Classically trained as a pianist, DIY artist Tamar Aphek didn’t set out to initiate a movement in her “small” Israeli music scene. Bored by what she called, “getting into other people’s heads” playing the work of Bach and Mozart, she immersed herself in rock music such as Pink Floyd and Radiohead and started playing guitar.
“When I picked up the guitar, I could play the way Tamar plays, not the way Beethoven plays or Mozart plays,” she explains.
Aphek rose thanks to her intense guitar skills, gaining attention in Europe and Israel with her bands Carusella and Shoshana.
After noting a surge in interest in bands like Fugazi and The Jesus Lizard, Aphek saw an opportunity to foster a community and focused her energy on launching the outdoor festival Besides That.
“The idea was that the bands and crowd that were into this kind of music would show up, but also people who like nature will show up. And this combination will create something special. Back at the time it seemed absurd," she explains. Plus, the fest lineups would also feature both Israeli and European acts.
"When I did the first one, around 700 people came, which was a success. Then when I did it the second time, 1,500 people came. Today, 8,000 to 9,000 people show up. This is pretty amazing because Israel is so small,” she describes.
Securing a name for herself as a pioneer of the Israeli music scene, Aphek has since moved on from producing the festival to releasing her solo EP, Collision, in April 2014. Most recently, she received accolades for her score of the drama-comedy One Week and a Day, which premiered at the Cannes Film Festival this week.
“Every day you decide what you’ll put your energy into,” she says, living a life good to her word.