The Israeli-Colombian producer, founder of Bloom Records, began his musical career when he was 17. At 21 he was diagnosed with Tinnitus, a disease characterized by intense ringing (or other internal noises) in the ears. Although the episode marked his temporary retirement, music gave him the opportunity to reinvent himself.
We had a chat with Golan Zocher going deep on his life, music trajectory and upcoming plans.
EG: Hi, Golan. Let’s start from the beginning, tell us about your first musical memories.
Golan Zocher: Hi and likewise. My first memories would be music in my house when my mom used to watch MTV around 1990. When I was 7/8 years I would hear some artists such as Madonna, Prince, George Michael, Michael Jackson, Metallica, Guns N’ Roses, Queen, Simply Red, Nirvana among others.
EG: How were those early days in Colombia where local music is linked to tropical rhythms?
Golan Zocher: When I came to Colombia at the age of 10 it was difficult to accept and digest all these rhythms that were unknown to me like salsa and merengue, that’s one of the reasons I was more connected to rock and heavy metal, in fact, I am still today.
At the age of 24, I started my connection with salsa music, and I tell you, it’s one of the most amazing musical genres I have heard and experienced. Even though it can be hard to digest when you are unfamiliar with it, the story of salsa is dramatic and full of amazing musicians from Central and South America, that migrated to New York where it all exploded… It’s a whole culture and it’s very popular where I come from, Cali, with artists such as Choquib Town, Esteban Copete and the maestro Hugo Candelario.
EG: What was your first contact with electronic music?
Golan Zocher: Early 1999, living in Colombia, my sister sent me from Israel the album ‘Magik 3’ of Tiesto’s Magik series for my 15th birthday. I fell in love with the track DJ Ayla – Ayla (Taucher Remix). A few months later she sent me ‘In Search of Sunrise 01’, also by Tiesto, and that first track that starts with a delayed guitar ended up conquering me.
EG: Your sister was a great influence. From there, what other artists or favorite works influenced your musical development?
Golan Zocher: I will try to name them the same way I discovered them at the time. Tiesto’s ‘Magik’ and ‘In Search of Sunrise’ series, Ferry Corsten as System F and his early productions with Tiesto. Armin Van Buuren’s ‘A State of Trance 001’ and all the ones that follow. Paul Oakenfold’s ‘Goa Mix’, ‘Perfecto Fluoro’, ‘Tranceport’. Paul Van Dyk’s ‘Out There And Back’, ‘Reflections’ and his massive anthems that are some of the biggest in the history of uplifting trance and electronic music, ‘For An Angel’, ‘Another Way’ and ‘Words’, amongst many others that this genius produced.
Through Paul Oakenfold I met the Global Underground series, which became my favorite with compilations such as GU009:Sasha, GU008:Nick Warren and of course John Digweed, who from that moment became my idol.
I remember that I had some of the Global Underground releases on vinyl, and a very special one by John Digweed entitled ‘MMII’, that ended up reaffirming the possibilities that electronic music was capable of.
I think I could talk for hours about Global Underground, its artists and series. All this was very influential in my musical career, and still is.
EG: With all that tropical culture around, how did you get to the DJ world?
Golan Zocher: When I was 17 years old in 2000, I finished a vinyl DJ course and 6 months after I was spinning Friday and Saturday night at one of the city’s main radio stations, La Super Estación (100.5FM). I would play vinyl and although that with my music, progressive trance, was very popular in Europe, I would not have gigs because the local culture was immersed in hardcore techno that I never got connected to, keeping me faithful to that sound of Tiesto, Armin and other artists that I just mentioned. Of course, I also discovered Hernan Cattaneo around 2003, then everything took an extreme turn and I retired from everything, including the Audio Engineering course that I was just starting, also from mixing and collecting music, even going to bars or clubs, whatever place had speakers, I was not there.
“My goal is to massively improve in production”
EG: When you were young you were diagnosed with Tinnitus. How did this affect your musical career and how did you continue with the music in your life?
Golan Zocher: That’s right, at 21, after 3 or 4 years of playing and in the middle of my Audio studies I started suffering a severe Tinnitus and a terrible sensitivity in my ears that finally ended up with my retirement for several years. At that time I left all my music to a good friend and DJ, Adam Jace from Sydney, also sold my turntables.
I really isolated myself from anything related to music and dedicated to other boring stuff (laughs). Till in 2010 when I reunited with some friends to play Djembe and some acoustic stuff, I started to revive my connection with music. However, the Tinnitus is something that’s been with me since then and I would lie to you if I tell you that I still don’t have my crisis… I really take care of my ears, it’s one of the reasons that I don’t go out as much as I would want so I can have more time producing and for my own gigs. A piece of important advice to everyone that goes out raving, use earplugs in clubs and concerts!
EGE: Good advice. Tell us about your relationship with the radio.
Golan Zocher: After I was on the radio between 2000 and 2002, I came back from Australia with severe Tinnitus and had a different kind of show called ‘Calma Eléctrica’, that was transmitted every Sunday from 8 to 10 PM. I took advantage of the day and hour to present the B-Sides of the artists I used to play. Albums such as Sasha’s ‘Airdrwandagger’, John Digweed’s ‘Layered Sounds’, Nick Warren’s GU Reykjavic, Back To Mine series, Tosca, Kruder & Dorfmeister, Gus Gus and Ulrich Schnauss. These were many of the LPs that I presented between 2003 and 2005, till the radio station was sold and the program was over. I’ve always liked radio, presenting and talking about my favorite artists.
EG: How is Bloom Records born and what does it mean to you??
Golan Zocher: Bloom was born in my head in 2010, with the idea of reconnecting again with the electronic world. At that moment I wanted to regain my lost time, looking forward to connect with all that I have missed during all these years, so the first thing that came up to my mind was to do a podcast where I could invite artists from all over the world to be part of it, something that was inspired by the Transitions show of John Digweed. The goal was to connect with people from all over the world, and I think it’s been very good.
It took a while to develop the main idea and especially in picking up the name, till one day when my jamming friends played new Radiohead music, specifically the ‘Bloom’ track recorded at The Basement concert, this instantly blew my mind. At this moment I knew this would be the name, and the ethos was to flourish after so many years of being away.
Starting from there, Bloom is my reconnection with so many artists and electronic music that is out there. Of course, it’s important to mention some of the artists that are part of the label’s family such as Rivellino, Kamilo Sanclemente, Kai Vice, Juan Pablo Torrez and Dabeat. All very good friends, amazing people and producers as well.
EG: A very inspiring story of Bloom Records. A few months ago you moved to Israel, did you have any previous relationship with this country? What differences are there with electronic music in Colombia?
Golan Zocher: My parents are Israelis who lived in Colombia many years, although I was born in South America, I grew up in Israel till the age of 10 and moved back to Cali for another 25 years. Now in terms of music culture I think both countries are very rich, each one with their own influences and origins.
Colombia has an amazing taste in its music, especially with salsa music which is insane, while Israel has a very wide influenced culture by being in the Middle East and has a big population that constantly travels bringing ideas of Asia, South America and Africa, so you have a lot of new and fresh sounds.
In regards to electronic music I think that Israel is more advanced since is a country that is only 70 years old, with a generation in love with technology, having some pioneers such as Infected Mushroom, Astral Projection and Guy J. But in general I think it’s related to the Israeli crowd, who is very open to different proposals and they are not set in any close paradigm of music, although in Colombia the scene has dramatically improved during the last years. I think the internet was key in opening new markets and making people more receptive to new sounds.
” In Colombia the scene has dramatically improved during the last years”
EG: Many changes in these last years in your life. Finally, what musical perspectives are there for you and Bloom in the future?
Golan Zocher: That’s right. My goal is to massively improve in production, I still feel that I am very far from the sound I want to achieve, also I just had a release on Guy Mantzur’s Plattenbank label which is one of my biggest personal achievements. I am very happy to be part of that family.
Other releases this year will be on Or Two Strangers (Antrim’s label), Iconyc (John Honson’s label), Clubsonica Records, Strange Town Recordings and many other remixes for interesting artists.
For Bloom the plan is to keep growing, now you can find us on Spotify, iTunes and Soundcloud.
EG: Golan, thank you for this contact, it was a pleasure to talk to you.
Golan Zocher: Likewise, greetings to the Electronic Groove community