Interview with Nikos Tsiachris: Rasgueo´s music is trying to achieve a balance between jazz´s intellectuality and flamenco´s emotionality: Video

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Interview with flamenco-jazz guitarist Nikos Tsiachris. An interview by email in writing. 

JazzBluesNews.Space: – First lets start with where you grew up, and what got you interested in music?

Nikos Tsiachris: – I grew up in a small village in central Greece and my father was a passionated self-taught classical guitarist. I began listening to classical guitar music long before I began playing the guitar and had music theory books, scores and cassette tapes at home.

JBN.S: – How did your sound evolve over time? What did you do to find and develop your sound?

NT: – There are several factors that affect the sound, beginning with the type of guitar, the microphone, the set of strings, the shape of fingernails etc. Obviously these things influence the sound and have a great value, but the most important of all is the person behind, the musician itself. Many have said that, being a good musician is about being a nice person, which I believe is truth.

But, to complete your question: of course I develop my sound by tasting constantly guitars, strings, microphones etc.. I am seriously thinking of getting an electric guitar and experiment new sound possibilities through it.

JBN.S: – What practice routine or exercise have you developed to maintain and improve your current musical ability especially pertaining to rhythm?

NT: – I don´t have a practice routine and I don´t care so much about technical perfection (I don´t believe in perfection too), at least not in terms of playing exercises every day. I rather prefer improvising, composing or playing pieces, where I apply directly every technical tool I want to use. If I want to practice a specific technique, I probably do so, but it´s not a routine. A practice routine forms part of the learning process of a student, but I consider myself in the first place as an experienced musician and not as a student.

JBN.S: – Which harmonies and harmonic patterns do you prefer now? You’re playing is very sensitive, deft, it’s smooth, and I’d say you drift more toward harmony than dissonance. There is some dissonance there, but you use it judiciously. Is that a conscious decision or again, is it just an output of what goes in?

NT: – I live in Berlin and I daily perceive an amount of city-sounds, most of them could be described as irregular or dissonant. Everyone lives in a big city can easily understand what I mean. I would rather like living outside cities, but that´s another topic. All this „music“ is being registered and affects the way I feel. I like dissonances, the same way I like problems. They help us understand and develop, but both need to find solutions. That´s the way I treat dissonances. I dislike listening dissonant pieces, without any melodic, harmonic or rhythmic cohesion, the same way I dislike persons that always have problems and can never find a solution.

JBN.S: – How to prevent disparate influences from coloring what you’re doing?

NT: – You can prevent it by just being yourself and avoiding compare yourself to others. Fortunately everyone in this world is a unique person.

JBN.S: – What’s the balance in music between intellect and soul?

NT: – That could be the topic of a whole book 🙂 Well, Rasgueo´s music is trying to achieve a balance between jazz´s intellectuality and flamenco´s emotionality. If the balance is achieved or not, that depends always of the listener´s perception and it is therefore subjective. Simply speaking, the less complicated music is, the more easier can reach listeners soul. That´s why I like the idea of simplicity in music. I don´t mean by that the simply made music, based on the most common musical ideas, that might sound poor and uninteresting, but rather the kind of music that is at the same time intellectual and indeed sounds simple. That is why I love jazz of the 1950s and 1960s.

JBN.S: – There’s a two-way relationship between audience and artist; you’re okay with giving the people what they want?

NT: – I am definitely okay with giving people all I can, but I can´t fulfill everyone´s expectations. I am conscious of the meaning of music as a form of communication among people and I therefore intend to build a bridge and connect myself with the audience. How deep such a connection might be, it depends of every single person participating and not only the musicians. For instance the sound or light quality of a stage can influence people´s mood during an event.

JBN.S: – Please any memories from gigs, jams, open acts and studio sessions which you’d like to share with us?

NT: – There are lots of memories and some useful conclusions I have reached. As a professional musician you have a kind of routine including gigs, studios, traveling a lot etc. but playing music outside this context offered me some of the best memories I have. I remember a three day meeting with my greek friends in Granada, where we were playing and singing during the whole night at home, being me the only professional musician among them. Or a similar experience I had in Berlin, with a great professional cellist, both improvising among friends. To conclude, I am convinced that some of the most beautiful musical experiences can only occur „naturally“ in a private circle of friends, where the professional duty does not exist.

JBN.S: – How can we get young people interested in jazz when most of the standard tunes are half a century old?

NT: – Nowadays we have an incredibly rapid and direct access to informations through internet, also music of every genre, epoch, interpretation etc., thus it is simple to get in contact with jazz music. I think young people should just listen more and discover the value of jazz. Jazz is not simply a music genre, it is also a philosophy of life. Improvisation is about the experience of everyday life, the mystery of the unexpected.

JBN.S: – John Coltrane said that music was his spirit. How do you understand the spirit and the meaning of life?

NT: – I am sure that music is the essence of my being. I don´t want to live without making music or without playing guitar. That´s probably close to what John Coltrane meant with „spirit“. The meaning of life is love, to love and to be loved. How simple it may sounds and how difficult may be.

JBN.S: – If you could change one thing in the musical world and it would become a reality, what would that be?

NT: – Well, in the musical world, but also in the whole world, if I could change one thing, that would definitely be the significance of money in our life. I would like to see a world free of money depth, people working for pleasure and having access to all goods for free.

JBN.S: – Who do you find yourself listening to these days?

NT: – I don´t listen to music regularly and I sometimes enjoy not listening at all. I love silence. From a professional point of view, I choose the music I listen to according my needs. If I want to write pieces for Rasgueo, then I listen to jazz pieces, mostly of the 1950s and 1960s. But if i want to compose a flamenco guitar piece, then I listen a lot to contemporary flamenco guitar music.

JBN.S: – What is the message you choose to bring through your music?

NT: – Music is an abstract art and allows many different perceptions. Every piece of music I write has it´s own message, so there are lots of them. I hope that listeners can discover other aspects of my music and find their own messages.

JBN.S: – Let’s take a trip with a time machine, so where and why would you really wanna go?

NT: – I would like to go to a virgin place on the earth, far away of what we call civilized world. Back in the time, before the appearance of electricity.

JBN.S: – I have been asking you so far, now may I have a question from yourself…

NT: – Yes, which are some of your favorite jazz albums?

JBN.S: – Thank you for answers. My favorite jazz albums very many …

JBN.S: – So putting that all together, how are you able to harness that now?

NT: – No need to do so. I prefer the mystery of the unexpected!

Interview by Simon Sargsyan

Картинки по запросу Nikos Tsiachris

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