Electronic music producer NISSIM inaugurates his self-titled imprint with an experimental, debut album entitled ‘Uneven Ground’.
Originally from the south of Israel, NISSIM started as a DJ and has been making music for over a decade. With a passion for a myriad of musical styles, NISSIM’s love for electronic sounds was ignited by the psychedelic trance music scene and parties of the mid-2000s that he used to organise. Now based in Berlin, NISSIM’s music-making journey has been one of exploration and experimentation combining different production techniques with a mix of genres and concepts, his intuitive production method is the antithesis of the meticulous craft he exerts as a sound engineer. During the ebb and flow of 2020, NISSIM has used the industry’s downtime to put his focus towards finishing his first full-length album entitled ‘Uneven Ground’.
In ‘Uneven Ground’, his first-ever official release, NISSIM has created an intimate narrative space that traces his journey over the past eight years. The full-length album is a mindful introspection and melancholic contemplation of the composer’s own flaws.
In his search for himself and his distinct sound, NISSIM has drawn on his own experiences to build a sequence of multidimensional soundscapes that lure his listeners deeper and deeper into a world that continuously recreates itself. The result is a highly personal ten-track album that marks NISSIM’s coming of age as an electronic music producer.
6AM sat down for a virtual chat with NISSIM to learn about his journey, how he got to the release of ‘Uneven Ground’ and what’s next on the horizon.
Hey Ohad, thanks for joining us. How did 2021 begin for you and what hopes do you have for the year?
Thank you for having me. 2021 start is pretty exciting for me with the release of my first album. Organizing, making contacts, collecting feedback from artists I admire, and of course release day. Plus, we just finished upgrading our studio (me and my studio partner Guy) with some amazing monitors and new acoustics, so overall not a bad start to 2021. I guess my hopes for this year correlate with the release of my album, hoping that clubs and festivals will be back soon, so I can hear it on a big system, see the crowd react to it, and generally experience live music again. I miss it.
Your debut album ‘Uneven Ground’ just dropped on your self-titled NISSIM imprint. Can you tell us about the production processes and inspiration behind each track?
When I decide to make music, I just randomly start my synths and start playing until something clicks. This usually takes 10-20 min. If I don’t have something working, I’ll shut it down and step away, and I guess it’s not the moment to create. But for something to click, I need to feel it in my bones, or generally to feel something, some sort of sensation that I can’t describe in words yet. At that moment, I’ll just press record and just play the track live. One take, with no preparation whatsoever, everything needs to happen quickly while I’m in the moment. So the way I play the track, the arrangement of it, the musical balance, it’s all spontaneous, gut feeling and movement.
Once the track is recorded, I will export the master channel out of Ableton and that’s it. I don’t mix, or edit. I captured a moment, and the moment is gone. Therefore I never go back to projects. If I didn’t export, it means the project is gone, it wasn’t interesting enough for me, and I don’t see the reason to go back to it. Delete.
From there the track will go to mastering (by me, I’m a mastering engineer by day), but compared to mastering I do for clients, on my tracks, it is part of the last sound design and balance, so I dive hard if I need to get more vibe or atmosphere.
Moving to the album, when I went thru my tracks, I thought of a theme for the album, I wanted tracks that reminded me of hard times in my life, but would help me appreciate where I’m at today. It’s a journey thru my falls and fails in the last couple of years, the only inspiration I had for the album is that, and that’s the tracks I chose from my production collection.
Every title of a song on the album comes with a short meaning, a reminder for myself:
01. The Pain – The deep pain you feel from failing.
02. After Tears – after pain comes tears.
03. Confess – time to confess about your life and maybe your expectations are not one with this moment in life.
04. A poem for Chaos – life is just one big chaos sometimes.
05. Forgiveness – learn to forgive yourself.
06. Uneven Ground – life is just one long bumpy ride, we are all so different and the ground is not the same level for all of us.
07. Under it all – there’s so much more under the surface, dig deeper to find who you are.
08. Don’t forget the raves – Just don’t forget the raves and the good times.
09. Luxus – The first track I’ve recorded in Luxembourg, it’s so Luxus there.
You recently launched your eponymous label, are there any exciting new projects forthcoming on the label you can mention?
For now, it would just stay as a platform for my productions, and maybe with time, I will hunt for producers I appreciate or music I would like to release by other artists. Besides maybe another album that’s ready to go and also an EP that I have in mind, I’ve just produced an ambient soundtrack to a cool art/fashion project that will come out in the future, so the soundtrack might also come out on my label.
You’re currently residing in Berlin, what’s the electronic music scene like there and can you name some of your favourite venues for our readers to visit when things ease up?
I guess the scene in Berlin might be the most exciting one in Europe or maybe even the world. It’s not a secret that during pre-covid, it was the city to go to lose yourself for a weekend. If you’re into electronic music, you got plenty to do here. From Berghain (the best club in the world in my opinion) to Kater Blau, Club Der Visionaere (chill next to the spree), Sisyphos. Unfortunately, no one knows what will happen post covid, who will re-open, and who will not, it might shift the city in a different direction. We can only hope the magic is not completely gone.
Can you name three of your favorite records of all time?
Three records, that’s hard! But I’ll recommend 3 electronic albums I like:
CW/A – Words Unspoken, Acts Undone
Everything on this album work for me, the overall ambiance, the rhythms, the cross genres tracks, the distortion, the space between the hits.. really great work!
Jlin – Dark Energy
Mind-blowing, I love everything that Jlin does, her sample choices, super-smart percussion work and 2 step rhythms, unexpected moments that just work, tons of inspiration!
Planetary Assault Systems – Arc Angel
A pure lesson about techno. I think that’s what always pulled me to techno, to get to a point where you can play a minimalistic loop for 7 min. With minimal changes and it just works. That’s magic to me and what I always tried doing myself. This whole album is one big lesson, the atmospheres, the minimal drums, and synths. It just works.
Did you find yourself listening to any particular artists during lockdown last year?
I’m a massive music fan, of all genres. Every Friday I’m checking out new interesting albums that just came out and I build playlists on my apple music account. I can’t say I’ve focused on specific artists during Covid, but 070 Shake, Tama Impala, Flying lotus, and Michael Kiwanuka were strong in the loop.
What can we expect to see from you this year?
Are there any plans you’d like to enlighten us about? To be honest, it’s so hard to plan anything at the moment. I want to try and work on a live show in collaboration with the artist who made the video for the title track ‘Uneven Ground’ (Weidi Zhang). But I’m guessing producing more music I like, explore more the synths I have at the moment and try to produce more chilled music if life will let me (it’s all about how you feel).
Other than being an artist, are there any other passions you have in life?
My mastering studio. I love working with people from all over the world, sharing musical ideas, helping everyone sound better. Plus I’m addicted to analog gear… and generally buying and selling. I always need to find new excuses for my wife, why am I keep getting more big boxes home. Also, our 1-year-old baby girl Noga, that’s a big passion nowadays. She’s already a big fan of music, I always catch her dancing to some hip-hop or Jazz. She got the bass.
What is one of the main things you hope to do once the pandemic is under control and lockdowns are lifted?
Looking forward to being able to travel again! I miss seeing new places, new countries. I think a lot of my inspiration comes from living in different countries, traveling, different experiences on different continents. I need it, it’s fuel!
Finally, tell us one ‘fun fact’ that nobody else knows about you!
I’m a big football fan! Unfortunately, my favorite teams have been failing for the last 10 years… Maccabi Haifa in Israel and Arsenal in the premier league. Fingers crossed for a better future. I also only play Fifa on Playstation… look me up!
NISSIM ‘Uneven Ground’ dropped via NISSIM on 19th February 2021.
Artwork by Gal Liber.
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