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Introducing Project Runaway, the new venture of Tel-Aviv tricksters Alek Lee & Stephan Bazbaz

On one end Stephan Bazbaz, longstanding solar house deep diver, responsible for a bunch of releases on a wide array of imprints including Plattenbank, Baroque, No Waves and more. On the other, Ori Kenneth alias Alek Lee – new sensation of the Tel-Aviv underground whose pair of top-notch debut releases for Paris-based label Antinote have made quite the splash in and out of the European dance scene.

Joining forces as Project Runaway, Stephan and Alek trick us into their own eerily funky sonic realm, fitting halfway between polyrhythmic hoodoo, altered machine talk and freewheeling post-discoid electronics. Eager to find out more about the duo, what makes them tick and their debut instalment, ‘Met‘, out via [Emotional] Especial, we caught up with the guys for a quick fire chat. Listen to ‘Met‘ below.


Interview by Baptiste Girou

Cover

"Project Runaway is like an escaping prisoners master plan to a better life"

Hi chaps, you’re about to land the debut effort of your new duo, Project Runaway, via [Emotional] Especial. Please tell us more about that new venture and how it came to be.

A couple of years ago I moved to a new studio in Tel-Aviv but never had the time to actually make it a proper studio per se. So then I handed the space over to Stephan who turned it into a real professional studio. I came back after a few months and after knowing Stephan for a few years, we finally bonded and got creative ideas pouring like waterfalls.

How was the record conceived and, if any, what’s the concept behind it?

There is no real concept behind this record, these were our first two tracks ever recorded. Everything happened super naturally and spontaneously.

What about the duo’s name, Project Runaway? What does it mean to you?

The name does not mean so much to us as it might mean to you… though if you ask me, Project Runaway is like an escaping prisoners master plan to a better life.

You both strived as solo artists and it’s the first time you get round to sharing the studio. How did working as a team change the way you approach music production?

We gained more hands to roll joints.

Was it hard to find your place at first? 

Teamwork is an important word in our dictionary. To be honest, everything came along pretty naturally… Stephan, for example, likes to chop and paste loops, me, I like to chop the weed, so there you go.

But essentially we are both hard workers and intuitive, and both of us want to pump up the dance floor as DJs and producers. So that’s probably the main connection.

Stephan is a Master of sounds and mix, and I’m more about the live recordings and smokey vibes. We both learn a lot from each other – but also discover many mutual methods of working, which helped the connection and communication in the studio a lot.

The Tel-Aviv-Berlin axis has been going strong in recent years with artists like Red Axes, Moscoman and yourselves leading the way. How has The Bubble helped shape your sound, and what makes it such a special place for music and partying?

I guess the Tel-Aviv bubble helped us on an inspirational level, while everyone around you is creative 24/7, it’s always a good time to work and create new stuff – all tools and vibes are legit.

But also, Tel-Aviv is a very small place, full of Israeli artists starving for success, and that naturally creates a somewhat “competitive” environment and atmosphere. It makes you work harder and harder all the time, in order to keep your head above the water and stay relevant, both to yourself and to your crowd.

Which new artists from Tel-Aviv should we keep an ear out for?

You should keep your eyes and ears open for ‘Ras’ Band, Mo Rayon, Stephanie Devotion, and always watch out for Naduve.

You’ve put together a special video for the track, which takes the piss out of our world’s obsession with hi-tech prothesis and the enslavement it implies. What prompted you to tackle this subject in particular?

We are living in times where almost everyone in the western world is ADDICTED to their phones, but almost no one will speak about it or admit it. The truth is, that probably most of them don’t even realise how addicted they are…

No one taught, or taught us how to work those machines properly, without hurting neither our environment nor our own mental state. The song ‘Met‘ (meaning ‘Dead’ in hebrew) deals with the love-hate relationship we have with drugs. This obviously works exactly the same way with the futuristic drugs that are cell phones and computers. I thought this was a good chance to mix the two perspectives to show they are no different.

Do you feel the world’s going too fast? Releases may come thick and fast, few out there manage leaving a mark…

The world is definitely going too fast, and it is loaded with content and artists, or just random people striving for success and recognition without much hard work. The key is to never stop creating, and never ever stop believing. To me, creating art and music in particular, is a way to stay ‘sane’ in the crazy, Speedy Gonzalez-like times we live in.

How do you fight hyper-consumption in your everyday life?

We try to invest most of our money on weed and shawarma.

What makes you happy?

Stinky weed.

What never fails at pissing you off?

Shitty weed.

What are your plans for the summer? Some gigs as Project Runaway lined up perhaps?

Yes we are currently working on our new live show. You will probably hear about it soon!

Met is out now via [Emotional] Especial, pre-order a copy from Juno.

Photography by Ben Palhov

TRACKLIST

A. Met
B. Met (Dub)

Discover more about Project Runaway and [Emotional] Especial on Inverted Audio.

ArtistLabelReleasedJuly 2019Genre