HomeMARCH 2024Back to the Future Sound

Back to the Future Sound

Photo by Eyal Marilus

Nir Ben Ami is an electronic music producer and the man responsible for the polished production of Offer Nissim’s work over the past 7 years. He is the CEO and founder of the production company WE 2050, whose music has appeared in advertisements the likes of Louis Vuitton and Prada. Even Elon Musk has admired Ben Ami’s work and took his music to the launch event of Tesla’s innovative Cybertruck.

    The world of electronic music has undergone significant upheavals in the last two decades. DJs have become sought-after producers who collaborate with top pop artists and headline massive festivals worldwide. The standouts among them are even responsible for entire musical soundtracks.

Photo by Eyal Marilus

  One of them is the Israeli music producer Nir Ben Ami, who creates, writes, and produces a variety of musical projects worldwide. I sat down for a transatlantic interview with Ben Ami from his home studio in Israel. Old-school classic synthesizers and an electronic music keyboard sit behind him which are used to form his unique sound—a combination of classic sounds alongside modern beats, all wrapped up in a gritty, apocalyptic package.
Nir Ben Ami, Age: 40 Location: Kfar Saba, Israel Music genre : Synthwave, Pop, EDM & Cinematic:
    As I sit down to reflect on my musical journey, I can’t help but think back to my childhood in Kfar Saba, where my love for music first took root. My parents, G-d bless them, tried to steer me towards piano and guitar lessons at a young age. However, I never quite clicked with my piano teacher, and mastering the guitar proved to be a challenge. Nevertheless, the music that filled our home left an indelible mark on me. 
    You see, my father worked at JVC back in the day—a company that imported video equipment and sound systems. We had a reel-to-reel tape recorder in our living room, and every Saturday I would wake up to the sounds of “The White Shadow” series and music from the 60s. That sound became synonymous with Shabbat for me. Over time, I developed a fascination with film soundtracks. What captivated me was the emotional depth they brought to the films, filling every inch of space with feeling. A movie without music, no matter how good, just wasn’t the same as one with a quality soundtrack; a film with a memorable score is one that truly breaks boundaries. I would spend hours upon hours listening to soundtracks, especially those from “Star Wars” and “Jurassic Park.”

A Surprise “Test drive” with Offer Nissim
Nir: Later on, I stumbled on electronic music—a genre that would change everything for me. I became obsessed with The Prodigy, a band that brought with it the entire jungle genre and a plethora of samples, along with the Chemical Brothers, and later I found the unique vibe of Daft Punk. These were the things I listened to extensively, alongside some gritty, distorted rock.
    I started working as a DJ under the name “Nirious” and performed in clubs all over Tel Aviv: THE OMAN 17, “The Cat and the Dog,” “Penguin,” and any venue that would have me. It was going really well. While juggling recordings and club gigs, I felt a growing need to create my own original music because at that time I felt like just another guy playing someone else’s music—something any other DJ could do. It didn’t excite me. So, I began to learn to produce music on my own. As the years went by, production took up more space in my life, and my work as a DJ took a back seat.
    At some point, I felt confident enough to leave DJing altogether. It was good because DJing felt like a golden cage. During that period, I unexpectedly met the most successful producer and DJ in Israel—Offer Nissim—a meeting which took my career to a completely different level.”

Photo by Eyal Marilus

Elad.: How did you end up working with Offer Nissim?
Nir: When I started to dive into the world of production, I met Ania Bukstein (actress and singer) through a mutual friend. Ania approached me and said, “I did ‘Dance’ with Offer Nissim, and I want to make a version of it in a more festival style.”
    She came to my previous studio, which was then on Rothschild Street in Tel Aviv. I plugged in the USB she brought with her, opened the project and noticed that the two most important channels were empty. I told her that I needed the information on those channels and she replied, “Wait a minute, I’ll call Offer.” She asked him if she could come to him and copy the project again. So, within half an hour, I found myself at Offer Nissim’s house. It was surreal.
    I re-backed up the USB and finished the work in five minutes. I was ready to leave when Offer approached me and said, “I see you’re good with Cubase.” I replied that I had been working with the software for years. And then he said, “Ok let’s do a surprise test.” Offer asked me to open a song he was working on, which was a track featuring Maya Simantov. Immediately, I noticed that the bass and vocals weren’t quite right. I started tweaking, adding EQ and compressors, and Offer said, “Wow, that’s fast and good. Can you come back tomorrow and start working?” Of course, I agreed right away. Since then, seven years have passed, and together we’ve produced dozens, if not hundreds, of tracks. Even Erez Eisen from Infected Mushroom heard our music in Tesla commercials and called to praise us. He told me he really liked what he heard and that what we were doing in 2050 was insane and that we would be huge. When the two biggest names in electronic music to ever come out of Israel compliment you like that, it definitely boosts your confidence and gives you the motivation to keep going.
WE 2050 – Retro music from the future
Production Company 2050 – Over 1200 musical pieces in two and a half years
Nir: The idea for establishing 2050 came during the Coronavirus pandemic; when festivals and clubs were among the first places to close, and audiences of tens of thousands simply disappeared. This led to producers of parties and DJs in Israel and abroad finding themselves without work.
    Ben Ami told me that this period inspired him to think about how to develop his career as a producer and take it to the next level. “I realized that maybe I can’t do parties, but media, advertising, television, and YouTube were still going strong, maybe even stronger than before. I decided to team up with my good friend Rami Shalom, who became a partner, in a company dealing with music catalogs and creating music for series and films. It closed the circle for me because I always wanted to make soundtracks for movies.

Elad: Where did the name 2050 come from?
Nir: I’m a person who loves ecology and science. I’m fascinated by all the processes happening on Earth, especially global warming. Scientists say that in 2050, it will be a turning point in terms of the relationship between humanity and the Earth. If we don’t change our way of life here, stop polluting, and exploiting all the resources of the Earth, then we’re doomed.
    The idea of the turning point in 2050 gave me a lot of inspiration because the date is in the future, and I make futuristic music that also incorporates a lot of retro elements. The concept of the first album we made at 2050, called Dance Cyborg, deals with the day after—what will happen to humanity. The first track is called “Leaving Earth,” and the closing track is called “The Last Dance.” It’s an apocalyptic album whose definition, names, and atmosphere describe a situation where humanity has moved to another star and a spaceship drifting in space as everyone looks for another place to live. It’s an album that speaks about the end of the world.

Elad.: How do you market your music?
Nir: The music of 2050 is found in dozens of catalogs like ‘Artlist’ and ‘Storyblocks,’” which are giant companies that serve as intermediaries between us and the clients. Our music is in their digital catalog, and from there, companies that need music can download it, and we receive royalties for the use of the tracks. The challenge was to succeed in getting gigs and work outside of these catalogs.
    Fortunately, after a period of starring in numerous advertisements for brands worldwide, we started receiving requests by email for custom work according to the client’s requirements, and that’s how the 2050 brand grew and grew. The amounts of our streaming abroad are enormous and unimaginable.
    Our music is playing on TikTok, Instagram, and YouTube. We have millions of streams.

Photo by Eyal Marilus

Elad: Which companies are using your music?
Nir: Our music has gained a strong foothold in the automotive and fashion industries. The global giant Peugeot fell in love with our music and has used it in their stories, TV commercials, and YouTube videos repeatedly. On the company’s website, there are banners with our music.
    Tesla, Elon Musk’s giant company, also discovered 2050’s music and became a loyal customer. They use our music in all their corporate events that are streamed online and garner millions of views. This includes the grand launch event of their new Cybertruck and the famous video in which Tesla’s car competes head-to-head against Porsche’s 911. Following the huge exposure, many artists and companies are looking for us on YouTube. Giants like Mercedes, Lamborghini, Bugatti, Ferrari and Formula 1, and we see the numbers rising accordingly. In 2050’s first 2 years of operation, we produced about 1,200 tracks, which is incomprehensible.

Elad:  Lastly, as part of your career abroad, is there an artist you dream of working with?
Nir: The big dream is to work with Hans Zimmer, who is, of course, one of the greatest film score composers in the world. But if we come back down to earth, there’s the producer Pryda, or by his real name, Eric Prydz. He grew up in Sweden but moved to Los Angeles years ago. He’s super talented, has an excellent sound, and takes the listener on a wonderful journey with each track. He’s a master of structure and processing, and among the few producers I can listen to from start to finish without skipping ahead. He has a charm that’s hard to explain.
    Another thing that sets him apart is his amazing visuals in his shows. When he’s in the DJ booth, there’s a fine mesh around him projecting stunning digital graphics, figures, and video art effects. It creates an illusion as if he’s inside an amazing hologram; the entire show is an incredible visual spectacle. He has insane events with a devoted audience following him with tremendous enthusiasm. Every time he performs in Europe, I fly to see him. Even people who don’t like electronic music come to see his amazing visuals. Pryda has taken the art of DJing at a party to another level. I would be happy to come to the Isle and work with him. Without a doubt, the visuals and technology in his shows have inspired us, and I see us doing something similar in the future shows of 2050.

Elad Massuri is a contributing writer to Jlife Magazine.


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