Some nine months ago, Gil Assayas moved from Jerusalem to Portland. He'd been "playing and teaching music my whole life, but felt uninspired and stuck in Israel," he explains. After visiting the States on tour with his previous band, missFlag, he "chose Portland because it's by far my favorite city in the US."
Quickly finding his footing, Assayas took a batch of songs written in Israel during "some rough years" (where he "suffered from anxiety and terrible chronic hand pain, which kept me from playing and I felt like my music career was already over," he describes) and has turned them into his debut solo EP. Cutting some letters from his given name, the self-released effort, The Pressure, is due out on September 17 (with a release show at the Alberta Street Pub) under his new moniker GLASYS, and the five "songs express the concoction of toxic emotions I was feeling at the time," he says.
Studying classical violin and piano from a very young age and jazz as he grew older, GLASYS enables Assayas "the freedom to draw from all my inspirations and fully express myself on the keys," without compromise or suppression of certain influences. "With this EP, I finally feel like I've matured musically and have found myself artistically," he says.
Your first listen to Assayas' evolution comes in the form of the impassioned title track where you can easily imagine his fingers flying across the keys of his cherry-red Nord synthesizer. It's a song with very few lyrics but the sentiment is repeated for maximum impact. "I wanted to express that crushing sensation I was feeling at the time in the simplest way possible," he explains.