June 15, 2024

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Interview with Wolf Mail: I don’t think the kind of music I play should involve intellect

Interview with Bluesman Wolf Mail. An interview by email in writing. You wonder what to expect from such a title, but it is one of the written answers of this strange musician, you will meet it in the text. Judge for yourself.

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, 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?

Wolf Mail: – Life has been pretty nomadic since early childhood. I was born in Montreal, then lived in the south of France for a few years and then moved back to Montreal in my teens to attend college. At the age of 10 I heard one of my family member play “What d I say” from Ray Charles on the acoustic guitar, that’s when I knew that I was going to be a musician. I started practicing daily.

OUR US/EU Jazz and Blues Festivals 2024

At about 17, I was at Steve’s Music in Montreal when I heard a guy playing there, trying out instruments. His name was David Goodman. I took lessons with David for a while and it really helped me to move to the next level, he taught me the theory and technique that I had been missing as a self taught player. I played in a few local bands in Montreal for a couple of years but I was itching for more, and decided to take a one way bus tickt to New York and then Los Angeles to start my musical career.

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

WM: – I’m always open to search for a better tone. For many years I used a Fender Vibro king with a 1957 Fender Telecaster, which worked very well for the sound I wanted. I used to hang out a lot at guitar Center on Sunset blv in L.A and they had tons of new gear all the time, it was a great place to try out new gear. One day, the store manager said to me “Hey we just got this new amp in, made by the Carvin guys across the street, Joe Walsh designed it, you should give it a try. It was a Bel air, tubes with 2 x12 celestions and a sring reverb, absolutely stunning sound.

OUR US/EU Jazz and Blues Festivals 2023

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

WM: – Everyday I do my  “hour of power”, warm up exercises, some pf them taught by David Goodman from way back, stil very effective. I spend time on rhythm with a metronome or backing track, chord progression, phrasing and improv. I also try to learn as many new songs as I can.

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

WM: – I think that some things like the passion and love I have for music hasn’t change, I ‘d like to believe that  I have learned from past mistakes and became a wiser person but often a situation pops up that reminds me that It’s just a process. I think as long as I can keep an open mind and a positive attitude, there will always be some kind of growth.

There could be talk or advertising about your CD

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

WM: – I dont think the kind of music I play should involve intellect. In my humble opinion, it should be a genuine, heartfelt, straight from the soul  spontaneous expression.

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

WM: – I am an entertainer first, then a musician. If I can assess the audience accordingly, I will try to deliver my performance with the aim to please my audience in an honest, genuine and spontaneous way

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

WM: – A lot of young musicians are still interested in Bach and Mozart, and that is most likely to last for a long time I think anything creative with value and talent is timeless. The key is to keep awareness of Jazz/Blues via media and culture.

OUR US/EU Jazz and Blues Association 2023

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

WM: – I listen to the classics like Elmore James, BB King, Albert Collins but also some of the recent guys like Tab Benoit, JD simo, GA20 or Gary Clark jr.

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Interview by Emmanuel Bolton

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