Interview: Arli Liberman – Soundscape musician
New Zealand-based soundscape guitarist Arli Liberman has just released his new album Allegra and announced he’s joining the international Wanderlust circuit (which makes him kind of a big deal!), with shows coming up across the US, Europe, Canada and Australia, with additional performances scheduled in New York, Malibu and Colorado.
Playing solo sets as well as performances alongside yoga and meditation classes, Arli has been capturing the attention of top instructors around the yoga world for his captivating sets which blend his Middle Eastern heritage and Western influences.
I struggle to do yoga in complete silence, so I love doing my self-practice at home to Arli’s music. Allegra is currently my go-to album, and his unique sound is perfect for asana practice or meditation.
I caught up with Arli for a chat about yoga, music and life transformations.
Tell me about your yoga and music journeys – how did they start?
My musical journey started when I had a play around with some of my brother’s equipment. He was experimenting with electronic music at the time and left his programme on with a very lush and wide synth sound. I put on the headphones and just held down one key – I remember how it opened up this world of frequency for me, and I remember the sense of satisfaction it brought me. From there, I went on to learn the guitar.
My yoga journey started a few years ago due to constant lower back pain. I had a highly sugary, carby and smoky lifestyle at the time and I didn’t feel like I was living to my physical and mental capacity – understatement. As a very energetic person, I felt like a big change needed to happen, and it was my wife who pushed me to try yoga for the first time. I also gave up smoking. It’s really hard to put into words the transformation this move has created – one that eventually lead into this whole new dimension of my music career.
Today, what does yoga and meditation mean to you personally?
It’s being in a process that enables me to be me, without any disturbance and interference. Just accepting myself as I am. I accept and embrace the changes and growth that I accrue through the spontaneity that this world is offering me.
Does yoga help provide inspiration for your music or the other way around? Are they interconnected areas of your life?
My yoga journey is definitely split in two worlds. One is the body journey – it’s a practice where I’m trying to keep my mind quiet and I don’t want to have any conversation with myself. The other side is my sonic yoga world where I provide a frequency vehicle, either performing alongside a teacher or by myself, to help people stay in that quiet place in the mind. These two worlds interact and affect each other, but I’m working quite hard to keep them separate.
Do you have any particular favourite yoga styles and if you have a yoga or meditation self-practice, what do you typically do?
I would typically do self-practice, so if I do practice at home it would be towards the firey vinyasa and if I take a class I would have more joy going towards to the luna-yin type of practice.
How do you keep yourself healthy?
By staying away from things that are in packages and processed, and no refined sugars as much as I can. I constantly try to stay active and stimulate the body and the mind in different ways and make sure that I’m putting the effort in to stay happy.
What do you splurge on when it comes to health and fitness?
It seems like the most expensive stuff in this industry is the clothes! You can’t find good, quality clothes for cheap but to tell the honest truth, I haven’t brought many new things recently because I happen to work around a lot of generous people who have sorted me out with some great gear.
You’ve performed at some incredible international yoga and music festivals – how do you stay grounded when there’s so much going on in life?
It’s a never-ending learning process of how to stay grounded for me. I’m tapping into very powerful and moving experiences where people are actually thinking that I’m the one that’s changing something in their life. The only way for me to ground myself is to constantly remind myself that this is not me, I just happen to be driving the vehicle/vessel that navigates some people into their resulting epiphanies or bliss.
Congratulations on joining the international Wanderlust circuit – do you get to experience it as part of the crowd as well, or is it all business? What do you love most about performing at Wanderlust?
Playing for a festival like Wanderlust demands me to give 120% of myself to the giant web of positivity and almost euphoria that goes in the air at this type of festival. It kind of exhausts me physically, so for some reason I end up having a quiet practice in my hotel room to decompress when I’m at these events.
The thing I love most about performing at Wanderlust is the feeling of a collective. It’s not like many other festivals – there is a lot of exercise that comes with it so there’s a pretty amazing amount of collective endorphins. When you have 3000 people buzzing out together from pure physical ecstasy, it creates an overwhelming positive environment that also creates an extremely fertile ground for anything that you want or need to grow.
What can we expect to hear from your new album Allegra?
What some people don’t realize is my music is made solely by guitars, and I utilise loops and pedals to create really expansive soundscapes. Allegra represents a bigger, bolder and darker sound than my last album Fata Morgana – and I don’t mean dark in a negative way, there’s no light without darkness and exploring those deeper elements can be a really beautiful thing. My music is a bit of a juxtaposition – it’s the kind of sound that can empower words but also empower silences, it’s elastic music for transforming moods.
Image / Ali Kaukas 2016