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ROCKWiRED iNTERViEWS JiVE 64

POP ANiMAL
ROY COHEN OF JiVE 64
TALKS TO ROCKWiRED
ABOUT THEiR DEBUT CD GO TO 10
WORKiNG WiTH ELLiTA AND DHARMA
AND ELECTRiC DREAMS OF POP STARDOM
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iNTERViEWED BY BRiAN LUSH
The past decade has seen an embrace of the cold electronic sounds that signaled the arrivals of acts like DEPECHE MODE and YAZOO two decades earlier. With the aughties coming to a close, beats and melodies generated by synthesizers with distorted vocals floating over the top seems like the norm rather than a nostalgia trip. The Israeli electropop trio JIVE 64 make no apologies for their love of eighties kitsch and sound bites. Founder and programmer ROY COHEN is equally unashamed of his goal for pop glory. ďIím not ashamed to say that I want to be mainstream.Ē says COHEN ďI want to be in the charts. This my wildest dream and Iím a pop animal. I listen to BRITNEY SPEARS for crying out loud!Ē

ROCKWIRED spoke to ROY COHEN of JIVE 64 over the phone. Here is how it went.

Your CD is a lot of fun. I donít get a lot of dance music coming my way so yours was a real treat.
It was fun putting the whole thing together so I guess that itís something that you can hear in the music.

How do you feel about the finished product?
Iím never quite satisfied with it. If it were up to me, I would keep working and working on it. Some of the songs on there are like six and ten years old and I had just kept re-editing them and remixing them. Iím never satisfied and a friend pointed that out to me. They said ďYouíll never be satisfied with it! Youíre just going to keep re-editing it so just leave to alone and roll with it.Ē And that is what Iíve learned to do.

When did you start this project?
It was originally formed three years ago under the name DRAMA QUEEN. Me and one of the vocalists ELLA had released one single and it wasnít successful at all. Then we kept working and we changed the sound because when we released the first single, the sound was really club oriented. This CD is more electropop and weíve been working with this sound for about two years. Something like two years.

Talk about the two vocalists on the project. Who are they and what do you think each of them brings to the table both musically and personality-wise?
First of all the two singers are sisters. This is the best part! They are sisters with only one year between them. One of them, ELLITA is a normally a jazz singer. She has four other groups that she is in and at first she didnít like the idea of making electronic music in the beginning because the way of going about jazz and going about electronic music are very different. When she recorded her vocals and we had gone through all of the sampling and the editing and playing around with the effects, she became really frustrated with it, but now, I think she is happy with the outcome. She brings very mature sounding vocals to the project because music is what she does for a living. Her sister DHARMA is an on-air personality for a radio station. She hosts a day show on the radio and while sheís got the voice, singing isnít her fulltime thing. She wrote one of the song with me (ONE LIVE UP) which is inspired by the themes of a lot of eighties video games. We wrote the lyric together and we laughed for so many hours trying to remember games like SUPER MARIO BROTHERS and all of those NINTENDO and SEGA games. It was really, really, fun working with her. She recorded it also and she sang another song Ė the KYLIE MINOGUE cover ĎTURN IT INTO LOVEí.

How did music begin for you?
I canít really say. I think when I was three years old, I asked for an electric keyboard. One day, they brought me one and I didnít really know what to do with it. From that day on, they had always pressed me to learn to play but by the time I was twelve I stopped it because I didnít find it to be fun anymore and I was more interested in playing videogames and going out. At the age of sixteen out of nowhere I just decided to go back to music. I especially wanted to get into making electronic music because that was the genre that I was into. From that day forth, music became my hobby. My day job is in advertising and I do music for a bout three hours a day.

What other electronic artists stood out for your?
There is a great French group that I started listening to when I was making this album. They are called DAT POLITICS. They are really hard to listen to but their sounds are extremely computer oriented. It really sounds like a computer gone mad. I really liked that sound so I made contact with the band and I ended up learning a lot from them. You could say that they were a huge influence for me.

How does songwriting work in this band?
It depends. Some of the songs like LOVE LIKE MELODY Ė the music was written first and it was fun trying to fill the composition with words. That was also how the song OUTCOME was made. It was the quickest song I had ever written because after two hours, the whole thing was recorded and mixed and everything. Usually I write both the words and the music together at the same time. It develops as I think about it. I get on the piano, play a few tunes and write a few words and it usually happens after a very exhausting day.

Are there any plans for a future release at the moment?
Weíve started working on our next album. It wonít be an E.P. Weíre planning on putting in fourteen tracks which are going to be a little more focused than this current release. Iím not ashamed to say that I want to be mainstream. I want to be in the charts. This my wildest dream and Iím a pop animal. I listen to BRITNEY

There is no shame in wanting to be on the charts.
I love mainstream stuff! There is something to be said for pop music and this sort of eighties vibe.

There definitely is. The eighties was the last great decade for pop music.
One of my first musical dreams was to form a group that would do covers of STOCK AITKEN AND WATERMAN songs.

Oh S.A.W.
Everything that those guys touched turned into a hit. They just new the recipe for hit songs and I loved them.

The days of ďhitĒ factories seem like they are over.
Within the last decade, there is another producer whom I adore called MAX MARTIN. Heís produced for THE BACKSTREET BOYS, BRITNEY SPEARS and now for KELLY CLARKSON. I think he is the next STOCK, AITKEN AND WATERMAN because his songs appeal to everyone in the Europe and the United States.

Have you ever thought about producing for other people?
I thought about it but I havenít done anything about it yet because this is the first serious release that Iíve ever done. Now that Iíve got a little more confidence about it, Iím in negotiation with a group to produce three tracks for their new CD.

What would you like someone to come away with after theyíve heard this CD?
Iíd like for people to feel like they want to dance and would want to blast it around their house. Itís good music for cleaning your house. Be sure to blast it at full volume.

I hadnít thought about that. Maybe it will motivate me.
It should.