May 23, 2024

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Interview with Clara Lai: The most important thing is to feed the curiosity about music and sound: Video

Jazz interview with jazz pianist Clara Lai․ An interview by email in writing. – First, let’s start out with where you grew up, and what got you interested in music.

Clara Lai: – I grew up in Huesca, a small town Northern Spain. My interest in music happened naturally when I started playing the piano at the age of 8. As I got to know music in a deeper way through playing and listening to it, my interest in learning and playing the piano grew progressively more and more.

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

CL: – I started playing classical music. I studied classical piano at university and later also jazz piano. I’ve been going through diverse musical stages, moved by different musical influences. Over the time I’ve also gone through different ways of studying the instrument as well as developing my personal relationship with 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?

CL: – I usually do some technical exercises during my work routine to keep the most mechanical part of the hands and body active so I can respond better at a rhythmic, articulation, dynamic level. As for harmony, I’ve been going through different periods but currently I really like to explore it from an intervallic point of view.

JBN: – How do you keep stray, or random, musical influences from diverting you from what you’re doing?

CL: – I do not prevent this from happening. I consider the musical influences that are most significant for me are the ones that will inevitably and naturally be present in the music that I make in some way. I also believe this is part of the musical process itself as well as the development processes of a language and form of expression. What I find beautiful about this process is to observe the way in which these influences pass through each of us to generate a new and personal language.

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

CL: – Each time is different but normally I try to keep emotionally and technically connected both to the instrument and music I’m working on at that time. I try to play regularly and also go deeper into the aspects that keep my curiosity alive.

There could be talk or advertising about your CD

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

CL: – I would say they go together.

JBN: – The shortest and most pointless answer ever given to a question that conveys the main meaning of an interview.

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

CL: – It’s not possible for a musician to guess what the audience is really feeling during a concert and also, each person will experience the concert in a unique and unrepeatable way. In my opinion, that diversity of perceptions and emotions is beautiful. The most important thing to me on stage is to play from the most honest way, leaving the music unfold in all its intensity.

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

CL: – For me the most important thing is to feed the curiosity about music and sound, regardless of the music style.

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

CL: – Dedicating yourself to music, like any other activity in which you decide to deepen your knowledge, becomes a process of constant learning and development. It’s like the life journey, one doesn’t know what the meaning is but it’s the journey itself what matters and the things you discover in it. To interact with yourself and the environment  from respect.

This question is difficult to answer, since we live in a completely hierarchical and structured society based on ferocious capitalism that doesn’t leave us much space to think about these issues.

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

CL: – I have the desire that one day it won’t be necessary to make categorizations such as “Woman in Jazz and Blues” or “Woman in any type of profession”, like women practicing any profession stops calling our attention. On the other hand, I consider this “men – women” categorization leaves out many people who do not feel identified by this binary way.

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

CL: – These days I have been listening to different musicians like Albert Cirera, Signe Emmeluth, Ikue Mori, Craig Taborn, Ingrid Laubrock, Àlex Reviriego.

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

CL: – I don’t particularly have the wish to transmit one specific message with my music. I just try to express myself through it in the most sincere way possible, to connect with myself and with others through the sound, the interaction and collective construction. Perhaps, in some way, this is already a message.

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

CL: – My mind usually travels a lot to the past and the future, so I would love to stay more in the present time!

JBN: – So far, it’s been me asking you questions, now may I have a question from yourself…

CL: – And you, whom do you find yourself listening to these days?

JBN: – Definitely not you.

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

CL: – I am learning to live without expectations! So just thank you for your interest in my music and for this interview 🙂

Interview by Simon Sargsyan

Creciente | Clara Lai | UnderPool

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