Extensive listening and react! - intreview with Vasco Trilla
What’s your impression after Volga gig last Saturday?
It was a very special night for us, our cd presentation, exactly one year after the recording of the album, and in the venue where we had had our first concert, Magia Roja. A small venue but packed, with the attendance of our brave publisher Andrzej Nowak! The feedback was pretty enthusiastic, and I think we played one of our most beautiful sets thanks to the whole atmosphere there.
so now we are ready to tour outside Spain! so I officially send an open call to Polish promoters to take us there!
Please, describe how the idea of Volga music was created. Who was the main initiator to appoint new band?
The main idea of Volga started as a series of conversations we were having about music and free improvisation. We all like very different kinds of styles and we all come from different backgrounds so were trying to melt different aesthetics. We have always loved to mix some genres that usually are not perceived as related. The concept was to play free improvised music using elements of other genres like doom metal, avantgarde black metal, experimental folk, ritual ambient.
Fernando was the one who ignited the fire organizing our first concert, without any previous rehearsal, at Magia roja, and from then we decided to take it as an ongoing project.
We described our sound as an amalgam of drones, ritual rhythms, impossible textures and hypnotic riffs of doom and psych folk reminiscences.
Is Volga music and this personal composition in the band something special for your own music journey? Or this is one of many music ideas?
Volga is the first project where I play without a full drumset, I'm just using a floor tom and a snare drum. So it forces me to be more creative with fewer elements. I have been experimenting with timbrical and textural concepts and techniques for a while with different settings and projects, but this is the first time they are the main element in the band.
What is the difference between studio recordings and live gig in the case of Volga?
I don't think the approach is very different for us, every time we play is kind of unique and we tend to see the concerts as an album, we never play more than a 40-minute set so it makes it pretty close to a cd duration.
What is your personal life road to be a professional musician? Which moment in your childhood and youth decided that you will be a musician, especially a drummer?
I didn’t have a very musical youth, I had some piano lessons for a while but I didn’t really like it much. It wasn’t till I discovered metal that I really became interested in music .Only after I discovered thrash metal bands did I feel really connected to music. That time had a tremendous influence on me and my musical life. Metallica, Sepultura, and from there on to death metal bands, which ignited the passion for listening. And I have never abandoned my love for extreme metal. After that I discovered progressive rock, and my curiosity led me to jazz, jazz rock, Rock in Opposition, Indian music, free jazz till I got really immersed in free improvisation.
My story with drums is kind of a casual thing, my father lives in Portugal, not far from Lisbon, and one day a friend of his, who was a drummer, had just bought a new drum kit, so he was giving away his old one, and I was there ready to take it! And then I really got hooked and started with lessons and practice routines.
Can you describe your previous music experiences and the method to reach awareness of free improviser?
I have played a lot of different genres, such as metal, Progressive Rock, Jazz.rock, pop, and all kinds of weird music in between...and I have always tried to avoid playing drum set as a succession of patterns and licks. I have always wanted to find new things and practise weird things. One of the turning points for me was seeing Ellery Eskellin trio in Lisbon, Jim Black was the drummer there, and I felt completely blown away. On that very day I felt kind of freedom, and I kept on searching for more weird drumming, till I discovered Paul Lytton, Eddie Prevost, Raymond Strid etc ec...For me the most important thing as an improviser is extensive listening, and having techniques and tools to react to what other musicians are playing. Every sound, every hit can lead you to different places. My biggest obsession is awareness of time, how long I play every idea, how long the pieces we play are… I tend to like concerts that are no longer than 40-45. But it has to be intense!
On every concert of free impro you have a big magic suitcase with many object giving crazy and fascinating sounds. Please describe what you have in this suitcase.
The magic suitcase is changing every time, it depends on the gig, where I’m to play, with whom… Flight restrictions etc etc... I have been obsessed with sound for last few years, so if you open it these days you will find all kinds of bells, trumpet mouthpiece, small dildos, toys, Vhs old videotape , metal screws, guitar strings, violin bows...new things come up all the time, and that makes me really excited!! I’m planning a series of solo concerts to present my last solo cd The Rainbow Serpent (fmr ) and in this case suitcase will be packed with new additions.
You play music with many guys and bands. What is your favourite instrumental composistion on the gig?
I think nowadays my favourite formation is duo, it is where I find myself most comfortable for improvised music. There are several duos I work with regularly. With Yedo Gibson, Johannes Nastesjo, Tom Chant, Pablo Selnik, Mikolaj Trzaska, Michal Dymny, among many others. I think the duo is the formation where you can feel more clearly the personality of a musician, a very pure dialogue, where nothing can be hidden, every musical decision makes a big difference on the overall sound.
In this year You will celebrate the 40th anniversary of birthday. It's a good opportunity to make some resume, reflection and thoughts. Can you share us with your point of view?
I started to play pretty late, when I was around 20, so I feel very grateful that I have reached this moment in my career, playing with such great musicians, and travelling a lot. I never expected anything like that, I had always wanted to play, but I had the feeling that I had started too late to reach this point. That made me push myself a lot, and be constantly in motion, practicing, listening… Feeling unsatisfied of your own playing can help you a lot avoid stagnation. My two biggest loves are music and travelling, so this way of combining both is a dream come true. I have a plan for a new project in Iran, one of my favourite countries in the world, with great guitar player Ehsan Sadigh, he is the leader of Quartet Diminshed, an amazing band!! I guess it all sums up what I love about music!
Musically I’m still navigating between complex written music and free improvisation; I think they both complement one another, so I’m intent on going on this way, keeping my ears fresh.
The biggest advice I can give is just be curious, check as much music as you can, different genres, try to play things in different ways, travel, try different food.....that is my method!
We often say in our conversation: music, music, music.... It is the most important thing for you, isn't it? What will you to plan for the next 2-3 years? Which music? What musicians? Which direct of improvment as a musician?
Music and life is all mixed for me, playing, rehearsing, practicing, office work, everything is a part of my daily life! And I love it! I’m more excited and active than ever .
I have a new trio that I’m really proud of, PHICUS, with Ferran Fages on electric guitar, and Alex Reviriego on double bass, short of Keiji Haino meets AMM .We have our cd just recorded, and we are looking for someone to release it and start some European tour at the end of the year. Other projects I have in mind are: a duo with the great Biliana Vouthkova on violin – we are playing in May, in a jazz festival here in Barcelona; another new trio L3 with Yedo Gibson on sax and Luis Vicente on trumpet.
As to new releases, this year will be quite active: the first one will be a trio with Szilard Mesei and Marina Dzukljev on piano on British label FMR, then a trio with Hernani Faustino and Yedo Gibson will be out in July on No Bussiness records, Mazurkiewicz-Melech -Trilla trio will release their album in Laurence family-Not Two records before summer, Mikolaj Trzaska-Vasco Trilla Catapult of stardust will be also released this year. I will also have two new cds on Portuguese label Creative Sources, one with strings (Harald Kimmig, Miguel Mira, Ernesto Rodrigues, Guilherme Rodrigues) and a quintet with Ernesto Rodrigues, Yedo Gibson, Luis Lopes and Miguel Mira. The new cd of Yedo Gibson/Vasco Trilla will be released by Multikulti/spontaneous music tribune in autumn...and a few more....happiness!!!
And the last question: When will we have the opportunity to watch you on concert in Poland?
I hope soon, we have some ideas to play together with Mikolaj Trzaska, but we still don’t know if it will be in June or after the summer. We have a duo album that will be released approximately this summer. And also other possibilities for the fall. Hope to visit you many times!