To mark number 50 in the mix series, James from Mantissa sat down with Idit Frenkel to get a sneak peak into the mind of this illustrious Israeli DJ. We cover her influences from start to finish, as well as touching on some of her favourite producers, DJ’s and club nights in and around her patch, Tel Aviv.

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Idit Frenkel [Image Credit: Ben Palhov]

Idit Frenkel’s Mantissa mix is included below, but be sure to make use of all the hyperlinks and check out some of the mentions… enjoy.

Who or what sparked your
interest in the dance music scene?

I can’t really remember a time when I wasn’t into dance music. Even as a kid, without the awareness or knowledge that the songs I love most – first on the radio, then in the suburban disco of my hometown – were all related to dance music and specifically to House. I grew up in the ‘80s, and what are now considered “House Classics” were simply the songs we knew from the charts.

Who would you say your main influences are as a DJ?

When Club Culture (as we know it) first arrived to Israel, it was a little after the ’90s had already started. There was a radio show every Friday that played 4 hours of the freshest stuff. It was presented by 2 local DJs – definitely my first influencers. They played 1 hour of Hip Hop, 2 of House & Techno and the last one was Chill-Out. “The Blue Room” style.

It felt like a calling. I knew right then that this music and lifestyle would always be a big part of me and everything I do.

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[Image credit: Ben Palhov]

At first it was very much the local DJs, such as Yoav B, who I looked up to a lot. But with the arrival of the Internet everything changed, and suddenly we went from nothing to everything.

Like many, I was totally hooked on “The Deep House Page” and would spend hours digging through old radio shows from Ron Hardy and WBMX. But it was Mr Fingers’ “Music Mix” series that really made me say – Ok, this is it!

Today, I get my fix of inspiration mostly from my close friends and fellow DJs – Niv Hadas, Amir Egozy and Ofri Goffer – who are nothing short of amazing. Plus I’m a huge fan of the Meandyou crew from Manchester, as well as Jon K who is also Manc. Jeez I really need to visit Manchester! Beautiful Swimmers and the Mood-Hut crew. They’re awesome.

Unknowingly or sub-consciously a lot of
scenes seem to follow a certain sound,
for example Reggae and Dub in Bristol.
Would you say that there is a particular
sound that resonates with artists in Tel Aviv? 

Well… Firstly, there are Red Axes who are the biggest act to ever come out of Tel Aviv. Today they are touring festivals and releasing their music with major labels. Their incredible success encouraged a large group of local artist to follow them and push a sound which is halfway between rock and progressive house.

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The Tel Avivan Red Axes [Image credit: Ekathimerini]

Secondly, there’s a big interest in the “Middle Eastern Grooves”, coming from the guys of Fortuna Records and their friends. They revive all kinds of hidden jams from the Mediterranean archives, mostly music that was made in the ’60s and ’70s that has a lot of Arabic / Ethnic vibes to it. There are quite a few Israeli producers who use this approach and are releasing original productions within this sphere.

That being said, my heart belongs to a few locals that are still not as big as they should be, but they’ll get there. All of them bring their own interpretation of the life in Tel Aviv and Israel through their music, which may not have the “Middle Eastern” spice, but is just as Tel Avivan as all of the above.

They are...

The Parallax Records crew – TV.OUT, Yogg and Pharaoh – who make the best techno around. Afik Naim makes amazing eclectic music and local synth legend Harel Shriber (aka Mule Driver) is one half of The Models and runs a label called Confused Machines.

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TV.OUT [Image credit: Nagual Crew]

Generally, they all produce Techno. So to balance them out there is Stephan Bazbaz and his label No Waves that makes and releases music to go with our beach-culture scenery; dub, deep house and everything in between.

And leading on from that would you say that
music being produced by artists from
Tel Aviv has its own distinct sound?
What would you say it's influences are?

I think the ever going crisis that’s around us in the state of Israel is a driving force when it comes to producing music here. At least the music I love. It’s a way to handle the madness if you like… Just like in any disturbed place around the world, you get a very fertile ground for creativity when things get tough. And they do, quite often.

Tel Aviv draws many of the world's
top DJs. What clubs, bars, festivals...
would you say are stand out and why?

I’m not sure how to tackle this one… but here are some DJs, places, and events that I highly recommend to check if you are around:

1 – LATER. Monthly at Breakfast Club, Tel Aviv

This one belongs to myself alongside 2 of the best DJs in Tel Aviv, my mentors, and close friends – Niv Hadas and Ofri Goffer. We’ve been running LATER for 5 years with a single intent – to get the best and freshest DJs we love to play Tel Aviv, and give them the best party to do so.

2 – E-BODED DESERT WEEKENDER

here’s a video from the last one

This one doesn’t even take place in the city, but in a resort next to the Dead Sea. It happens twice a year, the lineup is ALL locals and only 500 tickets are sold. So basically you get the best crowd you can wish for. I’m super happy and honored to be a part of the regular lineup (especially cause I get to play the sunrise spot). The next one (totally sold out) is coming soon, at the end of April. Can’t Wait!

3 – Anna Haleta

Hands down – the best DJ in Tel Aviv. If you haven’t heard about her then…

She’s not only my heroine in terms of being a girl DJ in a super masculine scene, but also a total inspiration when it comes to never compromising on your selection. We play very differently – she is a Techno goddess while I play super deep shit. But when we DJ together – I think these are my favourite gigs. She’s pure magic.

4 – TV.OUT

I’ve mentioned them before but it doesn’t hurt to say it again – TV.OUT are amazing. Both when DJing or playing live. I’ve been following them from the very start, seeing them grow and develop into one of the best electronic acts in the world. You can follow them too.

5 – The Squat (The Block’s room 2)

Everyone is talking about the Block – with its custom-made analog mixer and for good reason! But for me it’s all about room 2 – The Squat. I think it’s my favourite room to play at in Tel Aviv. It has the best vibe, the best size. It’s just a perfect room really.

6 – Bvrly (records shop)

There are quite a few second hand record shops around, but only one that specialises in new electronic music. Fortunately it is damn good and doing an awesome job! Bvrly hasn’t even been open a year, but it has definitely established itself as a reliable source for quality music. And it is also a great hang for the people who knows what’s up.

How was your mix recorded and what inspired it?

At Home!

With my vinyls, 2 Technics 1200 mk, and a shitty Allen & Heath.

I usually play a lot of local productions when I do a showcase, but my exclusives are all in digital format and I don’t have a CDj at home… So there you have it, 100% Vinyl!

I guess it was inspired by the seasonal change. Spring has arrived with all of its glory and sunny days. I love sunny days. They call for sunny music. Hope you’ll like it, and thanks again for the invite!

Tracklist
  1. TV.OUT –  Higher States // HotMix
  2. Unknown Artist – Voodoo Way (edit) // Banoffee Pies
  3. Versalife – Artificial Affection // Brokntoys
  4. Vid Vai – “Interstellar Cellar” // WHITE
  5. L’estasi Dell’oro – Cry Stahl (feat. Crystal Boyd) // Voodoo Down Records
  6. Spacetravel – Change Planet Stacion // Cabaret
  7. Juliano – Seitan Beach // That Place
  8. Klodio – Daiba // Jazzy Couscous
  9. 214 – jade // Lunar Disko
  10. Keith Worthy – The Soul Clap // Illusion Records
  11. Highfield Casuals – Highfield Daze // Craigie Knows
  12. Djebali – Intro (Heartbeat) // Djebali France
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