Producer-artist ATELLER has called Brooklyn home for the better part of this decade. Before that he was in Tel Aviv, Israel, gaining a formative punk education drumming in rock clubs before studying jazz. Upon arriving to NYC, ATELLER navigated the metropolis through its music communities, befriending musicians and open-mic regulars at Lower East Side venues. Since then his solo career producing and performing hip-hop, IDM and beat music has secured a place within Brooklyn’s electronic scene.
We’re incredibly psyched to premiere ATELLER’s newest track, “I am U,” a seriously deep, ethereal-leaning production. Listen.
We recently caught up with ATELLER at a bar in South Williamsburg. Read our conversation below:
Indie Current: When did you move out here? Tell me about your life. Break it down for me.
ATELLER: I moved out here five years ago, straight to Bushwick from Tel Aviv, which was quite a change.
How old were you when you moved?
22. I was living off the Jefferson L stop. Back then there was nothing. It’s cool cause I’m still paying the same rent, but I get to see everything around me changing.
When you first moved to New York you’d already decided that you wanted to make music. Did you have a clear idea of what you wanted to be doing, more or less?
I still don’t know. But I knew I wanted to play drums. I’ve been drumming since I was like 10, so that was the dream and I did that for two years. I got to tour and play a bunch of gigs. I still do that but after a couple of years… I’d always been producing like really, really low-key, so I just started to do that more and more.
Was it easy picking up drumming gigs initially?
A: It happened pretty quick actually, cause I already knew some people. It just kind of happened naturally.
I’m so upset at myself that I haven’t gotten to see you play yet, because you play so often..
Yeah, too often (laughs). No, really. Now I’m gonna take a small break from playing in town, just to kind of rearrange the live setup and go deeper. It’s been maybe a year of playing so many shows, all the time.
So how would you like to change the live setup from what it is now?
I don’t know. Just add more layers to it, add more colors. I feel like now it’s in a very specific place, like party vibe. I definitely want to keep that, but just add more colors. Yeah.
I don’t even remember, just from the scene and like hanging out. With those three specifically it was a really quick bond. It was like hey, we’re friends. We’re homies now and we make a lot of music together. It’s very natural.
I noticed that in terms of streaming services and the different platforms you have like SoundCloud and BandCamp and YouTube, you kind of have a different selection of music on each of those.
Yeah! On Bandcamp you’ve got “Lastral” and the B-Sides and all this stuff that’s not really on SoundCloud. And you’ve kind of curated your YouTube channel and overall presence in a really specific way. I just thought that was interesting, because I haven’t seen a lot of artists utilizing their resources in the same way, like most artists just stick to one platform. So I think what you’re doing is pretty smart, you’re using Bandcamp the way Bandcamp artists use it and SoundCloud the way SoundCloud artists use it. You know?
Word. It took me a while to understand those platforms. I realized SoundCloud could very easily be oversaturated and it’s mainly for… You know the biggest round of the track being the first month maybe and then it’s just sitting there. It’s more like something you post on Instagram or Facebook. It’s pretty sad, you work on something for so long and then it’s just like, oh that’s it. Bandcamp is more of like a library of music. I know for myself, I love going to Bandcamp to just dig in and play a whole album. You never do that on SoundCloud.
When did you first start performing with a full band? Did you ever play solo sets?
Yeah I did. I played solo for maybe the first year. It was really fun but really intense in a way. I don’t know how solo artists do it, man. It’s really hard to be just alone on stage for 45 minutes and worry about all the music but also keeping the crowd hype. I mean, you’ve gotta do that regardless but when you’re alone it’s all eyes on you all the time. And honestly, I just wanted to play with people, which is what I love to do.
Do you remember where you played your first solo show?
Studio at Webster Hall.
Do you ever play house shows?
Yeah. And I’ve really been getting into DJing. Like a lot. It’s so much fun. Last night a friend told me about Soul Sick, which is like software that you can download songs at really high quality. I downloaded like 500 songs in one night.
What do your DJ sets sound like?
It’s everything. All the shit that I dig, and I’ve really been listening to so much music. Getting into house and techno but also footwork and bass, hip-hop, beats, whatever, all of it.
Are there any albums specifically that you’ve been really vibing with this year?
Would you say that your music taste has changed since you moved to New York?
Of course, yeah, all the time. My entire life I’ve just been moving between genres, now to the point where I can appreciate all genres really deeply. I started with punk rock, around 13/14, I was playing punk rock in Tel Aviv in shitty clubs, which was the most fun. And then I got really into jazz and studied in Tel Aviv before I moved here, for two or three years, and in the process I discovered neo-soul and hip-hop and all that, because it’s the same.
Over the next couple of months, what are you trying to make happen?
I wanna move to an island. I want to be in Costa Rica for a month on the beach and not do anything and not talk to anyone and just make music. I feel like I need a minute away from the matrix, but also, professionally speaking… I’m not ready for a tour just yet but I think that’s what I’m building towards. Come maybe early next year or summer. I want to DJ more and maybe play less live shows but for every show to be really well curated and have great promotion, like quality over quantity. And I want to finish that album and find a label that would be good for it. I’ve worked with a lot of labels but I feel like I still haven’t found the right one.