Hi Daniel, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?
I’ve been great, thanks for having me on your magazine!
Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Like Water”?
Like Water was released as part of my last album entitled Sky Begins. The album features songs I wrote with influences ranging from jazz, to world music, to folk. “Like Water” is the newest song in the album, and to my ears has a slightly different sound compared to the rest of it. People around me who listened to the album had all seemed to connect to this song, so we decided to make a music video for it.
Did any particular event inspire you to write this song?
Nothing specific that I’m aware of, however the song came to me after a long period of unsuccessful attempts to write new material. The first line I wrote was the refrain “I don’t know how to be like water” and the lyrics came immediately with the melody, which doesn’t happen often for me. I think the words of the song came from my frustration at that time of not being able to write, and my will to be inspired, in the moment, and in the flow.
How was the film experience?
The filming experience was quite special. I was considering different concepts for the video together with Maia Karo, who is the singer on the album, a talented actress and also my wife. We drafted some ideas but couldn’t decide on anything for a while. Around that time, a couple filmmaker friends of ours heard the song and went out on their own to Jacob Riis Beach in Queens and filmed a bunch of beautiful scenic shots. When we saw their amazing footage we knew we wanted to go in that direction and built a story line around it. We scheduled a shoot with those friends, and went back to Riis with Maia, and later on went for another day of shooting with an additional videographer. The second day, which is the source of most of the shots with Maia, was actually in late January. The weather was very cold in New York and especially windy and foggy on the beach. It was a surreal and intense experience, especially for Maia who had to spend four hours in freezing temperatures in just a light dress. That day Maia showed some serious dedication and fierceness, as she jumped in the ice cold water multiple times!
The single comes from your new album Sky Begins – What’s the story behind the title?
The title is derived from the lyrics of the song “Notes From A Journey” that’s in the album. The complete quote is “I will never know where water ends and where skies begin”. I have a special relationship with this song as it sort of started this new period of songwriting for me, and it also reflects most accurately the sound I was going for when making this album.
How was the recording and writing process?
I wrote the songs over a few years while living and working in New York, and most of the music was performed at different venues in New York and Israel before it was recorded. The recording process is a story by itself: A close friend who is a sound engineer offered to help me in recording some demos. We borrowed a bunch of recording gear from different friends and even got some acoustic baffles. This friend also had access to a loft in midtown Manhattan which is actually a preschool during the day and happened to have a baby grand. There was nothing else in that space but the piano had a great sound, so we built and moved things around and set up a temporary recording studio there. The band and I played live for about 3 hours into an 8-track console, and I played solo piano for additional thirty minutes. Later when we listened to the demo we realized that both the playing and the sound quality were really good and we decided to make it into a full album.
Where did you find the inspiration for the songs and lyrics?
It’s hard to pinpoint specific elements that inspired the writing of these songs. But I would say that this music emerged form my personal experience as a foreigner living in this crazy place called New York City. Encountering such a wild variety of people, cultures and music from all over the world, and reminiscing on memories and love for my home country Israel.
Any plans to hit the road?
I am actually just about to travel to Israel, Italy and Germany for about 6 weeks, and plan on playing some shows along the way, too. Then back in NYC with a show at Cornelia Street Cafe on July 21st.
What else is Happening next in Daniel Meron’s world?
I’m excited to share that I just finished mixing a new solo piano record, which I will be releasing by the end of the year. It’s my first project playing only jazz standards and pop covers, and it focuses on improvisation and explorations of these songs on the piano. Stay tuned!