— Hi! Please tell about yourself.
— Hi! my name is Harel, Mule Driver is my main solo project, focusing on danceable electronic music. I’m involved in many musical projects and I also co-run the Tel Aviv based label Confused Machines.
— How long have you been making music? Is your education related to this?
— I don’t have formal musical education, but music was always around. I started playing guitar in high school and playing with synths and electronic music around the late 90’s. I also worked in a recording studio for a few years so I picked up some recording skills there.
— Could you tell in detail about the idea of creating EP “Club Shebab” and your direct acquaintance with PARALLAX RECORDS?
— The tracks on Club Shebab were created for my live performances. The way I work I usually create tracks or ideas by jamming, and then during the live performances and improvisation the tracks get to live and grow and form into shape.
The guys from Parallax approached me after a gig I played in Tel Aviv and asked for a track to release on their label. They pointed out a few tracks from the show, I went back to my studio and recorded them.
The track Club Shebab, named after a migrants night club near the central station in Tel Aviv, I used to pass by it on the way home. I liked the name and it really fit the track.
Cliff Lothar is a good old friend of mine, I think I sent him the tracks as well, and asking him to do a remix felt very natural for me, like keeping it in the family. I really like the outcome, he did a great job (as always). He took the “Club Shebab” track to a different place and yet kept the spirit.
The track “Night Crawler” was played live for the first time at a party in a basement of a deserted communication company building. The place was packed and dark with only strobe lights… you know the deal… while playing it live it used to be more a banger while I recorded it at the studio, it took a laid back kind of turn.
“Death/Time” – includes a sample saying “So death created time, to grow the thing that it would kill”. I have a huge collection of recorded phrases and parts of films and tv shows and basically everything I hear (if you were talking to me you most likely was recorded at some point).
— Honestly, your music has a truly unique sound. What kind of hardware do you use?
— Thank you, I use mostly analog hardware. When I started playing electronic music I wasn’t happy with the performance of virtual synths and I didn’t have a strong computer to handle the good plugins yet. Analog hardware was still not very hyped and kind of cheap. At the same time playing music while watching a screen is frustrating for me. And still saying all this I sometimes use softwares.
If we really go into the gear, here is a partial list: Roland TR-808, TR-707, SH09, TB 303; Korg MS20, MS2000 (don’t underestimate this handy synth), Electribe SX; Moog model D; Yamaha RM1x (great sequencer!); some eurorack modules and a lot of guitar stomp boxes.
— Mainly, in what styles do you prefer to work in and which ones to listen to? Do you have any favorite labels and artists? Are you inspired by someone’s work before recording your own?
— The style I work in depends on my mood and some time on ideas. If I have an idea (it can be sound, or structure or specific use for a machine or story), I’ll start to work around it and see where it takes me to.
I listen to diverse music genres… a few labels that influenced me over the years are: Viewlexx, Creme, Bunker, Nation, Suction and artists are changing from Miles Davis to Elian Radigue.
As for inspiration – it usually comes from everyday life, from books or films or something I saw on the street.
— What are you working on now and what are your plans for the near future?
— I’m working on new Mule Driver material which hopefully will see the light soon. An Edit I did for an 80’s new wave group from Israel is about to release on Confused Machines. I’m working on a few remixes by The Models which is a due with Spark O. An album by Group Modular (Markey Funk and I – a project which is heavy influenced by early electronic and library music) is in the making. And I’m always up to play live wherever I needed.
— Do you perform at festivals?
— Yes, last May I played on the Intergalactic FM Festival at PIP in The Hague for the second time. I think it’s the greatest festival. The line up is always insane and full of surprises.
— Do you have an experience of cooperation with any musicians or artists?
— Over the years I was involved in many different musical cooperations. To name a few:
Mujahideen – it’s an industrial-punk band where I played bass;
Group Modular – a studio project by Markey Funk and myself, dedicated to early electronic and library music;
The Models – Spark O and myself, an acid, techno, electro duo;
besides, I’ve created music for dance and art.
I like working with people from different fields. It changes my point of view on the necessity and function of the music and sound, as well as about storytelling.
— Is it important for you, from which media to listen to? Is it necessarily with vinyl, or can it be with digital media? Do you collect vinyl?
— I do collect vinyl, I have a fair amount of dust collecting records and somehow they the collection keeps multiplying. You also like to listen to and dj vinyl BUT it Definitely doesn’t HAVE to be vinyl. I listen to a lot of music on my phone or computer and buy a lot of music on bandcamp, which I think is a great platform.
Digital media holds more options such as small / new artists or truly independents artists who put their music online without having a label to press their music on vinyl. This way it’s way more punk. Unfortunately I think people appreciate vinyl releases more.
— How would you describe your music?
— Describing music is a strange thing, you should listen to it.
— Does music help you in everyday life?
— No, It actually interferes with my life. 🙂
— How do you think, the creation of music is not just a hobby or a job, but also a certain way of life or perhaps even a point of view?
— For me creating music is a way to express ideas, feelings, or a state of mind. That’s the reason for me that it’s not only a job or a hobby. I would be creating music even if it wasn’t released or published.
Also, music has lead me through life into interesting situations and made me meet lot of interesting and good people.
1. Omnibus – Zavraždění Motýlů [Endless Illusion, 2016]
2. Pasiphae – Quelque Chose de Mauvais [Artificil Dance, 2018]
3. Le Syndicat Electronique – Trouble [Invasion Planète Recordings, 2005]
4. Sterile Hand – The Hunter [Ecstatic, 2018]
5. Beta Evers – Only for my Satisfaction [Crème Organization, 2003]
6. Broken English Club – Crime [cititrax, 2015]
7. Rude 66 – Die Stärke Der Vernichtenden Schläge [Bunker, 2005]
8. Mantra – Untitled A2 [Bunker, 2007]
9. Fallbeil – Rolling Dutch [Valcrond Video, 2017]
10. Esplendor Geometrico – Rotor (Broken English Club Remix) [Contort Yourself, 2015]
11. Gesloten Cirkel – Yamagic [Moustache Techno, 2011]
12. Drvg Cvltvre – Brakes are Death [Pinkman, 2016]
13. Alessandro Adriani – White Swan [Mannequin, 2016]
14. R-zone – Pain [R-Zone, 2013]
15. Aroy Dee – City of Others (Cliff Lothar’s Subway Dub)