Yuval Ron is a guitarist, composer and band leader. He started his musical journey at the age of 11 and since then he has been active as a player, songwriter, leader and sideman in local bands which played a variety of styles in metal music and hardcore.
After being exposed to a myriad of artists from the contemporary jazz, progressive rock and metal genres, he decided to take on the route of jazz improvisation and has since gained some unique approaches to jazz and guitar performance. Yet for most Yuval is a self-taught musician, exploring the endless boundaries of his instrument and music as a whole. Later on, he kept expressing much of his musical vision through his band Yuval Ron & Residents Of The Future, while working on other collaborations and solo projects.
Touring worldwide, Yuval has performed in some of the major Jazz and music festivals and has recorded several albums and live videos with his band.
Yuval is also vegan and an active supporter of animal rights.
The album he recorded under the name of Yuval Ron & Residents of the Future titled Residence of the Future is available in entirety as a free download for everyone who subscribes to Ron’s newsletter.
In 2013 the band teamed up with vocalist Tammy Schaffer to record a single named “Flags”. The song has been featured on our Progstravaganza XV: Ascension compilation, and Yuval was kind enough to answer the questionnaire.
How did you come to do what you do?
I’ve been playing music since a very young age. I picked up the guitar at age eleven and by fifteen already played in different metal and hardcore bands. I was crazy about anything from Slayer, Metallica and Sepultura to black and death metal. In a sense this music will always be at my root. Later on, I discovered Cynic, and that has opened a whole new world to me, namely Jazz, Fusion, Progressive Rock/Metal and the likes. I started taking jazz lessons, realizing that the definition of rhythm and harmony is practically infinite. At that time I discovered Chick Corea, Dave Liebman, Allan Holdsworth, John Coltrane, Bruford, ELP and so many other musicians who inspired me. I was fascinated with free jazz, avantgarde and 20th century composers and admired their genius and courage to explore new territories.
In 2003 I formed Yuval Ron & Residents Of The Future, and shortly afterwards we began performing and recorded our first EP “Futuristic Worlds Under Construction”. Since 2006 we are performing worldwide and appeared on many jazz festivals and venues. The next album was “Residence Of The Future” which was released in 2012 and can be now downloaded directly from my website. The lineup has changed a few times but the spirit of the music remained the same – going in the direction of creative, electric, somewhat sci-fi set. I am now working on new material, which takes me forever but I do intend to record new music and videos in the coming year.
What is your first musical memory?
I was two years old or so, playing vinyls on my father’s record player. I remember it was Beethoven and Manhattan Transfer. My childhood was generally full of terrific music.
What does progress in music represent to you?
I used to believe that innovation and progress are any musician’s ideal goals, because all great artists have those properties in common. But it’s not exactly like that. Every person is special, and those great artists who truly connect with their inner voice let their uniqueness out in ways that people perceive as “progress”. The reality is that they are just expressing themselves in a very coherent and genuine way, and those voices are then influencing others and make the musical progress happen.
Where do you draw your inspiration from?
Mainly real life, non-musical experiences. Places I visit, people I meet, things I do. Of course, it often happens that I just play the guitar and hit on some cool new ideas to explore and incorporate into my expression palette.
What message does the song on our latest Progstravaganza compilation carry?
It is definitely a social and even political message. Being vegan and animal rights activist since a few years now, I have realized that the way animals are being treated in our society is just the tip of the iceberg and in a sense we are also seen by corporations and governments as tools, products or purely obedient workforce whose sole purpose is to generate revenues (just as we treat farm animals and sometimes other humans). We are required to live by national, cultural and for some people also religious standards while behind all this there is a huge global plutocratic network driven by a few super rich people. So Flags is about those networks of wealth and power who basically live on our expense but couldn’t care less about us.
Do you tend to follow any pre-defined patterns when composing a piece?
There are just a few guidelines and they are mostly not about particular composing or arrangement techniques but rather about the content. I usually start composing pieces from their title. Only when I have a good motivating title I try to figure out how it sounds, which ideas belong there and so on. To me music doesn’t just exist by itself in the void. So it’s quite important to have a motive, something to write about before actually starting to work. Hence the colorful and often detailed titles of my tunes, such as “Bionic Rabbit Under Attack”, “Objects In The Mirror Are Larger Than They Appear”, “Residence Of The Future” etc. Those titles were there before the actual pieces were composed. Apart from that I try to compose from the point, the most important moment of the piece or at least one of them, and then connect the dots with further ideas.
What is your method of songwriting?
It’s rare that I actually write songs with lyrics, so Flags was an exception and considering that I think it went quite well. Gifted songwriters to me are true magicians because I myself can’t just take a text and compose good music that fits it. I can only do it the other way around and that also takes me some good deal of effort. Then again, when I was writing the lyrics for Flags I used a similar technique that I have in music composition – I started to write from some important key lines, and then other line parts, that later I have completed the gaps. It was quite interesting to convert this composition method into songwriting. I have actually rewritten the song because we weren’t entirely happy with the first version and also the melody didn’t fit Tammy’s natural range. I will be happy at some point to learn that art in a more profound way with a real songwriting musician.
How do you see your music evolving?
As far as Residents Of The Future are going, I’ve been listening a lot lately to more classical and orchestral music. For example I am hooked on Gustav Holst and his Planets masterpiece. This makes me think that if I could take some of these ideas there and implement them in my music, especially that kind of approach to rhythm, harmony and texture, that will be a fascinating direction. Even in Flags, if you listen carefully you can hear that the bass part is tonally different than the rest of the voicings, creating this kind of bi-tonal or upper structure color which you can often find in modal jazz, contemporary music works and the likes. The real challenge however is not to think of those ideas but rather to implement them musically in a way that is serving what you really want to say.
On another direction, as mentioned earlier I am vegan and involved in animal rights activities, which in some ways are quite the opposite of the kind of music I used to do until now – it requires you to be much more down to earth, much less of an escapist and willing to look with wide open eyes at the essentially brutal and negative sides of our culture, in order to change them. The more attached I get the more personal it becomes for me and the emotions that come out of that should also find their outlet in the music. But this kind of expression will require a different project because it is not likely to fit Residents Of The Future’s musical scheme.
What advice would you give to other musicians, trying to make inspired music and get it out in the world?
Don’t be afraid to try funny, weird, ridiculous or foolish ideas and to go all the way with them. We are living in a very special time and that calls for utter creativity and leadership. Those ideas, if genuine and authentic, will become the new truth.
What are you looking forward to?
A lot actually. The world is changing every day and most of it is for the better. I look forward for my music as well as others to become a part of that new culture. On the personal level I hope to be able to work on new projects, practice so many new ideas and play a lot of gigs. How original!
Yuval Ron & Residents of the Future on the web: