CURRENTLY LIVING IN: San Francisco
ALMA MATER: Swampscott High School ‘08
JOB: Music producer, DJ, sound designer
FAVORITE FOOD: Mexican, Peruvian (ceviche)
FAVORITE MUSIC: House music, ‘80s music, disco, hip-hop, Prince, Michael Jackson
FAVORITE BOOKS: I’m a huge Kurt Vonnegut fan – I’ve read “Cat’s Cradle” like 12 times
FAVORITE MOVIE: “Pi” by Darren Aronofsky
FAVORITE TV SHOW: “Curb your Enthusiasm”
FAVORITE TRAVEL DESTINATION: I’m infatuated with this little town in Mexico called Tulum – they have these incredible underground caves.
PLACES YOU WANT TO GO TO NEXT: I still have yet to explore Southeast Asia – I look forward to going to Thailand and Indonesia.
FAVORITE JEWISH PERSON NOT IN YOUR FAMILY: Larry David
FAVORITE JEWISH HOLIDAY: Rosh Hashanah
WHAT WAS YOUR JEWISH BACKGROUND GROWING UP?
I was born in Belarus and came over when I was 3 years old. My mother was raised very Jewish, but wasn’t allowed to practice. My parents did not really raise me very Jewish because my father is more or less secular, because his mother was raised Christian. She had a Jewish identity, but she converted to Christianity during the Holocaust. I never was bar mitzvahed, but I did go to temple at Chabad in Swampscott. I went on the Y2I trip, and I went on the Birthright trip, so I got to go [to Israel] twice. I loved it, and enjoyed it even more as an adult – I understood it even more – it wasn’t just a vacation – as an adult I actually learned a lot, and it was much more of a spiritual experience for me. As I got older, I actually had a few spiritual experiences in my life, and it made me realize that there’s definitely another layer to our existence – that’s a spiritual layer with a higher power. I actually learned that after getting my genetics tested that I’m actually pretty much 90 percent Jewish, so that made me realize my ancestors have been living this specific way for thousands of years, and maybe I should look more into it.
YOU’RE A MUSIC PRODUCER, a SOUND DESIGNER, AND a DJ. HOW DID YOU GET INTO THAT?
I’ve been playing music since middle school, and in high school I started getting into bands. I went to my first rave when I was about 18, and I don’t even play that style of music, but that opened up my eyes and ears to the world of electronic music. What really put me onto that was the music I listened to before, which was rock music, or rap music, when I went to rock concerts, all the people were kind of trying to dress the same, or one kind of crowd or scene of people, and hip-hop, it was the same. But I got into electronic music, and the crowd was so eclectic: people of every race, people of every size, shape, color, and everybody was getting along. I’d never seen a music scene, or any place in general, where people of so many different walks of life – whether a big athlete or a small, scrawny kid – they were just dancing together, right next to each other, and that was really beautiful to me. The tempo is universal – in house music, the tempo is 128 beats per minute, which is the same speed as the average heartbeat, so every type of person can identify with that type of music, because that tempo has been going through them since the minute they were born.
HOW DID YOU GET INTO THE BUSINESS?
When I was 18, right out of high school, I began making mix CDs and giving them out to friends, and that really caught on. I started playing my friends’ house parties. One of my good friends who I’d met going to events started throwing his own events, and started booking his friends as artists playing. I played my first show with him, and a lot of people came onto that show, and that got me invited to play more shows, and it became a small addiction. For the most part, I’ve been able to support myself doing that. I started a small side business of art, I was selling glass art, and various other types of art – I still have a bit of the online gallery going on, but for the most part, music has been the main thing.
Yeah, actually, surprisingly. And some of my very favorite artists are from Israel – Red Axes being one of them – they’re one of my top acts in the world, and they’re very Jewish. When I was in Israel during the Birthright trip, Chaim was playing – there’s another Jewish artist named Chaim.