June 22, 2024


Website about Jazz and Blues

Interview with Anton Ponomarev: I just play music with all my strength: Video

Jazz interview with jazz saxophonist Anton Ponomarev. An interview by email in writing. 

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

Anton Ponomarev: – I was born and grew up in Moscow, where I still live today. From childhood I listened mostly to heavy music – metal or grindcore, because it seemed to me as intense emotionally as possible.

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

AP: – Over time, I began to expand my horizons, began to listen to a lot of jazz music, but by the way, and metal still continued to love. I listened to almost everything, absorbing as much as possible. At some point I just wanted to be able to play an instrument, too – I decided that why not a saxophone? My favorite musicians at that time were saxophonists or clarinettists. Actually, I started to study alto saxophone, the sound of which I liked the most. Most of the time I am self-taught, but of course I took lessons from some teachers. I just studied and played at home as often as possible.

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

AP: – I tried to include my favorite records and just played under them (with or without headphones). As for the lip apparatus I did a lot of work with the piano trying to “sing” the notes with my lips – buzzing. Probably it’s a more useful thing for trumpeters, but I’m sure that these trainings helped me a lot.

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

AP: – Try to be original and by no means imitate anybody!

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

AP: – It’s nothing special – I smoke a cigarette and drink coffee with Coke. I can’t help it – a habit!

JBN: – Ism is culled from a variety of lives dates with various performers over the course of a few years. Did your sound evolve during that time? And how did you select the musicians who play on the album?

AP: – I play in five bands at the moment, the lineup in each of them is different. Different musicians – different presentation of expression, everything is very different.

Specifically, my personal sound may be said to have long ago formed, but some nuances certainly develop or transform over time and with the accumulation of experience.

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

AP: – I don’t think about such things – I just play music with all my strength.

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

AP: – No, I just do what I like and play what I would like to listen to. I don’t care so much about the opinion of others, and especially doing what they want.

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

AP: – Well, for example, I remember a long time ago when glass glasses flew into me from somewhere in the hall. One of them, by the way, crashed right near me and shattered another musician from our band. It is a normal situation, why not?!

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

AP: – Should we interest them in jazz at all? I think they will find for themselves what they like! Today’s youth can be quite smart!

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

AP: – I’m sorry, but I really don’t like to talk about these concepts like spirit. I can only say that it is important to play what you really feel at the moment. It is also important to turn yourself inside out, trying to play every time like the last. I hope this is the spirit!

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

AP: – I would like to be able to blow the fuck out of all the spectators who eat in the hall while the musicians play.

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

AP: – Eric Dolphy.

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

AP: – Be yourself! … this!

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

AP: – I would like to stay exactly where I am right now.

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

AP: – I feel relaxed right now.

Interview by Simon Sargsyan

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