Below, you can read our interview with Pablo Embon and listen to music from his album, Harmony Tales. Check out our full music review of Harmony Tales, HERE.
Q: The last time we spoke with you was for our July 2018 interview for your lovely album, Nobody’s Land. How have you been? How is your lovely family life? Your daughter?
A: Thank you for asking, Noah. I have recently enjoyed an extensive trip to Argentina to visit my family and friends, play some music and spend some time with my oldest sons. These trips are always exciting, coming back to the roots, see musician friends, since my resident country is so far away.
Q: It seems Israel’s music scene is really developing as we recently reviewed another talented Israeli artist from Tel Aviv. What have you witnessed musically there over the past few years?
A: It is really developing. Specifically for Jazz we see a lot of attention being paid to very talented musicians, some of them reside out of the country such as Avishay Cohen. Every year I make my way to the Annual International Jazz Festival in Eilat where local musicians play along with international ones. Quite an experience!
Q: For anyone out there not familiar with your work, your 19th studio album (!!!), Harmony Tales, sees you take your sound in a subtly different direction. In the last few albums, your work had a serene urgency, an ever so slightly detectable seriousness. However, Harmony Tales feels different. The gorgeous, serene textures are all still present, yet the mood feels lighter, more free. Was this your intention? If so, what has inspired this shift? What has guided this new musical trend for you?
A: You are completely right with this observation. I believe that changes happen to every single musician in time who is willing to evolve. It’s part of what we are. Specifically, in my case I started taking a harder look at my inner voices, sometimes drifting away when composing music and thinking less of what “should be” (probably associated with the “seriousness” you have mentioned). This album puts a new balance between “what I know—technically speaking”, and, “what I feel”. Both must coexist for music to make sense and still be able to be creative, and push music to be a true form of art.
“I believe that changes happen to every single musician in time who is willing to evolve. It’s part of what we are.”
Q: Is this album your best work yet? If so, tell us why you think so?
A: I believe that the answer by every musician would be yes. Music albums are our babies. We spend hundreds (if not thousands) of hours composing, performing, mixing, mastering, etc. So we want our last album to be the best! But specifically for Harmony Tales, my belief is that this album carries a great deal of emotional load and openness when compared to previous ones. This album is—as I intended—full of details to reach the listeners with a new music code, somehow taking over the technical and performance aspects of the music heard in previous albums.
Q: You’ve also fabricated custom instruments which were included in your evolving Jazz-fusion sound on this album. Please tell us about the “Una Corda” custom piano and anything else you’ve built!
A: The custom and world instruments I played in this album have been provided courtesy of an instrument collector for the purpose of the recording. I am very grateful I had the luck to lay my hands on these beautiful instruments and be able to play them. Specifically relating to the “Una Corda” (a.k.a Klavins Piano), this piano has a unique sound defined by the fact that there is one string per key and the double layer soundboard. This instrument has been recently used by many musicians across the world. I fell in love with this instrument once I listened to a performance in New York. The instrument was featured in the track, My Little Magic Box.
Q: This being your 19 studio album, a question comes to mind: As a father, husband, and career man, where do you find the time? Tell us about your writing and recording process. What are you doing to remain so efficient with your time?
A: Music is part of my life like anything else. In addition to all that is mentioned above, I also spend daily time studying and practicing my two core instruments: Piano and Guitar. Everything comes to place when managing priorities in life efficiently. Everything is of course not perfect but I move along and make my mind flexible to accept changes to accommodate what needs to be done and reach my goals.
Q: Last time we spoke, you weren’t performing live much. Has that changed at all? Do you have any plans to tour?
A: I am still not performing but I have some ideas, after being invited in Argentina, to play. This country has exceptional musicians, example of which is Pedro Aznar, who was part of the Pat Metheny group for some many years.
Q: Do your wife and daughter enjoy your music? Do you perform for them, other family, friends?
A: My 8 year old daughter has exceptional percussion skills. I manage to teach her basics to get her started and we have recorded a couple of tracks together, having a lot of fun and satisfaction. My oldest son in Argentina plays the bass in a group and my daughter is now a well recognized live music producer for night clubs. So it looks like everything comes into place and music is in all of us.
“The first focus I recommend is to be able to satisfy and excite ourselves with our own music.”
Q: You seem very fulfilled by—and contented with—your music. For any young or aspiring independent artists out there, can you offer a bit of wisdom or advice about how to stay focused on the art in order to produce something worthy of being released to the world? And, in an online world where there is literally an endless sea of music everywhere, how can a new musician feel validated knowing that they may never be heard by the masses?
A: The first focus I recommend is to be able to satisfy and excite ourselves with our own music. Every time I listen to a recent track I composed, my expectation is that it must move me, it must create something unique in me when listening. This is the first step to understand that if we do not feel excited and believe our music is worth listening to, no one else will. Secondly, most musicians have a DIY Production business to mix and master their music. Unfortunately nowadays, a good song is not necessarily a hit if it hasn’t been properly produced and arranged. I have spent years training myself producing music because I always thought that it would be a worthy investment. My mixes have improved exponentially the past years, but this is something that costs time and dedication. This is the difference between an amateur recording and a professional one which will get the attention of radio stations. My advice is to invest in production skills or resources to make the difference and get through the big mass of stuff available out there. Also, there are affordable ways to market your music. Musicians need to find a way for their allowable budget to succeed in adequate promotional campaigns. Not spending any money in marketing is a guarantee that even very talented musicians will not get the attention they need.