Jazz interview with a bad musician, as if guitarist and problematic person Linus Olsson. An interview by email in writing. We will return to the activities of this stupid and rude person in a separate article.
JazzBluesNews.com: – First let’s start with where you grew up, and what got you interested in music?
Linus Olsson: – I grew up in Malmö in the south of Sweden. In my early teens I was already studying classical guitar but discovering rock bands like AC/DC, Iron Maiden and Kiss got me really interested in music.
JBN: – How has your sound evolved over time? What have you been doing to find and develop your own sound?
LO: – Being very inspired by rock and heavy metal in the beginning it was very important with a lot of distortion. Then as I gradually made my way to jazz my sound got cleaner. I’ve experimented with different pedals but lately I’ve been a “guitar in the amp guy” using very few effects. However, I like to use different guitars depending on the genre because I play in so very different settings. I play an archtop for jazz, a telecaster for blues and funk, a nylon string for Brazilian music, an acoustic steel string for the solo vocal and guitar stuff and a semi-hollow for everything else. Listening and studying many different artists and different instruments have helped me develop my own sound.
JBN: – What routine practices or exercises have you developed to maintain and improve your current musical proficiency, in terms of both rhythm and harmony?
LO: – To keep everything well oiled I have some chromatic scale exercises that I’ve invented and I also like to play over my own backing tracks. To improve as a musician, I like to concentrate on getting better at interacting live with the other musicians. Lately I’ve been working a lot on my singing too.
JBN: – How do you keep stray, or random, musical influences from diverting you from what you’re doing?
LO: – I like to draw from different musical influences all the time. I think it keeps everything fresh and interesting.
JBN: – How do you prepare for your recordings and performances to help you maintain both spiritual and musical stamina?
LO: – I try to focus on the next upcoming gig or recording and working on one specific repertoire at a time. I like to work out physically on a decently regular basis and have a balanced diet. I like to cook most of my meals at home.
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JBN: – In your opinion, what’s the balance in music between intellect and soul?
LO: – Soul is hands down most important. That being said, the intellect is also important to help you expand, try new things and keep the music interesting.
JBN: – There’s a two-way relationship between audience and artist; are you okay with delivering people the emotion they long for?
LO: – Of course, that’s part of the job and also why I love to play live because they feed the emotion back to you. At the same time, it’s capital to be true to yourself and the audience when it comes to what you want to play and express.
JBN: – Can you share any memories from gigs, jams, open acts and studio sessions over the years?
LO: – One great memory from a gig is when I managed to put together an international band in Monaco with some of the finest players from Sweden, Italy and France. This resulted in a live album called “Dedication Blues”. I remember jamming with Lonnie Smith many years ago when I was a youngster. I guess he saw something in me because when we got off stage, he told me “You’re gonna be a mother!”
JBN: – How can we get young people interested in jazz when most of standard tunes are half a century old?
LO: – I’m a director of a music school where I also teach. For the pop and rock ensembles I like to give tunes by for example James Brown, Stevie Wonder and Earth, Wind and Fire to the students so that the get exposed to music that isn’t that far from jazz. Also, we have to remember that what we call jazz is more a way of playing than a specific repertoire. For example, I like to play pop and soul covers with a jazz attitude, meaning playing head – solos – head and expanding the harmony and the rhythm.
JBN: – John Coltrane once said that music was his spirit. How do you perceive the spirit and the meaning of life?
LO: – I believe it’s important to be grateful for our short time here on earth and making the most out of it.
JBN: – If you could change one single thing in the musical world and that would become reality, what would that be?
LO: – More regular live gigs.
JBN: – Whom do you find yourself listening to these days?
LO: – Kurt Elling, Ray Charles, Michael Ruff, John Scofield.
JBN: – What is the message you choose to bring through your music?
LO: – Having a good time with other musicians and move the listener.
JBN: – Let’s take a trip with a time machine: where and why would you really want to go?
LO: – To a venue in New York where Miles Davis played when he had both Sonny Rollins and John Coltrane in his band. The tenor saxophone might be my favorite instrument and those players two of my favorite musicians.
JBN: – So far, it’s been me asking you questions, now may I have a question from yourself…
LO: – Simon, what do you think about my album?
JBN: – Very bad!!!
Interview by Simon Sargsyan