“Entering the world of sound art with my background as a harmonica player and a curator of free improvised music, my artistic work covers a wide spectrum of activities of both fields. However, I prefer to stay on the edge. Someone in between. Riding the constant transition. I approach both my life and artistic practice as an instant composition where constant is the move and the coincidence.” andyvazul
Vazul is a harmonica player, sound artist and currently the music programme curator at Collegium Hungaricum Berlin. He gave birth to the Input Impro festival and other event formats such as spi.res. and Conduction Series, creating a bridge between the Berlin-based and the Hungarian improvised and experimental music scenes.
This year Vazul is building Windwall, a sound sculpture made of thousands of recycled harmonicas through a world-wide collective process. This wall will be played by the wind and connect people instead of separating them. Windwall will be installed at East Side Gallery on 21 August and will be accompanied by several events throughout a month.
1. A speaker works as a microphone.
2. Our ears are able to make sounds.
3. We are able to produce negative greenhouse gas emissions.
1. What is the biggest inspiration for your music?
Melancholy, wind, objects, animals and faces.
2. How and when did you get into making music?
My first massive sonic experience that I can recall was with the chickens in our garden when I was around 5. I could listen to the chickens’ clucking for hours. It made me feel relaxed. I am quite convinced that something started that time.
3. What are 5 of your favourite albums of all time?
Today there are too many, but the first five I will always remember:
WAR – All day music
WAR – The World is a Ghetto
Jethro Tull – Benefit
Jethro Tull – Aqualung
Nick Cave – Let Love In
Nick Cave . The good son
Tom Waits – Rain Dogs
Dead Can Dance – Aion
The Doors – Waiting for the sun
Barbaro – Barbaro
After Crying – Megalázottak és megszomorítottak
4. What do you associate with Berlin?
Love, in many possible ways.
It is the place where things started to make sense. Still not home though and I know I do not belong here, but there are many people who feel in the same way. This makes me feel melancholic, which makes me feel at home a little.
5. What’s your favourite place in your town?
Berlin: Schillerpark. That’s the place I go to most often together with my daughter and my dog.
Rome: Piazza delle Tartarughe
6. If there was no music in the world, what would you do instead?
I would listen out loud.
7. What was the last record/music you bought?
Recently I started to fill the missing gaps in my vinyl collection, and last week I ordered a “classic must have”: Harmonia – Deluxe
8. Who would you most like to collaborate with?
Probably someone who already died, if this wish brought that person back to life. But then there would be so many aspects to take under consideration. I would name a different person in every second. Last week I did a presentation about Pauline Oliveros, therefore in this moment she could be my choice for an improvised session and I would ask her to pick a reverberant space.
9. What was your best gig (as performer or spectator)?
Not the best, but a memorable one, just like in the Blues Brothers movie.
A few years ago I played in duo with Huba Ratkóczi in a little bar in Novi Sad as part of our tour in Serbia. When we entered the place scary eyes were staring at us in a doggy manner. There must have been a misunderstanding during the communication, cause it turned out that the bar has special rules in terms of playing concerts. We were expected to play a five-hour-long set without stop and make people dance. With Huba we mostly create a psycho-ambient sonic atmosphere, and it is definitely not meant for huge drunk people to dance and obviously we did not have such a repertoire. In other words we were the wrong people in the wrong place, but there was no way back. Before starting the gig we went to a park near buy and we agreed on dozens of blues-rock cover songs to play in OUR way. Even if we just remembered half of a refrain of a sing, we put it on the list. I have no idea how, but we managed to keep the energy high and made all the local people dance…even in the end when we were playing hyper-effected single notes as textures.
10. How important is technology to your creative process?
Technology makes the processes easier and I love to work with it, but I would find my way also without.
11. Do you have siblings and how do they feel about your career/art?
Yes, I have and maybe it would be time to ask them.
Photo © Barbara Antal