Abigail Klein Leichman
November 4, 2018, Updated November 16, 2020

What do you get when you combine Eastern beats with Western blues-rock sounds? You get Full Trunk,  an energetic Israeli foursome whose songs are getting airplay as far afield as Switzerland, England, France and India.

“I think our music is a pure reflection of our musical influences. If I had to name our style I would call it Middle Eastern blues,” says guitarist-lead singer Gal Nisman. “Our sound combines Western and Eastern licks and riffs.”

Nisman and bandmates Ofer Vayner (bass), Ariel Keshet (keyboards) and Yotam Elazari (drums) started jamming together in 2009. Their main musical role models are Led Zeppelin, The Black Keys and The Doors, but they grew up listening to everything from classic ’60s and ’70 rock and blues to electric dance music, pop, hip-hop, Middle Eastern music, reggae and more.

“At first we had a band that played cover tunes and in 2014 we made our first album, Full Trunk,” Nisman tells ISRAEL21c.

What’s the idea behind the name? “We just wanted a name that has some sort of connection to who we were back then. So ‘Full Trunk’ immediately came up because we were always on the road and always with a trunk full of our guitars, amps and drums.”

Full Trunk and its sold-out album release tour were followed by two more discs — Time for Us to Move in 2015 and Show Us What You Got in 2018 — plus hundreds of live shows and three hits (“Hey Hey,” “As a Stone” and “Let’s Go”) on Israel’s most popular radio station, Galgalatz.

“At first when you become a musician you try to imitate the artists you like. Only in our second and mostly third album is when we really found out who we are and the right balance between who we would like to be and who we really are,” says Nisman. “Being from Israel is the main reason why we are who we are.”

The lyrics of Full Trunk songs reflect on everything from love, friendships, the army and daily problems to political opinions.

“Every person in the band brings a different kind of vibe and energy to what we do live on stage,” says Nisman. “In the studio it’s mainly Ariel Keshet and myself making the music.”

Since the release of Show Us What You Got, Full Trunk has been making the circuit of Israeli music festivals and clubs, in particular the Barby Club in Tel Aviv where they perform every couple of months. And in between they’re always working on new music.

“We have a new song coming out soon called “Damn Right” and we love it,” says Nisman. “Our plan is to keep putting out new music all the time. That’s what we basically dreamed about.”

Nisman hints at plans for introducing Full Trunk to the United States in 2019. “But we can’t really say anything right now.”

Here’s a playlist of 17 of Nisman’s favorite tunes by other Israeli artists.

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Jason Harris

Jason Harris

Executive Director