Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Virginia Genta (Jooklo Duo) interview Part2

Interviewer:Fumimasa Hori

― I don't know why, but it was decided that both artists who I interviewed would come to Japan immediately after interview. So, I'm looking forward to watching your performance in Japan soon! Is there Japanese musicians you want to play together? Well, how was the collaboration with Takehisa Kosugi? Just as you say, we can find a point in common among music in the world. For example, It is said that Enka (Japanese old popular songs) and Ethiopian music are really resembled. I think it's important to seek the Universal Sound too. But, I also think it's important to seek the sound peculiar to the local simultaneously. Have you think to play the sound peculiar to Italy

Virginia: Good to hear that those artists you interviewed always came to play in Japan straight after, hopefully it will happen soon! Looking forward to that too. We would love to play again with Sabu Toyozumi and with Kosugi, and would also like to collaborate with Junko and Jojo, they are strong improvisers. Working with Kosugi has been very good, as I said I really liked his work even before meeting him, so it was really interesting to mix our sounds and to hear from him many stories about Taj Mahal Travellers, which is one of my favourite projects.

Quite a weird coincidence that the same day you wrote me this question where you mention Enka music, we were having breakfast together with Japanese drummer Pika in Oslo, and we were talking about this with her... And yes, you are right, of course Universal Sound finds its expression in a multitude of sounds that differs locally and on so many layers and gradients. I think that in what I play there actually is already some peculiar sound from Italy, or at least from the Mediterranean area, specially when I play the soprano sax, the bombarde, and other flutes.

― How about Keiji Haino as a co-performer? However, it's a really strange coincidence. I guess it's so-called synchronicity. Why I asked "Have you think to play the sound peculiar to Italy?" is your harsh sounds are far from my image of Italian music. I don't know Italian hardcore or noise musicians who play harsh sounds like you. Of course, free jazz musicians. I think your group is unique existence in Italy. Have you had an intention to oppose to Italian music?

Virginia: I don't know Haino's work very well and I never met him, but we are collaborating with Tamio Shiraishi, who has been the former member of Fushitsusha, together with Haino. I guess it would be cool to jam with the two of them together some day! I mean, "Italian music" is too much of a big sphere to consider... there's classical music, opera, pop, songwriters, hip-hop, avant-garde... it's too wide. I keep in mind the important experiences of Italy's contemporary composers and experimentalists, and meanwhile I'm seeking the arcane roots of Mediterranean sound. But of course I'm quite far from all mainstream and commercial Italian music. And no intention to oppose to any kind of music, I just search the sound I need to tell what I see, that's all. 

―Speaking of Italian music, for example I remind Horror music (Goblin,etc.) or Opera (like Pavarroti,etc.), easy listening (Armando Trovajoli,etc.), anyway those music are not hard but soft. Also I feel Italian noise musician like MB are not so harsh. Although it may be prejudice that Italian music tend to be soft sound generally, so I'd like to know the reason or background why you can establish such harsh sound in Italy. By the way, could you tell me details about your label troglosound? From experimental music to ethnic music, any works from troglosound are really interesting. Why do you think to establish this label? Do you have a concept about this label?

Virginia: Thanks for your good words about Troglosound, I'm glad you enjoy our stuff. We first started the label simply because we needed to put out our own music, which is basically what we still do nowadays... and we really love to work on graphic design and artworks, so we can do that on our releases, which are almost always hand-made.

―Could you tell me the meaning of Troglo? I listened to Korean Shamanic ritual music released from troglosound with strong interest. How and where did you record this sound source?
Virginia: Troglo comes from troglodyte, caveman. So Troglosound is primitive sound. Glad you found a copy of that cassette! We only made 25 of them... And I'm happy you enjoyed it, I think it's really special and strong music, and it's improvisation in traditional music, which is one of the most powerful things. It's a live recording we kindly got from a friend.

―Troglosound has also released a work of Metabolismus. I was so impressed when I watched this awesome video. But,I don' know this group. So, could you tell me about Metabolismus? Where are they from? How and when did you encounter with them? And please tell me more what you know about them.

Virginia: I am really glad you made this question, they are a great group that deserves more attention. Metabolismus is a collective from Stuttgart (southern Germany), active since the late '80s. They changed many formations during the years, and so their music has been changing too. Sometimes they are 2 or 3 people, sometimes they are 10, 15 or 20 people! The first Metabolismus' guy we met is Moritz Finkbeiner, who was the owner of the best European venue, a super cool bar inside a train waggon which sadly got destroyed by the City of Stuttgart a couple of months ago... a big loss for everybody. 

We were organizing a tour back in 2008 and someone suggested me to write Moritz and go to play in his waggon, and so we did. That's how we met, and that night at his place we also first listened Metabolismus' "Terra Incognita" LP. By that time, they were in a sort of hiatus which lasted I think until a couple of years ago, when they bloomed again and started playing gigs and putting out new recordings, which is really awesome! After meeting Moritz, we met Werner Nötzel, Thilo Kuhn and Thomas Schätzl and all the other Metabolismus folks, and started playing together. We also founded the new "Sinergia Elettronica" project together at the beginning of 2013. Werner and Thilo are also running the fantastic Sumsilobatem studio located in the middle of the hills of the Swabia's region, equipped with a completely analog recording's technology, and totally filled with all kinds of instruments... a great place to jam and to get your mind blown!

― Thank you for telling me about the detail of Metabolismus. Then, can you tell me about Sinergia Elettronica. I also like abstract electro-acoustic sounds by this group. The sounds of Sinergia Elettronica are different from Jooklo duo. What was the beginning did you want to form such group?

Virginia: I'm glad you enjoy the sound of Sinergia Elettronica. We are really into experimental electronics and any kind of crazy sounds, and we have been working on that side for many years with projects like New Jooklo Age. We were playing a gig at the Waggon in Stuttgart together with Umwurf (= electronic side project of Thilo, Werner, Moritz and Thomas from Metabolismus), and there we found out about this crazy unique instrument that Thilo Kuhn built himself, the Thilotron, which is an extremely complex analog modular synthesizer controlled by light sensors, and connected with multiple tapes machines. We enjoyed their gig so much that we thought we should do something together. We did a first tour in Italy in March 2013 and realized that the project worked well with this 6-piece formation, and we also recorded two cassettes during that time, "Live Blob" and "Dimensione Parallela" (this last one is soon going to be released also on vinyl on Troglosound).

― Will Sinergia Elettronica go to tour next week, won't you? I hope your tour will be successful. "The Live in Lisbon" by you and Chris Corsano was selected as "Ten Free Jazz Albums to Hear Before You Die". How do you feel about it? And, I don't know much about Chris. So, please tell me about him. When and how did you come to collaborate with him? How do you feel about his playing?

Virginia: Yes, we will be touring with Sinergia Elettronica next week in northern Italy, Austria and Slovenia... Well, I am glad that the man who compiled that selection enjoyed "The Live in Lisbon" and I really appreciate that someone had the courage to consider such an underground, rough and wild recording as an essential free-jazz listening. On the other hand I'm aware of the fact that it's totally his own subjective vision. I mean, if I would have to do a list like that I would have done it different, music taste is such a subjective matter.

I think Chris is a great improviser, a fresh and creative drummer, and he really listens carefully to the other players, looking for a good interplay. I specially like his sound research when he's using all the little percussions, objects and whistles. If you haven't listened to it yet, I recommend you to check out his cd "CUT" which he recently released. We actually know each other since many years now. The first time he and Paul Flaherty toured Europe, back in October 2004, me and David drove to Bologna to see their gig in a moisty & dirty squat which was the hot spot for experimental music back then. I just started playing sax a month before that, and that night I've just got blown out by their duo gig! I was pretty shy but David went straight to talk to Paul, telling him I was also a saxophone-player, so Paul came up to me and asked if I wanted to join them on their next gig the day after... I warned him I just started and I couldn't play, but he said I should have done it anyway. And so we went there and I jammed with them, together with another crazy friend of ours on trumpet. 

Then we kept meeting both Chris and Paul many times around the globe, and played together whenever possible. Also, we have many friends in common, first of all guitarist Bill Nace, whom we have a trio with.When we were living in Lisbon (2008) Chris wrote me that he was coming over and asked if I wanted to play a duo gig in town. Ze Dos Bois (a very nice art and music venue in the city center) agreed to organize the concert and asked if we wanted to play on the roof of the building, and that's where the "Live in Lisbon" was recorded.

Similar story happened also for the brand new trio LP that we just put out on Troglosound, which was recorded when Chris had the chance to come to Italy in July 2012. We played a show in a very tiny restaurant in Vittorio Veneto... the voice of that gig spreaded so fast that it was completely crowded with people standing even outside, watching from the windows. Fortunately, our old good friend Ale De Zan was there in a corner recording the music.
Here you can see the flyer we did for that gig, enjoy! Next meeting with Chris is for this upcoming Summer at Meteo Festival in Mulhouse, France, where we'll play with a quartet that he formed appositely for that occasion (myself, Chris, Mette Rasmussen, John Edwards), I think it's gonna be fun!

― I guess Chris is one of musicians who has had a big impact on you. Is there any musician or artist who have a big impact on you besides him?

Virginia: I believe that Life is all an experience, and so every person you share this experience with will impact and change you. I think it's more the moment that has an impact on my being, and that moment is made of energies... Then it's hard for me to say that only some people had an impact on me.

― Ok. Please tell me current Italian free jazz/experimental scene. Is there talented artist or group in Italian free jazz/experimental scene besides you?

Virginia: I don't know much about current Italian free-jazz, and I'm not sure there's much of that, actually. And I don't know anybody in Italy who totally committed his/her life to that or to other kinds of totally uncommercial music, everybody soon or later starts to do some sort of things that can satisfy their ego or allow them to survive. That's not what I'm looking for. I want to Live, not to survive. Also, I spend most of my time travelling abroad, and when I'm at home, I don't go out much at gigs since I live isolated in the countryside and I like to enjoy peace and solitude when I'm not touring.

Anyway, I can say that lately I've seen a couple of great concerts by Italian artists I didn't know before: a very well-done futurist spoken-word act by Enzo Minarelli last November at Colour Out Of Space in Brighton, UK... then, few weeks ago at the All Ears festival in Oslo, I really enjoyed an astounding experimental electronics set by the duo from Napoli Aspec(t), who used Revox tape recorder, no-input mixer, and no-mouthpiece saxophone. 

― Thank you for your cooperation for a long time. This is the last question. If you can listen to music only one more time, what a song do you want to listen to?

Virginia: Thank you, it was nice to go through this long chat. The last is an hard question... Wow, only one more time? ...right now I would say this one, because of all the distortions. After this one, you can't listen to anything else.

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