Erez Safar is busy these days. Known also by his stage name, Diwon, Safar, along with being a DJ and producing his own music,
is the founder and director of Shemspeed (largest, most diverse Jewish music site), Modular Mood Records (an independent record label), Hip Hop Sulha, and The Sephardic Music Festival.
His album “Shir HaShirim,” with Benyamin Brody and Dugans, is coming out later this month. In it, Brody sings the entire Song of Songs with Diwon providing the beats.
Currently on the South by Southwest Tour in Texas, Safar gladly sat down to answer a couple of questions for us.
Jeremy Moses: Producing an album of a book from the Tanakh (Hebrew Bible) is a novel idea. How did the idea come about? Did you approach Brody? Or was it the other way around?
Erez Safar: I heard Benyamin singing Lecha Dodi to this Akon song and was blown, so I remixed it and put it out there (song is featured below). I then invited him to my studio to listen to some of my music and there was this one beat that I played him that was very meditative, a sort of beat that one could listen to on repeat throughout a night. He looked over and said, “I could sing Shir HaShirim to this!”.Â I was thinking this is perfect because I had always wanted to do a beat driven, meditative Moroccan album and so we hit the studio a few days later.
JM: When I was a little kid, my friends and I would sit in the back of synagogue and read Shir HaShirim, thinking we were huge rebels. When listening to the tracks, I couldnâ€™t help but feel that same sexuality in your music. Did you and Brody purposely make the music sound sexual or is it just me?
ES: The music is definitely sensual. I wouldn’t say sexual. It’s more meditative. The idea was to make an album you could listen to and be put into a trance throughout. The singing has a sensualness to it, with that style of crying out and the music is a bit seductive. But more in line with the interpretation of Shir being a love song to God. This album is definitely a project driven by our love for God and our desire to awaken souls to the oneness of it all and God consciousness.