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Thunderblender - Economically, it was very difficult before the pandemic, and now it’s a real crisis. But if you ask what would like to do in my life, making this music and performing it, would be the answer

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Thunderblender - Economically, it was very difficult before the pandemic, and now it’s a real crisis. But if you ask what would like to do in my life, making this music and performing it, would be the answer

Ter introductie van de formative Thunderblender citeren we even uit de biografie op de website van JazzLab: ‘’Thunderblender speelt vernuftige, moderne jazz vol emotie en contrasten. Ze bewegen voortdurend tussen orde en tumult, vrijheid en strakheid, tussen heftige grooves en fragiele intimiteit.’’
De band werd opgericht door Sam Comerford, opgegroeid in Dublin, ontmoet hij tijdens zijn studie in Brussel Hendrik Lasure die perfect aanvoelt welke richting Sam wil uitgaan. In een later stadium leerde hij Jens Bouttery kennen, die hij zag optreden. En zo was de band compleet. Het talentvolle trio brengt zijn debuut uit ‘Stillorgan’. We hadden hierover een fijn gesprek met Sam  Comerford in een gezellige café nabij Brussel Zuid. Naast de nieuwe plaat hadden we het ook over het verleden, de moeilijke situatie nu voor vele muzikanten, en de toekomst.

You could look it up, but as we’re a bit lazy - how did the idea of ​​"Thunderblender" come about? The style of music you bring is described as "Avant-garde jazz”. Is this correct, what does this mean?
I founded the band when I was studying at the Flemish Conservatory in Brussels. I had been playing in different groups playing original music for many years, such as Aerie, and I wanted to start my own project. I wanted to write music that had many layers, that could be improvised in a different way every time. I was looking for open minded musicians who could improvise in an honest way, and I met Hendrik at the KCB. When I called Jens to play the music, I didn’t know him at all. I had seen him play a gig at a small café in Brussels, the Chat Pitre, and I was really amazed. That's how it all started.

The music style you bring is called jazz, but it is not classic jazz, but jazz nonetheless. Sounds complicated, but what is jazz actually in your eyes?
What jazz that is a big question, and I don’t feel that qualified to answer! I think it begins with American art music, especially African-American music. I certainly love and was heavily influenced by musicians like Lester Young, Charles Mingus, Eric Dolphy, and Lennie Tristano. It's the spirit of exploration and freedom in this music that draws me to it. Is what I do jazz? I'm not sure, but it certainly feels connected to that tradition.

Is it also true if you can play jazz you can play anything, that’s a little bit my opinion
Well, playing jazz requires a strong musical and technical foundation. Today, a lot of people go to study jazz in a conservatory to have that foundation, and then go on to make music in a different style. But this doesn’t mean that by studying jazz you know how to play a different kind of music. Every kind of music is expressing something unique in its own way.

Your debut will actually be released on September 11, but in 2017 there was already an EP "Last Minute Panic" How were the reactions to this EP. Has that release opened doors?
Yes, we had good reviews, and it helped us to play in Belgium, around the country, at festivals, and even tour Ireland. But it was a raw live recording, made on one of our first gigs! The new album is more of a complete statement. We had grown so much as a band from playing together, and I wrote a lot of new music. It was recorded live in the same room, in Koen Gisen’s studio, La Patrie, and his production really made the album what it is.

The title of the debut ‘Stillorgan’ refers to the suburb of Dublin where band leader Sam Comerford grew up, I read in an article by our colleague from Luminous Dash. Tell us a bit more about it
Stillorgan is the place where I spent my teenage years. It’s a suburb of South Dublin, there’s not much going on there. The title isn’t really about the place, it’s more about where I come from, my experiences there, and the people I love who live there.

I have only listened to the disc twice, it seems to me not even enough, I get the feeling that there are many things that I have not yet discovered, after a second listen you suddenly hear sounds that you have not heard before. Was this approach consciously chosen?
I guess that’s a result of the process. It’s the way I make music. The details come from the process. It was all recorded live, and a lot of the music is very improvised. We made edits later, sometimes combining takes of different improvisations. In the recording and mixing, a large part was done in an analogue way. I hope the result is a very organic sounding record.

I especially like that endless experimenting and improvising, creating a kind of ordered chaos in my head. Magnificent! What is your opinion about this?
I'm happy you enjoyed it. When I was writing the music I tried to make the composed parts sound unpredictable, loose and improvised, and often when we improvise it ends up sounding more composed than the writing.

It is also a very varied disc, not a single song on the previous one. Sometimes modest, often the reins are released. The question here too, what is your opinion on that? Was such an approach consciously chosen and why?
Everything comes from the compositions. I try and do service to the music, and give it what it needs. Some compositions are meant to be improvised in a frantic way. Some demand a gentle, reserved approach, often even without improvisation.

It is also wonderful how you (especially percussion and piano) want to take your own path, which is perfectly complemented by the saxophone sound, so that a line is still strong. For that you have to feel and complement each other perfectly, otherwise things will go wrong. Is this statement correct?
Yes, it's true! A lot of the music I write for Thunderblender has three or four different voices at the same time. The idea is that we can choose to play some, all, or none of the written parts, so that the composition is different every time it's played. It's really about melody – I am a saxophone player! Even the bass parts are meant to be heard as melodies.

To wrap up on my personal opinions on this disc, (the review will follow later) what are your own personal expectations?
I think once you make a record and release it in the world, it has its own life, and people can make their own conclusions. I can only hope people will listen to it and feel something.
In September and October we're going to do a release tour. I can't wait to play live again! The release tour will be a double bill with Kreis, organised by Jazzlab. Kreis play beautiful delicate chamber jazz, with accordion, double bass and reeds.(https://www.jazzlab.be/seizoen-2020-2021/double-bill-kreis-thunderblender/) We also have a gig on October 3rd in CC Strombeek, double bill with Ansatz Der Maschine. (link), and a gig at the Jazzycolors festival in Paris, at the Centre Culturel Irlandais in November.

Let's also agree on these special times in which we live. How have you as a musician, band, but also as a person dealt with this corona crisis?
It’s been a difficult time. I've been making a living only from performing for the past ten years. I've lost all my income, have luckily gotten some support, but it's not going to last, and it's not enough. As a person it's also been a difficult time, but one full of great personal growth.

It's kind of a standard question that I'm asking everyone these days. How do you think culture and music will survive this crisis?
I think it’s going to be a very difficult era. Already before Covid, the right wing politics have been working on dismantling everything cultural – see the State of the Arts campaign. We need music and art, but I'm afraid many people are going to have to stop, many institutions will risk closing.

What are the further plans, will there be performances (possibly corona proof)?
After the tour, we have to wait and see how we can organize international gigs with the pandemic situation. Personally, I'm going to dive into a project based around traditional Irish music and the saxophone.

Besides Thunderblender, you are also working on other projects. How can this be combined? Because some of those projects are also very active now. However?

I'm playing in a lot of bands –you just have to be very organized with your time, my calendar can get very confusing! Artistically, each band has a different repertoire, and a different way of approaching music. I try to have no preconceived ideas about what the music needs, and be as honest as possible with my playing.

What are the band's ambitions (beyond world dominance, of course)?
If I could compose and play music for Thunderblender full time and make a living from it, I would be very happy!

Would you be willing, if you could make a lot of money with that, to make music just for the money? If that makes you world famous, but also denies your roots?
Whether I make very commercial or very abstract music, I always try to bring an honest approach to it. So I guess the answer is, I would do it in an honest way? I don't know! With Thunderblender, it should be pretty clear that money is not the primary motivation.

Thanks for this nice conversation.  If there is anything more you want to tell our readers, go ahead
Thank you Erik!

Gigs: 15-10 De Casino, Sint-Niklaas ; 21-10 Trix, Antwerpen; ...

Pics homepag @Sophie Saporosi

Aanvullende informatie

  • Band Name: Thunderblender
  • Date: 2020-09-10
  • Rating: 8
Gelezen: 732 keer
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