1 October 2015

Michael Janisch Interview

Bassist, composer and record label owner Michael Janisch took time from his busy touring schedule to talk about his latest album, Paradigm Shift.


Tell us about your latest album Paradigm Shift.

    “It's been four years since I originally recorded the music for my next solo double-disc album Paradigm Shift and the music was recorded in London after a two week tour and I wanted to capture the entire show on CD so each disc represents a different set from the night. Disc 1 is entirely comprised of my new suite with a few post-production additions and Disc 2 features more of my new songs along with some from my band. Once recorded I ended up getting bogged down (in a good way) with two other projects of mine that released albums (Banned in London with Aruan Ortiz and First Meeting with Lee Konitz) and so this particular music got shelved for a minute. Once I revisited it I realized time had gone by and my recent re-obsession with electronic music and production got me thinking I wanted to expand the record sonically, so along with electronic guru (and great trumpeter) Alex Bonney we got together about 15 times to work on the music (this is also my debut doing electronics on an album) as well as recorded some new things with great friend and saxophonist Paul Booth to add. The end result is a live record with a lot of subtle post-production additions, soundscapes and overdubbed instruments/percussion (also huge input here from Paul Booth who debuts on didgeridoo) and it’s been a blast bringing the two worlds together to realize this new sound I’ve been after.”

    “Excitedly, on tour we’ve brought Alex into the live shows to create a electro-acoustic sextet and he’ s able to add the electronics in real time which is a sonic experiment between the instruments as much as there will be interaction and exploration in the actual music. Speaking of the band from the album: it was a perfect touring experience because as well as being some of my favorite musicians they are really close friends and without trying to sound too biased I really think each of these guys have played some of the best music I’ve heard from them on record – Paul Booth (saxes), Leo Genovese (piano/keys), Colin Stranahan (drums), and Jason Palmer (trumpet).”


You’re in the middle of quite an extensive tour of the UK, how’s it going so far?

    “It's been going great, we've done about 15 shows so far and all the crowds have been full and very responsive to the sound this band creates. We got a standing ovation from about 500 people in Seville, Spain at a festival there and a lot of people have bought the record. It's great to see people's reaction to the electro-acoustic band and in particular to their reactions to the electronic soundscapes and effects brought in by Alex.”


What advice can you give to jazz musicians who want to start their own record label?

    “If you're going to do it you have to go in 100%. Research the music industry, find out what you'll need to get distribution set up and be prepared to learn a lot and do a massive amount of work. It's not something to just jump into on a whim, there is a lot of consideration about how you want to reach fans, sell music in a digital world, along with the music itself.”


What has been your experience with the Arts Council and the funding that it provides?

    “The Arts Council is great and I would say essential for supporting music that is experimental in nature. The venues are increasingly strapped for cash and the expenses that come with doing big tours are rarely covered by the show fees. The amounts the Arts Council can provide make it all possible. But an artist has to present a worthy case for funding as well.”


What plans do you have for 2016?

    “Keep the band going and get in the studio for a new album with the electro-acoustic sextet.”


For more information:


Michael Janisch performs at The Verdict in Brighton on Friday 9th October.


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