Interview: Roy Niv
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What got you into music, and if you had not gotten into music what would you be doing today? Luckily, music is one of those rare things where I don't need anything to get me to do it. I feel like I was born with the desire to make music. I don't think I remember myself without music, as I started playing the piano when I was 4. My family has a great sense of music and I am still to this day, playing the guitar every time we get together and everybody sings. So I believe I really had no choice but to make my own music eventually as this is my greatest passion. I was always amused by the question of what I would do without music. I think I'd probably get myself deeper into acting as this is my second great passion and I had some experience in this field while I was playing a role in a TV show called "Spell Keepers" which was so fun and educational for me. If I had to choose something that has nothing to do with art at all. I would say I would go for something crazy like being an astronaut or a secret agent or something like that.
What do you like to do when you're not playing music and how does that influence your creativity? I'm always looking for interesting things to do besides music. I love watching movies and observing great actors in their work. I can get a lot of inspiration from movies as they give me glimpses into someone else's world. I also love hiking and traveling in nature. I find the ocean or the mountains or even some beautiful trees a source of balance and calm from which I can always draw inspiration and peace of mind.
How long has your band been around? I am actually around for not even 4 months but that is only the tip of the iceberg. I started writing songs 5 years ago when I was 18 and started producing them when the pandemic started which was about a year and a half ago. So even though I'm new to the outside world. A lot of work has been done quietly (Not so quiet once you hear the songs) behind the scenes and I am so excited to finally get it out for people to hear because after all, this is what art is all about.. Just letting the listener do whatever he wants and needs with the creation I made.
Where are you based out of and how did that influence your music? We are based in Israel, which has an awesome music scene. As this country has a collection of so many nationalities, the music scene is wild and has so many different genres going on. You could listen to Mediterranean music one night and rock n' roll the other night. I really enjoy this diversity as I'm inspired by so many different types of music. For example, the oldies of Israeli music introduced me to beautiful melodies and harmonies and classic musical structures I'm using till today , as the newer rock bands here introduced me to the edgy, wild vibe that music can go to.
How did you come up with the name of your band and what does it mean to you? To be honest, I started my music career alone, without bandmates, so I've always presented myself as Roy Niv. When the band came along we just stuck with that name and kept going. We focus on making the audience feel the intensity that the music is aspiring to create. So we agreed my name can stay as the headline while the more important thing is what we actually bring to the stage which is blowing rock n' roll combined with some acoustic melodic vibes.
Tell me about the best and worst shows you have played. I'm always starting with the good so I'll start with the best. One of our greatest shows was in Tel Aviv, in this little club on the main street. It was one of our first shows and we were so excited to get it started! The crowd really felt our fire burning and bursting out of us as we waited so long to start performing. People were jumping and dancing and pushing each other around the place and I even got to go down the crowd and do a full song among them which really got me feeling their love and support. Our worst performance was definitely one I will never forget. It was last winter in this shady club in Tel Aviv, Israel. Whether you know it or not, Israel is a sunny country and it's mainly summer around here so we are not so well prepared for serious rain or any wintery phenomena for that matter. 30 minutes into the show, the rain started licking down from the ceiling into the club! At first, it was very cool when there was water on the floor and everybody was dancing and splashing everywhere. But soon enough, the water went into our geer and the whole show went to the ground. My only hope was that no damage was done to my guitar but luckily she was just fine and all we had left from that night was just a funny story to tell to our grandchildren.
Tell me about your favorite venue to play at, and do you have any places you want to play that you haven?t already? My favorite venue I've played in so far was definitely Levontin 7 on Levontin street, Tel Aviv. This is such a cool place and there is that grungy vibe over there that makes you want to rock n' roll all night. I got so many places I want to perform. Especially some places in Europe, as I heard the European crowd is amazing but also I would love to just feel the environment and see what new things it can bring to me and us as a band.
If you could play any show with any lineup, who would be on the ticket? I would definitely do a show with the Foo Fighters! They are the first band that got me into rock music and I've already been to two of their shows. Literally one of my best experiences ever and I would love to play with them and feel that energy going on the stage. At the last Foo Fighters show I went to, I was in the first row and I asked lead singer Dave Grohl if I could come and play with them. It was in the middle of a song and I'm still not sure he heard me but I swear I could hear him saying "GET YOUR OWN FUCKING BAND!" So this is basically what I did :)
What is some advice that you would give to someone who is just getting into playing in a band? The first thing I would say to someone who is just getting into playing in a band is HAVE FUN. I truly believe the essence of playing in a band and generally making music is the fun and the satisfaction that's coming with doing what you love. I'm not saying every bit of that journey is pure fun, but if you don't enjoy it, what's the point?
If you could go back in time and give yourselves advice, what would it be? If I could go back in time I would probably go to when I was 16 and my parents got divorced and I was getting drunk and crying, and tell myself that this is for the best and that If I knew what is waiting for me in the future I would be way happier. I would tell myself to trust the process of life that I am going through and not to be stressed about the little things because I got all the tools and the skills that I need to have the life that I want for myself and that I will get there that way or another.
Of your songs which one means the most to you and why? "Stay Up", which is my latest single, is the one I am closest to. It is about overcoming obstacles and challenges life throws at you as you are trying to live life as best as possible and reach your goals despite all the noise and negativity some people have. I found it extremely important to stay resilient to negative energies that sometimes cross your path and find the strength to ignore them or resolve them into something that can lift you up instead of dragging you down. This is exactly what this song is about.
Which songs are your favorite to play and which get requested the most? My favorite song to play is definitely "Stay Up", this is such a powerful song to me and I love feeling the crowd's energy when I play it as it's starting slow and eventually reaching the peak and the whole crowd goes wild. Surprisingly, it is also the one that gets requested the most.
What is the creative process for the band, and what inspires you to write your music? Actually, I write the music, then bring it to the band and everyone just naturally and professionally finds his place in the song. I draw inspiration and ideas from a lot of stuff, some of which is unconsciously. But most of the time, the songs or the hooks or the guitar line are just coming to me out of nowhere! For example, the guitar line of "Stay Up" came to me while I was talking to my girlfriend on the phone the was just holding my guitar and jammed a little. Suddenly I realized I'm playing something that sounds nice and 30 minutes later I had the beginning of what "Stay Up" is now.
What kinds of messages do you like to get across in your music? I think the main message I am conveying is to stay or to break free from whatever is holding you back in life. This is the kind of thing I wish someone told me when I was younger as I had a lot of walls and barriers to break in order to become who I am today. So I am mainly trying to inspire people to leave what's dragging them down and live the life they want the way they want. And even if someone is listening to my song and doesn't understand anything from what I just said, but he or she is still having a good time, that's enough for me because they still got freed from the worries of life for three and a half minutes and that means the world to me.
Do you ever have disagreements in your band, and how do you get past them? To be honest, we don't have that many disagreements as we agreed to share everything and keep the vibe fun and light between us without getting into meaningless drama. Also, we all agree that I'm the one writing the songs and they absolutely love to play them and be a part of that process. So most of our disagreements are about what food we are going to order this time.
What are your plans for the future, and do you have anything that you want to spotlight that' s coming up? As I only just released my first original single. I am planning on releasing an acoustic version of it so you should definitely spotlight that and I have no doubt it's going to be amazing. I also plan to release a few more singles in the coming year that will eventually lead to a full album which I am so excited about! To stay tuned and see what's coming next you can follow me on Instagram @roy_niv.And definitely check out the "Stay Up" music video on https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pvKDV6rDVbo.