May 20, 2024

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Interview with Mateusz Sobiechowski: The mainstream music industry is mainly about business not art: Video

Jazz interview with jazz pianist​​ Mateusz Sobiechowski. An interview by email in writing. 

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

Mateusz Sobiechowski: – I grew up in Wąbrzeźno near Toruń in Poland. The first important memory related to music was watching Sting’s concert on TV, I was about six years old. When my father saw my interest, he introduced me a lot of great music from 60’ and 70’. Then, when I was seven, I started to learn play on keyboard. One of the first songs I learnt was “Every breath you take”. At the age of nine I started a regular classical piano training.

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

MS: – After two years of playing the keyboard, piano was a natural continuation for me. It was a very intuitive choice, kind of child’s dream that thankfully has fulfilled.

I had two classical teachers Teresa Kruszewska and Magdalena Stopińska who gave me a solid technical base.

When I was 12 my father sent me to the holiday jazz camp. I met there my first jazz piano teacher Bogdan Hołownia, who inspired me so much and awaked a truly passion to jazz and improvised music.

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

MS: – I think it’s a never-ending process. I’m still looking for a noble and wide sound. It depends on different elements, like a touch of the keyboard, the piano technique, personal maturity. I hope that listeners will notice the sound changes in my future albums.

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

MS: – I don’t have any practice routine. I used to started my practice with kind of warm-up exercises, like Hanons etc.. But now I just improvise on different keys or play classical pieces to feel comfortable at the piano.

About rhythm, I sometimes do clapping exercises on odd rhythms when I travel and don’t have the piano. Also I like to improvise on montunos and afro-cuban rhythm patterns to embed in the 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?

MS: – Firstable thanks for a kind words. Well, I don’t use any specific harmonic patterns. Sometimes I’m looking for a simple chords, but I connect it unusual. Of course I know the scales and basic jazz language, but mostly I try to think melodic.

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

MS: – It depends on music actually. In the first part of preparation, when I composed pieces, it was mainly intellectual work. Of course with some emotions as well. When we finally went to the studio we controlled a form, but we focused more on feelings and musical communication from my point of view. So both are present.

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

MS: – As John Escreet said we are the audience. We just seat closer to the source

I’m simply trying to do music that is close to my sensitivity and taste and share it. When other people appreciate it I’m very satisfied. But I don’t want to please the audience with some cheap show, because of my respect for them and for myself.

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

MS: – Ok, there is one situation. We played a concert with the quintet in one of the Kraków’s jazz club just after our recording session. As usual it was very crowded, full of talkative tourists Suprisely, after the last piece the audience seated in complete silence for about half a minute! I have never seen something like that before in that place.

This moment made me proud, but now I know it’s time to move forward.

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

MS: – Honestly I really don’t know. For sure I’m not a jazz purist. Whenever I play standards I try to find my personal way to do it. I think it is so eclectic genre, that we don’t have to necessarily listen to only a jazz tradition. For sure we can encourage young people to mix jazz with a nowadays music.

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

MS: – We can write a whole books about this large topic. But shortly, what I believe is there’s one Holy Spirit and everyone who is honest and seek for the truth can experience it.

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

MS: – I try to accept the reality, even if I can see, let’s say, the dark side of it.

The mainstream music industry is mainly about business not art, but thankfully there are a lot of great artists and I hope more and more listeners will wake up and choose their own music paths, instead of rely on the mass trends.

To answer your question, I will just play more creative and diverse music in commercial medias.

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

MS: – There is a list of artists I often go back to: Keith Jarrett, Chick Corea, Gonzalo Rubalcaba, Enrico Pieranunzi. I also love the music of Pat Metheny and Lyle Mays (for example “As Falls Wichita, So Falls Wichita Falls”) and a band Yellowjacket (for example “Altered State”). From Polish musicians I listen to Tomasz Stańko a lot, especially an album“Dark Eyes”.

I love Peter Gabriel’s “Security” and early albums of Björk. Also the songs of the Queen, after watching the movie “Bohemian rhapsody”

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

MS: – During my high school I was fascinated with the period called Young Poland. It was at the turn of the 20th century. A lot of amazing modern art was created at that time by such artists as Stanisław Wyspiański, Karol Szymanowski. I could visit them 🙂

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

MS: – Yes! My question is how did you find me? I was nicely surprised when I received a message from Boston:)

JBN.S: – Thank you for answers. Now it’s not hard to find each other, if you are looking for someone, I can help you find …

Interview by Simon Sargsyan


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