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Wednesday, December 8, 2021

echtzeit@30: Q&A with Emilio Gordoa

Emilio Gordoa. (c) Cristina Marx/Photomusix

Explore Emilio Gordoa’s site here . Recent releases include Kategorium with Piotr Damasiewicz and MOVE in MOERS with Achim Kaufmann, Adam Pultz Melbye, Dag Magnus Narvesen, and Harri Sjöström.

What is echtzeitmusik to you? Is what might be considered echtzeitmusik connected through any approach, process, or sound result?

Most of your questions could have multiple answers, it depends what we focus on, as there are multiple layers within that label attributed to the music scene in Berlin. For now I better skip the description of the type of music we are talking about, since it would be entering into another universe connected with other attributions and what is part and what is not. When I think of "echtzeitmusik" I think of time. Not necessarily in real time, but in the course of a decade since I arrived in Berlin and my position back then living the legacies of the previous decades (from early 90's). And of course, at that time I would refer to the "echtzeitmusik" scene as a type of music with a certain sound and approach. Nevertheless, this has changed as well as our times and surroundings... Today we look back and we can see generations with different approaches of very interesting musicians, we can find several publications, among others the today almost archaic book "echtzeitmusik berlin" (2011), we have an online calendar with the same name that lists up to date concerts of jazz and free jazz, contemporary music, experimental, noise, performances, minimalism, alternative pop, and more... What is echtzeitmusik?... Today it is a big family, in some cases segregated, with many creative members trying to survive.

Is there something material - like demographics, affordability, or cultural practices - about Berlin that you think makes such a scene possible?

This question would have had a different answer before the pandemic when mobility and the execution of cultural practices seemed to be the usual thing to do. So my answer probably has more connection with your next question.

In what ways do you think the scene has changed since your involvement and what might have caused these changes?

Although the cost of living in the city had already begun to rise exponentially, there was still a heterogenous and vibrant flow. Today I would not put the idealistic vision of accessibility and the possibilities of fostering the scene at all magnificent. I can observe two types of realities for musicians in the scene. Those who have established themselves by gaining a position in the German and European scene and who can enjoy the privilege of getting funding and being regularly invited to festivals and/or projects supported by institutions; and those who are just integrating and/or are not in the formal structures to gain capital from the artistic sector. For some of them booking a gig in one of the venues in Berlin for the door turned to be an achievement. I have the feeling that the underground I experienced 10 years ago is on the verge of extinction due to the rigidity of the rules and conditions of being able to offer live music in a venue. Things that in the past would not be so prevalent. However, not everything is a dark reality as this may sound. I see that rigidity brings new ways of manifesting and breaking and the new generations of people on the scene have that power. I am in between.

In what ways has the scene changed you and your musical practice?

Definitely in the way I listen and transform my skills and emotions into a community dialogue and in the transmission to the audience.

Are there any recordings, labels, venues, musicians, or other participants you would like to shout out for cultivating the scene, or that you feel are essential to it? And is there a recording of you or your work that you feel is particularly representative of the scene?

Oh yeah, right. There are countless examples... Many have probably been mentioned before. For me venues that are a strong part of my community are: Au Topsi Pohl, run by a musicians crew plus Veronica and Laura putting excellent wine and vibe in the bar; Sowieso, currently also run by a musicians collective - in both venues I play often but also voluntarily help doing the bar or the door, if needed; as well we find Petersburg Art Space, Kühlspot Social Club, KM28, LaborSonor, Ausland crew, Exploratorium Berlin among some others. Then there are also relatively new inputs from Field Notes - Initiative Neue Musik, Musikfonds e.V, who are constantly boosting the scene with promotion and opportunities. About a recording of mine that could be representative of the scene?... Well, lets listen to my early recordings with Ignaz Schick and Nicola L. Hein. This would represent the flow, energy and sounds I experience around 2015:

Not so far from each other but more actual would be my recordings from 2021 with sound artist, composer and long time integrant of the echtzeitmusik scene since Annette Krebs. Here a video excerpt:

The a recorded album will be published soon on my little label WildSonico.

What did you find in Berlin that was not in Mexico?

A living history. The possibility of entering in a community without the need a long proofing process. The possibility of entering into an economic structure attributed to my own practice without compromising my musical anarchy. Bad Mexican food. Axel Dörner. 


- Interview conducted by Keith Prosk