This article originally appeared on Mako and has been translated to English for an American audience with the permission of the author and artist.
Original article by Omer Tzubery.
Meet Sex Whales:
Tal and I have known each other for several years now. Since the time when the dubstep scene in Israel was very small and compact. Even when Skrillex was only listened to by “freaks,” you couldn’t pass a street vendor without hearing a combination of quasi-dubstep, quasi-trance music booming out of the speakers. We operated in a similar scene. I was a promoter of failing dubstep parties and he was one of the younger electronic music producers in the market. I invited him to be the DJ in one of my parties, for some 100 kids, and was amazed by the level of production he had demonstrated at the age of 13.
A few years have passed. I realized that producing parties was not for me, yet Tal continued to do what he loves to do and was blossoming as a producer of original electronic music under the name Sex Whales. He began releasing tune after tune, to growing crowds of fans, and got greater and greater numbers of viewers on his different channels.
How old were you when you first got acquainted with this thing called “electronic music”?
About 7 and a half, at a forum of some pc game.
You remember which game it was?
LOL. Yes, it’s a bit embarrassing… MU.
What was the first software you worked with and how did you learn to use it?
“Fruity Loops”, which I still use today. For many years I just played with this software and didn’t really know what I was doing. Just trial and error and a lot of luck. While working I’ve learned it on my own. When I began producing, there were no guidebooks like you have today. There were forums, but they were in English.
So you can actually say that through the making of music you also learned English?
I’ve learned English only through making music. I don’t go to school anymore.
Since when you’re not going to school?
Since October 2015, when I was 15.
What made you decide to leave school?
I decided to leave school because for many years… since 6th grade approximately… I’ve began to deteriorate mentally. I has a very rough time with the other kids, with that environment, with all the pressures and with studying things I wasn’t good at and which I couldn’t deal with. It got to a phase of sleepless nights, non-stop medical and psychiatric treatments… I just felt that school was killing me, screwing me up mentally. I wasn’t a human being, I didn’t get out of the house, nothing. And then I started to realize my potential and the career possibilities, and I decided I needed to take a certain step, that this mental deterioration only hurts me. At first I spoke with my parents, they weren’t too crazy about this idea. But they understood. I explained it well to them and they’ve supported me all the way and understood the situation and the goals I had set for myself. All this happened in the period of Paris 2015. The school administration was a bit problematic and they told me I couldn’t leave. I brought them a psychiatric review and received an exempt from the compulsory Education Law.
What did you do after you left school?
I went to the BPM College in Tel Aviv. I knew I needed some kind of framework and that it wasn’t good for a kid at my age to sit at home and do nothing. Although this college only accepts you when you’re 18, they accepted me and welcomed me in a proper way. And from then on my life simply changed. All of a sudden to study with people who appreciated you and your music, within this musical framework… it was an incredible experience, after everything I went through with cruel kids at my former school. It’s not that I don’t give a damn about school, but that framework just wasn’t for me and didn’t make me feel good. I’ve known from a very early age where I was going to.
So you can say that the making music is some kind of therapy for your difficulties, one that you couldn’t find elsewhere?
Absolutely. I deal with many things, Tourette Syndrome, tics, OCD, anxiety, depression… But what is most hard for me are the anxieties. It really screws your brain and I can’t live like that. Music is the mother of all therapies. Without it, I’d lose it. I’ve been through so many therapies, psychologists, psychiatrists, thousands of pills… and the only thing that helped me was music. Now I only do music and everything is cool.
Who opened the door for you and gave you your first big chance?
Honestly, this magic that happens to artists did not happen to me… that suddenly this artist discovers you and fixes everything for you. It didn’t happen to me. I stepped up gradually. You remember, you brought me up to a party with 50 people, and nowadays I am invited to shows abroad on a weekly basis. It just increased gradually. I did my thing and I did it well. Still, if you’re looking for a life-altering event in my career, then you can say that it was my track “Surrounded”, together with EH!DE. It got to quite a big dubstep channel and it really gave me the push. Even before that I already had an audience, and I had even uploaded a tune to edm.com, which at the time only very few Israelis could get to. But the thing with EH!DE gave me the final push. From there I was grabbed by this small manager who started to market my music, I continued to release at a fast pace every week or two and the audience grew larger and larger.
Although no one adopted you, you do this for other artists. You’ve taken many new artists under your wings. Do you take it upon yourself to promote the music you believe in, the people you believe in?
I do know many popular artists. I’ll tell you some names and you’ll be in shock. But size doesn’t matter to me. If I see a potential in certain people, I follow it. I took two artists, “Fraxo” and “Roee Yeger”, both are my best friends and each one of them has now 10,000 followers and songs with millions of youtube views. Because I loved their music, I loved their work, I saw a huge potential. For me it’s important that a person is first of all a decent person, that there’s chemistry between us, that he’s a good person. I don’t see myself working with people I don’t connect with.
The music scene in Israel is dead and there is a huge gap between what is happening in Israel and abroad. Do you see yourself staying here?
In principal, I do see myself in LA, as a matter of fact, since 99 percent of my career is abroad. The scene in L.A. is huge, and I don’t think I can handle everything from here, as I do now. I’m waiting to get to the right age. Right now everything is very complicated. People are not crazy about bringing a 16-year old kid to tours abroad. So right now I’m doing all I can to promote it on the Internet from here.
Do you have any tips for upcoming producers?
In my opinion, I think you should first be a good person. Give from yourself, help other producers. Even if you are small. Together you’ll grow.
As I said, the only and best way to grow in the music world it’s to work on and release a lot of music. Like when I started, I released tracks almost weekly.
What should we wish you for next year?
Actually, I would like to perform more, to release more music, to get to know new styles. Planning my USA visa and planning a tour. Beside that, to travel the world, throw my love and make people happy by my music.
Image via Adam Edelstein