A Chat With Ido Spak

Living up to his name the Jazz Traveller, renowned composer Ido Spak has launched a crowdfunding campaign for a new record titled ‘Epidemic Adventures’ that takes listeners through a journey of musical and cultural influences that mirrors Spak’s own travels in a dedicated project to a new love that bloomed during lockdown. With such a story to unfold, we got chatting to the man himself…

HY: Can you tell us a bit about your fundraising campaign?

IS: I am raising money to record my next album “Epidemic Adventures” with my Jazz Quartet. I will record 10 pieces, one traditional Jewish piece, one Kurdish and the rest are original compositions. One, I dedicate to my landlord, who has saved my life and rushed me to the hospital after a hard injury that had led to 3 surgeries and took a long time of recovery. Another one, I dedicate to my new girlfriend and first relationship after my divorce.

HY: How have people reacted to the campaign so far?

IS: I haven’t been following since I was so busy organizing the studio appointments giving concerts and teaching.

HY: Your new album incorporates a huge amount of different musical influences, how did you manage to find coherence amongst so many different ideas?

IS: Well, we are what we eat. Many of the influences have been a part of my musical landscape through my childhood and others, I have been exploring for over a decade, so it just sits a long time in the subconscious and comes intuitively in the music when you don’t force it.

HY: At the moment, who is your favourite artist who is under the radar and why?

IS: During the recent months I have discovered a polish composer, who is mostly remembered as the first president of Poland, Paderewski. I am looking forward to playing his piano concerto.

HY: Why is it, you think, so many talented musicians go completely unnoticed?

IS: Being good is not enough. You need to have the right contacts with the right people, understand how marketing works and have the right mindset for creating a successful business. The competition his to big and with internet and social media nowadays, even record labels no longer have the ability to turn an artist into a celeb.

HY: What’s the hardest thing for a musician trying to break out of obscurity right now?

IS: Being able to survive financially. My ex wife expected me to earn money immediately even if it means working 5 days a week at a storage but if I had done it, I would be losing my technique very fast and destroying any hope for success. Many artist choose safety and end up working full time in jobs that they hate, watching their dream swift further away.

HY: Would you say you’re currently ‘under the radar’? If so, how does it feel on an emotional level?

IS: I don’t look at it that way. There are many musicians who have a lot of tournees once they have reached a certain fan base but most people on the street won’t recognize them. I think of it more as a graph that gradually goes up as long as you work hard, focusing more on the improvement and resonance, rather than focusing on the financial aspect and it improves further to new climaxes.

HY: How much responsibility of an artist being ‘under the radar’ falls to the artist themselves? Or does it also lie with the music industry as a whole?

IS: It’s a combination. The artist is responsible for always creating and bringing something new. Unfortunately, we don’t really learn in the music school how to launch a good marketing campaign and not all of us have the money to pay a good agent to do the job for us. Not all of us are mentally strong enough to deal with constant failure and rejection without losing our frame. From the other side, the industry is no longer willing to take risks and allow experimental projects like in the 1970’s. They go for safe and catchy to make instant money. Frank Zappa has mentioned the same point in one of his interviews. The point is that the money, the reward, is much more important than the road to achieving it and that’s the worst mindset that one can have on the road to success. You need to love your product and believe in it.

 Audiences can support the album here: https://sonicly.com/Projects/Experience/733/1827/