Interview with refreshingly whimsical indie musician Tee Dee Dees

Image credit: Nir Arieli

Tee Dee Dees is the moniker of multi-talented creative Ori Marks. His debut single ‘War’ is set for official release on the 30th of July via Alaska Music, along with an album release next year. The album boasts drumming credits from Blackfield band member Tomer Z. While we wait for the album to be unveiled we are obsessed with Ori’s debut, which will be a guaranteed hit for indie and synth music lovers. This hit calls to mind soundtracks from early ’80s adventure and sci-fi films with its anthemic energy, which is a common trait of a good song. Adorned in glitter with his first artwork for the track, Ori Mark looks somewhat like an alien superhero and we are all here for it – especially the quirky guys and gals. Prepare to dance around the room with your headphones on full blast, as you will not be able to play this banger softly. 

Pre-save: ‘War’

While we wait for the official song release we chatted with songwriter and visionary Ori Mark a.k.a. Tee Dee Dees.

Looking back, what were some of your earliest entries into music appreciation? And music production?

It turned out that the first song I released in 2009 was the first thing that attracted the most attention. The song soon became a hit in Israel, but once the attention came it also disappeared. It was an important lesson for me in the way the music industry works.

Take us through your songwriting process. Are there any particular steps you take when putting music together?

It all starts with the melody of the chorus. I usually go with this melody in my head for a while, until the words come to me by themselves. The truth is that when it comes to production, I work a bit like a kid. Whenever I have a musical idea I record it on the phone vocally. Usually only after I already have a pretty clear picture of the song will work in the studio from the beginning.

What gets your creative juices flowing?

The city. Cities in general and Tel Aviv in particular. I’m a guy who likes to wander the streets, to discover places I do not know. These are usually the moments when new melodies pop up.

We are intrigued by your origin story and want to find out more. You work as the head editor of Haaretz Magazine, and now you are also pursuing a musical career with your new song. What led you to take this bold step?

I have been a journalist since the age of nineteen. And I am also a musician who recorded and performed music from the exact age. In a sense, these two things are an integral part of my identity. In recent years I have left music aside because I have taken on very demanding roles in the press world. Before editing the magazine, I was the head of the news department in the newspaper. I worked around the clock, but the music just demanded its place. I started hearing tunes again. And felt an urge to record them and return to the stage. It seems that I do not really choose to make music, so I am so brave. It’s a bit forced on me from the inside.

As a musician, it becomes apparent that there is a huge difference between the art and the business. Is there anything about the music scene that you would personally change?

I think people attach excessive importance to the fact that it is easier and cheaper to record an album today. That may be true, but it does not make it easier to reach out to people. To some extent, the flood of content makes it difficult for artists to stand out. I think it would have been helpful if there were more medium-sized organizations and labels that could push alternative artists.

Studio work and music creation or performing and interacting with a live audience, which do you prefer?

Of course, it would have to be performing in front of an audience. This is the reason why I record music in the first place.

In your artwork for the single you are covered in glitter, what does this eye-catching look mean to you as an artist?

When I finished recording I came to the conclusion that I wanted to look like I was imagining my music, as a combination of edges. I tried to connect an eighties atmosphere with a contemporary sound, a bit indulged in the past but at the same time being a bit futuristic and technological. Use a computer but stay human. It seems to me that the make-up look does something similar, in a different way. I’m a bit of an alien, or robotic, but also completely human.

What is the most memorable response you have had to your music?

Someone once approached me on the street and told me that this was the hardest year of his life and that my album had accompanied him all this time. This statement was etched in my heart.

What’s on your current playlist?

When Saints Go Machine. I highly recommend them.

Breakdown the news for us: what can we expect from you in the near future?

On August 13th I will be performing at the Kolorado Festival in Hungary. Over the next year we will release several singles, and next year the album will be released. I hope that the Coronavirus will not disrupt our plans and that we will be able to play concerts throughout Europe in 2022.

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