Ellom`s net



Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Interview number 1: draff krimmy

I’ve been planning to start a little interview series here for quite a while.
Asking questions that interest me from people who and whose work interest me. It’s not about being objective or giving a very good idea of what those people do.
It’s strictly only about what I want to ask.
Most of the people interviewed are artists, musicians, writers – people I’ve met on internet, sometimes also in the physical reality, sometimes not.
In this case it’s the latter – I’ve never met Jan, but he is a good old internet friend. And I have a lot of respect for him and his work. We also collaborated at one time – on a song called „Don’t ask for sweet songs today“.
Now, on with the interview.

So – I have indeed been lucky enough to receive some answers from Jan, who is a member of draff krimmy. About his work, inspirations and the beautiful draff krimmy album „Poetry of vår“.
Now, what is draff krimmy? Let the boys speak for themselves:

„draff krimmy is not a band.
It is a project between people all over the world who communicate in the language of music. Two german guys and a „normann“ are the core of the project. Two live in Norway and one travels around the world. Their names: Jan, Mareno and Maciek. The instruments they play? I don`t know the names of all the stuff they use for making music. I am sorry for that.“

Tthat’s how it is then. And this is Jan. My deep apologies for stealing this photo from his facebook. It seems like the best kind of portrait to me.
(If you are angry, Jan, yell at me, and I’ll use the photos you suggested)

1) I think Draff Krimmy’s music is perfect for rainy days and early autumn. Do you agree? And does music work like this for you too – depending on weather and seasons? Who are you listening to most in October?
Yes, I agree. Autumn is the perfect season. But I like melancholic music. I can listen to it anytime, in autumn and winter, because it matches with the mood and the nature outside my window, and in spring and summer because it means a break from the superficial happiness which can infect me sometimes. I am a very positive human being, but I need the sadness and melancholy to be a whole person, this dialectic is important. I really like to listen to Godspeed, A Silver Mt. Zion, Black Heart Procession, Tom Waits etc.

2) Do landscapes and cities inspire you? Do you find it easier or different to create music in some specific places, countries, towns…? ( I just realized that as Draff Krimmy puts together the work of people from so many different places, it has the influence of many different landscapes and cityscapes in it. Love to think of it like that )

Yeah, I really enjoy the Norwegian landscape, being in the middle of nowhere in a wood and recording there is great, many ideas, many sounds … but I also like to mess around on my own in my little room without thinking abut what happens outside. „Poetry of vår“ was recorded with the help of many great musicians from different countries and with different influences. So draff krimmy is a melting pot of millions of feelings and ideas 😉

3) Does family inspire you, as an artist?

Family supports me in making music. My wife likes what I do and believes in it. My son loves music. So I put this energy and belief into my music. They give me good feelings and I like to use their voices in it. On „Poetry of vår“ you can hear my cat Tom Tom at the end of Matchball! I wrote some of my songs for my wife, and Min Engel is especially dedicated to her.

4) There is something about Draff Krimmy that makes me think visually, some film soundtrack feeling about it. Can you name some of your favourite films or directors, something visual that has touched you really deeply?

I like to see „Poetry of vår“ as a film soundtrack. Movies which touched me very deeply are for example two Norwegian movies called „Uno“ and „I am Dina“. You have to watch these movies!!! I also like „The Thin Red Line“, „Dead Poets Society“, „The Million Dollar Hotel“, „The Piano“, „Wilbur Wants to Kill Himself“, „The Aviator“, „Fight Club“, „Stand by Me“ … I like Jim Jarmusch, Scandinavian movies, movies about the theme psychiatry („A Beautiful Mind, „Shutter Island“, „Das Weisse Rauschen“). I am a psychiatric nurse, so I like to watch movies that help me to understand the experience of being psychotic or very very lonely.

5) Are there new Draff Krimmy related works in progress? A new album, a soundtrack perhaps? Is there anything new to look forward to?

Yes, we recorded some songs last year, but it will take some time before new material will be released. But maybe Min Engel will be used in a movie which will be finished soon.

6) What does „Poetry of vår“ mean to you? Is there a concept, an idea behind it, a uniting theme? Anything you want to say about the album?

I don`t know. I have heard that the album seems to be fragmented, and yeah it is, a lot of people were a part of it without knowing what the others did. But I feel that there is a peaceful, melancholic mood which could be a red thread, and you will hear the same themes in more than just one song. I think it is not important what we thought when we made the album, I think Ricoeur was right. The artist is dead, but the musical work is alive. Every single listener will interpret the album in his/her subjective and personal way.

7) There is something very poetic about Draff Krimmy, the songs, their titles, their presentation. Are you interested in poetry, any specific poets?

Not so much poetry, but I like to read novels, Dostojevskij, Hesse are my favourites. And I really like I.D. Yalom. At the moment I mostly read literature about self-harm because I am writing about it.

Thank you, Jan, very much indeed!

And hope the newborn sun shows some kind light to you all, reading people!



QRD Silbermedia


Guitarist Interview with Josef Echter of Draff Krimmy & Apokrypha
December 2010 Name: Josef Echter
Bands: Draff Krimmy, Apokrypha
Websites: www.apokrypha.de, www.myspace.com/apokrypha, www.draffkrimmy.wordpress.com, www.flutteryrecords.com, www.draffkrimmy.bandcamp.com, www.myspace.com/draffkrimmy

QRD – What was your first guitar & what happened to it?

Josef – My first guitar was a Peavey “Falcon Series” Stratocaster. I still have it, but it’s broken.

QRD – What’s your typical set-up from guitar to effects to amplifier?

Josef – Mostly I play a very spartan set-up, just a guitar & an amplifier. That’s it.

QRD – What’s the most important part of your rig – guitar, amplifier, or effects?

Josef – I think you can recognize a guitar player no matter what stuff he’s using. The guitar work comes from the heart & soul & flows from your fingers to your fretboard, which is a kind of connection between you & the audience, so I would say the guitar is the most important part.

QRD – What’s your main amplifier & why?

Josef – Marshall – it’s loud & reliable.

QRD – What’s your main guitar & what are the features that make it such?

Josef – My main guitar is an ESP Horizon. It has got a neck through which makes it quite comfortable to play especially when you go up the scales. The Floyd Rose never goes out of tune, so it’s a guitar just for playing & not tuning.

QRD – If you had a signature guitar, what would it look like & what would some of its features be?

Josef – It would have the classical Stratocaster shape, a Floyd Rose, & humbucker pickups; so it would just look like the main guitar I play.

QRD – If you had a signature pedal, what would it be & what would some of its features be?

Josef – I don’t need any pedals, but if there’s someone who wants to built one for me:
it would be a delay with foot-controllers for delay-time & repetitions. That would be nice.

QRD – How many guitars do you own?

Josef – Including the broken one I’ve got five guitars.

QRD – How & where do you store your guitars?

Josef – My main guitar is hanging on the wall, so that I can pick it up whenever I want to. The others are stored in cases.

QRD – What do you wish guitar cases had that they usually don’t?

Josef – The part the neck lies on should be a little more padded. One of my guitars got some annoying scratches because the wood showed through the padding.

QRD – What features do you look for when buying a guitar?

Josef – I’m very open-minded concerning that, a guitar should lie comfortably in your hands. But mostly I end up with a kind of Stratocaster guitar.

QRD – How much do you think a good guitar should cost?

Josef – Nothing – anyone want to offer me an endorsement deal?

QRD – Do you upgrade & customize your guitars or just stick with what you get?

Josef – I really like Seymour Duncan pickups, which are installed in my ESP. I upgraded my Fender with some Hotrods, put some jumbo frets on the fretboard & changed the tremolo system.

QRD – How thoroughly do you research or test a piece of equipment before buying it?

Josef – Usually I go straight to the store & test the guitars, amplifiers, or whatever by myself.

QRD – Do you change your rig around often?

Josef – Back in time I changed my rig nearly every month. Now I ended up with just a guitar & a Marshall.

QRD – Are you after one particular guitar tone & locking into it, or do you like to change your tone around a lot?

Josef – I’m after the tone the song demands & I feel comfortable with. So I don’t change that often.

QRD – What are some guitars, amps, & pedals you particularly lust after?

Josef – Oh, there’s a lot of stuff I’d like to check out. Maybe Schecter guitars or Mesa Boogie Amps or …

QRD – What do you think are some important features to be on a person’s first guitar that aren’t always there?

Josef – A really qualified sales clerk. They are so rare. What a shame…

QRD – What have been the best & worst guitar related purchases you’ve made?

Josef – Dr. Duck’s Axwax is amazing. You can use it for the whole guitar & maybe even drink it. Disappointing are the Elixir Nano Web strings. They say, they last a long life, but what about the great tone they speak of?

QRD – What are some effect, amp, & guitar brands you particularly like or dis-like & why?

Josef – I don’t like Ibanez guitars. The quality seems to change from guitar to guitar. They once built really reliable axes, but those times are over. My favourite amps are built by Marshall. They always sound like Marshall. Nothing more, nothing less. What you see is what you get.

QRD – What’s the first thing you play when you pick up a guitar?

Josef – Mostly some arpeggios or scales up & down. Nothing special, technical stuff.

QRD – How old were you when you started playing guitar?

Josef – I was eleven years old & started right with an electric guitar.

QRD – At what age do you think you leveled up to your best guitar playing?

Josef – Maybe at seventeen? I don’t remember.

QRD – Why do you think a guitar fits you more so than other instruments?

Josef – Because a guitar looks pretty cool.

QRD – Do you think guitar should be people’s first instrument as often as it is?

Josef – People should choose an instrument that fits them & not choose the guitar because their neighbour got one.

QRD – Do you see your guitar as your ally or adversary in making music?

Josef – The guitar is my way to express myself, so it’s definitely my ally.

QRD – Who are the guitarists that most influenced your playing & sound?

Josef – Oh, there are a lot: the guys of Skid Row are great, Slash. But also friends or bandmates inspire me, just like Tristan Visser of Metalforce or Joe Stump.

QRD – Do you think people anthropomorphizing their guitars is natural or silly (e.g. naming their guitar)?

Josef – I heard of guys doing that & it sounds pretty funny. Why don’t they try to get a girlfriend?

QRD – What’s the most physical damage you’ve done to a guitar & how did you do it?

Josef – There’s a scratch on the headstock of my ESP. It got there when I took the guitar out of the case. Very annoying.

QRD – What do you do to practice other than simply playing?

Josef – I practice a lot, just like arpeggios, sweeping, alternate picking stuff, tapping, eight finger tapping, … & all combinations of it.

QRD – How many hours a week do you play guitar & how many hours would you like to?

Josef – I wish I could play guitar all day, but there’s still a job to do; so it’s sometimes just a few minutes a day & another day two or three hours.

QRD – What type of pick do you use & why?

Josef – Dunlop Jazz III. They give you the best control over the strings & are not too big.

QRD – What gauge strings do you use & why?

Josef – I use 10-46 strings. My guitar is tuned down to D, but with the stronger strings they don’t hang loose.

QRD – How often do you change strings?

Josef – Right before every gig or studio session. You should always give your best, that means also delivering the best sound.

QRD – How often do you break strings?

Josef – Never, even though I hit the strings pretty hard. This can be traced back to the fact I use Graphit All Guitar Lube. It’s amazing.

QRD – Which do you feel is more proficient, your strumming hand or fretting hand & how does that effect your style?

Josef – Can you focus on just one hand? Your style should only be effected by yourself & not be limited by your hands.

QRD – Do you set-up your guitar yourself or send it to a guitar tech (or not set it up at all) & why?

Josef – Once I had the chance to be Annihilator’s guitar tech; so learned a lot about guitars, how they work & how they are set up. But somehow I missed the chance. Bummer! But now I can do all (concerning guitars) on my own.

QRD – What tunings do you use & why?

Josef – I don’t use any special tuning. My guitars are tuned down a whole step so they sound (hopefully) mightier.

QRD – Do you prefer tablature, sheet music, or some other notation system for writing down your own ideas?

Josef – Even though I studied musical theory I guess it’s pretty hard to write down what you feel. If there’s an idea to keep, I record it immediately.

QRD – How high do you hold your guitar when playing (strap length)?

Josef – My first hero was Slash, so my guitar was hanging in the early times very low. After that I appreciated Paul Gilbert very much. But doing all that arpeggio stuff forced me to shorten the strap a little bit & I still stick to it now.

QRD – What’s a bad habit in your playing you wish you could break?

Josef – Breaking my guitar amps. Don’t know how it comes to this. Just kidding! I’m quite satisfied with my playing.

QRD – Playing what other instrument do you think can most help someone’s guitar playing?

Josef – Definitely drums.

QRD – What’s a type of guitar playing you wish you could do that you can’t?

Josef – Flamenco. Those guys are amazing.

QRD – What’s a guitar goal you’ve never accomplished?

Josef – Getting an endorsement deal.

QRD – What’s the last guitar trick you learned?

Josef – It’s something Joe Stump showed me. He taught me how to make use of economy picking while playing scales. Pretty simple, but very effective.

QRD – What’s your favorite guitar gadget (ebow, capo, slide, string cutter, etc)?

Josef – Stringwinder. It makes changing strings way more easy!

QRD – What’s a guitar technique you’d like to master, but haven’t?

Josef – As I’ve written before the flamenco guitar style is very impressive.

QRD – Did you ever take guitar lessons & if so, what did you learn from them?

Josef – I had guitar lessons for six years. When I think back, I just wanted to learn how to play songs by Metallica.

QRD – What would you teach someone in a guitar lesson that you don’t think they would generally get from a guitar teacher?

Josef – Having fun while playing guitar. Some guys are too serious.

QRD – What’s something someone would have to do to emulate your style?

Josef – Others shall judge that.

QRD – What’s your take on tremolo systems?

Josef – I love it! Can you call a guitar without a Floyd Rose a guitar? Joking aside, tremolo systems are a great invention.

QRD – How often do you adjust your tone knob?

Josef – Just to turn my guitar on or off to avoid noise.

QRD – If a band has good guitar work, can you ignore the rest of the band not being good?

Josef – No, I don’t think so. Music is complete artwork, so everyone in the band should give their best.

QRD – What famous musician’s guitar would you like to own & why?

Josef – I don’t like used guitars. They become battered by me.

QRD – Who do you think is currently the most innovative guitar player & why?

Josef – I think he has been mentioned a lot, but I guess I agree with many others by saying Steve Vai. He has an incredible technique & always tries to break frontiers. The same applies for Buckethead with the difference that he may be crazy. But amazing!

QRD – Where can people hear your best guitar work?

Josef – Come to the shows, buy the CDs. I need the cash!  For the people who are as poor as I am: check out the MySpace pages.

QRD – Anything else?

Josef – Thanks for reading & don’t take yourself too seriously.