Riding the wave of one of their best years to date, former Future Connection guests Graham Bell talk backstory, favorite type of pasta, motivations and more!
Israeli duo Graham Bell has been dazzling fans with their productions in 2020, ramping up the quantity to their standard of quality. Composed of Assaf Tuvia and Gai Abutbul, these guys are owners of a powerful sound that merges elated melodies and planet-crushing kicks, and are already an established name in the dance music scene, albeit one in constant growth.
They were only a natural choice as guests in the exclusive celebration of our 50th edition of Future Connections, and we were excited to have a bit of their time for this interview. Check out what they had to say!
[Wide Future (WF)] – Hey guys! Thanks for taking the time to answer our interview! Well, our first question is pretty obvious: how’s this quarantine treating you? What have you been up to?
[Graham Bell (GB)] – This quarantine is not ideal for DJ’s as you know, live shows are such a huge part of our life. But it’s definitely a time when you can be more creative in the studio, relaxed, and think about the next step.
[WF] – How much studio time have you been putting down?
[GB] – When we are not gigging, we wake up in the morning at around 8AM. We have our usual breakfast together and then comes sitting in the studio from 10AM till 8PM.
[WF] – The music industry was one of the most affected by the pandemic, taking away all live shows. Do you think you’ll still be able to perform in 2020? Or are you already preparing and booking for 2021?
[GB] – This situation is really a pity not only for us, but for all the entertainment industry. We are still living in the mist without knowing when it will end. All we can do is hope we can return to normal as quickly as possible and party again, and as hard as we used to.
[WF] – Speaking a bit about you guys as artists: What’s the story behind your artist name, Graham Bell? How did it come to be?
[GB] – That name came up while we were talking about how people are addicted to phones these days. Then the name of “Alexander Graham Bell” came up, who of course invented the telephone and explored the transmission of sound, so we thought Graham Bell might be a cool name.
[WF] – You started out as ghost producers and sound engineers before letting your name out there and exploding onto the scene. Were you ghost producers first by choice, or was it something that just happened as time went on?
[GB] – It started back then in 2010 when someone reached out for a remix, and then everyone loved it, so it just happened as time went by.
[WF] – What motivated you to do that transition onto the mainstages, why did you come out of the shadows? Was it forced or something organic?
[GB] – Not many people know, but Graham Bell started as a one-man show. We had a Greek friend named Marinos that was the ‘face’ behind this project, and when he decided to leave to the group due to family issues, we knew that it was our moment to come out of the shadows.
[WF] – Do you feel like more ghost producers should speak up and express themselves as artists? Or is the DJ/Producer market so saturated that it’s just best to stay put and keep making music?
[GB] – There are many obstacles as an artist that ghost producers don’t have in mind, so each case is to be analyzed individually. Each one needs to look for the pros and cons and see what fits best for oneself.
[WF] – Ghost production is a very sensitive topic, with some big names being against it and some others favoring it. From your own experience and now that you’ve risen to the big leagues, what are your thoughts on it?
[GB] – In our opinion, there is nothing wrong with it. Some DJ’s are great Producers, others are excellent performers, so if they use a ghost producer and are fun to watch, who really cares?
[WF] – Do you still ghost produce?
[GB] – Yes, we do, not only for EDM artists but also for known pop artists.
[WF] – Is it common for ghost producers to collab amongst themselves?
[GB] – It depends on your meaning of “themselves.” If you mean that someone will make the track for his project with another artist that he produces too without the touch of the others involved, then yes, this is a ubiquitous thing.
[WF] – Correct me if I’m wrong: your first official track was a remix for Avancada and Darius & Finlay’s Xplode in 2017. Did that opportunity present itself, or did you have to “audition” to be featured?
[GB] – True. We got a strong relationship with Armada since 2010, so it was not an “audition.” Although we can reveal that this remix was originally supposed to be “Madagascar by Art Of Trance” and in the last minute, we kept it with the Xplode melody.
[WF] – Forgive us for saying, but until 2020, your track releases were few and far between. Is there a particular reason for that? Were you expecting them to have the success that they did? Also, does Night King have any correlation to Game of Thrones or is it just a coincidence?
[GB] – We knew we could only release “dance floor killers”, so we couldn’t be sure for their success, but due to our experience, we knew that they would work well. Someone wise once said – It’s not about the quantity, it’s about the quality hahaha!
Also, not a coincidence at all – Game of Thrones is one of the best shows!
[WF] – In 2018 you collaborated with Andrew Rayel for Tambores, and in 2019 you released Night King. Both are two of your biggest tracks to date. Tell us a bit of the thought and production process behind both tracks. How was it working with Andrew, challenges along the way, etc.
[GB] – The track with Andrew was supposed to be a remix for Tacadum, but Andrew loved the melody direction, so we decided to make it as an original. The work with Andrew was fantastic, we both knew precisely how it should sound like.
[WF] – It’s safe to say that 2020 has been absolutely awesome release-wise for you guys: Raveolution, The Sound of Letting Go, Pam Pam, and a beautifully melodic remix for Armin Van Buuren’s Miles Away. Any favorite tracks from all of those? Which one was the most fun to put together?
[GB] – Each one has its own story, but Pam Pam was made purely out of fun, so we choose that one.
[WF] – Raveolution marked your first release on W&W’s Rave Culture. Are there any more tracks coming on that label soon?
[GB] – Yes, there is at least one on its way, and we think it will blow your mind by its uniqueness.
[WF] – Fellow Israeli compatriot Zafrir has also been a part of the Rave Culture team recently with Wizard of the Beats and Zangi. Can we sense a collab with him in the future?
[GB] – Zafrir is a good friend of us, and we used to work together before. Maybe we will find the right fit in between, who knows.
[WF] – Your remix of Miles Away was a bit of a different approach to your usual sound, following along the lines of a more progressive house-inspired tune. It worked out stunningly though, can we expect more of this sound and melodicity in the future?
[GB] – Yes, definitely! We don’t like it when people tag us as “just” Trance or Big Room artists. We prefer they tag us as “Electronic Music” artists. Every day we wake up in the morning with different approaches of creation. It can be Progressive House, Trance, or anything else: It’s all about diversity.
[WF] – What other genres in dance music would you like to experiment? Perhaps 200bpm hardcore? hahaha
[GB] – 200 BPM is too much for us; we are at the spot we feel the most comfortable with, but you never know… haha
[WF] – Now, it’s time for a little game we like to play, quick-fire questions!
Favorite sport? Soccer
Dream collaboration (alive or dead): Michael Jackson, Daft Punk
Underrated trance artist? No longer into trance, but Beat Service
Vodka or gin? Gin
Best type of pasta? Fettuccine Alfredo
Bungee jumping or skydiving? Bungee jumping
Ferrari or Lamborghini? Lamborghini
[WF] – Who’s the calmest out of you two? And who gets more easily distracted when in the studio?
[GB] – Assaf, definitely, he can’t sit on a chair for too long haha
[WF] – How often do you disagree with each other? What do you do when that happens, just take a break and then go back again?
[GB] – So far, it has never happened. Healthy mind storming is key!
[WF] – What’s the longest you’ve taken to produce a track? How happy were you when you finally finished it?
[GB] – We think it was something like 4 months. Sometimes you leave a song to clear your mind and then get back to it to see if it has the right energy to it. We are always happy with every single one of our creations.
[WF] – Indispensable Israeli vocabulary we just have to know? (besides words like “thank you” and “hello”)
[GB] – How Much is it? – Kama Ze Ole?
Where is the Party? – Eifo Ha’Mesiba?
Cool – Sababa
Good – Tov
[WF] – Top 3 things do to on your bucket list?
[GB] – 1. Make our own VST plugin
2. Make a Graham Bell video game
3. Taste a burger in every country we are in.
[WF] – What languages would you like to learn?
[GB] – Italian would be sweet, and also we’d like to improve our Spanish.
[WF] – When can we schedule a dinner party with you guys here in Portugal? After the COVID-19 pandemic of course! Hahaha
[GB] – Any time! We can’t wait to meet the Portuguese crowd! Heard they are insane.
[WF] – You were one of two very special guests on the 50th episode of our Future Connetion radio show, and it’s one of the most played we’ve had! Can we count on you guys for episode 100?
[GB] – Consider it as done.
[WF] – Final question: can we have a sneak peak of Graham Bell’s big plans for the future, more specifically 2020?
[GB] – We have a big release on Rave Culture, as we mentioned. Another follow-up to Tambores with Andrew Rayel, and some more collabs that we will keep as a surprise!
From the bottom of our hearts, THANK YOU for the invite and this interview!
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