Interview with keyboardist Toni Starešinić. An interview by email in writing. The poor guy talks big, but is miles away from jazz, unfortunately, it’s just that, the job is already done a year ago, we publish all.
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?
Toni Starešinić: – I grew up on a small island Ist, it’s located on Adriatic sea, near town Zadar in Croatia. Then it was still Yugoslavia, and after 1990. Croatia. Ist is an island off sailors, so many people brought home jazz, rock and other vinyl records from outside.
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My grandfather worked in France, and my father too, so we had a vinyl collection in our house, from Pink Floyd and Rolling Stones to Croatian pop stars like Oliver Dragojević. Than my parents recognized I have some music talent and I went to elementary music school in Zadar. Then I’ve got from my father cd’s of jazz, blues, funk, soul and rock, from Miles Davis, John Lee Hooker and Isaac Hayes to Creedence Clearwater Revival and Santana. When I’ve got to college to Zagreb main capital of Croatia, I discovered fusion and prog rock from Mahawishnu Orchestra to King Crimson and I’ve got so in love in music that I abandoned college and started playing music for living. But my music genes comes from my family, we have in our family Igor Kuljerić, one of the most important classical composer in Croatia.
JBN: – How has your sound evolved over time? What have you been doing to find and develop your own sound?
TS: – I always liked mix of sounds and styles. My favorite band of all times is King Crimson, and my favorite artist is Miles Davis, so when you listen to those guys it’s normal to think about music in many colors. I’ve been listening music a lot, especially from early sixties till today so I absorbed a lot, and you can hear it in music. I’m a keyboard player so it’s natural for me to go and research music with synthesizers and electronics but also I like piano, Rhodes electric piano, and Hammond organ.
JBN: – What routine practices or exercises have you developed to maintain and improve your current musical proficiency, in terms of both rhythm and harmony?
TS: – Well I’m pretty much busy, fortunately, Croatia is a very small market and especially these days with all these crises all around it’s hard to make a living here out of your own music, so I don’t have time to practice. The time I’m playing is on stage or in studio composing new music, I’m working a lot for theatre and television and playing in seven bands.
JBN: – Have you changed through the years? Any charges or overall evolution? And if so why?
TS: – I learned a lot during the years in composing, playing and handling with people. Running a band is not just a playing or composing, it’s management, it’s psychology and many other stuff. But I managed to develop my own sound in Croatia.
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JBN: – In your opinion, what’s the balance in music between intellect and soul?
TS: – I think the balance is guided by your intuition. It’s not something you can calculate, if you try to, you can miss the goal. It’s also part of you, your soul and your intellect, and all that what’s yours reflects in you music. For someone else your music can sound more intellect and for others more soulful, it’s up to each person.
JBN: – There’s a two-way relationship between audience and artist; are you okay with delivering people the emotion they long for?
TS: – Yeah, its’ exchange of energy, you give them, and they give it back to you, and than you have a perfect circle. It’s a drive for their and our souls.
JBN: – How can we get young people interested in jazz when most of standard tunes are half a century old?
TS: – Well there is excellent jazz music all the time. I think off period from 1998. till 2018. as a new jazz golden age. With bands like Medeski Martin & Wood, EST, Robert Glasper experiment, The Bad plus alternative jazz found it’s place on big concert halls all over the globe. Let’s wait and see what’s gonna happen after this crisis, this needs to stop sometime.
JBN: – John Coltrane once said that music was his spirit. How do you perceive the spirit and the meaning of life?
TS: – I perceive music as a planetary language of communication, every pure art is spirit to it’s artist, without spirit there is no art, and without art live is empty and boring.
JBN: – If you could change one single thing in the musical world and that would become reality, what would that be?
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TS: – I would delete digital streaming services haha. With digital streams and social networks music market became over researched, there is no more risk in music, and without risk there is no progress and evolution.
JBN: – Whom do you find yourself listening to these days?
TS: – I’m listening these days Jack White, Dave Douglas and Fire!
JBN: – Let’s take a trip with a time machine: where and why would you really want to go?
TS: – I’d like to go on Miles Davis concert somewhere around 1973.
Interview by Simon Sarg
Note: https://jazzbluesnews.com/2023/03/19/useu-jazz-blues-association-festivals/ You can express your consent and join our association, which will give you the opportunity to perform at our Jazz and Blues festivals, naturally receiving an appropriate royalty. We cover all expenses. The objectives of the interview are: How to introduce yourself, your activities, thoughts and intellect, and make new discoveries for our US/EU Jazz & Blues Association, which organizes festivals, concerts and meetings in Boston and various European countries, why not for you too!! You can read more about the association here. https://jazzbluesnews.com/2022/11/19/useujba/