June 13, 2024

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Interview with Samuel Mosching։ Jazz has been created by some of the most present minds: Video

Jazz interview with a bad musician, as if guitarist, an ungrateful and problematic person Samuel Mosching․ 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.

Samuel Mosching: – I grew up in Thun, Switzerland. It is a town very close to the Swiss Alps. I always wanted to play an instrument so at age 10 I finally got my first guitar. All my love for music and Jazz really started then. I soon discovered records like John Coltrane’s Crescent and soon all the great Miles Davis albums.

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

SM: – Early on I was influenced by Django Reinhardt. I had a Jazz guitar and played it often without an amp. At that point I played the guitar very hard with my pick, articulating every note. Kurt Rosenwinkel was teaching at the university I studied at in Lucerne. Through his influence I started playing a lot softer and more left-hand heavy.

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

SM: – I started playing drums at age 12. I have a very strong rhythmic practice that focuses around the metronome. I always liked using the metronome in challenging ways like on the + of 3 or every three beats in a 4/4 song. These days I practice very slow tempos ranging from 4 to 16 beats per minute. It helps me keep time over longer periods of time and to always stay on top of what I want to express rhythmically.

Harmonically my exercises have a lot to do with singing what I do. The imagination and the ear have to come first. It is important to me to truly improvise and not play lick-based or to just let the muscle-memory do the job. Goal is to know a Jazz standard to the point you can play it without thinking at all about harmonies, keys or notes and to just hear what notes express the music best.

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

SM: – It is all about energy. Something I listen to music that may be impressive or interesting at first but if it can’t keep me engaged as a listener, I won’t keep investing my time. I have a very eclectic taste in music. But it always has to tell me a story. Repetition or cliches never do it for me.

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

SM: – I find that I can only be creative for a certain amount of time. The times when I practiced 4-6 hours a day burned me out creatively. So I limit my improvising when I practice and focus on more technical things. On stage obviously that is different. With an audience you can feed off the energy of the space and it gets less tiring.

I find that a good healthy diet, and sports like lifting weights, sprinting and Yoga help me to keep the balance. I need a lot of sleep especially when I play shows and I eat large portions of carbs right before shows, preferably vegan.

I also have been meditating for over a decade and don’t drink Alcohol before I play the guitar.

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

SM: – I often say I like great Jazz and great Blues for the same reason. The Soul of the music is essential. Music can never truly be great if I cannot feel the Spirit in it. It is what makes it music. Intellect shapes music and makes it interesting and often relevant. However it has to be in conjunction with spirit and soul.

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

SM: – As an artist I feed off of people’s energy and cannot truly enjoy playing a concert if people are not willing to participate in that circle. If the listener is only passive and wants to consume the music without participating in the circle of energy it will never feel good to me. If they are willing to open up I can give it my all without feeling empty after the set.

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

SM: – Good Jazz is always current to me because of its improvisation. For a musician to be truly improvising she or he has to be in the moment. This aspect of now will always engage certain people and turn away others. Jazz has been created by some of the most present minds and the tunes still carry that depth. Some young people will always be attracted to this.

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

SM: – Being connected to SPIRIT simply means being in the now to me. That may sound easy but it is very hard to maintain. While improvising I feel I can keep this presence for a long time, especially when playing with a group of people that can enter that same frame of mind. Sharing the band stand with legends in this music helped me to enter this state of mind more unhinged. This form of presence can be applied to anything and is truly what life is all about for me.

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

SM: – I am longing for people to vibrate with music more and not try to consume it. It takes an openness that comes out of a stillness that is out of fashion right now.

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

SM: – When I am very busy musically I do enjoy silence. If I get less busy and have some room for music I like to check out new releases of any kind. The latest group I’ve enjoyed listening to is called Khruangbin. However I also love to go back to Coltrane and Shorter, Hindemith’s Ludus Tonalis, Bach’s Well Tempered Piano and Ravel String Quartets.

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

SM: – People are being confronted with purpose and motives all day long. I rather like them to kick back and let go. In a live music setting it is more about energy exposure that can get quite intense. Taking people from something they know to an edge that may be challenging and open up some horizons.

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

SM: – I would be curious to hear J.S. Bach improvises. We have no idea how this may have sounded back in the day. Was the music a lot slower or faster? How did he play his own music. All that.

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

SM: – What would be your favorite artist in the world right now to see live on a show?

JBN: – Definitely not you. John Scofield for example.

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

SM: – It is great to reflect on the many questions you’ve asked. So going inward already fulfilled my expectations.

Interview by Simon Sargsyan

Samuel Mösching | Facebook

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