margen y el interview





2014: Rogelio 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 coherence?

-  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 people.

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 answer...).
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 different formations?

-  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 this musicians?

- 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 sound (harmony).
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 hopefully become...

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 musicians?

- 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 thank you)…
Seems like our ‘common commitment’ is the revelation of the grain’s truth, the positive attitude…
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 you...
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 his improvisations...

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 suffering?

- 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...




Producir música, 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.

Durante los 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.
Mano Negra 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 compás.