As the conflict between Israel and Palestine escalates, I thought it would be a good time to check in with Tel Aviv-based indie rockers Vaadat Charigim. They've taken a strong pro-peace stance on the crisis, sending out a message to press asking if anybody wanted to get "the perspective of a left-wing, levelheaded, pro-peace Tel Avivian who is just waiting for the aggression to stop." And we did.
NUVO: How did your connection with Warm Ratio come about?
Yuval Haring: I used to tour the states with another band I was in called TV Buddhas. We met the dudes from Warm Ratio at a show in Indy. I really loved the people and the vibe at that show. Later, when we were looking for someone to put out our vinyl, they said they were starting a label so we made the connection.
NUVO: During this time of heightened conflict between Israel and Palestine do you feel you have any responsibility as an Israeli artist to comment on the issue?
Haring: I think artists should be an open channel for communication at times of war. There will always be those who don't want to hear me, because I'm from Israel, but that is their own business. But by doing that, I think they are only falling victim to whatever media they are plugged into. Media today has a way of subconsciously taking sides. It is so post-modern now that even the war itself seems to have a mostly visual purpose of obtaining the image of victory.
NUVO: As a citizen of Tel Aviv, what do you see inside of Israel that isn't being reported in America?
Haring: I'm not in the U.S., so I don't really know what Americans are seeing. I'm sure that a caption like "civilians on both sides are being held hostage by their idealistic leaders" doesn't sell as well as others — but that is the truth.
NUVO: You mentioned in a recent email to NUVO that you were worried about your upcoming European tour being interrupted by protesters boycotting Israeli performers. If you had a chance to speak to one of these protesters, what would you say to them about your perspective on this issue?
Haring: I'm really not worried about the protesters, I'm worried about what's going on in Israel and Gaza. I wish people would talk more about peace and make a bigger effort towards finding a resolution. Right now it feels more like two people fighting and self-righteously clawing at each other with neither side willing to compromise even a bit. Now another cease fire has ended because one side didn't get what it wanted, and the other side didn't get what it wanted. It's endless.
I'm not sure protesters would even want to talk to me. I think they are more into generating awareness by using boycotts. Also, I'm not so sure what I would have to say to them. I am not such a politically active person. I like to listen to punk rock and watch Mystery Science Theater 3000. But I will go to all the peace rallies in my city because I believe in hope, and if I were to meet a hopeful person outside of Israel that would want to talk to me I'd be happy to tell him that there are many people in Israel who are sick of this endless grind.
NUVO: Are you able to be creative during periods of conflict?
Haring: Yes, and we are writing new songs right now. The lyrics are influenced by this and previous wars; I have lived through a few. It started out as an album about boredom and turned into an album about desperation and hope. A second LP and an American tour will come around in 2015 for SXSW.
A Cultural Manifesto is now available on WFYI's HD2 radio. Tune in Wednesdays at 7 p.m. and Saturdays at 3 p.m. as NUVO's Kyle Long explores the merging of a wide variety of music from around the globe with American genres like hip-hop, jazz, and soul.