The person who says this is no one else than Aviv Geffen. He came to Munich on July 28th to present his first album in English for the European market which will be released at August 28th in Germany. For the production of this album he could get Trevor Horn (Tina Turner, Paul McCartney, Simple Minds, Mike Oldfield and Seal) as well as David Andrew Sitek and Ken Nelson (Coldplay). After the press conference I had the opportunity to talk to Aviv Geffen about his new CD, private life, politics: Iran and Israel…
Interview: Anke Dreyer
Why do choose exactly these songs on your CD?
Aviv Geffen: We had around 30 songs then we cut down to 11 because it’s my first album to the Germans and to the people in London and in France to know who is Aviv Geffen. To be captured on in Israel, for me, it’s a bit of a crime. And I think my music and my lyrics and my message should cross overseas. So I was really careful with this CD to make it perfect.
There is a song: “It’s cloudy now” on your CD and this song has a special message Do you think that people in Germany exactly know what you mean?
Aviv Geffen: Yes, I am sure. Because this song is about my life, not about Israel but about my life. Everyone feels hurt and everyone thinks his parents killed him in anyway. I don’t believe in God, specially, but when I’m playing in Germany, in Berlin or Munich or Hamburg when we got at the end of this song, with this scream, everyone screams with me for his own reasons.
When I saw a concert from you in Berlin I expect nothing. Just another pop star, again. But I was so impressed by the deep emotions that you brought on stage. Is it just show business?
Aviv Geffen: No, on stage is me it’s the opposite offstage I’m running.
It seemed that you have gone to torture. How can you get all these feeling out of your body after the show?
Aviv Geffen: You are right. I had such a dramatic life, in such a dramatic place, living under pressure with those parents in this life, so when I’m on stage leaving my message and I can not be fake. I don’t care about money and how many CDs I’ll sell. Yes, that’s really Aviv Geffen. I think, today people in Germany are missing those kinds of artists, real artists. Yes, I am giving everything I got inside and sometimes after shows I’m just like faint in my bed, I never go to parties after the show.
And it takes a long time to get these emotions out of you?
Aviv Geffen: Yes, sure.
You wear a woman dress on stage. Is there a special reason for this?
Aviv Geffen: I came from a really, really macho country and to wear make-up for me it’s a bit to protest: Don’t be macho. Race the flag of the weakness, of the bi-sexual, be more colourful, more unique. Don’t be stuff, you know, and tough people it’s not cool no more I think.
You wear this dress this black dress and then you had a T-Shirt, a white T-Shirt and after this you stand there naked. It’s a process?
Aviv Geffen: Yes, for it is like a religion process. I become clean after the show and at the end it is me, really naked, with a naked soul.
What should the audience take with them after they leave your concert?
Aviv Geffen: Many people are coming to me and said they cry during the songs like “October” which deals with my childhood or “Heroes” about the army and not to serve other territories. Everyone takes what he wants but it is not another pop show boring, cheesy, you know.
When you were in Germany in January you said in an interview to give money into the right hands to the Palestinians in Gaza Strip. Who are the right people?
Aviv Geffen: I think Abu Masen. I think we should give them the option to live their own life with their own country. I think we don’t need East-Jerusalem. All of my friends and, I got many friends, no one was ever in East-Jerusalem. It’s their place. We should give them East-Jerusalem but with a smile on their face.
Do you think Jerusalem is the only problem?
Aviv Geffen: I think Jerusalem symbolizes the problem. There are many places in Israel where the Arabs and the Jewish people live peacefully: Akko, Jaffa, Haifa. I think we can make it.
What do you think about the demonstrations inside and outside Iran?
Aviv Geffen: Amazing, amazing movement. I got in London three friends from Iran and for them it’s a big, big thing in their life because they are the same like us, exactly the same, and they live so behind in a puritan world and they want to be free, so I support them.
I talked to people who demonstrate against the President of Iran. They think it’s also important not only to demonstrate but also do cultural events with music, with theatre. What do you think about it?
Aviv Geffen: I think it’s to gentle for this type of people they have there. With this tough people like Ahmadinedshad you need a tough result. I believe in demonstrations. I think a good concert in Sweden or anywhere not gonna fake him, not this person.
In an interview you have said that you have made your peace with Germany. What does it mean you made your peace?
Aviv Geffen: I think the future important not less in history of German and Jewish. We should assure and secure the future together. It is the best answer and the best way for me to die annoying Germany. Germany is a great place to be with great people. Germany is the only place where I’m doing more than one show when I’m touring. I get eight shows on in November all in Germany.
Why do you do this?
Aviv Geffen: Because of the history. It’s so bad it must be super good. When I’m walking in the streets in Berlin there is a young generation that chill of what happens and they want to fix it. They want to go forward and for them my album it’s a great opportunity to hear someone who they used to kill, now they going to buy his records and go to his shows. It’s like Obama in a way.
Do you think there a change that more Israeli pop stars will come to Germany?
Aviv Geffen: I don’t think so.
But what’s about Idan Raichel or Habanot Nechama?
Aviv Geffen: Yes, right, but I think I put power in Germany’s market. I do a German version on the album, I got my management in Germany, my PR in Germany. It’s not another territory I’m just passing through.
In which moments do you feel weak?
Aviv Geffen: I’m feeling weak most of the time. I think on Friday during the sunsets when I’m thinking about my childhood that I never had. My friends used to be on the table with their families, in quiet family moments I never had it. I always was out on the beach with my friends. I never had those dinners and quiet family moments and so every Fridays during sunset I’m feeling really weak.
What are the most beautiful days in your life?
Aviv Geffen: When I got a good show. When someone told me that one of my songs really touched him. When people in Israel stop me in the streets and said that I changed their life with my songs. It gives me happiness.