margen y el
Pereira Conde for Oro Molido
1.Hi Victor, I would like to start
this series of questions with beginnings in the record label you created in the
80´s. Under the motto Mensch Records, you carried out a series of artists
relationship with the area swiss. But, also you produce other musicians
relationship with the reggae and the innovative musics. What philosophy guided
you at that time?
- when I "found my own voice"
(inventing more than just trying to copy/imitate), i.e. when I discovered that
to be genuine is the sole reason to "adress life", simply thanking life for what
it is (life
doesn't need us to add anything, everything is in it, from birth to death),
that's when I figured out our apreciatiation must be original and thus add
something to other people's life, namely with our own
voice, with our own genuine way, our vehicle to transport Logos (what was in
the beginning, i.e. a vibration, love supreme), and that's when I found out that
music - I thought - was my vehicle to adress people (mensch). Much more
than the world making music. I always found 'world music' quite a silly drawer
to stick anything in it, we find 'exotic'.
Hence 'Mensch Music'.
That it turned out to become such a great platform of exchange happened only
later on (by the end 80'ies)...
2.I guess that, as musicians, you
assume the social and artistic aspects, with an open attitude in taking a
position with regard to the contradictions that turn up. How do you assume this
circumstance? Is it a difficult path, that of seeking personal and social
- We are as human beings all contradictory. I guess, it's the tendency to break
down everything to an "economic cell" that blurrs our lucidity. The minute we
"tag" our reason to be (i.e. making music as means to be totally here and now)
into such "definitions" as art/artistic in order to be « comprehensible" to all
those "economic cells" (fashion, drawers, etiquettes etc.), we very much lose
that cosmic instant of authenticity.
So, after some 35 years of having produced a lot of different music (probably
close to 100 CD’s), I tend to seek personal coherence by making music with other
people, much more than just "touch a button". Playing live music is the real
genuine social coherence (or better: social competence): you generate joy within
yourself and share that joy (much more than "only" the music") with other
3.In the music you play there are
roots which are strongly linked with ethnic music, folklore, blues, rock,
reggae, dub, ska…To what extent do you let yourself follow your intuition?
- I searched my whole life in music,
even studied at conservatories, learning to master some instruments etc., so
today I look back on a multitude of paths I have crossed because I always liked
the sound of all these different musics and of course, the wonderful encounters
with so many people I encountered intuitively. Many of them became and
still are friends to this day.
It was the interaction with people that made Mensch Music become a bee-hive of
crossroads, people coming, meeting, exchaning and sometimes leaving "together",
a mixing/meeting point where many a new constellation started for new
combinations between people, thus inventing yet new musics.
4.Every sound can be descomposed and reorganized thanks
to the mixing and editing techniques. How do you develop this
task in the studio? What are the factors that can determine that you choose a
direction to be develop within a temporal frame where is nothing set a priori?
- A great deal has to do with playfulnes
and curiosity, checking out what this and this sound cannot do and making it do
just that because of the seemingly impossible task (like I don't take no as an
It's also to do with mankind keeping to invent new tools that become genuine
resources and obviously we must work with the resources at our disposition. So,
I guess, always searching for a new tone & shade_combination makes the music be
different from that of "pre-defined" parameters of the "economic cell" (e.g.
mainstream, this or that style & fashion etc.).
Within that idiom of playfulness lies also a side-line, i.e. tactics within
social competence: it's challenging to approach people from different angles (so
long as it's meant peacefully, of course). Hence I make use of some root that is
often forgotten: the swiss population was basically peasants and waylayers
before becoming mercenaries, which in terms led the founding stone of
Switzerland's neutrality. Because often one small valley gave hundreds of
children to warlords like Napoleon and the King of Venice at the same time, and
then on the battlefield you had neighbors having to kill each other, making
mercenary an impossible mission.
Anyway, like waylayers demanded a percentage from the merchants going from
north to south (or vice versa), e.g. over the alps, I "aks my share" of
musicians coming to record their own thing. Before they leave, I tell them of
this (waylayer)"branch" and - if we're all having good vibes, which is the case
most of the time - then I make them participate a little on whatever project of
my own I'm currently working at. That's why you'd often hear something totally
"out of place" in a piece or so...
The third aspect of this multitude comes maybe from "leftovers", i.e. pieces
that were started and "got stuck" at some point (for lack of inspiration or
whatever) all of a sudden pop up again because some sound "lingers around" that
perfectly fills in the puzzle... That last aspect is the "biding time" moment we
all have: when nothing's happening really, you "pick up the pieces", make a
collage of some photos that don't fit nowhere, clean up or otherwise overcome
boredom (quite rare in this shack, really... :-) )...
5.You are to collaborate with artists
who transcended their limits, share with you sporadic encounters of improvised
music, living moments of great intensity. How do you conceive the music in
- Yes, transcendation is something like
jumping over one's shadow, which is like a vice to me... :-) I love making
people jumping over their shadows and become some sort of musical voyeur.
Sometime I had to admit "critique", e.g. musicians that would complain "hey,
when we play for this guy and then receive the final mix, we hear stuff we never
played". Although emmited as critique in the first place I take it as a big
compliment like at other times, I'm vainly flattered when people say: if it
wasn't for you, or for you instigating all this provocation, I would have never
come up with such and such idea...
So, here, too and again, it's the mix of/with people that creates yet a
genuine mix of the music...
6.Involved in this encounters there is Jamaican
musicians for whom you feel. I am referring to Rico Rodriguez, Linton Kwesi
Johnson, Dennis Bovell, and others…How would you define the musical vision of
- I cannot interpret visions of my
buddies. Precisely those three are certainly "corner stone" of my appetite to
trigger new adventures. (One of my son is called Rico Dennis...). Rico's
something like a mentor for me, a great master (as opposed to a teacher), a big
person who would lift a youngster, smaller person on his shoulders to see even
further than he himself does (as opposed to the teacher who just "gives forth"
what he knows). And Linton, well, what can I say you couldn't get from his own
internet site? Why not ask them directly? ;-)
7.Something with attracts one´s
attention when you play is the relationship you maintain with the body of the
instruments and with the flow of the sound which emanates from it. It is an
interaction of touch and ear which, with me movement of gestures, unleathes
impredectable changes. In that sense, electronics play an important role in
which sampled sound are yuxtaposed with the instrumental exrcisse on the
strings, percussion and wind instruments. What is that interaction like?
- Sound rules! So anything one
person "synthesizes" from his or her musical esthetic becomes the order of the
day (or rather: the order of the moment). Sure I still do play a blues and a
reggae once in a while, but I was always interested in all musics, to find out
in the end, that I wasn't interested in music at all; it was the SOUND, and the
SOUND only I was really after! Music itself is just a waste-product of this
bigger thing, this dimension which is SOUND. Like TIME.
Something we are deeply affected by (and controlled by to a certain extent),
although we just understand a glimpse of it. With the dimension time, we had to
'invent' past and future to kind of manage our position within that dimension
and with the dimension sound, we invented music to relate to it, because we
understood very early on, that this is a big motherfucker to deal with.
Extraordinarily as it stands, mankind seems to be the only species that was
able to 'translate' two dimensions into one: Music! Time (rythm) and
Now, man being so belligerous, it believed that each music it discovered (the
indies, the ragas, the yanks the jazz, the freaks the punk etc. etc.) they
started war there, saying: music starts with Mozart and ends with Mozart, punk
is dead, popstars are wankers, jazz is no swing etc.
What a joke! All we do, whatever we do is just a joyful noise (in the best
case), as Rico would say... And it's fun to do... (people who
have no humour ain't serious...).
It's Zen to invent a music that can combines all one's spiritual connections
(all the musics one comes across) into one genuine "Gumbo".
The esthetic sound-vision might have to deal with what man can make with SOUND,
e.g. music. I met so many musicians, played so much different stuff to
find out in the end, that music's not the end of it at all. But it was all I
knew to wrench my thirst of discovery when I started.
And today I'm very contempt to be left with the SOUND. Music I studied, Sound I
8.About wind and string instruments; these two families
of instruments are present or used in cultures around the world. What do they
bring to you and, how do you combine them in your collaborations with another
- Wind (element), string (enigma). Did man discover from
the harp that it could be used as a bow to hunt? Or was it the other way around:
did the hunter all of a sudden hear a sound when he let off the ark that killed
his forthcoming food?...
9.Concrete sounds are used to develop images wich are
prone words. Sound pictures and visual poetry, two elements which are
metaphorically compatible. How do you conceive images and sounds?
- Both are related to our senses.
I tend to believe that the hearing is much more important than the seeing. Of
course, I wouldn't want to miss either of them, but there's so many signs that
keep pointing in the direction of the Sound (hence the hearing).
Nada Brahma says a lot on that issue…
"I hear you" means "I understand you", but "I see you" means by far nothing like
"I do understand"...
Deaf people are often much more agressive because they're isolated. Blind people
still have much more of a social competence. There's many a blind who said
"since I lost my eyesight, I see", but you'll never hear a deaf say "since I'm
deaf, I can hear!".
A sequence of a movie can suggest a precise sentiment with sole music. But music
can never be precisely "allocated" to one image alone. The music you
might want to listen at your wedding could be the same I'd wish for my funeral
etc... No offense meant...
10.In the last times the projects SHA and SHA TAB, you
continued exxplorating the musical aspects, with propositions between the jazz,
ethnic music, dub, reggae, pop music, folk…
- Well it was more a friendship thing. It's been over 10 years I worked with the
hackbrett player Roland Schiltknecht. And while we teamworked on many projects
an inner understanding resultet in a genuine friendship.
Hence at one point we decided to do a project together, rather than just
contribute to our own solitaire ego-trip (my Peeni Waali thing and his
Bunju-constellation). The result was a collection of pieces from both our
"pens". Besides pleasure it was a big task to let loose of our encrusted Johnny
Controlletti syndrom and just let the other one's contribution be without any
reserve and from there on continue to build, bring in constructive ads etc.
Hackbrett, btw. is the Swiss national instrument, some call hammered
dulcimer. In truth it's the grand-son of the Persian santur. One of
Schiltknecht's youth-friends is Alan Kushan, an incredible
Santur-maestro/virtuoso whom I met after SHA and with whom I done yet another
collaboration that ended in "Shab Tab". You'll find plenty blah on my internet
site, giving plenty details and explanation of both projects...
11.All you works bear a certain
relation as regards structure and content. These transmit a poetic quality fuel
of emotions and sensations which inmerse the listener in a deep perception where
the senses are put to the test. They are pieces with a powerful dramatic
content. Do you want to make the listener a part of it, so that he/she searches
around him/her recuing every positive attitude that makes him/her advance and no
stop in the process of self-discover?
- your 'question come more like eloquent observations... :-) (for I which I do
Seems like our ‘common commitment’ is the revelation of the grain’s truth, the
But that comes more from the egoistic joy we have when playing, rather than any
concept or structure of other compository algorythm used slyly to manipulate
As said: the goal when playing is to turn off the thinking ego of the brain that
much, that i t p l a y s you, rather than it thinks you. When these moments
happen, that's Nirvana, I guess, or Katharsis for me. And that moment, that's
the positive element/attitude that's worth sharing alone. The rest is hype...
12.In the piece Dron, included in Sha
(Mensch, 2006), collaborate Lars Hollmer. In the last cd Shab Tab (Mensch,
2012), you dedicated the track Tunschli Walzer. How would you define Lars
Hollmer´s improvisatory concept?
- Lasse sure was one giant of a
character! He's a very original musician who uses extraordinary "tactics" to
make music happen. Of course, his trick-bag with improvisation is enormous since
he learnt a lot from Fred Frith, but his ability to put this "northern light"
(he's Swedish) and make it reflect visually on any listener conjures your
question Nr. 9: music is SOUND, images are LIGHT!
Getting to know Lasse closer and having fooled around with him often enough, I
was puzzled to see how simple his "compositional tools" were (I won't reveal any
of it, though... :-) ). So as tricky many of his compositions may sound, if you
know his resource code, you will transcend his light into the understanding of
13.In this computer age we are
living, do you not think that action (conduct or behavior) which is intencional
and the approach to oneself is still the only possible way for overcoming human
- I believe love is the one and only
lesson we can learn from logos, if we get as far as to understand logos.
I am very positive to believe that we are really changing from one age to
another and - after we'll overcome the coming chaos (the greatest chance for
renewal) - with the entering of such new age (not the dreaded yankee bullshit
hype new age), we will be flooded with a new consciousness (that's what the new
age stands for, I guess) that'll make us sense more dimensions to their full
extent. And with such new conscience we will be able to live that love supreme
much more acurately. And all cretins à la Obama and other war-lords will be
surrendered... (old rasta/shaman saying: you don't need to slain the
wicked. Just let them face their own death and they shall vanish...).
14.To conclude this interview I would like you to answer
the following question:
How does it feel being able to communicate with your objects and instruments,
played with freedom, emotions that captivate a listener, like me, making me go
deeper ans analize you pieces and relalize once again that wonderful world of
sounds we can produce and transform is an inexhaustable source of experiences
that make us share our most intimate thoughts?
- It makes me feel that you are a very sensible person and
it feels wonderful to know there's such great people out there.
When we all understand logos, we will all experience the love supreme...
LA LUCIERNAGA DE
JAMAICA EN LOS ALPES SUIZOS
es gracias a los adelantos tecnológicos que llegan día a día, cada vez más fácil,
aunque esto parece, en muchos casos, truncar la creatividad de músicos y
productores, que prefieren observar como las máquinas hacen todo el trabajo en
vez de utilizarlas como herramientas que les ayudan a plasmar el trabajo
creativo que todavía sigue siendo patrimonio del ser humano, exteriorizando a
través de este lenguaje experiencias, amores, anhelos, y una vasta gama de
vivencias del hombre en su paso por la vida.
Fizzé, es quizás uno de los pocos productores / músicos / arregladores, que han
utilizado estos adelantos en conseguir música nueva e innovadora, si bien
seguimos hablando de Reggae, Dub & Ska, veremos de que forma fueron tratados por
este productor nacido en Basel, Suiza.
Peeni Waali (como se conoce a la luciérnaga en Jamaica), es el nombre que el
productor Fizzé, ideó para denominar este proyecto, tan ambicioso como la
imaginación nos permite, y algo más también.
Linton Kwesi Jonson, Dennis Bovell, Rico Rodríguez, Dean Fraser, Deadly Headly,
Leroy "Horsemouth" Wallace, Lee Perry, John Kpiaye, Taj Mahal, Earl "Chinna"
Smith, Scully Simms, Georgie Famie, Michael "Bammie" Rose, Eddie "TanTan"
Thornton, Tobias Morgenstern, Barbara Dennerlein, Robbie Shakespeare, y Daniel
Spahni, entre más de sesenta músicos que participaron de las sesiones en Jamaica,
Suiza, Londres y Arabia Saudita en algo más de quince años dan una pequeña
noción de lo que representa este trabajo que fue editado en tres discos del
sello independiente Mensch Records.
años noventa, varios grupos locales e internacionales han intentado, la mezcla
de ritmos como solución a la falta de ideas, que evidenciaba el Rock desde
mediados de los ochenta y que terminó en el furor de la música electrónica.
fue el referente para estos grupos, que en la mayoría de los casos sólo
terminaban "tomando prestada" grandes fragmentos del pasado para digitalizarlos
y enviarlos a las disquerías como pescado fresco, que olía a podrido a la
primera de cambio.
Víctor de Bros (verdadero nombre de Fizzé) tomó el lenguaje rítmico de la música
jamaiquina plasmándolo de otras expresiones musicales en este mundo globalizado
llevándolo a buen puerto sin ningún percance, "MongolSka" es un excelente
ejemplo de esto, un tema Ska, que Fizze compuso junto Selenge Z., un músico de
Mongolia que interpreta el yoochin (¿?) cerrando el circulo con una
interpretación en ese idioma por Yvagaan "Djingis Khan",... sin desperdicio.
Rico Rodríguez, con "Rockaman Soul" revive un cántico típico de los rituales
Nyahbingi, y John Kpiaye (guitarrista de LKJ) hace una excelente versión del
tema "I´m Still in Love" de Alton Ellis, "Man in the Dark Sedan" una banda
afinada + una tuba + un par de bandejas = GENIAL!!!, "Rebirth" una composición
de LKJ, que además toca el bajo y demuestra que cuatro personas pueden tocar
Reggae sin perder coherencia en ningún momento...; pero, ¿cómo podemos con estos
ejemplos dar una idea de lo que es este trabajo?, Peeni Waali es mucho más que
ejemplos, es lo que muchos esperamos de un productor, que nos sorprenda a cada