June 15, 2024


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Interview with Adam Forkelid: Turning Point! Music requires intellect … Video, new CD cover

Interview with Jazz pianist and composer Adam Forkelid. An interview by email in writing.

Dear readers, get to know more about our US/EU Jazz – Blues Festivals and the activities of our US/EU Jazz – Blues Association in the capitals of Europe, we will soon publish program for 2024, enjoy in the July – August – Brussels, Berlin, Prague, Warsaw, Sofia, new addreses this year, also in Amsterdam, Budapest.

JazzBluesNews.com: – First, 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?

Adam Forkelid: – I grew up in a musical family. My dad was a professional piano player and teacher and my mother was a singer. When I was two years old I was always banging on stuff when I heard music. My parents got me a drum kit for my third birthday and I’ve been a drummer ever since. At about the same time I also started trying to play the piano. Eventually, at age 5, I would take piano lessons from my dad and drum lessons from Pétur Östlund, a highly respected teacher and drummer on the Swedish jazz scene. I played in bands, from very early on, at first often with my father. I did my first appearance on stage at age 4 and I was playing both jazz and other music, I didn’t think much about genre at that point, but I was always very interested in improvisation. Since my father was a professional musician I always saw that as a natural occupation to have. I think I began talking about wanting to become a musician when I was around 10. Over time I gravitated towards the piano and the drums gradually faded into the background. I also played the trumpet for some years, but I didn’t keep up practicing that in the end. The piano became my only instrument eventually.

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

AF: – My sound on the piano was at first influenced by records we had at home as a kid. There was a lot of Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock, Bill Evans, Keith Jarrett and lots and lots of other music too. Also I guess my father, who was a very prominent pianist and keyboard player with a broad musical knowledge and keen jazz interest, was one of my big influences as a kid. I was at first very interested in being able to play almost anything, to be a competent and versatile musician, like my dad. After that I guess Chick Corea was my first really big influence from age 7-12. After that, Bill Evans and Herbie Hancock took over as guiding lights.

OUR US/EU Jazz and Blues Festivals 2023

I’ve always had an urge to compose. The more I’ve composed the more I’ve been able to find my own sound. For me there is a very direct connection between writing music, playing music and improvising. They are all parts of the same whole, so they all change simultaneously.

Right now I’m actually starting to practice drums again, since I notice how much good that does for my piano playing. It makes me connect with my inner two year old again, in a good way.

JBN: – Have you changed through the years? Any charges or overall evolution? And if so why?

AF: – At first I was very much into trying to master all kinds of music. Now, I’m more interested in developing my own music. The greatest changes has come through the musicians you meet and play with. But the core of my own music stays intact, that comes from a much deeper place that doesn’t really change, I only interpret it a bit differently over time, sometimes incorporating new things I’ve picked up more recently.

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

AF: – I practice whenever I can, but being a father of three that’s often not the easiest thing to do. A lot of preparation comes through the actual work of composing the music and then trying out the music with the band. At least when I’m playing my own music.

JBN: – What do you love most about your new album 2024: Adam Forkelid – Turning Point, how it was formed and what you are working on today.

AF: – I love that my band took this so seriously and are so incredibly fast in making this music sound complete. We rehearsed only a couple of times before the recording and we recorded all of it in one day. Thanks to their great expertise and focus on always making the best possible music, we made this music playable in a very short time.

At the moment I am working on new music for some other projects I have going on.

Buy from here – New CD 2024

JBN: – How did you select the musicians who play on the album?

AF: – I’ve played with Daniel (drums) and Niklas (bass) for many years now in different circumstances, and actually already had played trio with them from time to time, but that never got recorded. Then we had a gig where I wanted to try and expand the trio with some guests. Carl I met through a mutual musician friend a few years earlier and from the first time we played there was an instantaneous connection; we have a phrasing that’s basically the same and chord structures that don’t interfere with each other, event though we have never talked about theses things. And when he joined the trio, everything fell into place and the band was formed.

JBN: – What sort of feedback did you receive after it was released from musicians or your friends and family?

AF: – The feedback has so far been overwhelmingly positive! Everyone is of course impressed with Carls fantastic abilities on the guitar, but I think the over all impression that remains with people is the sound of the band and how we make music together.

JBN: – Can you share any memories from gigs, jams, open acts and studio sessions over the years?

AF: – I fondly remember playing with the Norrbotten Big Band under the lead of Maria Schneider. She is such a great person and composer and all the things she writes feels so meaningful to play. I can say the same about Louis Cole and Genevieve Artadi, who I also played with several times with the same big band. And the great Pedro Martins who I was touring with for a while, partly during the pandemic. This is actually the best school you can attend, being in the room and on stage with people who do the most beautiful music in the world.

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

AF: – Music requires intellect when it comes to understanding and navigating in a specific system of music (in my case, Western music, more specifically jazz and other related genres). And you might need to put you ideas into words in order to communicate some things to others, like other musicians, or even understand it yourself sometimes. But all of this is of course nothing without an emotional content that I guess amounts to what you might call soul, and which is of course very hard to describe in words. It’s hard to have only one without the other and make music, so I think they are the equivalent of yin and yang.

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

AF: – That’s fine I presume, but I think it’s hard to guess what emotion people actually long for. Your best bet is to try and evoke the feeling you yourself would like to experience, and present it to the audience as best as you can. Then they can either accept or decline it, but they are being given something anyway.

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

AF: – I think we have to look past the concept of standard tunes. We have to present music that has a meaning for ourselves. If it’s meaningful to us, chances are much higher that anyone else will find it meaningful too.

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

AF: – Music comes from deep within myself, and even if I could state that I can’t live without it, it’s much more truthful for me to say that I can’t remove it from my being. It’s there, no matter if I play or not. I don’t know if music is really the meaning of life, life is of course larger than just making music. But I’m much happier when I’m playing regularly than when I’m not.

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

AF: – I would make the need of making money and supporting yourself and your family disappear. Everyone could just make whatever music they wanted and try to find the people who wants to listen to it. That’s all we would need.

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

AF: – More and more different musicians and music actually. I mean, some things I’ve listened to for such a long time, like Keith Jarrett, Joni Mitchell, Stravinsky or Prince, I’ve heard most of what they’ve done, so I don’t need to go through it all again, but I still go back anyway. But then there are these different new discoveries, like for me Samson François, Ethiopian jazz or Floating Points, that catch my interest for some reason. And then I listen to that for a while, sometimes more, sometimes less.

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

AF: – So many different times and places! One example: to go back to some time in the late 19th century and spend time at Debussy’s piano, listening to him improvising and coming up with the things he did. I would like to hear how he actually played and felt his own music, in the same room.

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

AF: – It’s not easy to put into words, but this is one possible way: Never stop looking for things that might amaze you. Keep an open heart and mind and you will find things that make your life better.

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

AF: – They are challenging but intriguing! So, yes. 🙂

My question: How do you feel about writing about music? Is it possible to actually describe it with language?

JBN: – Thanks for the interesting answers. Of course, I have a positive attitude, that’s what I do myself, we. In human language, turning it into a written text, yes, it is possible to convey and promote that jazz lovers follow what is written and acquire, listen to quality music.

JBN: – Have you ever given a free concert during your entire concert career? At the bottom line, what are your expectations from our interview?

AF: – Oh yes, I’ve given free concerts! Sometimes those are more valuable than the most well-payed concerts you can play.

I hope this interview will be read by someone who might hear more nuances in my music after reading my answers, or maybe even discover my music if they didn’t hear it before.

JBN: – Is there anything that we didn’t talk about that you’d like to discuss?

AF: – No, I think I’ve run out of words now. Thank you for all these interesting questions, and for wanting to do this interview with me.


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