Click here to [close]

Sunday, March 31, 2024

Kate Gentile - Sunday Interview

Photo by Peter Gannushkin
  1. What is your greatest joy in improvised music?

    When the music is really great - like when it’s on the level of an album I’d listen to - being in the moment with it and feeling the aliveness of the RIGHT NOW.

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

    There’s not one thing; I admire each person for their strengths relative to the specific musical situation.

  3. Which historical musician/composer do you admire the most?

    Miles, Tony Williams, Xenakis, Ferneyhough, Ornette, Cecil Taylor, Charlie Parker, Monk, Wayne Shorter, Feldman, Zappa

  4. If you could resurrect a musician to perform with, who would it be?

    This doesn’t interest me that much…there are already more musicians alive that I want to play with than I have time to - which is a great problem to have

  5. What would you still like to achieve musically in your life?

    There’s many more albums I want to make. Without giving away too much of my plans, some things include achieving certain aims with quartertones, guitar-oriented albums that are a more metal-influenced extension of what I already do (like disc 2 of Find Letter X but taking it farther), solo albums where I play multiple instruments, electronic music, finding ways of paring down my kind of material to make more improvising-oriented bands (which is basically what we’re doing in the Find Letter X live performances now, but there’s more ways to explore this), and more Gloatmeal things including a “wall of sound” approach where we record in various ways, overdubbing and layering and editing, grafting on composed material to improvisations.

    I’d also love to do more composing for more chamber-like groups, like the album I did last year with ICE (biome i.i). Doing that out of pocket is too expensive for me, but if I get any more commissions or opportunities like that I’d love to dive deeper into what some other instrumentations and skill sets inspire.

    Oh- and I want to work more as a sideman. I love being a sideman, even with music that’s totally different from my own.

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

    Popular music of right now? Not really. I’m interpreting that as the top songs/artists on Billboard, which I just had to search since I don’t really pay much attention to it.

    I dug early St. Vincert- like that album Actor- and she’s become kind of a bigger star, so maybe that counts.

    I like music that was popular in other eras though….Jimi, Stevie, The Beatles, XTC, etc. And music that’s pop-influenced like Ryan Power or Georgia Anne Muldrow.

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

    I’m trying to work on my jump shot…

  8. Which of your albums are you most proud of?

    Find Letter X. Everything, but especially Find Letter X. It challenged me deeply in many ways - I went through and overcame so much in the process of making that album, both musically and otherwise, and had to push myself harder than I ever have.

    But the reason I’m proud of it is because I sat down and imagined a ridiculous way to ‘up the ante’ after Mannequins - imagined what the music would be like, had specific ideas for it - and then I actually *did* it: the album musically achieves what I wanted it to. When I imagined it I remember thinking “oh my god this will be near impossible but totally crazy if I manage to pull it off”. And I was completely right about how hard it would be….but I’m a pretty fucking determined individual - which is 100% out of love, for the music and for everything.

    And the band sounds great- I feel like it’s a great showcase of a wide spectrum of Jeremy, Matt and Kim’s playing.

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

    Yes- it’s irregular, so hard to say. Keep in mind that in the editing/mixing/mastering process, you often end up listening many many times, so by the time the album is out, the ‘play count’ is already super high.

    With favorite albums of others’ I’ve listened to a lot, I want to remember every detail so I can play it in my head whenever I want. With my own music, the details are already permanently internalized so there’s less need to reinforce it - except when I do forget something, and then it’s really fun to listen and feel like I’m listening to someone else or have dementia…

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

    It would be really cool to actually know the answer to this! There are 3 big factors that skew the stats:

    1. Transcriptions and playing along with whole albums (Miles - Milestones, Nefertiti, 1964 live concert; Tim Berne Bloodcount DVD from Seconds)

    2. Childhood listening when I only owned 3-4 CDs and would just listen on repeat (R.E.M., Green Day - Dookie, TLC - 'Waterfalls' single)

    3. Working in coffee shops in the early 2010’s where the “common ground taste” with co-workers would often result in stuff like Dirty Projectors on a daily basis (Rise Above, Bitte Orca, Swing Lo)

    As for music unaffected by those factors, my guess is either Alasnoaxis - Alasnoaxis or Ben Monder - Flux. Possibly Cardiacs - Guns or Bob Drake - The Skull Mailbox.

  11. What are you listening to at the moment?

    Cardiacs - the Special Garage concerts (live)

  12. What artist outside music inspires you?

    Most outside-of-music things/places/people that inspire me aren’t artists, but Steve Byram has been very inspirational- he let me audit a class he teaches, and it was mind-opening. Also Basquiat.

Reviews featuring Kate Gentile on the Free Jazz Blog: