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Questionnaire: Tomas Korber (2007)

November 2, 2010

1. Have you got any formal musical training, and what do you draw from it now?

I only have very basic musical training. I had theory/clarinet classes as a kid for about 4-5 years, then some more years guitar classes. I couldn’t say what precisely I draw from it now as I don’t think it had an influence on what i’m playing nowadays. But I do think it was a good think to be exposed to playing music starting from an early age.

2. What kind of equipment/instrument do you use, and what is you relationship towards it? What do you think lies behind your choice of the equipment/instrument?

My equipment consists of a guitar, several effect-boxes and a mixing board (connected to each other in various feedback loops), sometimes contact microphones and a mini-disc player for playing samples, field recordings etc. The choice of the instrument happened naturally since I was playing guitar in a rock band already. The focus then moved to electronics and back to guitar recently. But I don’t consider myself an “instrumentalist” in the first place, I just wanna play music with whatever tools I have at hand.

3. What is it that attracts you towards musical experimentation?

Certainly a sense of wanting to explore and discover something or even more so of wanting to learn about the working mechanisms of music itself (by playing it). But that is what attracts me toward any kind of music, not just “experimental” music.

4. Why are you involved in improvisation, and how do you perceive it?

To me, “improvisation” is a method of working just as “composition” (and all shades of grey in between) is. I’m not an improviser in the sense of being primarily concerned with the process of music making. My main concern is the result, the outcome, the music itself. If this goal is achieved through improvisational means or not is something that doesn’t matter to me.

5. How do you perceive the relation between planning and spontaneity in improvisation?

I cannot give a concluding answer to this question since I think the question whether someone “plans” something or acts “spontaneous” (if such a dichotomy exists at all) totally depends on the particular situation. But generally in an improvised context where other musicians are involved, some flexibility is important.

6. Do you “practise” for an improvisation, and what are your general thoughts on the idea of “practising” for improvisation?
When you improvise, do you use sounds that you’ve already “tried out”, and how much room is there for actual sound experimentation?

I wouldn’t call it “practicing”, but yes, I do play at home quite a lot. Sometimes in an improvisational setting I start with playing something I have already “tried out” and slowly move from there into unknown territory.

7. How do you evaluate an improvisation? What is it, according to you, that makes one improvisation better than another?

The music. And whether the music is succesful or not is something that, in my opinion, cannot be judged objectively. I have my own reasons for finding something interesting or not, but that is a far too complex topic to be discussed in depth in this short interview.

8. When you are recording for a release, does the awareness of being recorded influence your playing, and in what way?

Probably yes, though often not consciously. I can’t really tell in what way. Maybe there’s more “tension” which can be a good thing. Generally recording and/or concert situations result in more exciting music than unrecorded private sessions, at least for me.


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