May 25, 2024

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Interview with Chris Janssen: Music has the undisputed ability to make the world a better place

Interview with Blues guitarist Chris Janssen. 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?

Chris Janssen: – I grew up in the Netherlands in the city of Nijmegen. When I was about 14 years old I saw and heard my brother-in-law playing the guitar. It was immediately clear; that was what I wanted too. A friend of mine played the blues harp and could sing. The adventure begun and together we played songs by John Mayall and Canned Heat. The passion for music and the blues was obvious. To earn a living with it was not yet an issue.

OUR US/EU Jazz and Blues Festivals 2023

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

CHJ: – Haha, nice question! In my experience, a guitarist is always trying to perfect his sound. You are constantly confronted with different new sounds and new equipment so that you make new choices. My preference has always been a stratocaster with 2 single coils and one humbucker. Furthermore, in recent years I have used a number of pedals that I rarely use at live performances. And I’m always trying out new equipment.

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

CHJ: – I practice every day with backing tracks from YouTube. Both scales and chords and especially creative soloing. I still regularly go to a guitar teacher to practice new rhythm patterns and discuss which harmony chords to use for new songs.

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

CHJ: – Your intelligence sends signals to your soul and it boosts your mood. Gives you energy and inspires you to bring out your creativity. Science has already proven that music has an intense, yet positive impact on physical and mental health.

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

CHJ: – Absolutely. I play the song for my sister. Unfortunately, her son passed away much too soon. People sometimes sing along.

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

CHJ: – By performing your own music with your new sound and creativity with feeling and passion. Than they feel the blues, soul, jazz and rock. Whatever they want to hear and feel.

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

CHJ: – More venues where music can be presented. Subsidize the music and cultural sector with at least twice as much money. Maybe a bit corny, but music has the undisputed ability to make the world a better place.

OUR US/EU Jazz and Blues Association 2023

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

CHJ: – I listen to many musical artists in all kinds of styles. Too many to mention, but … Robben Ford – Matt Schofield – Tedeschi Trucks Band – The Teskey Brothers – John Scofield – Jerome Hol – Anton Goudsmidt – Wes Montgomery – Warren Hayes – Bonnie Raitt – The Meters – Allman Bets Band – Nina Simone – Joe Satriani – Buddy Guy – Buddy Wittington – Joanne Shaw Taylor – Beth Hart – Jeff Beck – Neil Young – John Mayer – Ry Cooder – Anna Popovic – ….and many more.

JBN: – Do You like our questions?

CHJ: – It’s always fun to answer questions about music. I am blessed that I can be busy with music every day.

Interview by Simon Sarg

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