DJ and musician Ori Lichtik is best-known as one of the founders of the techno music scene in Israel. Together with choreographer Sharon Eyal and her husband and collaborator Gai Behar, they established dance company L-E-V, bringing rave culture and a club atmosphere to the world of contemporary dance. In this interview, we chat to Ori about the creative process behind his compositions and their latest work, Love Chapter 2, making its UK premiere at Sadler’s Wells on 13 & 14 July.
Tell us about your background as a musician and a composer.
I started as a DJ and a drummer at parties and raves. As a composer, I have worked with Sharon and Gai since 2006. That’s when we did our first piece together. Quite a complex one that included tracks of mine but also a DJ set.
What are your musical influences? What inspires your sound?
I started from techno which, for me, is a form of minimalist music. I like to take the essence of other music genres too. I used to mix a lot of modern classical music like Stravinsky, Debussy and Bartók with techno and African field recording and industrial music, that also has this minimalism but still wilderness and groove. Stravinsky and Debussy for me are groove masters. Only you need to take it out of them because if you play them as is it’s more of a Western story but if you mix it in the right way then it becomes groovy, minimal, wild music. My influences are stuff that is groovy and to find them out of places that are not necessarily obvious. Today when most of the music is original still, I use a lot of strings and classical elements inside the pattern and the format of more free and minimal music.
What is the creative process?
Usually we start from day zero together, which is quite peculiar as far as I understand in the dance world. I set up my equipment in the studio and just start playing from scratch. Sharon is shooting out forms, movements and ideas from her body and I am playing music from my equipment and my computer. Everything we do is being recorded and we have tonnes of hours of recording. We start cleaning it at some point and the distilling process begins. It is being carved until the last moment.
What does Love Chapter 2 sound like?
One of the comments we get is “What is this music? What genre is it?” That’s the best comment because I like that people don’t place it. Obviously there is techno, full of texture and groove is very crucial more than the story or the narrative in the music. On the other hand there is lots of strings which is different to how it comes with techno. Let’s see what people hear when they come to Sadler’s Wells.
How did your collaboration with Sharon Eyal and Gai Behar come about?
Gai has been my best buddy since we were 1 year olds. When they started dating I got to know Sharon, then later I realised she was already coming to parties I was playing, and then dancing when we really got to know each other! Sharon asked Gai to join her in the studio just to see and have inspiration. He had so much vision and ideas concerning the piece, the composition and the different elements, and then they asked me to try and make something for them. At first I was skeptical because I found it weird to make music for sitting people.
Watch the trailer for Love Chapter 2:
What is the biggest challenge of what you do?
For me the essence of deadline. Today I know I couldn’t work without it – the premiere – this dramatic title that is in your calendar. The knowledge that you have to work things up to a certain moment. To be honest it always includes a compromise at some level or the other. That is the challenge and also the beauty of it. It’s so different to playing live as a DJ although I do play live in our pieces.
Why should audiences come to see Love Chapter 2 at Sadler’s Wells?
The most honest answer is, it’s beautiful and exciting. One of the comments I like the most about our pieces is that they’re hypnotic. It’s a world to dive into – it takes you in and makes you feel stuff.
Listen to the music of Ori Lichtik here: