May 29, 2024

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Interview with David Friedli: The intellect helps to bring your music: Video

Jazz interview with jazz guitarist David Friedli. An interview by email in writing. 

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

David Friedli: – I was born on the 12th of July in 1995 in the capitol of Switzerland Bern. I grew up high up in the countryside near the beautiful city Thun surrounded by the mountains of the Bernese Oberland. I already found my passion for music as a toddler. My parents listened to different styles of music and got my attention by playing me Led Zeppelin, The Who, Pink Floyd and The Beatles.

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

DF: – After trying various instruments I fell in love with the guitar at the age of 12 and started to play autodidactically, aiming to sound like my musical heroes: Jimmy Page, Jimi Hendrix, Tony Iommi, Pete Townshend, Rory Gallagher and many more. At the age of 19 I began my studies at the Bern University Of The Arts Jazz & Contemporary Music with Tomas Sauter, Frank Sikora, Stefan Rademacher, Klaus König, Colin Vallon, Patrice Moret and many more. After my Bachelor degree I began my Master in Composition & Theory with teachers like Django Bates, Klaus Wagenleiter, Peter Gromer and started to take bass lessons with Stefan Rademacher as well.

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

DF: – By listening to so many different kinds of music and many different guitar players, I tried picking out personal preferences about a particular sound and tried recreating it and then combining and mixing it with different other ideas. My personal approach to music nowadays is to combine musical genres and acoustic and electric/electronic sounds. On my latest album „Milya“ I combined Progressive Rock, Funk, Modern Jazz, Country and Pop simultaniously by using solidbody guitars and an acoustic double bass. My wish is to create something new and unheard each time I pick up my instrument and each time I compose. By mixing and combining different sounds and styles I hope to find my own voice in music.

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

DF: – I try to practice my instrument as much as I can. Next to studying, teaching, composing, organizing rehearsals, playing concerts, recordings, video shootings, photo shootings and booking I don’t find as much time to really practice the guitar as I’d love to. But I then try to get as much out of it as possible each time I pick it up. I love improvisation and trying to make the guitar sound good to my ears. I often play along to the records of my musical heroes. Or I just take a metronome and try to groove over a static pulse. Rhythmically it helped me a lot to study with Stefan Rademacher and Klaus König who taught me to try feeling rhythmical subdivisions and getting more routine with odd metres and more sophisticated rhythmical patterns by doing sight reading exercises and by playing well known structures like a 12 bar blues form in 7/4 or 13/8 time.

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?

DF: – I am a big fan of dissonance resolving into harmony. After all I like harmony more than I do love tension – which goes for music and for life in general. But there can’t be any harmony without having tension as well. Currently I’m listening very often to Allen Hinds, who’s an incredible player and composer. He knows how to use outside playing and make it sound good by escaping the tonality and harmony in an organic way. He plays dissonant stuff which still sounds melodic and fits the music very well. This is what I aim for too.

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

DF: – Even if I play an exact transcription of a solo by Jim Hall and try to phrase it as much as possible the way he does I never sound like him. Even if sometimes I’d really love to. I think each player has got a personal approach to music which is heard all the time. You can’t play exactly like someone else. Using musical material and ideas by some other musician always is a fantastic inspiration. But I don’t think that you then sound exactly the way they do. You’ll always sound different in some way.

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

DF: – To me music needs to sound and feel good at the same time. The intellect helps to bring your music further and helps you not to write the same song over and over again and just naming it differently. It may inspire you and make your music much more interesting. But if it then sounds as if you completely put your brain in it and forget your heart it’s not appealing to an audience. To me the most difficult thing in music is to write and play virtuose, difficult, sophisticated and creative music which sounds and feels good too. And it’s even more difficult to reach people with that sort of music that aren’t musicians themselves and don’t have the theoretical approaches and don’t have a deeper understanding for musical structures etc.

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

DF: – I’m quite okay with giving the people what they want to hear as long as I like it too. I wouldn’t want to change my music from something I like very much to something I don’t like as much only because it then would be more appreciated by listeners.

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

DF: – I once had the chance to speak with John Scofield after a masterclass at the Langnau Jazz Nights and I asked him what is his musical secret. He told me „You just need some fresh coffee and fresh air everyday, then everything will work out fine for you.“ At the same time Steve Swallow was reading Arthur Miller’s „The Crucible“ and 5 years later I wrote a song in honour of John which I named after the book Steve was reading.

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

DF: – You have to play them in a way that don’t make them sound old-fashioned. If we use sounds, structures, grooves, instrumentation, arrangements, harmony, voicings, etc. that are still being used in new music from the 21. century a standard tune can sound very appealing to younger people. Otherwise there are many great composers out there: Gilad Hekselman, Tigran Hamasyan, Hiatus Kaiyote, The Bad Plus, Joshua Redman etc. that write/wrote pieces which could become new standards.

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

DF: – To me love and happiness are what life is all about. And music to me is both of them.

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

DF: – I’d love to change the listeners and not the music. I’d wish for people that really appreciate music and don’t take it as a self-evident fact. In concerts I’d love to see people watching and listening and not talking to their friends or worse chatting on their mobile phones. Without interested listeners there’s no reason to play music in public.

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

DF: – Allen Hinds, Tigran Hamasyan, Led Zeppelin, Joe Bonamassa, Nick Drake, Neil Young, Robert Plant, Johannes Brahms, AC/DC, Steven Wilson, Chris Stapleton, Herbie Hancock, Allan Holdsworth, Bill Evans and many more.

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

DF: – To the 1960ies in the UK. I’d love to go see Rory Gallagher, Led Zeppelin, Nick Drake, Deep Purple, Black Sabbath, The Who, The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, Pink Floyd etc. play. And I’d love to become a guitar player in a 60ies rock band. Nobody knows what would’ve happened. Maybe my name would be remembered in 2018.

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

DF: – How did you find my music and what was your first impression when you heard me (being a 22 year old guitar player from the very small country of Switzerland) play?

JBN.S: – Thank you for answers …

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

DF: – I feel great because this interview just made my think about me and my musical visions and it’s great to reflect that and put it into words from time to time.

Interview by Simon Sargsyan

Картинки по запросу David Friedli jazz guitarist

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