Or Lubianiker is a musician from Israel, first and foremost a bass player, after that a teacher, composer, arranger, producer and more 🙂
There are no magic shortcuts or a single piece of great advice that can replace hard work, respect and dedication to your trade.
AI – If you will, please let’s start off with you telling us about your path into the musicianship realm. Please share your beginnings, early inspirations to pursue the craft, and the events that forged your passion to find your own voice as a player and performer.
OL – I was drawn to playing music at a very young age, when I was around 6 years old my parents put me in an Organ class just as an afternoon pass-time thing, and I immediately started shredding that Casio keyboard, I was very uninterested in learning what the teacher wanted us to learn (Simple holiday songs and melodies), instead I was focusing on coming up with my own ideas and finding out how fast or complex I can play, it all seemed like a sort of game or competition to me, a feeling that sometimes comes back to me to this day. I had no serious concepts about music until later on, I was always quite competitive when it came to music, usually in a good way, I constantly use musicians around me as inspiration and motivation as well as a mirror to myself, a way to sharpen the image I wish to create with my instrument.
Several years later I started playing the Clarinet in various classical ensembles through my school, within those years my older brother started getting into “listening to music”, a concept I didn’t quite understand at first, I always liked playing but just sitting there and listening to an album? I want to play! My dad introduced us to Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, Queen, Metallica and all sorts of great classical rock and prog bands, I distinctly recall a lot of excitement around the house each time we would get a new CD and sit around listening to it, very quickly I became really “good” at it and took a lot of pleasure in distinguishing and characterizing different bands and songs, I would be very excited to be able to recognize bar lengths, back beats and to air drum/air guitar along to the different styles. It was another thing I took as a challenge and I wanted to impress my dad and my brother with my listening skills.
I have to say those situations taught me to enjoy listening to music, being an active player from a young age didn’t necessarily mean I understood what music was and what’s the joy in listening to it. Having these experiences around that age really formed the way I feel about music, first and foremost as a social and intellectual experience and after that a challenge for the mind, a sort of puzzle to solve that you can always play again and focus on a different part of it.
When I was around 13 I started playing guitar after understanding it’s super hard to rock out to ACDC with a Clarinet and I felt that stringed instruments is where it’s at for me.
So I made my way as a very technically intense guitar player for several years, I had almost nothing but technique, I always had the ability to learn very complex music quite easily – taking it as a challenge and pushing myself to perform with more complexity and agility than my fellow guitar players.
The big switch to bass came from several points –
First and most importantly – being so far ahead of other players my age technically made me very complacent and before I knew it the other 5 guitar players in my class became much more proficient than I was in some fields, that was one of the most important lessons I’ve learned so far, it taught me to stay on my toes, be humble and always keep pushing myself regardless of my environment.
Secondly – I had a bunch of great music teachers in high-school, one of them was a fantastic bass player. On one occasion he called me to sub on bass for an ensemble, an opportunity for which I wasn’t really excited at first. I recall the first moment I locked in a simple groove with the bass drum and it felt tremendous, as if I’ve discovered a hidden truth that never came forward in all my days playing guitar. I couldn’t get that feeling out of my head for the following year. My teacher was also pushing me towards playing bass saying I had “something” special, a connection with the instrument.
I used to borrow a bass almost every week after that from a friend or neighbor just for the opportunity to practice without having to buy an instrument, and every time I got one I just couldn’t let go of it.
You see where this is going and it didn’t take long until I couldn’t deny the feeling that I have to try and become a bass player, it seemed like a new world of content, again I was presented with an opportunity to hone my skills and immerse myself in countless hours of practice and reading material.
It’s hard to explain how I found my “voice” on the instrument without going on for another 20 pages, I don’t have a single unifying period of time in which I evolved or zoned in on what I want to do, I am mostly self taught and have never attended a “proper” music school or had any strong sense of direction.
I guess if I had to sum it up I would just say I learned most of what I know from never saying “NO”. Doesn’t matter what I was asked to play I said YES, spending countless hours faking my way across gigs of any genre, I used to memorize walking bass lines in order to play jazz (either that or keep semi-toning my way until I know where I am) or go to a pianist friend of mine that knew how to solo over standards to learn some phrases that I could apply to many situations. If you wanted me to play in your band all you had to do was ask 🙂
My way was always to aim beyond my reach, if I didn’t know how to play it, that’s what I wanted to do. My biggest revelation years after was understanding what is the basic thing I want to bring to any kind of music I’m a part of, there’s a certain intensity and intention that might originate from my Rock and Metal background that I feel shining through everything I play, a certain filter through which I express myself, both as a person and as a musician.
I think that if YOU don’t understand why people would listen to you, your audience surely won’t understand.
AI – I consider musicianship to be a pallet of many colors, and our art should be crafted in 3D, with many layers. Also, as people and players we consistently evolve via curiosity and experimentation. Do you share this kind of general ideal? both in the creative process and in the collaborative process with others?
OL – I couldn’t agree more, part of the reason I’m in music is because I get bored quickly and I’m quick to understand and analyze concepts, music struck me as something ever evolving that requires a multitude of skills, from the creative aspects to the social and business skills It seemed like a field in which I can always find something to quench my thirst for knowledge and spend energy exploring. My creative process is deeply emotional, expressive as well as analytical and logical… I tend to use tools from both sides to create the pictures I have in my head.
When I’m working with other musicians I feel both sides of my brain in constant effort, maneuvering between choosing the right notes in the right context as well as choosing the exact words to communicate my ideas to my fellow musicians.
Regarding curiosity and experimentation it’s a huge part of my life, my entire view on teaching music is through those elements exactly. Everything you learn is a doorway but you have to walk through and see what works for you. In band situations the best feeling is when you try something new and go out of your predetermined mindset and it just clicks!
AI – Today we have to be self mangers and career strategists. It’s beneficial to create many paths to earning via our craft: touring, session work, or producing and distributing educational products and certainly utilizing social media. Some write books, others are able to do a wide variety of performing across a diverse range of musical styles. You have managed to bring all this into focus and with a consistent stride, reaching far and wide, both with travel and working from home via cyber collaboration. Will you please explain your process for accomplishing this, and perhaps offer up some helpful suggestions to others who might like to follow suit?
OL – Thank you!
This is a question I get asked quite often with certain variations: “How did you come to play with (insert artist)?” or “How did you become acknowledged by this company?” I don’t know if the readers would like my answer but I’ll give it a shot.
I think it all boils down to YOU. Yes you there reading this! If you want to be a bass artist or professional bass player the odds are against you, which means you have to work 10 times as hard for 10% of the recognition and appreciation you think you deserve 🙂
Respect your craft and fellow humans (Musicians or not) make short term and long term goals, meditate on them, try and do at least 1 thing every day to get you closer to your goals, go out and play everything and everywhere, Don’t be a snob, spend money, spend time, work hard, don’t complain about working hard (We’re not plowing fields or climbing mountains for gods sake 🙂 ), be generous and thankful for what you get, don’t expect anyone to care, MASTER WHAT YOU KNOW – create something with every concept you learn, adapt and evolve to new situations, constantly ask yourself what you could do better in your field of choice, blame it on the boogie, compose constantly and humbly share your creations with the world to your best capacity via all the amazing tools we have today.
The way I see it, there are no magic shortcuts or a single piece of great advice that can replace hard work, respect and dedication to your trade. It’s up to you, do the legwork, be kind, persist and see it bear fruit somewhere down the line.
I know I’m a product of the modern world, much of my recognition came from Youtube videos and online communication, I am fortunate enough to play and tour with some incredible world renowned artists, but the real work that made all that happen was back home practicing or out there spending time and money to gig as much as I could. Creating a world of content while maintaining integrity and work ethics.
One thing that’s possibly as important as all of the above if not more – Go out and have experiences unrelated to music, some of the biggest steps forward I ever had were without even having an instrument next to me. Just listen to someone talk about what they do, spend time with your family, friends and significant others, I guess I learned more about music from Tal (My life partner) than from a lot of musicians I encountered.
AI – Finally, I’ll conclude by saying thank you again for your time, and your ongoing friendship. I get a great deal of inspiration from you, as do countless others world wide. Please tell about the specific projects, bands and touring you are involved with over the next year so we all can check out your work, and perhaps come see you play LIVE!
OL – It’s an honor to be able to do this interview and I was very much looking forward to it, I appreciate the opportunity to share my thoughts on your platform. Great questions too! 🙂
I’m currently in the process of gathering material for a solo album to which I have no release date or schedule yet, you can check out my work with Project RnL and it’s founder Eyal Amir, Oriental Rock Pioneer Yossi Sassi and perhaps by the time this interview is published a new original project that’s taking shape at the moment.
Besides that I update frequently about my musical endeavors and post playing videos on Facebook, youtube, Instagram and twitter. I’m touring several months out of the year and everyone is welcome to be in touch via these platforms, I try to answer every message or comment I get.
There are a lot of releases set to happen this year, including an album from a very talented young band I produced from A to Z.