Established in 2006, Berlin-based Andromeda Mega Express Orchestra have released three albums so far and toured the world extensively, but – more importantly – they’ve grown to become a proper “working band “: More than just another ensemble, it’s a true and tight-knit family affair comprised of 18 musicians from various backgrounds, a genre-defying band that remains unpredictable and willing to push stylistic boundaries. The second part of the AMEO Album-Release-Tour is coming up – in September they will play nine concerts across Europe.
What is the biggest inspiration for your music?
Music, Clouds, Land scapes, Animals, mostly stuff not coming from human conditioning.
How and when did you get into making music?
As far as I can remember I always liked listening to music. I also liked playing the piano as a child but I wasn’t very eager about making progress. Then, all of a sudden, I wanted to play the saxophone at age 11. I never really heard the instrument or liked it in particular, I just knew that I had to start learning it. Since then, it was more or less all about music.
What are your 5 favourite albums of all time?
That’s cruel, just 5? An excerpt of at least 500…
Duke Ellington – Afro Bossa
Hermeto Pascoal – Mundo Verde Esperanca
Grizzly Bear – Yellow House
Friedrich Gulda – The Mozart Tapes
Juilliard String Quartet – Bela Bartok String Quartets (especially No.4)
John Coltrane – Crescent
What do you associate with Berlin?
When I came here 10 years ago it meant to me: raw potential, unlimited space to thrive, unlimited space to fall. I try to see it that way despite the changing environment.
What’s your favourite place in your town?
Many good places here. I like the Basketball-Court next door. It belongs to a school but they let older kids like me have fun there aswell. And the best acoustic I have ever witnessed in my life is in Saal 1 in Nalepastraße. But damn, it’s expensive to rent…
If there was no music in the world, what would you do instead?
Impossible. The world is sound.
What was the last record you bought?
Herbie Hancock – Thrust
Who would you most like to collaborate with?
What was your best gig (as performer or spectator)?
I don’t know about best… but I was once at a concert of the Wayne Shorter Quartet… and they were improvising, meand ering through the tones… nothing really emerged for 40 minutes… it was really without any dramatic concept or anything… it just went on and they just wouldn’t get into a groove or something you could define… It was a long time… Like a normal jazz-audience isn’t used to that. I mean what audience is used to that? Maybe some John Cage-Fans… and I have to admit I got bored sometimes, too although I really loved that group… so it was just like this soup of notes and some themes here and there, but really without any content or forced action of the players… it was really strange, very vague. where was the energy? and then out of nowhere this riff evolved. and you can tell if a riff stinks, like you can hear when it’s planned, but this was really out of the moment… so it just slowly, but surely built up. it got full and loud but it wasn’t extremely loud or heavy and it wasn’t brutal in any sense, it was some energy beyond anything I have ever heard before or since. In the beginning you could feel that something huge was coming, it seemed like a big wave – all the water got sucked into the sea for 40 minutes and now it was about to roll over us with the whole ocean in its back. It kept growing and growing, there was so much space in that groove and Wayne and Brian, they were just hitting the right spots. Short notes, like galaxies exploding or something. It was like witnessing a cosmic volcano errupting, just so much good energy, not only on an adrenalin-level, but truly multidimensional. so many colours went through me in those moments. Wow.
I saw them a couple of times after that show and it never happened like that again, and I haven’t heard anything like it on all the bootlegs I have listened to, but that shows even more that they are real improvisers. Corageous enough not to force any action, just be ready and then boom!
How important is technology to your creative process?
Often technology makes me more lazy instead of more creative.
Do you have siblings and how do they feel about your career?
I have a half sister and I have no idea how she feels about my career. I hope my career never gets in the way of music.
Radioactive People @ JazzBaltica