Music & clubs

A chat with… Ofrin

INTERVIEW. Israeli-born Ofrin breaks from her old style and experiments with electronics for her fourth album Ore. She’ll be throwing a record release party at Roter Salon on Sun, May 8, a week before follow-up Ore officially drops.

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Photo by Lisa Zappe

Ditching the jazzy avant-garde pop endeavours of her previous records, Ofrin turns towards refined electronics on her fourth album Ore (Shitkatapult). 

Israeli-born, Berlin-based musician and visual artist Ofri Brin split from longtime partner Oded K.dar in 2013 to release The Bringer (Kreismusik), a concept album about communication in the modern world that got her an invite to hold a TEDxBerlin lecture. She’ll be throwing a record release party at Roter Salon on Sunday, May 8, a week before follow-up Ore officially drops.

You live up north in Pankow.

I do. In 12 years, I moved around quite a lot – Prenzlauer Berg, Weißensee, Mitte, Wedding – but I always liked Pankow because it is very green. I come from the countryside in Israel. I love the city, but I need to breathe a bit of air and have the feeling that I can leave very fast.

You’ve also lived in Tel Aviv, London and New York. Do you compare?

Berlin is the place to stay for me. It’s changing quite a lot, so the comparison is more to the Berlin I knew back then. It was not so cool. There was just space. You didn’t disturb anybody. Now maybe there’s just too much to see, but I’m not going out much anyway. So, it’s very subjective. [Laughs]

Did the local electronic scene have an influence on Ore?

I don’t know the electronic scene here at all. We worked with Eddie Stevens from Moloko on the second album. He was my biggest influence. He said, “Hey, you don’t have to worry if you didn’t study this.” In the beginning, I was so nervous about working with real musicians. I don’t know notes, I don’t know anything, but I still compose and produce everything myself. Eddie helped me to spread my wings and say, “Fuck that. I can do it.”

Your debut album had a jazz vibe to it.

That was not the plan. I don’t know how I rutsch-ed into this corner. To be honest, Ore is the closest to my origins; trip hop, electronics. I got into jazz because maybe our producer was very jazzy, and I was writing with my ex-partner. Then we broke up, and I started solo. This time, I felt like I let go of everything that I’ve learnt about my way of singing.

Ore was produced by T. Raumschmiere.

The reason I chose to work with him, first of all, was that I knew where I wanted to take the album. It had to sound like an electronic desert; very minimalistic, UK-like, trip-hoppy. He played me his new album, and that was exactly where I wanted to go with mine. I couldn’t believe it. He’s not the easiest person to work with sometimes, but he’s a great producer. He finds the balance between interfering and not interfering.

Like The Bringer, Ore is a concept album.

I always have a story before anything is even there. It’s interesting for me to narrow it down to a library of sounds, ideas or just styles. With The Bringer, it was communication; with Ore, I was listening to a philosopher called Steven Best. He drew this diagram about how we use reason to justify the wrongs that we are doing in the world. The way he explains why we behave the way we do is unbelievable.

Do you see yourself as a storyteller?

I’ve never written stories. I just like that it’s not only about music. I’m a Björk fan. I’m very inspired by this ‘all-senses’ experience. I like to go to concerts where I can take something away that is not only musical. Maybe because I’m coming from visual art, the visual sense for me is sometimes even stronger.

OFRIN Sun, May 8, 20:00 | Roter Salon,Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz, Mitte, U-Bhf Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz