May 27, 2024

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Interview with Mat Walklate: Blues, obviously. A lot of Reggae. Some soul. Jazz! Video

Blues and Folk interview with harmonica player Mat Walklate. An interview by email in writing. 

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

Mat Walklate: – I grew up in Stoke-On-Trent, England. I always enjoyed singing. My parents listened to The Beatles, Steely Dan, Little Feat, James Taylor etc

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

MW: – I heard Sonny Boy Williamson play, when I was 16, and that inspired me to take up the harmonica and learn about the Blues. The sound and possibilities of the harmonica have interested me ever since. I am self-taught.

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

MW: – Hopefully, my sound has improved over time. I listened to every harmonica-player I could find, and also to saxophone, guitar etc. I listened to and played a wide range of different music. Playing live and recording helped me to develop my own style.

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

MW: – I play every day, and I also teach a lot of harmonica, which is very useful, as it makes you think deeply about the instrument.

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?

MW: – I just play, and see where the music takes me.

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

MW: – I try not to allow too many triplet figures to invade my playing. These come from the Irish music, that I also play.

JBN.S: – What do you love most about your new album 2018: Sea Of Blues, how it was formed and what you are working on today.

MW: – I enjoyed working with lots of different musicians, on new, original material. I also liked the fact that the studio allowed me to record multiple harmonica tracks, to create a finished work comprised solely of harmonicas (Playing With Myself Boogie). I am currently writing new songs and instrumental pieces.

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

MW: – For me, I’d say 80% soul, 20% intellect.

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

MW: – Within reason, yes.

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

MW: – There have been hardly any that I have not enjoyed. I love to play, in any context.

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

MW: – I suppose that the main way would be to increase their exposure to Blues, but I’m not sure of the best way to achieve that.

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

MW: – Always try your best, do unto others as you would have done unto you, try to bring a little light into the world.

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

MW: – All children should have the opportunity to learn an instrument or sing, for free.

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

MW: – Blues, obviously. A lot of Reggae. Some soul. Jazz!

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

MW: – Chicago, 1954. To see the greats of Chicago Blues play, at the height of their powers.

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

MW: – How do you feel about the current music scene?

JBN.S: – Thank you for answers. So – So … In some cases good, sometimes bad.

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

MW: – I just keep on keepin’ on!

Interview by Simon Sargsyan

Картинки по запросу Mat Walklate

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