Marbin is an interesting member of MoonJune Records’ roster. It is formed by excellent Israeli and American musicians who made three good albums and is about to release new interesting music. An energetic and particular live album, another studio album, more progressive than ever, and maybe in the future another one… more and more different. The creative guitar player Dani Rabin tells us in advance some important and funny news during a long interview. Make yourself comfortable and then read ahead.
There is an important year for the Marbin existance: I mean 2007. Is it right?
Yes, the year we started.
In fact. How did you start your adventure?
Danny Markovitch got out of the army in 2007 and I finished Berklee. We met that Summer in Israel through a mutual friend bassist named Elad Muskatel during a rehearsal, one day before our first gig. At that time we were a fusion group called Babagage. After a few weeks we had studio time and our drummer, Noah Plotkin, at the time got sick, so Danny and me went in and improvised as a duo. That's how Marbin was born. It was creative and communicative. We were just improvising freely for a long time before we started writing and that project led to the first record.
Your first album, so different compared to the other ones...
We just went into the studio without knowing anything and struggled our way into a record. I really like it, it's very pure. And also aside from Mat Davidsons vocals on “Mei” it's only guitar and sax for the whole record without any synths or anything. I think that this gives it a unique sound.
Ok, but it sounds "softer" than other future compositions.
It does. I love soft music! My biggest heroes are Astor Piazzolla and Ennio Morricone. We went rock later because it feels right now but we are planning to do another record of soft slow music soon.
So we will have another different Marbin record…
The live album comes out in September and it’s very different than all the rest. It is the most aggressive one by far. After that we will go and record a studio album with all the new songs from 2013-2014. The one that we are about to start recording is more progressive in terms of form. Most of our music previously had a jazz form of the songs: melody, solo (or two), same melody. These new songs have more sections and are much more epic. After this one we might do another duo thing of softer songs. So we have some time.
Therefore you are saying that Marbin in reality is not a duo but a real band, at the moment.
Definitely. We have been touring almost nonstop as a quartet since we put out “Breaking the cycle” in 2011.
That album was the beginning of the collaboration with MoonJune label.
Yes. Leonardo (the president of MoonJune) actually randomly came to me and Danny's apartment (we had house concerts there) in Chicago. He heard us playing a duo show. We were about half way done with “Breaking the cycle” at the time and he signed us the next day.
So the sound change was absolutely natural, you didn't change because of your new label.
No, in this day and age there is no point in changing what you like to do. There is so much of everything that your only chance, as an artist, is to create something highly original and unique and that comes from doing what you love.
In fact the third album is a mix of different "creations": jazz-rock, Klezmer tradition and dreaming moments.
It is. The truth is that playing so much we became a live band and this record is probably the last one for a while in which we are going to use the studio to create. From now on it will be used more to capture the performance and the energy. I think the biggest difference is that we wrote the songs for all the records right before we went in to record. So we had to figure out the parts and arrangements in the studio. Now we play almost everyday live so the songs arranged themselves organically over time. It's a big difference.
So the next album will be something of totally new for Marbin fans.
Yes and no. I think it will be our best one up to date. I can say for sure that it will be different than the other albums in the sense that all the songs were written to go together as a record, so it's more homogeneous than the other ones.
Generally Marbin live performances sound so hard and energetic; there is something different from the studio sessions…
Not anymore. We will capture that same energy in upcoming studio stuff. That's the goal.
You told us that a live album is being published...
The live album will come out in September (it is possible to download two songs from our website). We will probably start recording our next album around that time. The live album is called “The third set”.
Well, we usually play 3 sets per night. The first one is the accurate set, the second is the loose set and the third set, due to the combination of late night and booze, is something special. We recorded a whole tour on the road 14 shows and chose 10 songs played on the 3rd sets and put out this record. It's drunken fusion.
Drunken... like the man who drink too much?
Yes, just like that.
But there is not an important live track such as "On the square"...
(He smiles) “Special Olympics” is in a similar style.
There are two tracks by the last record and another one from the first one - which sounds totally different. What about all the other ones?
All the other ones are songs we wrote from 2008-2011 and have been playing live since then on and off. We didn't want to go into a studio and record them and thought that a live record is the perfect outlet for them.
So your live album is a sort of compilation of unreleased tracks.
Yes. And the 3 that we did record were so different than the ones on the records that we wanted those versions included.
Your live guitar-playing sounds so visceral; you seem very different than other guitar-heroes because you have a sort of magmatic “Hendrix-energy” in your solos. Is it maybe the wine that you drunk during the late night time?
(He laughs) Maybe. I play what I feel and I feel what I play. That's the beauty of improvising.
Franco Mussida, PFM guitarist, once told me: "Only who composes can improvise, because the improvisation is a sort of extemporaneous composition". What do you think about that?
I think that improvising is a more natural thing than composing. You just let the music flow. Both of them are very important and depend on each other. No great solos live in bad songs. When you write you create a structure and when you go to play it you fill it up. With life.
And after this last poetic image, is Marbin going to play its music in Italy?
We are planning a Europe tour for winter but it's still early. We need help from our Italian friends. Play the music for anyone that will listen and we'll be there in no time (he says smiling). Thank you so much for this.
Thank you so much, Dani. Best wishes and see you soon.