Garden Party Tel Aviv Style

Last fall, Tel Aviv got to know a brand new kind of sonic entertainment: a talented and energetic group called Garden City Movement. Praised by local and international press alike, their single “Move On” quickly became a party hit. Their sound is one of sophistication, a mixture of signature synth-pop with global influences.

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As this Saturday the guys are playing their last gig for a while – as they are starting the studio work – I wanted to give you all a little farewell present on the blog. Catching up with them  in Tel Aviv I interviewed them for New York based The Wild magazine, and asked them about their dreams, most memorable gigs, and of course about their latest projects. Here’s what they had to say.

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We know that you are all true Tel Avivians, but what are your origins? In Israel people tend to bring a lot into their artistic world from their roots. Where were you born and what sort of subculture did you pick up at home?

Johnny: I come from the suburbs of Tel Aviv, a place called Raanana. It’s a quiet, small town, but with a heavy David Lynch vibe in the air. A very hazy place. I think it gave me this chilled mellow and a bit melancholic atmosphere to my musical taste and aspect, so close physically to the big city but light years away in mind. In the family roots aspect my grandfather was a professional classic piano player in Berlin before the war so as a kid I used to listen to all this records we had (still own this amazing collection) but I think the most important thing I picked from home is the fact that my parents just believed in me and gave me the opportunity to do what I ever I want no matter what other people told them.

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Roy: I was raised in Jerusalem, which is a mixed city, with varied cultures that somehow live next to each other. I think that just growing up in that environment inspires you as an artist. First of all to try and understand the conflicts in that situation, and second of all getting to know the other cultures and taking inspiration from them. As much as I was exposed to pop culture, and Israeli pop music as a teenager, I also got fascinated by Arab music (which eventually made me take ‘Oud’ musical lessons). I also got exposed to techno music, going to underground parties as a teenager.

Joe: My parents are really not that into music, so I grew up listening to the Beatles and San Remo festival soundtracks and some Israeli folklore.

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Tel Aviv is really becoming a worldwide known holiday destination, and the focus is on music, fashion, party, and LGBTQ scene. How do you see the White City?

Johnny: I still remember the first time I went out to a party in Tel Aviv as a teenager and fell in love with the underground scene. In time I became heavily involved in all these projects over the years and worked as a night life journalist – for one purpose to make this scene greater. The White City today is living off the fruits of the hard work that people sweated in for many years. It now has a legit title as one of the best party and music cities in the world. Best memories? I have so many but I can pick the first “Teder” (pop up radio bar project that works only in the summer) season as one of the best things I ever experienced.
 Worst memories? Each “Layla Lavan” or independence day/nights.

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There are so many talented people out their hoping to make it. It’s one in millions who can actually get to reach people with their music worldwide. What message would you send to the promising talents who make music but somehow it doesn’t sell?

Johnny: Understand that the world is a bit evil and everything is a game, and a business and you need to be a bit witty to play it. Creating the music is only the beginning of all of it.

Roy: Get inspired with your own culture while keeping connected to the world in terms of sound and style.

What’s your most memorable memory of a gig – from electrical accident to orgasmic musical experience?

Johnny: Glastonbury would be the one for me. Seeing all so many people in the crowd was amazing – what a vibe!

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Roy: It was when we opened for Sohn in Graz. The atmosphere was amazing, and the crowd was so warm. The peak for me was when people sang the lyrics with me to “Move On.” It was perfect.

Joe: When we played the Tel Aviv Noiler Room and the police came. We played with actually no PA and when we played “The More You Make It” the crowd sang the words with us…it was a magical moment.


Do you have dream city to play?

Johnny: I want to play Manchester, always been a favorite city of mine. Lots of important and influential music history all in this grey city.

Joe: Seoul / Tokyo – never been to the East.

If you could collaborate with any artist in the world, who would that special one be? Someone you think you could create something eternal together.

Johnny: Wow. So there’s at least ten but if I have to choose a producer it would be Andrew Weatherall from one hand and Lone from the other , and as for vocals? Jai Paul and us could make magic.

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What’s new for GCM these days?

Roy: We just got back from an amazing tour which included performances in Glastonbury, United Islands, and Fusion festivals, as well as opening for Sohn in Austria and several other shows in London and Brighton. It was all very inspiring meeting all these amazing musicians and performing to such varied crowds.

Johnny: Always working on the next project and now its summer in Tel Aviv so you know…always busy here in this time of year.

In an “I download whatever I like” world, it’s hard to get people actually buy a song or an album. What’s your point of view about the general approach of the world where “art is for free”?

Johnny: I think that is great. Eventually, people who really like your music will support you. But always keep in mind that if you want people to buy your art give them great art, not only in the music but in whole package.

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Finish the sentence please. 

The musical artist who influenced me the most is…

Johnny: One of them would be definitely The Smiths.

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The kind of music I strongly dislike is…

Johnny: Things that Deadmau5 touches.

Joe: Israeli mainstream soft pop.

For me the Queen of Pop is…

Johnny: Whitney Houston..sniff.

Joe: Grace Jones.

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My favorite song in the whole wild word is…

Johnny: The pop group – “She’s beyond good and evil.”

Joe: Our track “Lir.”

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The best hummus in Tel Aviv is at…

Roy: Mashausha, Pinsker street.

Johnny: The best is in Raanana: “Tanaami.”

Joe: The best hummus in Tel Aviv is not in Tel Aviv, it’s in east Jerusalem and it’s called “Ikrmawi.”

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Don’t miss the show this weekend, and for even more tips regarding Tel Aviv’s nightlife, fashion, and cultural scene, follow me on Facebook and Insragram @WhiteCityBoy

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