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15 Questions to Maninkari

img  Tobias

Hi! How are you? Where are you?
Very well, thank you. We have been based in Paris for 12 years now. Everything is grey here, it lacks colours.

What’s on your schedule right now?
We have started to work on the next album, it might be more composed?

What’s your view on the music scene at present? Is there a crisis?

We don’t go to concerts very often, we buy a few cd’s because we like them as objects and prefer to have the original cd and packaging than something that’s been downloaded. The record industry is not making a fortune because of us.

Do you see yourself as part of a certain tradition or as part of a movement?

If an artist is looking to get away from one movement they will more or less get closer to another. We aren’t against belonging to a movement. In our case, inspiration remains an insatiable quest.

What, would you say, are the factors of your creativity? What “inspires” you?
Feathers, scales and skins.

How would you describe your method of composing?
We take everything into account. We record often, either together or separately. A rather classical way of working. Either improv leads us to composition which remains more or less organised or else we only do improv.

How do you see the relationship between sound and composition?
They are clearly two different things which work together like a couple. Sometimes we save recordings which sound really large and spontaneous but the quality of the sound is less good. In that case the direction counts more than the sound itself. We always mix with headphones which isolate the sound and enables more precision and a better separation of the various elements. We have a certain inclination to favour old instruments because they have really strong resonance and unlimited sustain which really stimulates the neurons.

How strictly do you separate improvising and composing?
Improvisation enables us to reach points that are more or less abstract or melodic that are sometimes difficult to reach with composition. Of course both can work.Most of the tracks on this album are improvised, arrangements were added to certain parts and also reconstructed, for example “participation mystic”. Several mixes can be reconstructed in different ways; some are left as they are like “ota” which is entirely composed which is proof that it is also a marriage with the sound.

What does the term „new“ mean to you in connection with music?
We are off to bad start if we take the word “new” in its strict meaning. Daring to venture off the beaten path, reshaping or a feeling of search on a piece of music could be synonyms for the word “new”. But this is not necessarily true, it’s often the emotion and the feeling that ravages everything in its path.

Do you personally enjoy multimedia as an enrichment or do you feel that it is leading away from the essence of what you want to achieve?
We do not work on visuals, it can sometimes suggest too much. We enable the listener to make their own film. We have had the opportunity to work on films where the context is different and we are more attracted more to that.

What constitutes a good live performance in your opinion? What’s your approach to performing on stage?

When the senses which gush forth are collectively appreciated. When we feel something that is not prefabricated. Then we can have another beer!

Do you feel an artist has a certain duty towards anyone but himself? Or to put it differently: Should art have a political/social or any other aspect apart from a personal sensation?
We are more inclined to go towards a world where the existence of feelings takes its place and gives a taste for the irrational and this gives us more freedom of expression. We are not interested in political or social messages. If there is a message it bears more on introspection, towards a search for oneself which is more of a personal quest; it is also has the contradictions which experimentation permits.

It is not something that has one purpose, it could take on a spiritual experience, psychological or other aspect. The title of the album “le diable” (the devil) is that forgotten unconscious force, this instinctive part. “les chevaux” (the horses) is the direction that it takes with it.

How, would you say, could non-mainstream forms of music reach wider audiences without sacrificing their soul?
Yes there is always that desire, it can grow but that depends a lot on the interest that people have for that kind of music. So what criteria do you use when saying that a music is not mass market? Is protecting another way of asserting oneself?

You are given the position of artistic director of a festival. What would be on your program?

Just an orchestra made up of a thousand people that would have a year to prepare and play a gigantic piece with all sorts of different instruments. Or an unamplified music festival where everyone has to really prick up their years to listen.

Many artists dream of a “magnum opus”. Do you have a vision of what yours would sound like?
Played in a collective dream experience with a lot of people?

Psychoide / Participation Mystic (Conspiracy Records) 2007
Le Diable Avec Ses Chevaux (Conspiracy Records) 2007


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