Art of Love: Sam Corlett and Yoni Mizrachi

  • Photos by Meghan Ralston
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From the February 14, 2013 edition

What first attracted Yoni Mizrachi to Sam Corlett was what would get any high school boy’s attention.

“I remember Yoni had a sketchbook he would pass around and you could draw in it,” Corlett recalled about the time the two spent together in high school at a Columbus arts education program.

“One day I saw she was drawing a robot in it,” Mizrachi said. “I was like, ‘Oh, OK. I didn’t know you were drawing robots.’”

But it was ultimately music that was this couple’s wingman.

Years after high school, the two friends began playing music together. Both were fresh off of breakups, and songwriting — of sad and silly songs — was a cathartic way for the buddies to help each other mourn a lost love.

“We weren’t expecting a relationship,” Mizrachi said. “But we had a really strong bond and I knew I didn’t want it to go away.”

In fact, Mizrachi was going to study and volunteer in Israel for a year. They figured any romantic connection that was forming would be squashed by distance. But they started Skype chatting and playing music together that way. The two wanted to start a band together (Corlett, who was in Karate Coyote at the time, was looking to play something more quiet and intimate) and working on music became an excuse to talk to each other regularly.

“In retrospect, it’s a lot easier to understand how we were communicating through music at the time,” Corlett said. “I really like Yoni’s songs. I always have. They helped me explore who I was and writing together happened pretty naturally. We had a very supportive system. He’d write and I’d add harmonies.”

Corlett, a vocalist, taught Mizrachi to sing better. Mizrachi, a multi-instrumentalist, helped Corlett learn to play various instruments.

When he returned, the two started dating and the band Maza Blaska began.

“We like being together,” Corlett said. “As a songwriter, my songs are way better when I have Yoni playing on them.”

When they’re not making music together for Maza, they’re still likely making music together. Their mutual obsession with finding strange musical instruments and learning to play them consumes much of their time off. So does using the computer to play around with sounds and rap together like, what else, robots.