I recently got to catch up with the new addition to Marc B Music, bassist Yoni Berk, and ask him a couple of questions in order to introduce him. We met Yoni while he was playing with another band that Marc had played with a couple times in Santa Barbara, and we are thrilled to say that we were able to acquire Yoni after his former band took a permanent hiatus.
His addition to Marc’s music thus far has been great, as his first time playing with Marc and Maxx (percussion) was in the studio for Marc’s upcoming track Mr. American, which was recorded for Solutions for Dreamers : Season 3 (coming Spring 2010!). We pretty much knew from the collaboration at the studio that Marc, Maxx, and Yoni were born to play together, and Yoni bass playing at the live shows has really added a new element to Marc’s live sound, which we are all stoked on.
We have some video coming soon of the new band playing together, but for now..
Meet Yoni Berk:
Yoni with Pro Surfer Rochelle Ballard
Oniric Records: Who the eff are you?
Yoni Berk: I was raised in the San Francisco Bay Area to two Rabbis, and I moved to Santa Barbara to play music, philosophize on life, and teach.
What do you always have with you in your pocket?
David Alper’s dredlock.
How long have you and Marc been playing together?
We started playing together in November, but it feels like forever.
Most Life-Changing Music Moment?
Listening to Yankee Hotel Foxtrot by Wilco for the first time. I lied down in my bathtub fully clothed, no water, and put on headphones. Try this remedy. What Jeff Tweedy and Jay Bennett were able to accomplish with this work will forever stay with me. I also recommend doing this with any Gomez or Animal Collective album.
What are you listening to these days?
Well the list goes on and on. I’ve been trying to collect a lot of Israeli, African, and South American 1960’s pop/surf rock. Its been a blast so far being inspired by these genres.
So you don’t exactly look like a surfer, more like a yogi. Explain?
Well that’s because I haven’t surfed… yet! I’ll be hitting the waters of Santa Barbara in 2010 so I can start hitting up the waves we pass along our tour this upcoming year! I currently teach yoga in Santa Barbara and have been doing so for almost 3 years now. Yoga and music have become my calling over the last few years and I have never looked back. I enjoy finding ways to incorporate the two together. I get really into creating music playlists on my ipod for my yoga classes and I always play guitar, ukulele, or the harmonium while my students are in savasana (corpse pose).
Ok, back to music. What gear do you play on stage?
SDGR by Ibanez. A beautiful pearl white bass that sends me soaring.
I use a big ol’ Trace Elliott amplifier.
Soon I’m sure I’ll start bringing my Kamoa uke and Bina harmonium onstage as well.
What’s your favorite song to play at a gig?
“Summertime Flows”—That song is funky! It’s a kick to play and we rock out hard. You’ll hear it on the new album [Coming Summer 2010!].
Favorite show you’ve played?
By far, the show where we opened for Trevor Hall at the Dakota Lounge in Santa Monica. I have never experienced such an awesome crowd. The show was sold out, people were grooving, dancing, and chatting us up after the show. The Trevor’s band are great guys. Can’t wait to play more shows with them!
There’s a rumor going around that in addition to bass, you play ukulele. Is this true?
Yeah I play ukulele. I only took 6 months of bass guitar lessons then just learned the rest from playing in bands. I then taught myself guitar which made it easy for me to learn ukulele. My next goal was to teach myself harmonium which will I’m sure segway into piano. I also have hopes of learning trumpet and violin in the near future.
Any plans in the near future for you and Marc B?
Oh yeah. New Marc B Music is released in February on the Wailers’ compilation album, Oniric Records throws us in the studio for our debut full-length album recording session starting in February. (I cannot wait to get into the studio.) We then hit up Costa Rica in March and back to Hawaii and through California in Spring. Album is out in June, and hopefully a national tour this summer to go along with it, but I can’t say much about that.
Follow Yoni on Twitter or shoot him an email to get in touch.