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15 Questions to Tomas Korber

img  Tobias

Hi! How are you? Where are you?
I'm fine, thanks. I live in Zurich, Switzerland.

What’s on your schedule right now?
Many things. I'm working on some solo computer-music and on quite a few collaborations (some are already recorded and have to be edited/mixed and some others are postal collaborations that develop quite slowly). I'm also working on commissioned music for two movies. Plus I just started picking up the acoustic guitar again and am actually practicing for the first time in years! In the long run my main project is recording some songs I've had in my mind for quite some time. I've started with the recording process recently but it's incredibly demanding and time-consuming, so this will certainly keep me busy for a long long time.

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?

Influences? Too many to mention! But no, I don't see myself as part of a particular tradition or movement. To me, good music can be found pretty much in every musical "genre" or "style".

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

I don't know… I don't think there is a general crisis. Of course people, especially record labels, are somehow trying to adapt to the new situation (downloads etc.). But I don't see that as a crisis, we're just at a parting point and we'll see where it all goes.

What does the term „new“ mean to you in connection with music?
In an historical context not much. I think that many people talk about "newness" in a really ignorant way. This or that is "new"… that's so easy to say. Mostly the feeling that something is new seems to grow more out of lack of historical knowledge than anything else. On a personal level, of course I'm very interested in things that are new to me. But in an historical context that doesn't mean much. Most aesthetical concepts seem to be recurring again and again over time in different variations, anyway.

How do you see the relationship between sound and composition?

Just two ways of working – I've never really been interested in the philosophical / socio-political implications some people project onto that.


How strictly do you separate improvising and composing?
Sometimes it's appropriate to compose, sometimes to improvise, sometimes to do both at the same time. Which one I choose just depends on the result I want to achieve. A purely pragmatical choice.

What constitutes a good live performance in your opinion? What’s your approach to performing on stage?
I don't think I can give a general answer to the first half of the question. Some people just sit there and do their thing and there's nothing to look at – as long as the music is good I don't mind that. Some other pull-off amazing visual shows. I'm OK with that, too, as long as they manage to keep me interested in what's happening. Personally I'm the "visually boring" kind of performer, in most cases.

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?

No, definitely no border. In fact I don't even care if something is called "music" or not. As long as it – whatever you wanna call it – sparks my interest, I'm fine with whatever.

Are “serious” and “popular” really two different types of music or just empty words without a meaning?

So called "popular" music seems to sell better. That's the only difference I can think of.

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?
It may have that but it doesn't have to. I, for one, don't feel any artistical duty towards anyone but myself.

True or false: People need to be educated about  music, before they can really appreciate it.
False, although a certain education (or rather: knowledge) can probably help.

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?.
Difficult question. Personally I don't care much about copyright, although the advocates of anti-copyright have yet to propose an alternate system that would convince me. Regarding the "freedom to use others musical material for own compositions" question: To me that's totally OK as long as people don't rip-off on each other.

You are given the position of artistic director of a festival. What would be on your program?
Totally depends on what kind of festival! I have a soft spot for unlikely pairings, especially in improvised music… I don't know... It would definitely be more risky than most current programs of festivals out there.

Many artists dream of a “magnum opus”. Do you have a vision of what yours would sound like?
I don't have that dream. I look at everything I do as a little part in a puzzle that might or might not make sense someday. So let's talk about this again in 40 years…


Mass Production (w.m.o.) 2004
Effacement (cut) 2005

korber-müller-steinbrüchel: Momentan def. (cut) 2003
with kazuya ishigami: Mistakes (neus318) 2003
with erikm, t. nakamura, o. yoshihide: Brackwater (for4ears) 2004
with dieb13, jason kahn: Zirkadia ((1.8)sec.records) 2005
with dieb13, erikm: Condenser (Absurd) 2005
with  dan warburton: Conspiracy Theory (l'innomable) 2005
with keith rowe, günter müller: Fibre (For4ears) 2005
with t. deupree, k. kirschner, steinbrüchel, a. ximm: may 6, 2001 (and/Oar) 2006

Tomas Korber

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