Tel Aviv’s Eli Nissan Talks Sound of Lost & Found

We talk to club veteran Eli Nissan, whose meticulously crafted melodic house & techno has caught the ear of none other than Guy J.

11 min
Eli Nissan Beatport 1
Mar 24, 2022
Cameron Holbrook

Straight from the Israeli underground, Eli Nissan has been a staple of the Tel Aviv club scene for decades. Despite playing funk-infused rock & roll in renowned local band Portrait, Nissan was eventually pulled into Tel Aviv’s emerging dance music culture in the early 2000s. His penchant for Motown, disco, and house saw him quickly rise to the top of his city’s club circuit.

After years spent working behind the scenes as one of Israel’s most respected studio producers, Nissan was once again inspired to produce, and in 2015, he again rose through the ranks of Tel Aviv’s club scene, this time gaining widespread international recognition.

His perpetually groovy and blissful sound has landed him on labels like Behrouz’s Do Not Sit On The Furniture Recordings, Sebastien Leger’s Lost Miracle, and the imprint that he considers “home” amongst all others, Guy J’s Lost & Found — Beatport’s Label of the Month.

With a brand new album coming out on Lost & Found later this year, we caught up with Nissan to learn more about his dance music roots, Tel Aviv’s underground scene, how he first got linked up with Guy J’s label, what to expect from his new LP, and more.

Check out Eli Nissan’s ‘Lost & Found Top 20’ playlist on Beatport.
Eli Nissan Beatport 2

Hey Eli! Thanks so much for joining us. How has 2022 been treating you?

Hey, Beatport community! I’m so happy to be with you all here. 2022 is good so far. I’m focusing on the final details of my upcoming album. I hope that Corona is about to be over and I feel it’s the beginning of a new era with a lot of new music and new energies from the audience and the artists. I’m sure that both sides will appreciate every moment from now on.

Can you tell us a little bit about how you got your start in the Tel Avivian underground scene? How have you seen the city’s scene evolve?

I am originally a guitarist and songwriter and was in the past part of a very successful and famous band in Israel called Portrait. In the early 2000s, a very significant movement of electronic music started in clubs in Tel Aviv and I drifted and fell in love with the mesmerizing sound that was new to me at the time, and pretty quickly I found myself creating in the studio a few tracks influenced by electronic music along with my roots funk disco and rock & roll. The tracks were signed to labels that were prominent at the time, like Alola, Addictive and more, and played by all the international big DJs.

At the same time, I started DJing, gaining an audience and getting right into the scene and the bustling nightlife of the city. In 2006 I did not know if I was connected to it and decided to take a break and turned to the music business. Ten years later in 2016, I decided to go back and create electronic music influenced by close friends who exposed me again to this fascinating world. And since then I very quickly returned to play at the main clubs and parties in Tel Aviv. At the same time I signed my music on leading labels such as Rumors, Balance, Do Not Sit, Lost Miracle, and of course, the label that became my home, Guy J’s Lost and Found; and became an international artist with gigs all around the globe.

Tel Aviv scene is an amazing and inspiring city in many ways — culture, music, nightlife, etc — and we have a huge electronic scene that is well known all over the world, and the community gets bigger and bigger every day. You can go out here almost every day till morning and hear house and techno vibes in almost every place in the city. The crowd is warm and welcoming, and for me it’s the perfect city to live in.

Eli Nissan Beatport 3

How did you first get linked up with Guy J and his Lost & Found imprint?

Lost & Found was one of the main reasons that pulled me back to create electronic music. My very close friends Sahar Z and Guy Mantzur released an amazing album on the label called Time, and from there I was exposed to the amazing music and the other artists of the label, and of course to Guy J.

His music has blown my mind since then till now. I’ve sent him my music and a year after he signed my three-track EP called Liquid Stars.

Two years later I released a mini-album on his Found series including five tracks named “The Last Poem” “Arpu” “White Voodoo” “Naked” and “Helium Or Poly.” This release turned into a big success for me. Guy start to invite me to play at his beautiful We Are Lost Festival in Amsterdam, Toronto, Buenos Aires, and Los Angeles, and Lost & found parties on ADE and more.

For me, Lost & Found is a huge inspiration, and I consider Guy J one of the most influential artists on the scene. His music comes from the heart and touches so many people all over the world, and I am among them.

Tell us a bit more about your forthcoming album on Lost & Found. How would you characterize this new musical journey you’re gearing up to share with your fans?

For me, the fact that Guy chose me to make an artist album on the label is already a huge compliment that proves to me that the way I have done it in recent years was worth every moment. It’s my very first solo album ever and I’m very excited & looking forward to it. The album will be released in two steps. The first two teaser tracks later this month (March) and the whole album in June 2022. It will include 10 new original tracks and collaboration with two of my heroes and best friends Khen & Roy Rosenfeld.

It is a very personal album that expresses my deepest feelings and the hard days I’ve been through in the last two years with the Corona situation and its influence on my life. Some of the tracks I made in a few hours and some of them took me a few weeks. Khen & Roy was the first that heard the results helped me a lot with the process and gave me a lot of confidence. I hope that this album will reach the hearts of my fans and that music will reach more new audiences. I’m very proud of this album and can’t wait to share it with the world.

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What are your three most essential Lost & Found Records?

Chicola – Childhood

It’s very simple for me to say that this track is one of the best tracks ever made on Lost & Found, and in general, “Childhood” will definitely stay with me forever as a classic and timeless track.

Guy J – Lost & Found

It’s very simple for me to say that this track is one of the best tracks ever made on Lost & Found, and in general, “Childhood” will definitely stay with me forever as a classic and timeless track.

Guy J – Lost & Found

This is the first song on the label and I can not explain to the end why I love it so much; it is always relevant. Maybe it’s because of the authenticity in the wild production the erupting groove and of course the melody that is so characteristic of Guy J to this day.

Khen – Authentica

It was clear to me that I would choose Khen’s track from the perfect album One Day of Independence. This track is restrained and characterizes Khen’s genius as a great creator and melodist. The slow and sexy construction of the song reaches an overwhelming peak that fills the space in the club with raised hands and a desire to hear more from him. It is an immortal track that is always relevant to any DJ set.

What else can your fans expect to see from you this year?

This year I’ll be releasing more music on Armen Miran’s fine label, Hoomidass, and two more EPs that I can not reveal at the moment.

I will go on a tour around the release of the album and I hope to have exciting experiences and feel the crowd up close wishing us all a quiet year with lots of music and no unnecessary epidemics. Hugs and love, Eli!

Cameron Holbrook is Beatportal’s North American editor. Find him on Twitter.