Home Featured Feature: Hermanez & Eran Aviner [Interview]

Feature: Hermanez & Eran Aviner [Interview]

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EDGE begins their 2020 journey with a much-anticipated collaboration from Hermanez and Eran Aviner. Hailing from Belgium and making his label debut is Hermanez. Initially known for his timeless, tech-soul productions on Mobilee Records, Noir Music and Suara, the Genk resident has enjoyed a career renaissance in recent years, remodelling his sound with deeper, more musical and wonderfully organic leanings. It’s a shift that has landed him releases on the movement’s premiere imprints, most notably All Day I Dream, Lost & Found, Shanti Radio Moscow and TRYBESof. Also laying claim to an impressive discography is EDGE co-founder Eran Aviner. The Belgian artist has showcased his music on Hernan Cattaneo’s Sudbeat Music and Guy Mantzur’s Plattenbank Records, while also being regarded as one of his country’s most astute DJs. Having worked together once previously on a chart topping remix for Sound Avenue, Hermanez and Eran now present their debut EP via EDGE entitled ‘Aria’. On the cusp of the release we had a chance to catch up with the duo in this exclusive interview. Enjoy!

Hi Guys, thanks for joining us, where in the world are you and what are you up to this week?

EA: I’m currently in Tel Aviv, living the lockdown life… Trying to work as much as possible to keep myself busy. Not much else to do at the moment. Hoping life will restore soon.

HZ: Hey it’s a pleasure to be here, I’m based in Genk, small town in the eastern part of Belgium. This week isn’t so different as other weeks, I’m just as much as I can in the studio.

Tell us more about your story. How did you discover electronic music and what led you down the path of wanting to be a producer and Dj?

EA: I discovered electronic music in the mid-end 90s listening to Radio One mixes and all kind of other mixes which I found on Napster. The good old days! But for me it all kicked off when I moved to London in 2000. I lived there for 5 years and managed to discover a lot of artists that I hadn’t heard of or seen before. A life changing experience for me.

HZ: I discovered Electronic music around 30 years ago, my older brother was a party animal and I listened a lot of tapes he bought from the clubs with music from that night he went out. Was an amazing discovery.

Tell us about living in Belgium, how has it affected your path in music?

EA: Belgium has always had a recognized electronic music scene whether it would be for the new wave, techno and trance scene. When we started with EDGE Techno and House were mainly played at clubs and festivals. We wanted to change that and add some diversity. It felt at the time like people wanted something else. So we decided to launch EDGE and put music, melodies and groove back at the center of things.

HZ: I think it was a fundamental experience for me, it started with especially being a dj in small bars and clubs. After winning a dj contest it changed a lot and I started to play major clubs in Belgium like Cafe d’Anvers, Fuse ,Laocca in that time. Meanwhile my productions were getting better and better which changed my path completely.

At which club or event did you experience electronic music for the first time and what memories have stuck with you from that moment?

EA: Café d’anvers was my first experience when I was around 16-17 years old which was one of the leading clubs in Europe at the time when it came to House music. If I remember correctly the first big names I saw playing were Bob Sinclar and Dimirti from Paris.

HZ: Cafe d’Anvers was for me the game changer. I had the chance to play as resident for few years with a lot unforgettable experiences. It’s the club where I met most of the people I still work with today and some of them became best friends.

Can you name five tracks that were influential in your musical development?

EA:Sasha – Xpander
Way Out West – The Fall (Bedrock GU 19 remix)
James Holden – A break in the clouds
Bedrock – Heaven Scent
PUSH – Universal Nation

HZ: Dj Rolando – Night Of The Jaguar
Los Hermanos – The Very Existence
Mood II Swing – The Slippery Track
MR White – The Sun Can’t Compare – Long Version
Sublevel – Just Us (mix2)

Are you musically trained? And do you think it’s necessary for success in writing electronic music?

EA: I used to play the piano when I was younger but at a certain point I stopped taking lessons as other activities became more important to me. A few years later I started playing some guitar which I learnt from friends. I’m not very good at it but I still play from time to time. With the technology available today I don’t think you really need musical training to be able to write good electronic music but its always a plus.

HZ: I never went to an official school to produce music, only few years for learning to play piano and reading classical music scores. The best school was being my own teacher with trail and error. I think the hunger for knowledge has led me where I am today.

How have you been dealing with COVID-19? The impact it’s having on travelling DJs is hugely significant obviously. Will you be doing any in studio live stream sets?

EA: I guess like everyone else you miss the interaction with the crowd and the fun part of playing live in front of an audience. So we have decided to launch a livestream session called “Room Service”. I’ll be doing the first editions and will see how can develop it further, perhaps with other artists of the label.

HZ: Yes I did, and it’s kinda fun to have interaction with your fans in that way.

Your first production together was a remix for Sound Avenue in 2019 which was played by all of the top progressive house DJs from Hernan Cattaneo to Guy J. How did you meet and eventually start collaborating?

EA & HZ: We knew each other for many years through the nightlife scene in Belgium but we really connected during one of Eran’s gigs where he warmed up for John Digweed. We got to chat for a quite a while after his set and we decided to meet up at Michael’s studio to give it a go.

You’ve just released your first original project together, a three track EP for Eran’s EDGE imprint. Tell us a bit about the EP and your vision for the release.

EA & HZ: When we first started out with our studio sessions we didn’t really have a particular vision or intention in mind. We just wanted to make some nice music together and jam a bit. As time went by we noticed that the tracks we were working on were pretty much what we were looking for EDGE as a sound. After playing the tracks for months and seeing the reactions and support we started receiving, we decided it was time to release the music to the world.

We’re thrilled to host the premiere for the title track ‘Aria’, it’s been a favourite of Hernan Cattaneo for many months, what studio tools featured heavily on this track and could you walk us through the production process on it?

HZ & EA: Hermanez was just updating his studio set up and got a few new fun toys. Aria already had some of the basic elements from previous versions and we thought it would a cool way to check some new sounds by loading that project. We immediately found some very cool elements that made the track sound so much better and gave us the final push to finish it off.

Why did EDGE feel like the right home for the EP and was there ever consideration to release it somewhere else?

EA: I always said that I won’t release any tracks on my label until I am 100% happy and confident with the music itself. We worked for months on this EP and we had the chance to try the tracks out at many gigs. The reactions were good and quite a few bigger names started playing it regularly as well. That’s when we taught its time to bring this music out. We are very happy we did.

HZ: Let’s try to see it that way: I was the medium and Eran the source, the result is the combination from the whole process. I left all my principals for Eran’s Idea about the sound ‘Edge’ and obviously, his strong dj sets. The outcome of this led me to change my whole music perspective. That’s what I love in collaborations. It just filled the gab I had in my musical journey which I’m very grateful for.

What advice would you have for an artist hoping to sign their music to the label? Both in terms of presentation and stylistically, what are you looking for from a new artist?

EA: First and foremost, quality always above quantity. So we are always looking for artist who are not releasing a lot of music throughout the year. There is something about producers lately that try to release as much music as possible to get recognition. I truly believe that instead of focusing on the amount of music released, they should focus on the quality of each track which in my view will give them much more recognition. In terms of style, I don’t have a particular style but I am a sucker for beautiful melodies 🙂

A successful partnership is generally based around balance and compromise; how do you manage these things when you work together?

HZ & EA: We actually never had to compromise so far. We both share a similar vision and work ethic which made the process very enjoyable. The moment you decide to collaborate with someone its very important that you respect each other’s opinion and ideas. You have to give each other creative room. Once you achieve that, compromise is no longer needed.

Do you have different roles in the production process? And if so elaborate please.

EA & HZ: Not really, it’s going random if it comes to ideas. When we are not able to meet a lot in the studio we work a lot online with brainstorming to get the best result.

The industry and how fans discover new music has changed dramatically in the last 10 years or so. How do you discover new music nowadays?

EA & HZ: Mostly through Spotify these days and demos I receive for the label. That’s one of the most fun and interesting steps of the process.

How much of an influence does music outside of the electronic spectrum have on you?

EA: A lot. I listen to many different styles of music. I can go from Led Zepplin to 90s hiphop to bands like Zola Blood, Ry X, Low Roar, Radiohead, Queen and many more.

HZ: Extremely wide, It can go from John Cage to Pink Floyd, from Apex Twin to Boards of Canada, classical music to Jazz.. depends on how I feel that day.

What’s the thing most people think they understand about being an artist but don’t? And what are the biggest challenges you currently face as an artist?

EA: The travelling and the constant up and downs.

HZ: The time you have to invest in this is a lifetime sacrifice. People underestimate sometimes because it looks easy when you see someone approaching his gear so smoothly or with a performance or studio session. Even I do sometimes 🙂

Apart from music, what makes you happiest?

EA: Enjoying the little things in life. As I grow older I learn to appreciate them more and more.
HZ: My Son’s smile

What can we expect from you for the rest of 2020? Any releases or special dates we should be looking out for?

EA & HZ: We are working on a few interesting bits, individually and together, and have a few ideas we want to continue to develop. Gig wise we think 2020 is still very uncertain so we have to hope for the best and with a bit of luck we get to get going again sooner than later.

‘Aria’ is out now via EDGE, you can purchase the release here: https://bit.ly/2JwWWsi

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