Interview with Guillaume Muller: Musician without a message and without video

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Jazz interview with jazz guitarist Guillaume Muller. An interview by email in writing.

JazzBluesNews.com: – Do you ever get the feeling that music majors, and particularly people who are going into jazz, are being cranked out much like business majors? That they are not really able to express themselves as jazz musicians?

Guillaume Muller: – I am pretty satisfied with the music education I received in the US, as Jazz/ music major in College. It definitely helped me grow and find my voice as a musician. I thought the best advantage of going to music school, was that I was constantly surrounded by really good musicians who were passionate about music and hard working. That being said, I do not believe it is necessary to go to College to be a professional musician and a lot of musicians I know sound great and do not have a college degree.

JBN: – What about somebody who is really gifted and puts together a band and just gets upset to the point of quitting because of the business aspects-the agents and the clubs?

GM: – The Business aspect of music can be a little discouraging but I guess it is part of being a musician to be able to cope with this. I guess as musicians we have to be more creative nowadays to make our art sustainable. That being said, I do not think I have enough insight on the matter to comment about this, all I can say is I am struggling with this on a daily basis but I like music too much to quit

JBN: – What is the message you choose to bring through your music. Do you have an idea of what it is you’re trying to say or get across? Is it an idea or is it just something that we feel?

GM: – I do not think there is a specific message that I try to convey. I tried to be creative with elements of music and more specifically with the jazz idiom I have been learning these past years.

JBN: – And lastly, being a teacher, do you find it difficult to write music yourself. How important is it to you to have an original approach? Can you comment on the bridge between being a musician and being a composer?

GM: – I think writing music is part of being a musician and it is part of studying and learning the language that is music. I believe composing is just as important as practicing your instrument and that every musician is a composer.

I personally find it harder to regularly sit at a desk or at the piano and write music, the same way I sit at a desk and play the guitar everyday. But I am working on it and my experience writing for my first album “Sketches of Sound” definitely made me improve on this matter. Now I just want to write more music.

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

GM: – I think nowadays, jazz is a lot more than “50 year old standards”. There is a lot of great, improvised original music that does not refer to the Great American Songbook. There is also a great deal of jazz music that refers to it but even then, contemporary musicians tend to play it differently and do not repeat it the way it was played half a century ago. So even when contemporary players perform a tune that was written half a century ago, they play it in their own way and it does not sound anymore like a 50 year old tune. So, I do not think “young people” tend to loose interest in jazz because it is based on half a century old music”. Standards are an important part of jazz music but there is also a lot more to jazz than “50 year old standards”.

JBN: – What do you see for your extended future? 

GM: – I hope to record and perform more music in the future and get a little bit better at it every time I do it.

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

GM: – Lately I have been listening to Miles Okazaki’s album, playing the music of Thelonious Monk. I really enjoy listening to this album and this guitar player in general.

Interview by Simon Sargsyan

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