Tel Aviv native iogi aka Yogev Glusman is a craftsman of sound, a multi instrumentalist and producer who fuses together jazz, psychedelic pop, funk, folk and yacht rock to make soundscapes that are constantly shifting, swirling and swaying in their diverse and enticing movements. Being likened to the likes of Benny Sings and Jerry Paper, iogi has been making a name for himself for the past few years and now it feels like it’s his time to truly shine.
As a bassist, guitarist, violinist, and drummer, iogi has performed with several of Israeli’s biggest exports including Idan Raichel, the hip hop-leaning Yemenite sister trio A-WA, and Efraim Shamir and Yoni Rechter, both members of the legendary ‘70s Israeli prog-rock band Kaveret.
And now today he has returned with new album everything’s worth it, released via Raw Tapes, following on from his 2018 debut the ceiling. On his new album iogi is celebrating the joyous moments of life, backed by a swirling sonic landscape of psychedelic and jazz infused movements that are washed in an irresistible cool. We caught up with iogi to learn about the influences and ideas behind the new album.
What’s your musical story? How did you get into it?
I started as a classical violin player, and I played the violin from the age of 7 until I was 18 years old. At the age of 13, I got a classical guitar for my bar mitzvah from my brother & sister, which then led to the discovery of plenty of new music and genres that I was not aware of until that age, and that changed everything. When I was 17 I started playing the bass, and for many years it was my main instrument. Later in life, I got to play bass and guitar for many Israeli artists, and also tour with them worldwide. After almost 10 years of being a side musician, I had the urge to record my own music, which I did. From that point on, i started seeing myself not only as a musician and a player, but as an artist with his own taste. Since the first album came out, I have been more involved in studio work as a producer- for my music and for other people’s music.
How would you describe your sound?
My sound is a mixture of sounds and tastes that i acquired during my years as a music listener, but also as a musician and producer. Generally, I would say that it is indie-pop, with influences from 70’s folk and psychedelic music.
What’s the creative process behind a song?
All my songs begin with me sitting in front of the computer, with Ableton open. Usually I start by finding a beat or a groove that I like, and then I play guitar or synth over it. I have to finish the whole song structure in the same session I started the song, because if not – i will never be able to get back to it and finish it. Usually, I will finish the session once I have even a gibberish version of the melody. The next day, I will come to the studio, and probably write all the lyrics and finish the production of the song. If I love a song I am working on, I can finish it within two days.
Over what time and where was the new album created?
I started recording the album in my bedroom studio that i made in Jaffa, right after i finished recording and mixing my first solo album, the ceiling. It was a time in which i didn’t know what to do with my first album and how to release it, and if so – how will it be accepted. In this state i was, i started recording some of the songs for the album. I guess i just needed to move forward.
What’s the story you’re trying to tell on the new album?
I feel like this album is a natural continuation of my first album. It deals eventually with the same issues I dealt with 3 years ago, but from a more sober minded point of view.
What was the best part of recording the new album? And what was the most challenging?
The best part of recording the album was doing it all by myself. The first album was produced alongside a good friend, Nomok, who helped me a lot during that process, but I think that for the new album I needed full independence. It was a good experience letting him listen to the songs once they were almost finished, rather than working together from scratch. The most challenging part was also doing it all by myself. I had to trust myself completely, and that was hard. Constantly believing that what i’m doing is good, without getting immediate feedback – was super challenging.
Being a multi-instrumentalist what is your preferred instrument? And is there one you’d like to improve on?
Most definitely – drums. Drums are the most important instrument for me, and the one i love to play the most. Everything sits on top of it, and the song doesn’t lift off without it. Every song that i have in my heart and my brain – I know the drum part on it. I would love to improve my piano playing, i feel pretty stuck every time I sit in front of it.
Who are some of your biggest influences?
It evolves from Paul McCartney’s first solo albums, through Mac DeMarco and Real Estate, Super Furry Animals, Tame Impala – and back to Beach Boys.
Favourite show you’ve played?
One of the favorite shows i played with my band was 2 years ago, at Teder Tel Aviv. The place was packed, and that’s the moment that i felt that something new and special is starting to happen for me.
What will it be like playing that first show once shows are allowed again? (Concerts aren’t currently allowed in the UK)
Actually, in Israel shows are allowed already. Things are still pretty weird, because the crowd is standing with their masks on and it is hard to know what they really feel, but it is great to feel the warmth of people and hear them sing with you.
everything’s worth it is out now via Raw Tapes, available to buy here.