May 19, 2024

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Interview with Nils Wogram: Independency and musical friendships: Video

Jazz interview with jazz trombonist Nils Wogram. An interview by email in writing. – Please explain your creative process

Nils Wogram: – I compose tunes with sound in mind. Then I bring it to the rehearsal and start playing right away. in The process talked about certain sections and how they can be played. A lot of things also develop with the improvisations.

JBN: – What are your main impulses to write music?

NW: – I have been writing music since I am 16 years old. It is simply a desire to create. In my life as a professional musician I write for concrete projects. Mostly recording projects with my bands. These compositions are then recorded and later played for many years live. Inspirational sources are: places, stories, things I experienced, music I heard, books, wisdoms and many others.

JBN: – What do you personally consider to be the incisive moments and pieces in your work and/or career?

NW: – One very important moment for me was listening to an album by the famous GDR band named Doppelmoppel in the 1990ies. I was blown away and Joe Sachse was part of it. Later in the early 2000ies I met Joe on a festival in Italy and we decided to do something together.

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JBN: – Are there sub-genres within the jazz field that you tend to stay away from or focus on?

NW: – I likes Blues, 70ies Rock and Flamenco a lot. I am also a fan of eastern European folk music.

JBN: – When your first desire to become involved in the music was & what do you learn about yourself from music?

NW: – About when I was 8 years old. I simply loved Jazz. The beat, the energy and the people who play it. I loved the sound of the trombone and wanted to play it.

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

NW: – I try to practice every day. Sometimes only trombone technique stuff to keep my “chops”. Otherwise I practice tunes and improvisations and try to imagine how they will feel when we play together. I also compose regularly.

JBN: – How would you describe and rate the music scene you are currently living?

NW: – I live in Switzerland where the music scene is great but small. Therefore I chose to play with musicians I like also from other countries. That is sometimes logistically difficult but I am still doing it for the benefit of the music. I this the jazz scene in Europe has gotten a lot stronger in the last 20 years.

JBN: – When you improvise, you know where you’re going. It’s a matter of taking certain paths and certain directions?

NW: – We we play a compositions the directions of the improvisations within the tune are pretty clear. But there are always surprises! When we improvise freely everything is totally open.

JBN: – Do you ever get the feeling that music majors, and particularly people who are going into jazz, are being cranked out much like business majors? That they are not really able to express themselves as jazz musicians?

NW: – Very good thought! Indeed I sometimes think that the real personality, honesty and artistic statement is missing. I blame that on various facts: Today the musicians are mostly their own producers. They practice hard and want to sound perfect on their albums. Therefor they produce a record which is highly edited, corrected and somehow perfect but  sterile. It is not about the moment and the vibe!

Also: they need to sell them selfs. So they tend to play (and produce music)  in a way that they think more people will like it. Their creative mind is not independent from the music business. That is often a problem.

JBN: – What about somebody who is really gifted and puts together a band and just gets upset to the point of quitting because of the business aspects-the agents and the clubs?

NW: – Yes it takes an enormous effort to build a career as a musician. It is not always the most talented people who master it. You need the musical talent, a kind of resilience against the music business mechanisms, lots of energy/will and the luck to be at the right moment at the right place.

JBN: – And lastly, being a teacher, do you find it difficult to write music yourself?

NW: – Absolutely not. My teaching and touring and composing  is in good balance. It is rather fruitful and I am happy to work with the young musicians and share thoughts.

JBN: – With such an illustrious career, what has given you the most satisfaction musically?

NW: – Independency and musical friendships. I simply love my job. I play only with people I like and produce music that is free from been pushed into a certain direction.

JBN: – From the musical and feeling point of view is there any difference between a old and great jazzmans and young?

NW: – Yes! Decades ago it was mainly about being a good musician. Today you are much more responsible for your own career.For example  I guess John Coltrane would not have sat down at the computer for about one hour to type in the answers to an online interview. Also: most jazz musicians today are stylistically more flexible. Because they are well educated and they have to be flexible to make a living. Rarely I meet young musicians who  can play only in one way.

JBN: – What advice would you give to aspiring musicians thinking of pursuing a career?

NW: – Keep going and do the best you can. Think about music and try to get an audience without corrupting your art. Be resilient and don`t compare yourself to others.

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

NW: – Yes. Maybe less questions would be better so one can answer each question more detailed. Any question to you? Well maby but I don`t have enough time to get into a longer ongoing conversation. I simply hope things work out for you.

JBN: – Have you ever given a free concert during your entire concert career?

NW: – Yes but not anymore. Only for close friends.

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

NW: – I am grateful that you are publishing these interviews and sharing the musicians thoughts. No expectations otherwise.

Interview by Simon Sargsyan

JazzBaltica 2018: NDR Bigband feat. Nils Wogram - "Work Smoothly" - YouTube

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