, everything did fall into place after that, but I spent a long time before learning my craft and getting those songs. There was much practice and rehearsing and working towards that!
> You are also launching into your Shadows and Light Tour this month. Tell us a bit more about this tour …
The Shadows and Light Tour is the final tour before I take some time off to finish writing and recording the next album. It is basically a visual collaboration between myself and shadow artists. They worked on a video of mine called I’ll Forget You, and they projected shadowed landscapes for the song; it was a really successful clip. So the natural progression was “How do we adapt that into a live arena?”
Now they have created shadowed projected sets to my songs, and they will be performing too. It’s a very interactive thing! The use of images and shadows create a really magical world tied in with the lyrics. I am looking forward to that tour, as I have never really done anything on a visual scale to marry with my music. It’s very fitting!
> Thank you LIOR. See you at Morning of the Earth!