Ape Records Release Debut EP APE Records Vol. 1 Today

APE is a new kind of record label, with a new way of getting things done. Founded by Tamir Muskat (Balkan Beat Box) and Eyal Gruenberg, APE Records is a hybrid between a production house, a music label, and a branding company. The label released their debut EP, APE Records Vol 1, a compilation of the first three singles with studio and live versions, today and it's available everywhere.

"A song is words and a beat - it's that simple," says Muskat. "It's been that way since people were living in caves. Call it hip-hop, call it what you want. Returning to the primal source and bringing back something new - that's what APE is about."

The primal creative force behind all APE projects is producer Tamir Muskat, founding member and drummer of Balkan Beat Box, as well one of Israel's leading music producers. Muskat's production credits outside of BBB include Asaf Avidan's last two albums, Different Pulses and Gold Shadow, J.U.F. (Gogol Bordello), Firewater, and much more. Eyal Gruenberg, co-founder of APE Records, is as business-minded as Muskat is creative. "The difference between APE and traditional labels is that we don't release albums - only singles," Gruenberg says. "And most songs are in English, so they have international appeal, but don't get pigeon-holed as 'world music'."

When APE launched, the producer wanted to challenge himself and his collaborators to exceed what they'd created in the past. "Making beats and combining sounds from all over was already part of my DNA," Muskat says. "But I was looking for a path to the next level." The search took time.

Muskat began crafting beats for his favorite artists, envisioning the wildest place they could go together - both musically and lyrically. "I was heading toward some imaginary zone in my head," the producer recalls. He could only hope that the artists would intuitively understand the destination. The process turned out easier than Muskat had anticipated. "Luckily, the artists loved the grooves. So that led to amazing lyrics. And then the music just flowed." This collaborative spirit is very much at the heart of the new release.

"My Boy" from Mariana Maximilian was the first release by the new label. Maximilian and Muskat wanted a vintage-sounding sample for the song, so the producer recorded and re-recorded into a tape machine until he found the perfectly damaged sound. Tamir's crazy beat painted a scene in my head, some mysterious environment with lots of action and movement," Marina says. The singer was several months pregnant while working on the single. "My unborn baby was always on my mind," she says. Through the writing process, Marina discovered the theme: carrying love from the inside to the outside. "I felt the melody should be a bit childish and repetitive. I guess the song is about the adventure that is life, but also the hidden dangers."

"Shooting the video was a bit weird. I was very pregnant," Marina remembers. "But I wasn't worried because I knew I was in good hands." The video also features Muskat's son, Ilya, playing a marching drum. "We both felt that Ilya could represent the idea of the imaginative kid, the one that is in Marina's head," Muskat says.

The second release was "I'm a Tribe" Featuring A-Aw by LOCO-HOT, comprised of Kahana (Girafot) and Tamir Muskat. The song was jump-started by Kahana's English lyrics, which A-Wa translated into Yemenite - riding on a custom Muskat beat. Kahana says his words originated from the idea that humanity is one tribe - despite the fact that societies can seem fragmented. A-Wa agrees: "We wanted to remind people of the true essence of why we are here: Love and unity."

The 'drop' (instrumental melody) was created by Muskat editing A-Wa's voices into a synth sound, then re-playing it like an instrument. From there on, A-Wa recalls, "We all worked together in the studio, brainstorming and developing the melodic structure." Kahana plays with lyrics as adeptly as Muskat manipulates beats and samples. "He's a master of his craft," Muskat says. "So working with him on ideas is amazing. Great stories just flow out of him!"

"Perfect is Dead" from RENNO, AKA Ran Shem Tov, lead singer of Izabo, is the third track on the compilation. "Renno is a personal hero of mine," producer Muskat says. "We were in a band together as teenagers, so there is a lot of mutual trust. He's like some kind of mad scientist." Renno played the violin on 'Perfect is Dead' with an invention he designed and built himself. "He's also a serious food freak," Muskat says. "And in some strange way it translates into his playing and production skills. Working with Renno is like being in the kitchen with a master chef."

All of the label's audio and visual content is written, created, and produced in collaboration with the artists, at APE Studios, Tel Aviv. In order to give fans an intimate look into each song and the way it was created, each APE single comes with a music video, a short 'making of' documentary, and a live version of the song. You can find the videos @APERecords on YouTube.

Track Listing

Marina Maximilian - My Boy

Loco Hot Feat. A-AW - I'm A Tribe

Renno Feat. Hen & Gili - Perfect Is Dead

Marina Maximilian - My Boy (Live in The Jungle Version)

Loco Hot Feat. A-AW - I'm A Tribe (Live in The Jungle Version)

Renno Feat. Hen & Gili - Perfect Is Dead (Live in The Jungle Version)

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