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15 Questions to Jakob Riis

img  Tobias

Hi! How are you? Where are you?
Hi. What a summer! It's hot, even here in Malmö, Sweden...

What's on your schedule right now?
Vacation for now. Starts working again monday. First some MaxMSP programming, then some editing and mixing for two new cd-releases (Expanded Botanics and Rød Planet). There will also be some planning to do for a major sonic event next year at Prøvehallen, Valby, Copenhagen.

What or who was your biggest influence as an artist? Do you see yourself as part of a certain tradition or as part of a movement?
If the liberation of music and sound is a movement I wan't to be a part of that. This tradition could include names like (in no particular
order) Charles Ives, Merzbow, Francisco Lopez, Gyorgy Ligeti, R. Murray Shafer, Cecil Taylor, Miles Davis, John Cage, Peter Brötzmann, Pierre Henry and Pierre Schaeffer.

What's your view on the music scene at present? Is there a crisis?
Yes. And it's part of the much larger "war for oil, and brainwashed by greed, capitalism and global brands" problem.

What does the term "new" mean to you in connection with music?
Curiousity and the willingness to risk failure.

How do you see the relationship between sound and composition?

Exploring the hidden musicalities in sounds of all sorts has been a method for me to develop my musical language for creating music.

How strictly do you separate improvising and composing?
I try not to.

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

My main focus is on the energy that projects from the loudspeakers, and on the longer perspectives of the musical form.

A lot of people feel that some of the radical experiments of modern compositions can no longer be qualified as "music". Would you draw a border - and if so, where?
Yes I would draw a line, reverse the qualification criterias, and say that the only real music of today comes from radical experiments.

Are "serious" and "popular" really two different types of music or just empty words without a meaning?
It's quite clear to me that I myself tend to like unpopular music much more than popular. Even though there is a lot of people in the business for the cool factor, I have yet to meet a collegue that's 100% not serious about his/her music. Then again, maybe I only meet the wrong kind of people. Don't know if this makes sense either.

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?

For my own part, persistantly creating non-popular non-mainstream music, mostly doing live performances for audiences in smaller rooms, certainly becomes a political and social statement. That said I really don't like the underlying social and political statement of, lets say, an artist like Britney Spears...

True or false: People need to be educated about  music, before they can really appreciate it.
Could go either way. A majority of people definitely needs to open their ears. Without an open mind that's propably not going to happen. I'm not sure whether musical education these days helps providing this, or if it tends more to get in the way?

Imagine a situation in which there'd be no such thing as copyright and everybody were free to use musical material as a basis for their own compositions - would that be an improvement to the current situation?
If it's about the money. Then, what's the current situation. Lawyers fighting for the industry and mainstream pop artists to receive even larger amounts of the collected copyright money? Well, then maybe Open Source seems like a fantastic alternative. If it's not about the money. Then who cares. It's the real world, everyone has to learn to recognize the cheaters and copycats anyhow!

You are given the position of artistic director of a festival. Whatwould  be on your program?
Thanks. A huge multispeaker system and one massive block of sound of no specific origin ;-)

Many artists dream of a "magnum opus". Do you have a vision of what yours  would sound like?
Years and years and years and years cascading in ambisonic sounds of anti rhythmic non-looping electronic free-jazz while travelling the spaceways... Hmmmm, propably a bit boring in the long run...

as a composer:
(with M. Fernandes, H. Fjellestad, Haco,) "Haco Hans Jakob Marcos" 2006) Accretions
Lotte Anker: "Six Row Barley" (2005) Utech Records
Minijacks: "Minijacks" (2004) MJCD 001
The Ghettoblaster Ensemble: (2003) Ssshhhhh Editions
Expanded Botanics: "Expanded Botanics" (2003) Ninth World Music
The Orchestra: "In absence of mind" (2003) Cope records
Rød Planet: "Rød Planet" (2003) TCB records
Hans Fjellestad: "Red Sauce Baby" (2000) Accretions
Ensemble NEW & Randers Byorkester: "Crosswinds" (1998) Classico
Alarm 112: "Alarm 112" (1998) AV-ART-record
The Orchestra: "Smoke out" (1996) dB productions
Discourse-Off CourseBig Band: "Herlev Rocker" (1994) Compilation CD
The Orchestra: "not as softly as..." (1993) Music Mecca
Holger Laumann: "Instead of siesta" (1992) DDGU/DDSG&I

Jakob Riis

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