Musical Discoveries: Lee, Can you tell us where you are from and the story of how you got into the music scene?
Lee Triffon: I grew up in Ramat-Gan, which is very close to Tel Aviv. I had a very dynamic childhood because my father was a captain of cargo ships working for Zim, which is the largest shipping company in Israel, and my mother was a dancer with a Bat Sheva group which was very active those days and they were touring a lot around the world. So, it was never boring!
There was always art and music in my parents' house so I suppose I owe a lot of my creativity to them. I learned to play the piano and the flute when I was very young.
When I became a teenager, I decided that being a girl bass player would be cool so I started to play bass as well. I grew up on stuff like Frank Zappa, King Crimson, classical music, Celtic music, progressive rock and a whole lot more. I always love music that comes from the depth of a culture like, traditional indian music and all kinds of ethnic genres.
And what was your path to Eatliz?
I went to Thelma Yelin high school, which is a very good school of arts in Israel. Although my major was visual arts, it became very clear to me at that time that what I was really passionate about is music. I started taking opera lessons at the same time I was playing bass with two rock bands. You know, like those teenage bands that wear tons of black eyeliner and stuff--it was a lot of fun! At about the same time I composed my first song and went back to playing the piano.
I guess the path of a young musician will always have a lot of twists and turns, as it was for me. I played with many different people from different genres and had many bands that broke up eventually until I joined Eatliz, but everything was a great learning experience. I believe that the first step in understanding what you want, is knowing what you don't want. That is kinda what happened with me and Eatliz.
So how was Eatliz formed and how did it change once you came aboard?
Eatliz actually started as a band in 2001. Guy Ben Shitrit, who started the band and is also the main composer, had another band called Infectzia which was a very popular "cult" band at the time. He decided to start a new band with a female singer and to do something which would pretty much reflect all the influences and genres that he and the band members were effected by. It was the foundation of Eatliz.
The meaning of the name in English you already know, but in Hebrew the word "Eatliz" means a buchery shop. So, you get it, a lot of different genres put together--buchery--that's where it comes from.
The band went through a lot of changes over the years, especially singers. I think there were five different singers before me. Of course with each singer the style changed a bit more.
When I first joined the band, the main thing Guy and I focused on was making me comfortable with the band's older material and bringing my own personality into the songs regardless of what came before. At the same time we started writing new material together and again the style changed especially because all of us come from such different backrounds. The combination was very inspiring.
In addition to your work on Eatliz album and performing with Eatliz, what else have you been doing?
Before I joined Eatliz I was working on my own material and performing with my guitar around Tel Aviv. I had a few different bands was involved with all kinds of proffessional productions doing backing vocals for other artists, jingles and stuff like that. Today I'm working on my solo material with an amazing French producer that I met a while ago. The style changed a lot and it's quite different from the songs I have on MySpace. I hope the first single will be released soon.
What can you tell us about the making of the Violently Delicate album?
We performed a lot and rehearsed a lot, so when we came to the studio, we were very prepared and knew exactly what we wanted. This made it much easier, especially because the music is somewhat complex. The album was mostly recorded live, as we would play at a show, except for my vocals and some of the arrangements that were added later.
How did you get hooked up with your label, Anova?
Anova came in right after we had finished recording and spent all of our money in the process. So they kinda saved our asses! They pretty much took it from there, mixing, mastering and everything that followed. I gotta tell you, they were realy sent from above at that perfect time, because we really couldn't have made it without them.
We were a bunch of struggling musicians making music that almost has no market in Israel so it it was tough. I think that mostly Anova gave us strengh to go on doing what we do with a lot of passion again. The financial backing and all the PR made it a lot more professional and actually freed us to going back to doing what we do best. So now I can also tell you that the second album is almost finished!!
What is the reaction to Eatliz both inside and outside of Israel?
The reactions we get are very surprising to us. We thought that Israel will be very limited for our type of music, but lately we were proven wrong. We're in the middle of touring around Israel and it's been great.
We have been to a lot of places where we thought no one knew about us, but the crowd was great and gave us a lot of hope for the future!
As for outside of Israel, I can only guess by the reactions we get on MySpace. It's very positive and supportive but we'll never realy know until we go on tour outside Israel.
Hopefully that'll happen in the near future.
Does anybody compare Eatliz to other bands?
Here's something I liked. One of the critics that wrote about us said that we sound like what would happen if Mr. Bungle and The Cardigans would have a jam session together.
What do you think of the music industry today and the direction it's going?
The music industry is definately changing completely. Like any change, it's hard to accept even if the outcome is good. It's hard to judge, right or wrong, because it goes hand in hand with our culture which became instant, impatient and unsteady. I think that when the current is so strong the worst thing to do is to try and swim against it. The best we can do is to go along and stay true to what we are as musicians.
Are your live performances very theatrical? Are there other bands you would like to perform alongside?
Our live performances are a work in progress. We always discover new things that we like to do, or wear and we just try to go with it. You might say that the shows are theatrical in some ways, but it's mainly about the music and what the crowd's energy brings into it.
I suppose that I speak in the name of every person in Eatliz when I say that, we would be extremely honoured to be the warmup act for any of the bands that Mike Patton is involved with!
Can we expect Eatliz to venture outside of Israel to delight audiences in other territories anytime soon?
We're working on that, hopefully very soon.
Can we talk about your solo project? What is it going to be like?
My solo album is turning out to be an interesting encounter between a folk/alternative singer songwriter and an edgie French electro producer, so, it's kinda hard to explain. The first single will be out before the summer and I suppose it's just best to listen to the music itself.
What besides music are you involved with? What occupies your time and interest?
There are so many things I love to do, but my time is very limited lately. I spend a couple of hours every day playing the piano or the guitar and singing of course. I do vocal training and sing in all kinds of productions. I'm also a yogi; I practice ashtanga yoga four to five times a week, which is what keeps me sane in all the crazyness. I used to ride horses all my life, but lately I haven't been doing it so much, although I still find the time somehow to go riding whenever I can. I just love it; it's even better than being on stage somethimes.
Lee, in concluding our interview, What are your hopes and dreams musically and for your life?
I guess my biggest dream is to just keep on doing what I do and being able to make a living from it--making the music I believe in and taking it around the world if possible--going on unexpected adventures with my band and just being inspired by life! And last last but not least, sharing it all with my amazing partner, Ariel.