Israeli duo Lola Marsh have successfully turned heartbreak into their dynamic, groovy and heartfelt album, ‘Someday Tomorrow Maybe’.
Stream: ‘Someday Tomorrow Maybe’ – Lola Marsh
What would you say about the following scenario:
Soon after a band gets together, its two main songwriters start dating…
Perhaps you’d say “Well, it’s risky but it’s been done before. Sonny and Cher, Fleetwood Mac and The White Stripes to name a few, were all romantically connected.” True.
But what if you heard that this couple eventually broke up, kept the band together, and went on to release an album specifically dealing with the sore subjects of heartache and the end of a relationship?
Perhaps you’d say (paraphrasing), “Poppycock! How could that work in such an emotionally charged, artistic and expressive scenario? No, it won’t work.”
While this might be true for the majority of bands in our musiverse, it isn’t for Israeli born folksie, retro, cinematic indie pop duo, Lola Marsh.
You told me you’re
in love with someone else
And I just looked at you
the way I always do
Your words floated
carelessly into space
And landed on the heart
I saved for you
Made up of former lovers and current band members Yaeli Cohen and Gil Landau, Lola Marsh have successfully climbed over what seems to have been an impossible hurdle.
Ending their romantic relationship after releasing their first album Remember Roses (2017), Lola Marsh has recovered and have just released their second album, Someday Tomorrow Maybe (released January 24, 2020 via Anova Music). An album which actually delves deeply into Lola Marsh’s thoughts and emotions in response to their break up. An amazing earful of insightful and bravely honest lyrics set alight by a tapestry of sweepingly cinematic and retrofied pop grooviness may have a generous dose of melancholy incorporated throughout its soundscape but that’s not the feeling we take away after a good listen.
Maybe it’s because Lola Marsh have figured out how to make this all work, but after listening to Someday Tomorrow Maybe one is left with the kind of peaceful, grounded and hopeful joy that comes in the hours following a dramatic storm.
It’s the story of survival as a result of going through the difficult times to get to the other side as opposed to just going around them, ignoring emotions and hoping it will all just go away.
On top of weathering this storm, Lola Marsh has put out some amazing music which has garnered them international attention and not to mention a lot of good times along the way. Atwood Magazine took the opportunity to spend some time with Lola Marsh, find out the secrets to their success and dig deeper into their latest release, Someday Tomorrow Maybe.
A CONVERSATION WITH LOLA MARSH
Atwood Magazine: I’m so excited to speak to you! I’ve been listening to your music for a long time and I love your new album, Someday Tomorrow Maybe. I was wondering, this title reminds me so much of thoughts I think on a regular basis regarding the future. What does Someday Tomorrow Maybe mean to you? How does it pertain to the themes you write about in this album which are generally a retrospective?
Yaeli Cohen: Lots of times when we write, I can speak for myself personally, I don’t really think about or plan what I am going to write. I go with my feelings and I don’t ask too many questions. I think a lot of these songs were written while we were in a certain mood. We caught the mood in a song. The title of the album is actually the name of a song that didn’t make it onto the album. It’s a beautiful song actually maybe it will make it onto the next album.
I look forward to hearing it.
Cohen: Thank you! Something about this title felt epic.
Gil Landau: Like a James Bond movie or something.
Cohen: But it has sort of a comic feel to it. Like someday… tomorrow… maybe?!
Landau: I think every song on Someday Tomorrow Maybe sounds like a different scene from a movie. I also connected to the title. It’s like a wondering about the past about the future… about my life… I think there’s a lot of wondering in our songs.
So you’re connecting what happened in the past to what may happen in the future. That makes a lot of sense. So, if some of your inspirations are movies, let’s test my skills. When I first listened to Someday Tomorrow Maybe’s first release, “Echoes” it immediately sounded like it could’ve been off of the Pulp Fiction soundtrack. I shared it with a friend of mine in Europe who said exactly the same thing. And then … when I listened to “Darkest Hour” I immediately thought it sounded like a Moody Blues song. Am I close?
Cohen: WOW! So impressive Ilana! You know the references. Pulp Fiction, the Moody Blues and western films were some of the inspirations for this album for sure!
Landau: “Nights in White Satin” was one of the first songs that we both agreed, “this is the best song ever!” It took us some time to understand each other‘s taste in music. So after this, we could be like “Ok let’s do something together.”
This album tells so many stories about love and relationships. I know you two used to be a couple. And when I hear the lyrics to “Strangers on the Subway” that say, “You were my lover, you are my friend, you’re my brother till the end,” I imagine it’s the rhythm of your relationship. How do you move past the obvious hang ups of working together so closely after breaking up and moving on?
Cohen: We started as band members. In the beginning we were working together, then we became a couple, we broke up and we stayed in the band. And whenever people hear that we are in a band together and that we are exes they are shocked. And of course it is daily work and we are still working day after day on our relationship and trying to stay friends and trying to work in good vibes. We had tough times but I feel… Gil do you agree with me, it’s like a medicine. A medicine we took to ease the pain. I mean when you write a song, when you put your emotions in a song it helps you to connect to these feelings and let them come out. And talk about it and gather it inside of a song and it’s a beautiful thing to create. So of course this song is about us. You can hear in the lyrics “You were my lover, now my friend you are my brother till the end” and that’s referring to the songs. Our songs are our memories. And we will be connected through these songs forever.
“I see you standing in the crowd
I long to look into your eyes and try
To write for you some rhymes
So we could live forever
And the thought of you is making me high
I wasn’t ready to say goodbye”
Landau: Like Yaeli said, we started as a band and then we became a couple and then we broke up. We always say the band came first. Even when we were a couple we said that the band came first. Maybe that’s why it didn’t work out. There were difficult times after we broke up… It’s not natural to see your ex every day after you break up. We are very different people. And we write songs together. And we have good chemistry we just needed to figure out how to be “brothers till the end”. This song (“Strangers on the Subway”) and actually all of our songs that talk about relationships, it’s not necessarily about us being exes, it’s about being together with someone to create something for almost 10 years. It’s hard.
Cohen: You know, we had fights long before we were a couple.
Landau: We fight a lot actually. These days also. We try to manage it. Most of our fights are not about… “We used to be together!“ it’s more about “I want the tambourine in the second chorus!”
Cohen: It was always on these subjects!
Landau: You are right. When we were together it was also on these subjects.
So you are like family! You’ve succeeded at being like brothers and that means for the good and for the bad. We keep saying brothers and I think we should explain. In Hebrew the word for brother is אחי but the same word also means, “my buddy.”
Landau: Actually… Wow. I think this is the best analysis of this song.
In the same Paste interview you mentioned that you were inspired by each other for Someday Tomorrow Maybe. What exactly does that mean?
Landau: When I said that in the Paste interview I meant… See I have a lot of melodies in my head all the time. So what it means is that I’m actually trying to create a melody that I think Yaeli would like. So I’m trying to impress her.
Cohen: Yes. Both of us are like that.
Landau: We want to impress each other. And actually there’s a lot of times that I’m singing to myself a melody and thinking it’s shit. But then Yaeli hears it and says “oh wait a second stop saying that. Continue with this now it’s amazing!” It drives me to continue, to keep going. And vice versa. That’s what I meant.
Cohen: I think when we write music we get inspired by so many different things. And we are working so close together that sometimes we complete each other. Sometimes Gil will start something and I will finish it and the opposite is also true. We are so synchronized sometimes and this is inspiring to me. To have this partner, who is so synchronized with me, that we can complete each other’s sentences.
Landau: For example, we did something for the Israeli radio. I worked on it for like three days. We were working on it on the computer we both had all the instruments and only on the third day we had strings and guitars and we both looked at each other and we were like “OK now it’s our song.” And it was both of us together. Boom, we felt the same. Those are the most powerful moments.
Now that you explain it, it’s something I do all the time too. When I’m listening to music I think of the different people who might like it. It’s like you’re listening to it with their ears to find what they might think.
Cohen: Exactly. Every beautiful song I hear I want to play it for my good friends.
Story of my life! It’s a very special connection to find special people with whom to share your heart songs. Clearly one main theme of this album is connections and relationships. After listening to Someday Tomorrow Maybe addictively, it’s impossible to not notice the connections and relationships between the songs themselves and even with some songs on your first album, Remember Roses (2017). Was this intentional? If so, take me through this layer of your song writing process.
Landau: Uh, no?!
Cohen: I know about one song. I call them brother and sister songs: “She’s a Rainbow” (2017) and “Darkest Hour” (2020) are brother and sister.
Interesting! I wasn’t even thinking about those two songs.
Landau: Are we talking about the lyrics or the music?
Cohen: It’s both.
Landau: “Darkest Hour” and “She’s a Rainbow” are connected?
Cohen: I was talking about the melody. The lyrics are nostalgic in feeling… that is always there.
Landau: In the first album there were a lot of relationship topics.
What I am referring to is that in “Echoes” you ask, “where are you tonight?” And then there’s another song on Someday Tomorrow Maybe called, “Where Are You Tonight?” In “Only For A Moment” you reference a bluebird which is the title of a song on Remember Roses. In the song “Darkest Hour” you say “in the morning”, and “In the Morning” is the title of an instrumental track on Someday Tomorrow Maybe.
Cohen: All of what you said, we did it on purpose. When I wrote about a bluebird in “Only For a Moment” I thought about the song “Bluebird” from Remember Roses.
Landau: But, Yaeli, “Darkest Hour,” “You Are Mine” and “In The Morning” are connected?
Cohen: What do you mean?
Landau: I am asking you, are they connected?
Cohen: Yup! Ilana, I really like that you noticed this.
Hahah! It was so fun for me to try to figure this out. I was like, “wait a minute, Aha!” Like I had a map of all of your work and I was using string to connect all the pieces like a detective!
Cohen: Hahaha. These songs were all ours so, some things we meant to connect and other things I think are just in our minds.
I think it means the lyrics are woven through your souls. Because as you say, you’re the writers and it’s all connected somehow. One day you’ll realize what it all means. Were you both in the Israeli army?
How has your army training prepared you for being on tour?
Cohen: Hahahah Hahahaha! I mean, it was for only two years.
Landau: That’s a lot of time Yaeli!
Cohen: For me it was surreal. I can’t believe I was in the army.
Landau: But did it help you with the tours Yaeli?
Cohen: More than the army helped, I traveled in India for a year after I was finished with my army time. I think that gave me my experience with traveling.
Landau: I think everything gives you something. The army probably gave us something to prepare us for the tours. But actually, I don’t think anything can prepare you for tours. You don’t know what to expect because it looks super easy but…
No it does not!
Landau: Let’s say this last tour, when we were in America we flew to NY then we flew back to LA then we flew back to NY then we flew back to LA. Then to Israel. So basically for like four days we were on air!
When I was in Israel after high school I did a program called Gadna, which is only a week of army training. But it gave me a taste of what it’s like, a little bit anyway. I think that being in the army really prepares you to be able to adjust to whatever situation you’re in.
Landau: You’re right, you know!
I hear you guys like to eat goulash. Where did you eat the best goulash?
Cohen: Hahahah first of all I’m a vegetarian so I didn’t touch the goulash!
Landau: Good for you, good for you.
Cohen: We had a joke that everywhere in Eastern Europe had goulash. At every stop, at every gas station, there was more goulash. We had a song on the road with the band “goulash here goulash there goulash goulash everywhere!”
Landau: The sad thing is is I think it’s the most nutritious thing you can eat on the road. In other places you have sandwiches with ham and cheese… At least in Europe you have goulash!
Where did the idea for the video for “Only For A Moment” come from?
Cohen: Actually we had an amazing director, Indy Hait, and he came up with the idea. Indy is a talented genius guy. He is Israeli/Ukrainian. We shot the video in Ukraine in Kiev because all of his crew was there and he does a lot of music videos there. When he heard “Only For A Moment” he heard the beat and it reminded him of ping-pong! When he told us the idea, that we would be ping-pong champion we looked at each other and we were like OK that’s boring. And he was like no it’s gonna be so cool!
It is perfect. You can also look at it as a back-and-forth between two people. Or even as a back-and-forth between two parts of the same persons mind. You guys had some great shots too! Yaeli, nice hip shot action!
Landau: Thank you!
Cohen: It was very very hard training. We trained for five days with a Ukrainian coach. Our hands hurt so much. On the third day we met each other in the lobby and we couldn’t move our arms.
And you didn’t give up! So maybe the army prepared you for ping pong training too!
Cohen: Ha! Maybe!
So you’re telling me that the ball in the video was really being hit by the two of you? There was no CGI or anything!?
Landau: Of course!
Cohen: What do you think?
I mean it’s so perfectly timed with the rhythm of the song. That’s why I assumed it was a special effect. But if you tell me you trained in Ukraine for five days maybe you just got that good a ping pong!
Landau: Let’s stick with the second story. We are very good at ping-pong.
Done. It definitely sounds cooler. And even in the future if you decide you want to take a new direction in your career you could add ping-pong champion to your resume. Which brings me to my next question. Do you guys play games on tour?
Cohen: Actually we do. We play a card game called TAKI it’s a little bit like UNO. We play other games too where we dare each other to do bad stuff.
Ooh! What’s the craziest thing that you’ve done?
Cohen: We dared our bass player to eat the food of his cat!
Oh my god ew!
Cohen: I think he did not do it in the end.
Oh good. Ew, hahah! Goulash is much better I’m sure!
Landau: Oh yeah, Yaeli you were supposed to enter this swamp that we passed by in France. We were supposed to guess a number between 1 and 100 and if we got the same number, you had to go into the swamp! So we said one two three and we both said 74! So you were supposed to go in the swamp!!
Oh no! Did you go in the swamp?
Landau: No no no she didn’t do it in the end!
Your army training prepared you for that too! Good I’m glad you didn’t go in you could’ve ended up with the French swamp-a-titus!
Cohen: Actually I did do something embarrassing. It was really awkward actually. I lost a bet and they told me I had to open up a WhatsApp group with the head of our label and I our manager. They both have the name is Shuki and I had to call the WhatsApp group The Shukies. It was so embarrassing they had no idea what I wanted from them.
Ha! What is the music scene like in Israel?
Landau: The music scene is like all over the world. It’s not like in the old days when it took music a long time to make its way across the world. Nowadays you have everything from trap music to alternative to rap and hip-hop. We have everything.
I’m trying to remember the name of the radio station I used to listen to.
Landau: Galgalatz! I think in Israel we have the most amazing musicians. It’s really a small country and there’s not a lot of crowd for someone who only plays indie rock. In order to make a living he has to be able to play all kinds of music, well.
I was thinking about this actually. Culturally it is common for people after they do their army service to go traveling east for a while. Like Yaeli you were saying you spent a year in India. That must influence the music scene a lot.
Cohen: For sure, after the army a lot of people feel they need a break from life to go and clear their minds. Then when we come back and start university it’s much later than everyone else in the world.
Do you have plans already set for the future? Now that this album is out and you’re touring with it are you already planning your next step? Next album? Or is it like after the army service and you need some time to clear your mind?
Cohen: I think we do a little bit of both. We have many thoughts about what we want to do on the next album. But we are trying to stay in this album.
That makes sense. Thank you so much for taking some time to speak with me today. Is there anything else you want to tell me?
Cohen: Yeah I wanted to tell you that this interview has been really really interesting for me and really original!
Thank you! Well I think your music is really awesome and original and amazing so I tried to make sure that the questions I asked you were equally as original.
Landau: I have to add something. Sometimes you learn about your music after you hear someone’s reaction to it. I think both of us now have different thoughts about our own music after this interview. So thank you so much! It was fun, thank you for this.
Aw! I really enjoyed this too. Thank you for spending time with me and enjoy the rest of your tour!
Landau: Thank you and lhitraot* hopefully.
Cohen: Thank you so much bye!
*Hebrew for “see you soon”
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? © Michael Topyol
Someday Tomorrow Maybe
an album by Lola Marsh