Interview with NicolasVander (January 2021) on #neuguitars #blog
When did you start playing the guitar and why?
As a kid, a grew up around instruments, I think from very early I knew they was special machines. At the beginning messing with piano and drums, and later pick up the guitar, without any idea of how it works but I knew the music was there too. Why? A need of expression.
What did you study and what is your musical background?
I started learning the basics of guitar through playing in tango ensembles, then I moving around rock, then to jazz and improvisation. I have always tried to add something from myself, which brought me some disagreements, I tried myself in many scenarios and even get fired from some projects. Lol
So when I found out there that there were musicians who focus on improvisation, the light comes on.
Despite I don’t have a formal education I manage to learn what I need to go forward in my musical research. I took lessons whit Juanjo Dominguez, Fabio Napp, Pascal Marechal, Corey Christiansen among others who helped me on the path. Courses and clinics here and there. But mostly playing a lot whit many many different groups. I switched to trumpet, bass and keyboards over the years…
What were and are your main musical influences?
What mainly inspires me is the emotions evoked by the music. When you can feel what the musicians intent, and when the magic happens and brings the music alive by itself. And that happens, not all the time but, everywhere. I never had prejudices about music, probably because I was not trained as a formal musician, I could discover the music as it is, crystal clear. From the music of the native guaranís in Southamerica to all the Afro american music, passing through all the good rock and pop, ethnic and folk music, the experimental and the avant garde.
How did this massive projects, five cds, started? Why did you choose that name “Walk My Way?”
And a thousand guitars begin to play… Well, something easy for a music that is considered difficult.
This started like a research also, I am not a big guitars’ fan, for many years, I couldn’t even bear the sound of guitars… so I felt it was time to hear what the guitar was proposing today. I was scared about it… You can find here 50 very personal and unique approaches to the guitar. And for making it more particular, I asked the participants to play a solo oriented piece. So you should and you can, walk the way of each one, enter in their musical worlds. If you see the list of participants and where they come from, that may add something to the listening.
How did you contact and choose all those fifty guitars players?
I already knew almost all of them from before, even worked whit Killick Hinds and Martin Huba in different projects. But I feel that when we listen some of these musicians seems more important the music they do over the instrument they play. Basically, I choose the music/musicians I like. And then go deeper. For example, I always liked what Sam Shalabi was doing, then found Sharif Sehnaoui and Charbel Haber, the middle east super group Karkhana and the Al Maslakh record label.
What was their reaction when you talked to them about the “Walk My Way” project?
Was great! And I am still surprised about what happened, honestly. Of course you can imagine I had every kind of answers to it… But everybody here was agreed about the importance of making music and community, around the world. In a project without a financial side. This musicians jump into it from the beginning, when we don’t even have a label. Later on, this become something really special, this gathering, and was necessary to think in a release to not let it get lost in the digital world. I guess was a good help/motivation for many to go through this pandemic situation.
And inputs are still arriving, vol 6 & 7 are already waiting…
Why did you choose 577 Records to release this project?
I have been following them for a while. The music of Daniel Carter and William Parker… Their path as an independent label, made by musicians… I miss that sense of community. Federico Ughi and Polly Barnes from 577 Records, they bet on the project from the very beginning and we just work together to make it happen. Note that all profits made from sales will go to the musicians in the project, as they work like volunteers. I´m really happy to work whit them.
What does mean improvisation in your music research? Can we go back to talking about improvisation in a repertoire so encoded as the classic or you’re forced to leave and turn to other repertoires, jazz, contemporary, etc.?
Does the music propose solutions..? Improvisation… It is not all about it? I fell in love with the beauty of jazz, I can´t say it another way. But from there I felt a clear need to find a personal way. Also in form and esthetic. From a chorus in a key to no charts, to free impro. I keep exploring and learning…
What’s the role of the “Error” in your musical vision? For “error” I mean an incorrect procedure, an irregularity in the normal operation of a mechanism, a discontinuity on an otherwise uniform surface that can lead to new developments and unexpected surprises…
I’m aware of it, it happens to me to write down the errors. Music is freedom, and errors could be reminders. Perhaps is the spirit pushing out through the mind to become music.
And what do you think is the “function” of a moment of crisis, of this crisis?
What are your next projects? What are you working on?
I´m working in a trio album that will be ready around may.
Also in a long term project about silence, whit Federico Balducci.