Interview with Nikola Bankov: The most important for me was that I have had fun: Video


Jazz interview with jazz saxophonist Nikola Bankov. An interview by email in writing. – When you improvise, you know where you’re going. It’s a matter of taking certain paths and certain directions?

Nikola Bankov: – When I improvise I’m trying to forget about everything what I learned. I close my eyes and listen what other band members play. It’s a matter of feeling and vibe. It’s good to know where you go and maybe what you want to tell the listeners with your solo. Certain paths and ways are even more fun if you challenge yourself.

JBN: – 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?

NB: – It all depends who are you working with and what is your goal, and also if you are self releasing or if label covers you. I like to have a freedom while writing/recording music.

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?

NB: – A lot of young people are in depression because they want to be famous after first release. It’s only illusion what you see on social medias. We’re living in a fast age where people are taught to have everything they want immediately. But it doesn’t work in music. It take years to build your own brand. If you are patient and passionate it will come.

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

NB: – It’s good to be influenced by other people and musicians, but you should always listen your inner voice. Originality is very important. It’s OK to copy or to be pretty much influenced by your heroes when you are studying and learning, but when I compose I try to forget about everything and start to be honest.

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

NB: – Well I started as a kid with playing from hart, without any knowledge. It was just joy and freedom,I didn’t care how it sound and what I did. The most important for me was that I have had fun. Later I’ve been discovering theory and harmony and rhythms as a tool, which helps me to put my musical expression to another level. In my opinion intellect and soul should be connected together.

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

NB: – First of all I do what I like. I’m trying to be consistent in what I do, so people can find me and come to the concert because of what I do. It’s also fine to give people what they want, if you are happy while doing it.

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

NB: – Every session with my band is special. It always sounds different and it feels like new adventure, even tho we played these tunes many times. I have a great experience with recording with Seamus Blake. It’s always great to hear what other people brings to your music and how they approach it.

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

NB: – I started with funk/smooth jazz. I had a teacher who was really into this kind of music. It’s black and soulful music, which worked great as an opening door to jazz for me. I was 14 years old when I first saw video of Sonny Rollins playing St. Thomas. They had so much fun while playing and it was very free too. I wanted to have fun and enjoy the moment, exactly as they did.

JBN: – And lastly, being a teacher, do you find it difficult to write music yourself?

NB: – It’s difficult to say for me, because I am still studying at music academy and I don’t have that many experience with teaching other people.

JBN: – 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?

NB: – I feel like originality is the key. The main idea is to be interesting for listeners and then also for promoters. Nobody wants to hear another copy of somebody else, but it’s also the most difficult part to find your own sound. I’m also working on it everyday and it’s a process, which comes from experience.

JBN: – 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?

NB: – Well, most of the time I compose music based on what I feel in this time. Sometimes it’s hard for me to say what it is, but I can express it with music better than with words.

JBN: – What do you see for your extended future? You know what you have going on? You have life? If you could change one thing in the musical world and it would become a reality, what would that be?

NB: – I will continue with writing and recording new music. I’d love to tour as much as possible to bring it among people. If I could change something it’d be supporting music even more from government and organisations.

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

NB: – In this time I listen a lot Tame Impala, Jakob Bro, Gogo Penguin. I love their music and production.

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

NB: – Massage of hope. Share love, accept each other and don’t lose yourself.

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

NB: – If I could choose a destination, I’d really love to tour across the Japan. I’m very interested to visit Tokyo and discover asian culture.

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

NB: – I’m so glad that I could release my debut album “Bright Future” on AMP Music & Records, featuring my hero Seamus Blake on tenor saxophone and I’m looking forward to bring my band on tour.

Interview by Simon Sargsyan

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