Interview: Ljubov Dzuzhynska
Photo: Michael Topyol & Eilon Bergman
Garden City Movement is a Tel Aviv based electronic music project consisting of Roi Avital (Vocals, Keyboards, Guitar), Joe Saar (Guitar, Sampler, Keyboards), and Johnny Sharoni (Vocals, Sampler, Percussion).
Was there ever a moment in your life when you were fed up with music?
Yoav: Never happened and will never happen.
Roy: Never happened, and I believe it never will.
Johnny: Many times while stuck in traffic. Talk radio is a great thing. People should appreciate it more.
Why did you start making music?
Yoav: It just happened, I was really into downloading music with Napster & Kazaa so I discovered a lot of music and it’s become my main interest so I started learning how to play some instruments and started to play with some local bands.
Roy: From the first moment I started playing the guitar, at the age of 10, I felt this incredible driving force that pushed me to practice, create and excel at it, I’m not sure I ever chose it, but I always knew this is what I had to do.
Johnny: Is there a better and more wonderful thing in life one should do? If there is please text me.
What is your personal heaven on Earth?
Roy: The Red Sea in Eilat. I found out, almost accidentally, a few years ago, that the life underwater in Eilat is so colourful and peaceful. Since then I go there almost every summer – tent on the beach and snorkel with the love of my life.
Johnny: Early afternoon, walking around Daikanyama , getting into Tsutaya book store. Going over the books checking what’s new, picking up a magazine, ordering a coffee on the second floor. I could do it over and over for the rest of my life.
Abstractly speaking, if you were music, which instrument would you be and how would this choice reflect your personalities?
Johnny: Shoulder strapped Taishogoto. It’s the best mix of who I am. Google it.
Did you reach your personal definition of happiness? What does happiness consist of for you?
Roy: At the journey of making music with wonderful and talented partners, and getting quite an exposure and amazing crowds, in ways that amazed me the last few years,
I found out that no matter how big an achievement is, I’ll always get used to it and want to top it the next time, otherwise I’ll consider it as failure. So I understood (the hard way) that happiness is not about achievements and goals, and is more about making peace with yourself, and shaping my life around love and creation, and the little things that make me and the ones around me feel loved.
What have you learned through Garden City Movement both professionally and personally?
Roy: Personally I learned how to be a better person, still working on it. Working in a band in the studio, touring and managing a career together with partners and labels is very much like a romantic relationship: it forces you to face personal challenges on a daily basis, and working with gentle souls also forces you to become more aware of everyone’s feelings and work better with your own, always finding the balance. Professionally I learned everything I know in the years I’m making music with my partners.
What did you learn from one another?
Johnny: Compassion and exploring cities in maximum efficiency while touring.
If looking at Garden City Movement as a single human organism, which part is each one of you?
Roy: I think that because we like to switch roles in the band, everyone could be every part but I think I tend to be the skeleton, making room and structure and allowing things to fall into places.
Tell us about a day or a moment you had that you will never forget.
Yoav: Primavera 2015. It was a turning point for us as a band. It was our first gig (on a good stage) at a big festival and it was amazing. The crowd loved us and we enjoyed it so much.
Did you ever have a paranormal experience? Did something overly weird ever happen to you?
Roy: I think life itself is paranormal, and every day is exceptional, I try to remember that…
Johnny: Once, I had a case to solve in a small town called Twin Peaks. Don’t ask, weird stuff.
What was the last exciting thing you’ve done or felt?
Yoav: Getting out of quarantine to see some friends and to play an online gig. Making your passion into a profession can get frustrating at times when you feel less creative but it always drives me to do more.
What book, film, anime, or manga reality would you like to live in for a little while? Why?
Johnny: “24-hour party people” could be a nice experience. Also, Kidd Video, google it.
What is your definition of beauty and what was the most beautiful thing you’ve seen or experienced in your life?
Beauty is rare nowadays even more than ever. Real beauty is when people help and support each other out of real and pure understanding, this is a thing that you can almost only test in ‘edge’ cases, we’re now experiencing maybe the hardest situation of the past 50 years but you still can easily see most people only care about themselves. If you are lucky enough to see the other side of this coin you’re lucky and will experience true beauty.
How do you rid yourself of negative thinking when it overwhelms you?
Roy: I make music, this has always been my way of coping with life, it also helps me remember that it is all in me, and my actions are what makes my life go in a certain direction, not my thoughts.
Johnny: Taking them to the worst level of negativity, kind of like what you should do when you’re drowning in a whirlpool. From this moment you don’t really have anything else to do rather than put things in proportion.
What are you trying to achieve as artists? What goals do you want to reach?
Johnny: Reaching the ability to create more.
What was the wisest thing you’ve ever heard?
The little arrow near the gas gauge indicates which side of the car the gas tank is on.
What question would you like to be asked in an interview and what would you answer?
Johnny: In a year from now “How did you know all the things that were going to happen and how did you manage to play them so good?” answer: “History always repeats itself, never forget“.