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Sunday, November 12, 2023

Olaf Rupp - Sunday Interview

Olaf Rupp Photo (c) Bogdan Edi Dimitriu

What is your greatest joy in improvised music?
I like the ephemeral character of improvisation. That means when it is happening it is really living music, really alive with all the marvels and pitfalls of the human mind. It is like talking with the others but without the talking. And when it is over, it is gone. There is silence and the room is not filled with stones that I have chiselled.

What quality do you most admire in the musicians you perform with?

Rudi Fischerlehner has found a wonderful way to bridge the gap between regular looping beats and free flowing pulse. It reminds me of the orbiting grooves that Björk once had on an App she published. Like multiple, circular layers of polymetric patterns. This gives the other players a lot of freedom to choose without breaking up the connection.

Ulrike Brand was the first (and only) classical player who came to me and asked me explicitly to play the electric guitar in duo with her on cello. Many are blinded by the cliché connotations of the Stratocaster (loud, wild, aggressive) and forget how wonderful these electric sounds go together especially with the cello.

Rudi Mahall has incredibly sharp ears and swift reaction. And I especially like his open mind. He is very much rooted in the Jazz-language, but we played for decades now in many different settings that were stylistically sometimes very far away from that and he always finds a natural way to contribute.

Which historical musician/composer do you admire the most? If you could resurrect a musician to perform with, who would it be?

Never ever in my life, not a single moment have I ever been bored. I don’t know what boredom is. When there is a moment with nothing to do, I just direct my mind to the music. It works like switching on a radio in my head. And this music is so wonderful! If only I could play this on my guitar!! Well, I do my best. But there is no time to look back too much. I am not a music-historian. I look forward and follow my vision. And I like very much to play with musicians younger than me. Because they very often also have a strong vision. Older musicians have a plan, a strategy, youngers have visions. My plans never work.

What would you still like to achieve musically in your life?
I would like to keep my music alive as long as possible.

Are you interested in popular music and - if yes - what music/artist do you particularly like

David Bowie, Björk, Double Nelson, This Mortal Coil, Sisters Of Mercy, Legendary Pink Dots, Blind Idiot God, Swans, Neu, Leonard Cohen, Jacques Brel, Lee Perry

You see I stopped buying records somewhere end of the eighties, when life got really, really tough. In recent popular music there are certainly interesting things, but I could not tell you names. I never was good at namedropping.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

My “self” is not the part of me that I am worried about. Of course, it belongs to me like my bones and my veins and my fingernails. I have to deal with it every day. I wake up with it. Cannot help.  But it is a complex system. If you change one thing, you just move the balance on a boat and tilt it to the other side. Of course we all want to be stronger, more beautiful, more resilient, more whatever. But it is important to step back and take a wider and calmer look. Then it is not about change myself but rather change how I deal with myself. How I get along. Actually I'm not a big fan of the Stones, but there is some truth in “you get what you need”!

Which of your albums are you most proud of?

I am not proud of any of my albums. They were produced under very poor conditions. Often me doing the recording, mixing, mastering, layout and promotion all as well. And I am a very bad promoter. Once I am gone, nobody will find my albums. Maybe the Youtube-videos will keep crawling the internet on a dystopian planet.

LIFE SCIENCE was a big step ahead, with a real, helping label FMP. But I recorded it in one day in an abandoned building at Oranienburger Straße with a microphone directly into a CDr-recorder. All very rough and free falling.

MYOTIS MYOTIS is a wonderful album, but it is now completely ghosted by the curators. Well, not completely: SERIOUS SERIES have invited us to perform in December!

Once an album of yours is released, do you still listen to it? And how often?

Not often but sometimes it’s good to check again how it changes in time. Well, the album does not change but I do change.

Which album (from any musician) have you listened to the most in your life?

Joe Williamson, HOARD


György Ligeti, ATMOSPHERES


What are you listening to at the moment?

Arvo Pärt, DA PACEM


Olaf Rupp reviewed on the Free Jazz Blog