Having written about Tel Aviv dream-pop outfit Screens 4 Eyes for a while now, we thought it was time to find out a bit more about them and so we sat down with Yael Brener to dig a little deeper into the band and its music.
Firstly it is an interesting name for a band, is there any deeper meaning behind you choosing it?
I started to feel more and more haunted at the time by the new technology era, which so much have already been said and written about. I realized my own life is now totally mediated by screens. My office day job, my then long distance relationship, listening to and making music etc. I was in terror when hearing about the google glasses invention, talking about the ability to – for example – scan the people in front of you and know if they’re lying, or other details about them. Losing all sense of mystery, humanity, curiosity to discover.
Since they’re placing the screens closer and closer, I thought the inevitable next step would be replacing our eyes with screens. Eliminate this very little space of humanity to complete the process. The fear of miscommunication and alienation from the next generations (our children) is also expressed in the song titled Screens 4 Eyes.
And tell us a little about how the band came together what its common goals and interests are?
I had some songs that didn’t made it to Leather Academy, my other band (with French musician Thierry Dumas, a.k.a Banfile), so I decided to work on them alone and release them as a side project, which resulted in the first EP ‘Ask Me Not’. Later on I met Asaf Cohen (bass) and Roney-Leigh Dubnov (drums) through mutual friends. We recorded the second EP ‘Behind These Doors’ (to which Roney-Leigh also designed the wonderful cover you were referring to in your review) and then met Ofir Marcovich who joined us on guitar. We became good friends and had quite a few gigs but then decided to go our separate ways.
Lately I have teamed up with bassist Guy Rozenblat and guitarist Eli Moshe whom I knew from their other band Surf Platoon. 2 years ago They were recommending Leather Academy’s album on a radio show which hosted them as guests, and then I went to see their gig and was very impressed. So when I needed new band members I decided to sniff around and happily they were both available.
I first heard of you due to the release of Channel To Id a video with a very dystopian feel to it, what is the inspiration behind the song and the video?
Id is a term in psychology which refers to the untamed instincts and desires. A lot of the songs in this EP are about re-connection to this place through the numbness of the everyday adult life and compromises, and there are different aspects which can trigger this so called reunion. This song specifically is about how illusions and misperception of reality can bring someone to madness.
Making the video we were thinking of a concept of some kind of a quest, and the post apocalyptic theme seemed to match the fantasy atmosphere of the song. It is about finding each other through the ruins with that spark that unites us. The thing that when you see it or feel it, it signals to you that you’re in the right place, with the right person. And using this force to reach a new, unruined destination. The promised land, if you’d like.
The video, much like the lyrics, is half humoristic though it probably only make ourselves and our friends laugh. But I think it stands for itself too. It is obviously low-budget and we’re not trying to hide it (as you can see for example in our ‘magic crystal balls’ which are cheap plastic balls with a creepy floating fish we found at the market) but thanks to the talented Amit Einy who directed, filmed and edited all by himself, I think we managed to make it look artistic and quite cinematic with respect for the music. It is a very good memory for all of us.
There are some obvious musical parallels to a whole bunch of 80’s bands, what bands have been important influences on you both as individual musicians and as a band as a whole.
The 80’s were such a good era musically, with epic melodies – which is what i’m always looking for in songs – and a lot of emotion and creativity, in mainstream as much as in the niche. The usual suspects are all there: The Smiths, Depeche Mode, The Cure, Siouxie, Cocteau Twins, Suicide, Felt, but also A-Ha, Alphaville, Soft Cell etc with all their awesome darkish pop songs. There was a great Israeli New Wave/Post Punk band we love that was quite successful in Europe in the 80’s called Minimal Compact. I was also into Britpop, especially the early Suede albums which I still consider as masterpiece.
More currently – Unkle, Beach House, Blonde Redhead, Mercury Rev, The Horrors, The Judex, The War On Drugs, Arcade Fire, Lower Dens and many more…I might be biased but Banfile has released a beautiful new EP. I always admired his talent and creativity. And finally yes, we all love Radiohead.
At DAA we have written about a few bands from Tel Aviv, what is the scene like there, particularly for a band pursuing such an interesting and musically separate path from the usual pop and rock bands?
The indie scene here is bubbling with talented and interesting artists, but the local market is very small, especially if you sing in English. It got even more frustrating lately with the loss of two big radio stations with devoted followers who used to give platforms to such artists. One has closed down, and the other changed management and now sticks to a crowd pleasing playlist policy.
Bear in mind Israel is a small place so you can’t really “tour” as there are not too many places outside the 3 big cities for this kind of music. But there are more and more Indie festivals and events and luckily these days with the internet you can reach people from all over the world and you are not limited to the local crowd and platforms only. Same as a music fan who can be exposed these days to a lot of good bands regardless of where they are located.
Music is a communication from soul to soul and it breaks through walls and distances if given a chance to be spread and heard. It’s an amazing feeling to get messages from people miles away who loved something that you wrote one night in your little room. So I guess i’m ambivalent in regards to those screens… There are quite a few local dreampop/shoegaze acts which are already doing well outside of Israel such as Vaadat Charigim, Totemo and Soda Fabric to name a few.
Finally what does the future hold for Screens 4 Eyes, more releases, more gigs, tours?
We are currently working on new songs and rehearse our live gig. Guy and Eli bring their own dark / surf influences to the songs which result in interesting new versions to the existing ones and I think we are taking an interesting direction. The general plan is to release the new songs sometime in the near future, play as many gigs as we can and be exposed to more ears who will enjoy our music and be touched by it, hopefully – wherever in the world it might be.