May 24, 2024

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Interview with Elliot Galvin: Music and art is the most beautiful thing we can make as human beings: Video

Jazz interview with a bad musician, as if pianist Elliot Galvin. An interview by email in writing. 

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

Elliot Galvin: – I grew up in southeast England, pretty close to London in a town called Rochester. Both my parents had a great record collection and my mum read somewhere that if you didn’t expose your child to dissonant music by the age of 7 they would never be able to appreciate it, so she played me quite a lot of interesting stuff at a very young age!

JBN.S: – What got you interested in picking up the your musical instrument? What teacher or teachers helped you progress to the level of playing you have today? What made you choose the your musical instrument?

EG: – My next-door neighbor had a piano and I used to go round and play on it. I don’t know why I picked the piano, but I just knew I always wanted to play it, maybe because you could play so many notes at once on the piano. It probably appealed to the composer in me. I had a lot of different teachers, I was lucky enough to study with Liam Noble when I was at Music College and he was a bug influence on my approach to playing.

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

EG: – I always had quite a clear idea of what I liked the sound of from a young age. I wanted to play something new and sound like myself, rather than an imitation of my heroes. I like a lot of different things and I think my sound has evolved from trying to find a way to incorporate them all in my playing. I was lucky enough to go to Music College with a lot of amazing musicians who I still play with today, including Corrie Dick and Laura Jurd. I would say my peers are probably the people who have had the biggest influence on my music.

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

EG: – Most of the time these days when I get time to practice it’s mainly maintenance. But when I do get a bit of time to practice I like to set myself impossible goals and try and figure out a way of achieving them in the practice room. I like to make it a game.

JBN.S: – Which harmonies and harmonic patterns do you prefer now?

EG: – For me, harmony is intimately related to emotion and atmosphere of a piece. It really depends on the atmosphere I want to create in the moment.  Sometimes that might mean a microtonal cluster chord, and sometimes that might mean a c major triad, they are both equally beautiful in the right context.

JBN.S: – Which are the best jazz albums for you of 2017 year?

EG: – That’s a tricky one. I really like Craig Taborn’s Daylight Ghosts and Corey Smythe’s Autotrophs. But there are a lot of good ones to choose from.

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

EG: – I think they both need to be in balance with each other. That balance is different depending on the artist, but they both serve each other. It’s the middle way.

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

EG: – My favourite memory of a gig so far is playing at a Palestinian run Jazz festival last year called Mahrajazz. It was one of the best gigs I’ve ever played, to one of the best audiences I’ve ever played to. A Really inspiring festival to be a part of.

JBN.S: – Many aspiring musicians are always looking for advice when navigating thru the music business. Is there any piece of advice you can offer to aspiring students or even your peers that you believe will help them succeed and stay positive in this business?

EG: – Make something amazing and tell as many people as possible that you’ve made it. It’s not really much more complicated than that.

JBN.S: – Аnd furthermore, can jazz be a business today or someday?

EG: – I like to think of myself as a socialist, so I’m probably the wrong person to ask about business. But music and art is the most beautiful thing we can make as human beings. As conscious individuals we are parts of the universe that can perceive it’s own existence. We can communicate these individual experiences to one another, and grow our collective understanding, and appreciation of the beauty and mystery of existence. For me its completely irrelevant as to whether someone can make money out of that process or not.

JBN.S: – Which collaboration have been the most important experiences for you?

EG: – Forming the Chaos Collective and playing with Laura Jurd, Corrie Dick and everyone else who is part of that scene like Tom McCredie, was very important for me. I have never stopped learning from them. I feel very lucky I get to play with some of my favorite musicians in the world regularly in my band, Dinosaur and others.

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

EG: – I feel like lots of young people are getting more and more interested in Jazz these days, especially in London. I think it’s about how the music presents itself, if it looks like a club you can only be part of if you know very specific rules, then that’s off putting. But if it presents itself as something relevant and welcoming then it will continue to grow. I think young people are less and less interested in genre boundaries, and for me that can only be a good thing.

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

EG: – For me it ties in with what I mentioned earlier. As Human beings we are all parts of the universe that have somehow become self-aware. Potentially the only part that will ever become self-aware. With that comes the responsibility and incredible privilege to share that unique awareness of existence with one another. That’s the meaning of art and life for me.

JBN.S: – What are your expectations of the future? What brings you fear or anxiety?

EG: – I try and live in the moment. The future doesn’t exist so there’s no point in expecting anything of it. When ever I do get anxious about anything it’s because I forget this.

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

EG: – Equality for all. But that’s a general point about the whole world not just the music world I guess.

JBN.S: – What’s the next musical frontier for you?

EG: – I think I’m going to make a solo album.

JBN.S: – Are there any similarities between jazz and world music, including folk music?

EG: – All music is folk music, and all music is sound, so in that sense I think they have a lot more in common than what separates them.

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

EG: – I’m really into a rock band called Deerhoof, I listen to them a lot. I’ve recently been checking out a lot of Geri Allen as well, she’s pretty incredible.

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

EG: – Honestly I’m pretty happy right here, right now. But if I had to, I would choose the Cabaret Voltaire in  Zurich in 1916 at the dawn of the Dada movement. It only lasted a year, but I would love to have been there.

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

EG: – That’s a tricky one. It’s much harder to ask questions than answer them. Maybe, this: What’s one of your favorite pieces of music or art, and why?

JBN.S: – Thanks very much for answers. My favorite piaces of jazz many, but one, who now came my idea Ornette Coleman – Lonely Woman, and why? because it really represents what a lonely woman. And favorite piaces of music in general, it is Beethoven: Symphony No.9.

Interview by Simon Sargsyan

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