ITAI Drops His Debut Album ‘A Trip To Idyll Wild’

ITAI is a classically trained saxophone player turned DJ and electronic music producer who recently dropped his debut album called a ‘A Trip To Idyll Wild’ The downtempo album of organic house and electronica blends rich percussive textures with a jazz influence and lots of live instrumentation. Excited to learn more about the eight-track album that’s out now on Laroz’s Camel Riders, we invited ITAI to answer some questions…

Q: Hi ITAI, it’s nice to be talking with you today. What part of the world are you currently living in, and are the local nightclubs open again?
A: Hey hey, thanks for having me, I live in Joshua Tree, California, and to be honest there isn’t much of a club scene here. The bars etc are fully open here, and some request masks or other types of safety measures, but mostly things are open. I can tell you that on a trip to Los Angeles, we recently went to Sound Club, and it’s booming!

Q: I recently listened to your album on Camel Riders, and I wanted to learn more about the concept?
Well, that’s an interesting question, and I think for a debut album, I wanted to say: “this is me and this is my sound”. While in that process, me and my partner Irene had a wild trip to Idyllwild (a beautiful town about an hour from Joshua Tree in the mountains). Many of the tracks in that album including “Flame of the Pine Cone”, “Curiosity Bear” and “Wancy” came from those windy nights, and those cold and wintery mountains…

Q: Camel Riders is the label releasing your album, and I wanted to know how you guys first connected?
Another very interesting question, honestly, I’ve known Moti from the label for a very long time. I lived in Israel for many years, and if you ask people in Tel Aviv who I am, most still remember me as a club owner, and a nightlife persona. Moti was one of the core members of the Klika crew who used to run trans parties at my clubs. This is like 2010 or so, and I didn’t even DJ back then.

Q: Is this your first album release, and how did its creation compare to making an EP?
The answer to that is both ‘yes’ and ‘no’… It’s the first album I’ve done as a solo project and I’m officially releasing on a label. A while back, I self-released jazz album, and attempted an electronic album in collaboration with a technical producer, but at that time I didn’t even know how to use Ableton, so today I’m shy to even share it, and it’s no longer available online. I’d call this one my first album that is a true reflection of me and my sound.
Almost all of my EPs are basically just one original track, then two or three friends doing a remix to make it enough music for an EP. An album is a whole different process, as I wanted to create some sort of a journey that shows who I am, and what my sound is. So, it’s very different, and the album was a much harder project.

Q: I’m told you are also a saxophone player, and I wanted to know how you discovered electronic music?
I’d say that I’m mostly a saxophone player after I studied Jazz at school, but I’ve always liked electronic music. At first, I played saxophone over DJ sets because my friends from the nightlife scene in Tel Aviv wanted to see me play, and that seemed the easiest way for me to perform. So, I started playing with DJs, and that lead to me learning to DJ myself, then I decided I wanted to also make electronic tracks.

Q: The album features a lot of instruments, is any of it samples or did you play all the instruments yourself?
It’s a mix of the two… I play all the saxophone sections, and most of the keys. I used a midi wind instrument controller called EWI to do all the trumpet & flute sounds plus some other bits. I also had some help from some amazing and talented friends including Ali Paris (vocals), Evan Hatfield (Tenor sax), and Danny Shamoun (percussion). When I did use samples, I chopped things up and added a lot of processing, as I wanted them to have a personal touch, and sound
a particular way.

Q: Do you have a personal favourite track on the album, and why does that track have special meaning to you?
“Flame of the Pine Cone” will always hold a dear place in my heart. It came from that trip to Idyllwild, which I mentioned before. We were burning massive pine cones in the fire on a freezing night, and I don’t know if I’ve seen anything more beautiful in my life, as the flames were making soma amazing colours. I imagined the silhouette of a flamenco dancer emerge from the flickering of the flames, and I knew I had to make a track inspired by that moment. Jaron (Noraj Cue) did a remix of the track, and when I heard it for the first time, I burst into tears. That process from vision to music was just overwhelming, but I love all of the tracks on the album, as each of them has its own story.

Q: Outside of music, what are some of your other passions in life?
Personal growth, which involves creating spaces and experiences for people to be safe and free. I’ve started a series of events called ITAI & Friends that evolved into a community called “Curiosity Bears”, which is also the name of a track on the album, I’m very passionate about that amazing group of people

Q: What’s coming up after the release of your album?
Well, I’m already touring quite a lot, and getting to play the album material along with some new tracks, and that’s likely to increase. However, I’m planning to clear my schedule, take a break and have no shows in January and February to finish more music. I might also start work on another album, but I’m not making any big commitments just yet.

Q: Thanks for talking with me today, is there anything you want to add before we finish?
I want to thank everyone, there’s probably not enough time and space to list everyone individually, but accomplishment doesn’t just rise solo or out of nowhere. I’ve had help and constant support from some good friends, and I’m endlessly grateful to them all. I want to mention Camiel Damien who was my musical and Ableton mentor on this journey. And of course, my partner Irene. But really, if you are reading this, then thank you, it’s all of you that make this possible!!!

Get A Trip to Idyllwild from Camel Riders on Beatport