They come from a city, although rich in clubbing history and talent, might not be the fist to pop into the mind of someone looking for a clubbing weekend getaway. At least not for those looking to satisfy their bacchanalian desires like a weekend trip to Berlin or Ibiza might be able to. But that only adds to the Romano twins' mystery. At just 24, they've become two of Tel Aviv's hottest DJs, yet they haven't released a track. And, as they describe in our interview, have done it as outsiders, both as women (something they feel is held against them), and as self described 'lone wolves.'
And as outsiders in a city that's already past the usual fold of clubbing hotspots, the Music Junkies uncanny ability to criss cross genres as far flung as Balearic, jazz, Detroit techno, even '90s trance, caught our attention. It's mixing that comes as much the heart, as cliche as that might sound, as from the head - their encyclopaedic, and admittedly obsessive knowledge of music guiding them through mixes with the grace of jocks old enough to be a parent. But where does this obsession come from, and how did it turn into a budding career as DJs? We find out in this Fresh Blood: Music Junkies.
At 24, your style of mixing is much more mature than most who have grown up in the digital, or 'press play' era. Who were your early influences when you began to DJ, or when you realised you wanted to begin DJing? We started DJing two years ago, while our intense relationship with music started since we remember. It was only a matter of time until me and my twin sister achieved what was written for us in life. Technically everything has happened by coincidence. It happened one day after we had been publishing tracks and unique songs on our Facebook wall on a daily basis, we got a surprising invitation from a music promoter in Tel Aviv, who was impressed by our musical taste, asking us to warm up an electronic indie band in one of Tel Aviv's main underground clubs. After that night, we said to each other that finally, after so many years of feeling frustrated of not belonging anywhere, we found a place for the both of us, and it was behind the decks. When we started DJing, we fed off the energy of mainly deep and techno house, mutant disco and electronica. Artists like Henrik Schwarz, Kraftwerk, Larry Heard, Moby (in his early years), Moodymann, Laurent Garnier, Drexciya, Jeff Mills, Orbital, DJ Koze, Plaid, Trenatmoller were our sources of inspiration.
Can you tell me more about your DJ setup? Do you or have you used vinyl? We use a Novitation controller, and it sufficiently serves our needs at the moment. We have our modest vinyl collection, which we are trying to enrich.
Did you come from a musical family? Where do you think your obsessive love of music comes from? We grew up in a very musical environment, which had a huge imprint on us. Since a very young age we were exposed to diverse music in major scales. At the age of 6 we were listening to our parents' old cassettes and records collection of jazz, South American, African ethnic and classical music - Vivaldi, Miles Davis, Manu Bibango, Mory Kante, George Gershwin, Salif Keita, Stevie wonder and many others composed the soundtracks of our childhood.
Who were your musical influences before electronic music? As teenagers we remember ourselves alone, alienated from the outside world, in our room listening to ambient, dream pop, acid jazz, downtempo, post rock, trip hop and Icelandic music . melancholic sad music was always an essential part of who we are, and its fingerprints are well shown on our sets. Tom Waits said once "I like beautiful melodies telling me terrible things." We fully agree. We can not speak about our musical influences without mentioning those who shaped our musical landscapes as teenagers:
Brian Eno, Radiohead, Portishead, massive attack, Air, Monobo, DJ Shadow, Lamb, Boards of Canada, Amon Tobin, Sade, Sigor Ros, Kruder & Dorfmeister, Zero 7, Thievery Corporation, Emancipator, Bjork, Underworld, and also dark ‘80s and classic rock.
Have you begun to produce your own music? If so, can you tell me more about what you've got planned? Yes we have. Nowadays we are focusing on translating our ideas into music. We have waited long time to do so and it gives us a lot of satisfaction. All we can say is that we hope it would be released soon. It’s going to be an orchestra of sounds. We can not say more in the meantime.
Whether playing live or recording a mix, do you set out to create a certain feeling before you've started the mix, or does the energy flow as it happens? Most of the time we have a clear direction in our minds and we know pretty well how to develop it. For us, the most important thing in creating a set with a certain atmosphere is trying to tell a story, weather it's tragic, dramatic, joyful, something genuine that will give the crowd a glimpse of our inner world. Remaining true to ourselves, in a demanding industry, it’s not an easy task, especially when almost everything is valued by money. But we try to be loyal to ourselves by not giving in to "cool" trends and fashions. In our view, a good DJ should not only entertain but should also have something to say.
How has growing up in Tel Aviv influenced your musical style? Tel Aviv had a meaningful impact on our musical background because it's by far one of the most open cities in the world. We were strongly influenced by its cosmopolitan spirit, and by the fact it accepts so many types of people. And you know...many types of people means many types of music.
What is the clubbing scene like in Tel Aviv? Tel Aviv's clubbing scene has been working strongly since the early '80's. The gay and the underground scene have become the dominant force that shapes the nightlife dynamics. Every weekend, it hosts the biggest names in the underground world music industry. What´s good about this city is that it's 24-7. Clubbing scene is not limited to a certain season or period, and parties here last till down. Having said that, it has a lot more room to grow and develop.
Is it inclusive, and do the older generations try and help the newer learn and get better? Honestly no, sometimes we feel that some older generations disregard the young DJs that try their best to fit in. Since me and my twin sister are lonely wolves, it was much harder 'cause we don't have any connections and we don't belong to any clique in the city. As female DJs, we find it even harder because this industry is mainly controlled and run by men. But in the last 2 years we had the chance to prove ourselves showing our potential - you know, eventually true talent wins.
Is there a lot of room for experimentation with DJing in Tel Aviv? Even though there are many different clubs hosting different kinds of DJs, the clubs themselves won't initiate experimentation because lets face, it is risky. The DJs are left to decide what to do and when.
Finally, why do you think your DJ sets have such a diverse range to them? We think that our stage name, Music Junkies, says it all. We are addicted to so many different genres of electronic music. One day we can play Detroit techno, acid house and disco, and on the other day we could play a set of deep and melodic techno. Because we are not talkative persons, and we hardly know how to communicate with people, we let our sets to speak for us, to tell our untold stories.