Kalbata photo
Kalbata photo

My First CDR… Kalbata

Dubwise it don’t get much deeper than Kalbata (Ariel Tagar), as shown with his releases on Soul Jazz, Double Science,  Botanika, Greenmoney, and Yellow Machines. After time living in London, he’s now back in Tev Aviv and keeping his riddims weighty. We shared a Q+A on some of his CDR experiences…

When and where did you first attend CDR? What do you recall?
First time I went to CDR was in 2005 at Plastic People, Henry Keen from Soundspecies (who’s a regular there) took me. I met Henry at the Red Bull Music Academy in Seattle which was also where I met Tony Nwachukwu, so by then I was really looking forward to checking it out. I cant remember if I brought any music to play but I do remember the mad vibe in the place. I loved how there was so much interaction within the crowd and how everybody went mad when a big tune was played. There was a family thing about it and event though I don’t live in London any more I still feel a part of it.

How did you hear about CDR?
I heard about it about a year before that, going regularly to FWD I would hang out at Plastic People quite often but for some reason I never went. Sometimes you need someone to give that push!

What has CDR meant to you?
Soon as I got more involved in CDR it was all about getting a tune ready to play for the next session. It was the classic CDR story of thinking your tune is the bomb and then it would sound horrible on the system or the other way around when you’d be stressed about your tune playing and suddenly it would get a huge forward from the crowd. At a certain point I already knew quite a lot of people there so I remember feeling proud of them for when they come up with a big new tune. I definitely made a lot of friends there.

Have you collaborated with, or hope to, any artists via CDR sessions?
Well the biggest collaboration was probably with Henry. In 2008 I was commissioned by the British Council to do a live soundtrack to old documentary films shot between 1917-1932 from the Imperial War Museum. I got them to fly Henry over and within a week we created and performed the soundtrack live at a big screening event in Tel Aviv. It was a pretty amazing experience.

Please could you describe your work life/creative life tussle. Any tips or tricks for managing to keep making music?
It’s the million dollar question isn’t it? Music can mean the world to you but at the same time tends to be financially unrewarding to say the least. I feel like at times when you feel daily life is taking away your precious creative time or your ever elusive inspiration, the best thing to do is to listen back to other types of music, see what your mates are producing, get yourself immersed in music other then your own and find that thing that got you there in the first place. When you do, finding time to make music suddenly becomes a lot less of a mission.

Have you a favourite club and/or soundsystem?
I’ll be very unoriginal here – Plastic People of course!

Please talk us through your current production set up.
I just rented a little space not far from my house and built my studio there, its a big change for me cause so far I always worked from home. It’s great to have your own little place with no distractions. I don’t have any internet there either… I have a basic computer setup there with my small collection of analog synths, effects and tape machines. I also put my decks there so I have half my records at the studio and the other half at home.

Have you a favourite piece of equipment? Something at the centre of your studio.
I have a tape delay unit called the Melos Echo Chamber, I found in the flea market and it was amazing to use on anything, vocals especially. Unfortunately it broke beyond repair and is now sitting on a shelf for display. I since upgraded to a Roland Space Echo but to be honest I preferred the Melos. If you ever see one get it (or call me).

Any projects or tracks your working on at the moment that you’d like to let us know about?
I just got back from 3 weeks in Jamaica where I recorded loads of artists for a new project. It was by far one of the most intense experiences I ever had. More details on that to come!

Finally, have you any advice or words of warning for producers/musicians developing musical works in progress to play at CDR?
None, I feel almost as clueless as when I started out. Just get out there and play it!