We managed to catch up with Liran better known as SPHERA, during his busy schedule for a good chat.
All followers of quality Psy-Progressive music would have certainly heard of this young and extremely talented producer hailing from Israel. Over the past few years he certainly released some timeless tracks, including some collaborations with other very well respected artists, as well as a ton of serious creative remixes.
It was about six years ago that the world first got to hear the SPHERA project when he released on Echoes Records, and back then it was quite clear that this was a very creative and innovative artist to keep one’s eyes on, and has proven exactly that.
Especially looking his releases over the past two years (2015-2016), there’s certainly has been a positive drive at raising his bar and stepping into the light. It started with him getting signed to the world renowned and much respected label IBOGA Records. Shortly followed by a string of releases that also saw the release of his compilation on the labels popular ‘Best of My Sets’ series’, as well as the exciting rumor of a debut album later this year.
SPHERA is on the rise, and be sure to watch this space, as the journey has only just began for this talented young man.
Here are some questions chosen we best thought would give us and our readers a little better insight into your world and just also to be a great introducing to those who’ll be discovering you for the first time. We hope you enjoy them as much as we’ve done putting it together.
- Thanks for finding the time to talk with us. Tell us how the name ‘Sphera’ came about, and does the name have any relation to your music?
“Sphera” is actually how you would pronounce the word ‘Sphere’ in Hebrew.
By simple meaning, it refers to a round shape object. However, from a more ‘poetic’ perspective, it could also describe a domain, zone or even a personal state of mind. Telling a story by first creating a concept within this domain, these are all guidelines that for me might be the most important to stick to while I produce. Yes, I am aware it is also very important to deliver a decent amount of energy beyond all this romance, as long as you have dance-floor intentions, so I would usually do my best to bring the emphasis on this side of the scale as well. In the end, all these factors mentioned above should occur simultaneously, otherwise, a given piece of music would not provide me what I am looking to transmit.
A bit long (and almost off topic) explanation, so just to summarize; the name is my own commitment to myself to walk along all these lines.
- When looking back at your career, but from a DJ perspective, would you say that much has changed in your eyes when looking at what it takes to comfortably deliver a great set, forgetting about technicalities and all the fancy software available tech today, but purely looking at it from personal experience… eg. Do you still draw ideas from the same source of inspiration, and where would this mainly be coming from?
The answer for this question would have to be divided in 2 parts. The first part refers to my own principles, and in this area or sector or whatever, not much has changed since the beginning of my way until now. Whenever I went to play it is really important for me to emphasize the idea that the whole is more than the sum of it’s parts, I will not play a track just because I know/think it is most certainly gonna “work” very well, if I‘m not convinced that it serves the whole. The second part of the answer refers to the fact that naturally over the years, there was a significant change in terms of what an average dance floor would consume. It has a several reasons but to sum it up briefly I think that music with a more of an aggressive edge speaks to most audiences currently. However, this may vary from one place to another and has more factors in the equation. Versatility while maintaining your principles is not an easy task, but I’m pretty sure it is possible.
- What was the first record you ever bought?
That would have to be Space Cat.
I can’t remember which album though; I was only 12 years old.
- Can you think of any track that you still play out, that has remained timeless over the years?
Perhaps my track “Matter”. I do not see it as outdated or anything, even though the so called ‘shelf life’ of a track seem to be very short.
- What is the best and worst thing of your job?
For me it’s mostly about those moments while a certain track I‘m working on is taking shape, getting its very own characteristics and the overall picture becomes clear.
While the more unpleasant part is that, possibly… most certainly, lots and lots of water goes under the bridge to the point where I get satisfied. It’s often gets very frustrating.
- Do you face any challenges as a DJ/Producer today?, and with DJ’ing in mind as oppose to producing music… What is it that keeps making Dj’ing interesting for you?
I find it a bit complex to find music that would be ‘effective’ enough in terms of dance-floor, while answering my expectations as someone who just loves listening to music all at the same time.
I think that in both cases (Producing & DJ’ing) it’s the same challenge that keeps me motivated to find my own answers. Like getting myself into a labyrinth each time, and then finding my way through…
If that makes any sense…
- What is your favourite genre outside of the psy genre?, And are there any new artists/projects that you have been enjoying lately (within or outside the psy genre)?
I love it all the way from DnB to ADM (not EDM) and also enjoying a lot of Techno.
Telefon Tel Aviv and Jon Hopkins never get me tired.
But obviously the list could go on and on and on.
- We heard that you’re busy working on your debut album that is set to be released on IBOGA Records later this year?
Yes, that is true 🙂 I am indeed working on my debut album these days.
However, I’m really trying to avoid an official statement regarding release date or anything like that, at least at this given point.
Life is unexpected so I just rather keep my deadlines as self commitments. What I can tell, is that at this point there’s already a few collaborations going on with some usual suspects and it’s going very well.
- Travelling the world, I’m sure you get to see beautiful places and meet different cultures, what has been one of your most memorable experiences in regards countries that you’ve travelled too, and the people that you met on the way?
A few years ago I’ve had the pleasure to come and play in Vancouver (Canada). In between the actual event I’ve had some extra time to travel around and enjoy those breathtaking landscapes all around the area, Great memories.
- With travelling in mind, I see you have some great international shows ahead from end Feb (Paris) to end June (France & Greece), are there any other places and festivals that you’ve heard good things about and still look forward going to in the near future?
I was actually booked for Maitreya Festival (Australia) this year in March, but unfortunately they postponed the whole thing which was a huge bummer for me. I would like to believe that they will come up with it anytime soon again. June would be ‘Tree Of Life” which returned this year after a while, and this time will occur in Greece (used to take place in Turkey) and Son Libre Festival in France.
At the end of the year I will do my first Universo Paralello in Brazil. I’ve also heard a lot of amazing things about South Africa from friends and artists who have travelled there, so this is for sure a place high on my list that I would love to visit one day.
- Israel seems to be the Trance capital of the world, with so many influential artists spanning across the past last two decades… were there any particular artist (worldwide) or track that hugely inspired you at the time your journey into music began?
Perfect Stranger was and remained a huge source of inspiration for me. Also Sun Control Species, FREq, SBK, Atmos and Ace Ventura to name a few, brought a new edges (imho) each in his own way.
- Growing up in your teenage years, were there any specific bands or music (non electronic) that positively influenced you, and that also potentially inspired your creative processes once you started producing your own music?
In terms of influence I can’t think of any non electronic band that affected me from such an early age, or at least it’s not something that I can consciously point out. But since I have exposed to electronic music in such an early age, I had almost no chance to develop a relation with something else.
- If you had to point out one of the craziest things that have ever happened during your travels or performances, what would that be?
In one of my visits in Austria, I was invited to stay and have a rest after the party at the promoter’s house. I have finished my gig and a taxi driver brought me to the address. When I entered the room that was given to me earlier I was surprised to see a couple having sex. Oddly enough, they were not surprised to see me at all… I let them to proceed obviously, went to the kitchen while they’re kindly explaining me from the other room how to use the coffee machine. That was quite surreal for me at that time. And no, I never stayed there that night…
- Besides yourself and your music, what is the most important thing you never leave home without? And secondly what do you miss the most when travelling (besides your family and your studio of course)?
My phone and my wallet, so nothing too interesting to be honest 😀
Usually not enough time passes in order to develop any emotions like this, the average is about 3-4 days out in most cases… But I really like being alone in my place mostly, so there is this.
- Besides SPHERA’s much anticipated debut album, are there any other upcoming releases that fans should be looking out for?
In a few weeks from now (while writing these lines), we have the stunning remix by Ritmo to my track ‘Matter’ coming out on IBOGA Records. Later on, there is a new track of mine in a slightly different manner coming out on the 20 years compilation from IBOGA Records as well. But in general I‘m trying to stay focused on the music I produce for my album.
Thanks for the great chat, as I’m sure everyone would agree after reading the interview. We look forward to your upcoming releases and to your debut album later this year. Hopefully we’ll be lucky to catch you performing in beautiful Cape Town soon. Promoters take note 😉
Sphera: Thanks a lot for having me and making this interview so interesting for me.