We sat down with Tel Aviv & Berlin based Keren Dunietz and Yuvi (Rejoicer) of ‘Buttering Trio’ to talk origins, influences & what we can expect from them in 2020.
Let’s start with the name ‘Buttering Trio.’ What’s the story behind it?
Yuvi: We started the band in Berlin, and there was a bakery in the corner of the street where we lived. They used to sell a bread called ‘Butter-Ring.’ It’s a round butter bread; Kind of like a bagel but sweeter and with butter. So, we felt like it was perfect for us. And, we’re a trio, so ‘Buttering Trio.’
Were there other names that you came close to calling yourself?
Yuvi: Sure! It was ‘Schrippen’
Keren: There’s also a Soundcloud Page of the same name, I think!
Yuvi: Yeah, ‘Schrippen’ means Bun.
It’s always been about bread, then?
Yuvi: (Laughs) I guess!
Isn’t it a bit surreal to know that you guys are four albums in and quite possibly making the next one? Did you think this is where you’d be when you were jamming in that berlin basement?
Yuvi: Yeah, I was pretty sure we were going to do something like that. We started jamming because we had a lot of ideas for albums, and we still do.
Keren: Every step of the way of becoming more serious was a surprise to me. If I remember correctly, there was no ambition whatsoever (for me, at least). I was excited to make music and then play/release it, but this scope of staying and continuing to release so many years in is surreal to me.
Can you tell us a little bit about Tel Aviv and how you guys met?
Keren: Yuvi and I went to high school together, many many years ago. And we were friends in High School.
Yuvi: Yeah, we were friends in high school.
Keren: We smoked a lot of bongs and fooled around a bit. Right, Yuvi? (Laughs) But then, a few years after high school, we met at a Gaslamp Killer and Gonjasufi Show.
After many years of not meeting, I discovered that Yuvi and the guys were putting together some exciting music at Raw Tapes. He also introduced me to ‘Flying Lotus’ in 2010. I was like, “This is crazy shit.” And this marked the beginning for me.
What was it like growing up in Tel Aviv? Any stories you want to share with us?
Keren: I only have embarrassing ones (Laughs). For me, Tel Aviv was crazy cool. I grew up in a suburb close to the city. When I was 14, I went to an arts high school in Tel Aviv. I remember being very intensely open to the city, whether it was going clubbing when I was 14 or trying to get into parties (and getting refused) with my very weirdly dressed city friends.
You three are unique individuals with your influences and solo projects. How does that translate into a buttering trio studio session?
Yuvi: I think that it depends! Sometimes, we’ll go to the studio and have two songs in a day, and sometimes we’ll try the whole day and not get anything. So, it depends on the mood. It’s a lot about Keren because she writes the lyrics to our songs. We can do a beautiful instrumental, but it’s really up to Keren to finish and make a song out of it.
What’s the shortest time it’s taken you to create something meaningful and unique?
Yuvi: I think a third of a day.
Keren: 3 Hours. 3-4 Hours
Yuvi, this one is for you. Being a part of the esteemed ‘Stones Throw’ roster, have there been any studio sessions with other artists from ‘Stones Throw’ that we don’t know about or unreleased music that has been shelved for now.
Yuvi: There’s a new Rejoicer album coming out in February on Stones Throw; Keren is featured on it as well… ‘Yogi’ from ‘Raw Tapes’ and ‘Jenny Penkin’ as well. I did some stuff with a bass player named Sam Wilkes (Very talented…He also plays with Louis Cole and Jacob Collier). I’ve done a whole bunch of things with guys like Mndsgn, Koreatown Oddity. I’m very humbled to be a part of this roster.
If you had the chance to put any two people in the studio together, who would it be and why?
Keren: In a kinky way? (Laughs)
Yuvi: I like Arvo Pärt. Him with someone. Keren, do you know Arvo Part?
Keren: I don’t know him. Send me something.
Yuvi: I’ll send you, but you know his music!
Yuvi: When we started Buttering, we were really into the ‘Georgia Anne Muldrow’ album. We used to listen to Georgia all the time, along with the first ‘Little Dragon’ album.
Keren: I’ve been listening to some beautiful artists, lately. There’s a singer called Jessica Pratt; She’s been on repeat for months now.
Yuvi: She’s good. Very simple folk songs!
Keren: So amazing. Karen Dalton as well. Very womanly, natural songwriting, and singing.
Can you talk to us a little bit about your latest release, “Sail with me”?
Yuvi: It’s a track we made on a beautiful day with Amir Bresler, the drummer, and Beno, of course. The four of us got into the studio and made two songs. The other song is called ‘Succulent’ and will be out in a few months. It was a lot of fun to put together. I remember Keren and Beno talking about making the song about a boat or the sea. Something like that. Right, Keren?
Keren: Yeah, I don’t know. I was looking for a lead on where to start the story. As soon as we found the harmony, I said, “This is going to be beautiful,” and I started writing until the song finished. Based on the melody, Beno said, “It’s like sailing a boat,” and Yuvi’s dad is a seaman, so it made sense. Yuvi, can I tell him a story about his boat?
Keren: Yuvi’s dad had been building a boat/catamaran for many, many years; 30 or 40 years. He finally got it into the water up north from Tel Aviv. Sadly, One or two days after it went into the water, there was a massive fire, and the boat was engulfed in flames. It was such a devastating story, and it touched me, I think. The inspiration for “Sail with me” comes from this tragic but true story.
Do you a pre-album release ritual at all?
Keren: No ritual. We meet a lot, Yuvi and I, at least. Beno just had a second child, and he’s a bit less available. But, Yuvi and I meet a lot because we also work on ‘Raw Tapes’ together.
How would you say the sound that you’re creating right now has changed from your last full length “Threesome.”
Yuvi: Well, there’s a big difference because we’re starting to do songs with a drummer. We had the drums programmed on all our previous albums. That’s quite a significant change for me.
Keren: We’re also looking for a bit more harmony. I feel like we’re going further away from crispy beats and loops and closer to organic harmonies. An actual song you can play on the piano.
What do you guys do when you’re not making music?
Yuvi: I like Yoga. I do yoga. Um, what else? Music and Yoga.
Keren: I like to cook. I bake quite a bit — lots of Sourdough bread.
I want to talk to you about your record collections. Are there albums on there that you would protect with your life?
Yuvi: Hmm. With my life? No. I just got my hands on a ‘Michou’ Album from the Reunion Islands in Africa. It’s a record I found in Paris, and it’s one of my favourites now.
Do you have any weird, embarrassing, or unexpected things that have happened to you on tour?
Yuvi: Good Question. Sometimes, I don’t get my luggage. I remember we bought a train ticket to Japan and we didn’t understand that it was the return ticket as well. We ended up re-buying the return ticket.
Keren: Sometimes, we fly low cost, and one time, they didn’t let us take Beno’s guitar up on the plane. So, we go to the counter and start arguing with them.
Yuvi: Was it Air-Berlin or something like that?
Keren: Yes, I think it was Air Berlin. Yuvi started to fight with the counter guy, and we were no closer to resolving the issue. At some point, Yuvi said something to the Air-Berlin staff that has stayed with us until this day. He said, “This is our work! You’re messing with our work. You know what, I come now and sh*t in your office.” and we were like, “Oh no, Yuvi, Don’t, don’t! Don’t sh*t in his office!”
What is your Favourite Album?
Keren: ‘Chet Baker -It could happen to you’
Yuvi: Off the top of my head, I like ‘Jazz in Silhouette – ‘Sun Ra’
Do you have any parting words for people that are reading this interview?
Keren: Keep it natural, the love for music. Anything you do. Don’t force it.
Yuvi: Do some Yoga. Mum teaches Yoga in Himachal Pradesh, not too far from Dharamshala. She was there last in October. We’ve done two shows in India till date. Naveen from Mixtape brought us down. And the girl that worked with Mixtape, very cool girl…she did our tour managing. We were blessed to work with these people.
Keren: I don’t remember anything. It’s all a blur.
Yuvi: That’s because you smoke weed all the time.
Keren: That’s not true. I don’t smoke at all!
Words by Akhil Hemdev