June 14, 2024

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Interview with the band ThreeStyle: Music can have many faces but the most important thing is that it’s played from the heart: Videos, new CD cover

Jazz interview with the band ThreeStyle. An interview by email in writing. 

JazzBluesNews.com: – First, let’s start out with where you grew up, and what got you interested in music. How exactly did your adventure take off? When did you realize that this was a passion you could make a living out of?

Magdalena Chovancova: – Thanks so much for having Threestyle on your show!

We love your Jazz Blues News magazine 🙂

Magdalena: My twin Gabriela and I, and of course Robert, are the founding members of Threestyle … so we’ll each say a little bit about ourselves.

Magdalena: We grew up in the Czech Republic, in a musical family. Our mom is a music teacher and choir conductor and my twin sister is a professional drummer. Also, our home town, Ostrava, has a huge musical and cultural tradition, so there were concerts and all kinds of musical performances to go to all the time – music was everywhere! And we had easy access to a solid musical education and high quality instruments to play on.

Gabriela Chovancova: My twin sister and I started to play the piano at the age of 5, and later on we continued with other instruments too. We realized very early on that we wanted to be professional musicians – of course it wasn’t always easy, but now we do what we love most for our living!

Our careers took off while we were still on our teens, and since then we‘ve seen almost the whole world studying music and playing live …and the journey continues …

Robert Fertl: My parents weren’t too enthusiastic about me becoming a musician. It was a long road . But in the end I went off to study music in Munich and in the USA, and I am happy that I’ve been making music all my life .

We did many projects and music styles over the years but doing our own music was the best decision we ever made, and we’re so proud and grateful to have number one hits on Billboard, awards and huge fan base .

JBN: – How has your sound evolved over time? What have you been doing to find and develop your own sound?

M: I tried many mouthpieces and instruments. I really enjoy playing vintage instruments – they are absolutely amazing but it isn’t easy to find a high quality one that‘s also in good shape. I had to search for a long time, but I‘ve finally found my dream combination:  a mouthpiece by Guardala (I am also an endorser)  and a vintage Selmer sax .

G: I tried  most drum heads on the market and I realized that the Evans genera G2 Coated suits me best. I also prefer to use  thin but punchy snares with sharp rims. To find my own sound, I was and still am recording the gigs for myself to listen to afterwards, to find out what sounds best on a big stage or in a small jazz club .

Of course, our studio recordings also played a big part.

R: I developed my sound over 3 decades of playing and listening –  it’s been quite a journey from the beginning till I found my own language in music!

JBN: – What routine practices or exercises have you developed to maintain and improve your current musical proficiency, in terms of both rhythm and harmony?

M: I have several warm-up exercises but mostly I like playing with a drum (or drum machine ), or I practice with playalongs but the best practice of all is to rehearse with the live band ..

G: Practicing simple grooves with playalongs and gospel choirs helped me the most to get the settled groove. Lots of  drummers rush to practice difficult stuff, but forget about the basics…

JBN: – Have you changed through the years? Any deliberate changes,  or overall evolution? And if so why?

R: Well I think not just me but the whole band evolved to be more ourselves and to have our own unique and  instantly recognizable sound and style ..

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

M: Mostly, recording and writing go hand in hand – as we record, we create the song. So there is preparation but also a lot of spontaneity. Mostly, Robert an I write the songs but we also collaborate and our band members co-write too. And Robert produces our stuff and does all the mixing as well.  It‘s hard to say exactly how we ‘maintain our stamina‘ but for us it‘s crucial that it sounds good, meaning  the song makes sense musically …

JBN: – What do you love most about your new album 2022: Threestyle Feat. Magdalena Chovancova & Robert Fertl – Music For The Soul, how it was it created and what are you working on today?

M, R, G: We all love classic soul music, and these people are our heroes! So, Music for the Soul is a big, loving tribute to them. We recorded with the best musicians like bassist James L Manning, drummer Rayford Griffin and keyboarder Chris Troy as well as great vocalists Tim Owens, Damon Dae, Ashley Sankey and Latonya Gilliard who are also our touring band in the US.

But it was the first cover cd we did …all our other albums are original tunes, and so are the tunes on the album ‘Better Days’ which we released this year too.

New CD – 2022 – Buy from here

Threestyle feat. Magdalena Chovancova & Robert Fertl

JBN: – How did you select the musicians who play on the album?

M: We‘ve known these amazing musicians for many many years and we basically work with the same team all the time. But we also have on every recording  special guests like Jimmy Haslip, Steve Laury, Paul Brown , producer Mack (Queen ), Nils , Elvis Stanic and more ..

JBN: – In your opinion, what’s the perfect balance in music between intellect and soul?

R: We love sophisticated harmony, ideas and rhythm, but most important is that at the end the tune sounds natural and soulful .. so that it works out  great  musically ..

JBN: – There’s a two-way relationship between audience and artist; are you okay with delivering people the emotion they long for?

G: There’s always a great vibe between the musicians on the stage, and hopefully the audience can feel this genuine  energy ..

JBN: – Can you share any memories from gigs, jams, open acts and studio sessions over the years?

M: I really like to recall the session with Jimmy Haslip … he was playing a jazz festival nearby and we talked to him about a recording to do in the future, and he was so jetlagged that he said after the show let’s do that now (4am ) and he nailed it of course  ..he is an amazing musicians and such an humble human being.

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

G: I think even some main stream pop artists did some jazz tunes lately so that was a great way for young people to see how cool this music is.

But I think there should be much more live jazz music events and it should be taught at schools more thoroughly 🙂

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

M: We all love John Coltrane and have to admit that he is absolutely right about that .. couldn’t agree more …

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

R: That royalties for musical work would be more fair to authors .

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

M: This is a tricky question for every musician to answer -) we all have our favourite players and bands but we like to discover new and unknown talent as well 😉

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

M: Music can have many faces but the most important thing is that it’s played from the heart and will touch people all around the world .. they should feel good listening to it .

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

G: I’d like to go back to times when there were more live shows and music making was an everyday activity, and less tv and passive entertainment..

JBN: – At the bottom line, what are your expectations from our interview?

R, M, G: We hope people will get to know us a little better through the interview, and they can reach out to us over our website which is threestylejazz.com (there are links to social media, youtube, stores and so on) and they can also listen and reach out to us through the Threestylejazz radio show (airing on 8 stations worldwide) – but most of all we hope they’ll have fun reading this.

Interview by Simon Sargsyan

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