The Conversation between Two Artists: Erez Rozen Talks to Avishai Cohen
Erez Rozen recently sat down with friend and collaborator of the brand, Avishai Cohen. Avishai is known around the world thanks to his own masterful, unique “mixing” of Middle Eastern vibes, Western culture, and African rhythms. They discuss creativity, seeking out inspiration from unexpected places and how the meaning of life is an ever-changing journey of exploration.
E.R: Hi Avishai! So great we can chat. Your music has inspired me for a long time. Mixing sounds from so many different cultures, so I was curious about what freedom in creativity means for you?
A.C: Creativity without freedom does not work for me. Freedom allows you to be fully creative and open, like making good wine, good food and music. It’s an ingredient that has to be present throughout! I am lucky that in jazz freedom is especially present in any performing and recording, with a structure that can provide freedom. You just have to be open to it!
E.R.: I hear you. It is a possibility to create without any borders. I follow my own mind, do things that I want to do, nobody talks to me, no one thinks about what I do. It is just me and my things.
E.R.: In terms of getting inspired, where do you get your inspiration from
A.C.: From many things in life actually, from a song I hear on the radio or find on the internet, from simple beautiful things in nature around me, other different cultures that I keep on discovering through my travels around the globe over many years.
E.R.: I also get inspiration from things that I go through in life. As life is going, I get experience and extend my background. Also, I get my inspiration from observing. I love to sit and observe people, life, and things. All these things can make my imagination work.
A.C.: I know that you are a very busy man, how do you relax and replenish your energy?
E.R.: The best way to relax is to create. I am totally happy when I create. I must have it in my life. Another way for me to relax is to sit and to observe. I can have a coffee and observe everything around me. I totally enjoy the little stories happening around me.
A.C.: Little stories can be quite powerful. For me, walking in nature, enjoying family moments with my wife, kids, listening & playing music and fishing. When I am on tour, I take walks in the cities and discover local surroundings, neighborhoods, people in their daily lives and culture.
E.R.: I think the fact that you have so many different creative outlets and expressions really inspired me to want to collaborate. I always look for collaboration with artists from different fields. Your music is something that I truly adore, and it was a big honor for me to work together and tell a story in a totally different way. What does Zielinski & Rozen and this collaboration mean to you?
A.C.: I first came aware of Zielinski & Rozen through my wife and mother-in law a few years ago who have been enjoying and using many of the beautiful products day to day, the impression they gave me was all positive about the products and elite quality and creative caring nature it gave to them personally using day to day. I am proud to be part of the message and for my music to be connected to such a brand and impact the lives of customers now and in the future.
E.R.: Thank you for your kind words, speaking of impacting lives, how would you understand or describe the meaning of life?
A.C.: We are all on this planet with a mission, and a journey. For everyone that mission will be different, I personally feel I had the need to bring music to people’s lives, and that gives me a very good feeling and sense of contribution daily….
E.R.: Making that contribution is important. For me it’s important to not just be an observer but truly enjoy it, enjoy things that happen to us. Everything that happens during the life journey is something that I always personally try to take as important things. There are stories that the universe tells us, and we must find a way to enjoy this journey.
E.R.: Is improvisation important in your art? Or only professional training / academic knowledge?
A.C.: I come from the jazz tradition which means that I am a free spirit, I like to be free, and I like to express myself. I have a tendency to go my own way, learning alone and developing myself. I always have the need to improvise and go outside the box, and jazz is the most exceptional form of art as a musician.
I wanted to be free since I was young and that’s why I am into jazz. Though I am very influenced by classical music, pop music and folklore in many different ways, something created by cultures is such a strong inspiration for me as an individual.
E.R.: For me as an artist academic knowledge is not relevant. I create by intuition, I express what I feel, I tell the story.
E.R.: I have been talking about ‘telling stories’ quite a lot, which can also connect back to certain memories we have. The strongest memory from my childhood is of me spending time on the beach. I remember sitting on the sand, the noise of the waves, the noise of the people around. It was a very powerful thing for me as a child and still inspires my creations today. What is your most vivid memory from your childhood?
A.C.: For me it would have to be riding my pony bareback at a very young age alone in nature, close to where I lived. Riding in the woods and hills around, it gave me a full sense of freedom and joy, to be part of something bigger than me