Interview with George Kontrafouris: I try to use the intellect part to shape the music: Video

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Jazz Interview with jazz pianist and composer George Kontrafouris. An interview by email in writing. 

JazzBluesNews.com: – First let’s start with where you grew up, and what got you interested in music?

George Kontrafouris: – I grew up in Piraeus, which is the main port of Greece and I was listening to music from a very young age. I also started taking piano lessons at the age of 7 and slowly I started realizing that I want to participate into playing music.

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

GK: – My sound changes and develops through the years, because of the music I listen to and the impact that it has on me. Now, I think that my sound on the instrument is softer than before. My sound in music in general is a mixture of all the things that have influenced me through the years but in a unified way.

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

GK: – My practice routine is shaped by the music that I want to play in every phase of my life. I always try to have musical reasons in my practice and to be precise in every rhythmic element that I want to play. When I get accustomed to this, I try to leave some space and breath to it.

JBN: – How do you prepare before your performances to help you maintain both spiritual and musical stamina?

GK: – Keeping a standard level through my daily practice is important to me. In addition, I try to create some space and be into it during the performance.

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

GK: – I try to use the intellect part to shape the music that I play and the soul to give life to it.

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

GK: – I’m ok with giving people what they want.  But at the same time I also believe that people join a performance to hear what the artist has to say. So, I think that if you believe and you like what you present, the audience will appreciate it anyway, even  in the case that what you present  doesn’t quite express the musical taste of a certain audience.

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

GK: – I very much enjoy playing and be involved in music.  And I play a lot. I don’t have any specific memories from my performances, something so extraordinary to relate. My life is full of bits and pieces of music memories that make up a whole and I am very glad about it. I carry it in me and with me.

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

GK: – These days I am listening to August Greene and to The Yes trio. I am also listening to Yannis Papadopoulos and to Costis Christodoulou (two Greek pianists) as long as  to the Greek drummer Billy Pod and his first solo album “Drums To Heal Society”. In general, I am always trying to find the time  to listen to as much music as I can.  I own a quite large album collection (especially vinyl) including a variety of music styles. At certain times I get lost in it, listening to various things.

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

GK: – To believe in yourself and try to support what you have to say.

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

GK: – It’s ok to be here and now, it’s challenging enough!

Interview by Simon Sargsyan

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