It’s heartening to know that no matter what language a band is singing in, or where they come from in the world, that the meaning of blissfully dour shoe-gaze and post-punk indebted noise can hit just as hard. The songs on Tel Aviv-based trio Vaadat Charigim’s debut The World Is Well Lost, out soon on tape label Burger Records and Israeli’s ANOVA, have all the meandering, mood-mire of our favorite California dreamers and Scottish guitar-screamers.
We asked band to take us on a tour of the band’s world in photos, a trip for which their latest single “Odisea” is particularly well suited. Words below by vocalist and guitarist Juval Haring.
I grew up in Israel in a suburb of Tel Aviv, called Ramat Hasharon. Like any suburb it was frustrating and detached from everything, but it was also green, and quiet, and fit the kind of music I was into as a teen, like Sonic Youth and Slint. My high-school was an art school so I painted and played guitar most of the time. I would do just about anything to try and break the boredom, including shooting sci-fi films in the backyard and playing in bands.
I’m the kind of person that has problems leaving things behind. I always have to have a piece of my past with me. I can hardly ever take the present head on. Everyday life to me is just so grey. Even though I work as a PR guy for underground bands, promote and produce parties and shows in Tel Aviv, and even though I could have done much worse, I still often find myself hoping I wasn’t where I am. I sometimes feel geographically schizophrenic. In the evenings when I get back from work, I sit and think about the green and the silence of my suburban childhood. Tel Aviv is an urban jungle of crumbling cement and always busy people. I find that if I think about the here and now I get lost. But if I hold onto an image of the past, suddenly everything makes sense. This was the conceptual basis for the record “The World Is Well Lost”. The inexistence of, or inability to accept the present.
I got back from five years in Berlin in 2012 with 1/4″ demo tapes under my arm, straight to my parent’s house in Ramat Hasharon. I had absolutely no money. From there I got Vaadat Charigim together as a band, contacted Dan Bloch and Yuval Guttman, who I knew just from going to shows in Tel Aviv, and set up rehearsals in a bomb shelter of an elementary school. I had a very distinct idea of what I wanted the record to feel like. I wanted it to feel nostalgic, in the sense of walking away from reality.
Some songs on the record are about the feeling of “walking away”. Others follow my love of sci-fi, end of the world type scenarios, which can get oh-too-real in Israel from time to time.
I think essentially Vaadat Charigim’s songs are all post-suburban poems about fear and uncertainty, wrapped up in everything I grew up with sonically. Ramat Hasharon, as opposed to Tel Aviv, which is usually the focus of underground music in Israel, has been my greatest inspiration, even though it is undeniably a bland elitist bubble, and a culturally vapid place.
Most days I sit in my Tel Aviv apartment and work on the computer. Pushing shows, getting press releases out, making sure tickets are selling to this or that. But sometimes, when it rains, I take the car and drive to the suburbs, to walk around in muddy fields just at the outskirts town. Then I get back home and write something which I feel is meaningful.
This coming spring we will be touring the US for the first time, followed by a first tour in Europe, in support of The World is Well Lost which comes out January 21st on Burger Records/Warm Ratio.
Since we started out as a band I have grown very close to Dan and Yuval. Yuval, in the picture above, is a gentle, very emotional person, who works as a video editor for a communications company. He can get very frustrated at times, but will always text me after shows telling me he loves me. Dan is 10 years older than me but still rides his skateboard and looks more or less like a tall skinny teenager. He will always tell me if I am doing something fake or wrong, and will always be sincere and direct with me. He has three kids and lives in Yafo, Tel Aviv’s old town, and I can’t really explain what he does for a living but it’s something to do with huge machines.
Our real dream is to play music all day, but we all have to make a living. Life in Israel is so expensive. With nowhere to tour and no real music business, it’s impossible to make a living off of just music, unless you’re a guitar for hire. So I think we all feel closer now as friends because we all know that this band is our lifeboat. It really is, in so many ways.
I have been around the world more than a few times. I did more a thousand shows outside of Israel. I have been stuck with vans everywhere from Oklahoma to Seattle to Germany and Spain. But to someone like me, it’s the places that smell and look like home that you really love. Tel Aviv has a few nice spots to play, but in recent months I have become fixated with Haifa, Israel’s “capitol of the north”. A green and grey city, part of which is literally in the woods, on the slope of a mountain by the Mediterranean Sea. It is quiet and “boring” in a way that reminds me somehow of my suburban childhood. People say it’s boring, in a bad way, but I think I like boring. I think I like when very few things happen. Everything that happens there seems to happen for a reason. Because of that I love playing there. This is the new club in Haifa, the SYRUP. Night Beats and Dirty Beaches and Cloud Nothings have played at the SYRUP. That’s Ben on the right. He runs the place. To his left is Dan Bloch who plays bass in Vaadat Charigim, and to the far left is Yuval Guttman who plays drums.
Header image by Goni Riskin. All others via Vaadat Charigim