Ημερομηνία: 08-04-2013 BLUE ORANGE | The magnificent Magnus Öström
Interview by Natassa Mare Moumtzidou

BLUE ORANGE | The magnificent Magnus Öström <br> Interview by Natassa Mare Moumtzidou


Ηοw could someone describe the precision, the combination of a subtle style elevated within the flow of high velocities and energy with a rare for the physiology of percussion, delicate and melodious performance of the rythmic themes? How could anyone depict in words a kaleidoscopic timbre that introduces you in a vibrant polyrythmic world which blooms in full colors while at the same time reveals distinct rays of bright musicality?



        Born on May 3rd, 1965 in Skultuna, Sweden, at the age of eight he built his first drumkit out of his father’s empty paintcans and only a year later he received his first real drumkit with bassdrum, snare and hi-hat, as a christmas present.  That year he started his first band together with a kid from across the street, Esbjörn Svensson. Years later, with the collaboration of doublebass player Dan Berglund, the three of them was going to build one of the top jazz trios around the world.  The legendary E.S.T.

          Together they recorded 12 albums and one concert DVD, toured the world several times over, sold hundreds of thousands of albums, and they were titled as the “trio of the decade”. Nowadays E.S.T. are considered to have been the most influential band in jazz in the nineties and their album “Live in Hamburg” has been awarded “Album of the Decade” by no lesser than the London Times.

         After the unexpected death of Esbjörn Svensson, he released with great success his first solo album titled «Thread of life» and he is currently in the process of recording his second solo album to be released in 2013.

          His collaborations include names such as Bobo Stenson, Lennart Aberg, Palle Danielsson, Svante Thuresson, Nils Landgren, Stina Nordenstam, Peter Gullin, Steve Dobrogosz, Michelle Hendricks, Benny Golson, Curtis Fuller, Mulgrew Miller, Buster Williams, Roy Hargrove, Stefon Harris, Pat Metheny, Alan Pasqua etc, while some of his favorite drummers are Mick Tucker, Mitch Mitchell, Ian Paice, Billy Cobham, Roy Haynes, Tony Williams, Elvin Jones και Paul Motian.



         In the following interview we have the pleasure to slip into his wonderful world not only concerning music, but also his essentially conquered life philosophy.

         Ladies and gentlemen, the exquisite Magnus Öström ...


* How would you describe the “phenomenon” called music…?

Wow, hard to describe. For me music could be a lot of things. It could be just one sound from a bird, car, bus, factory, a bunch of cheeps barking. It could also be a great tennis match or a soccer match on a very high level. When you see Messi playing soccer, it’s like music! It’s a lot about associations.

One of the best experiences regarding “music” was in the back of an old bus, standing still with the motor running. That groove from that engine is one of the grooviest grooves I’ve ever heard.



* Music is a path enclosing other paths. After all these years have you fοund your own path? Your own frequency?


I don’t know if I’ve found my own path but I think so in the sence of doing my own thing.  I have my own voice in a way and I play like I do and I’m not that concerned if people like it or not. I just do it my own way and that’s freedom…




* Lets talk about the ultimate “moment” on stage ... When both music and musician’s soul “take off” …


Hard to describe but I think that it’s about being in the present, being “now”, not yeasterday, not in the future. Be here right now…

It’s like when you loose yourself in something interesting that takes up your whole body and soul, when you think a minute has past but actually it’s an hour…



* You are constantly on the road. How is a life dedicated to music?


It’s fantastic and it’s hard. Nowadays I’m not that much on the road that I used to be with e.s.t. and it’s actually good!:-) Everything is about balance. The problem with the life as a musician is that it’s either too little or too much work…


* Is there a profound search in music or music is only a way of expression?


Of course it’s a way to express yourself but it’s also a way of searching…

It can be like meditation for me. When I’m composing I could sometimes feel that I’m dipping my hands in a river and pick up the songs which are swimming around like fishes. That’s a deep, profound feeling like beeing connected to something bigger than yourself…



* Through your travels you are coming closer to other musical cultures. Do you ever feel connected with sounds coming from different styles than jazz, sounds more traditional like mediterannean music etc …


I like all sorts of sounds! The problem is when you are on tour you never have time to stay and explore the local scene or music but of course I’m the sum of all music I’ve ever heard. I really like having Andreas Hourdakis in my band who has a father from Greece and I can sometimes hear reminicenses from greek music in his playing and I’m really looking forward to use Bouzouki on some tunes in the future… 



 * How could you describe the energy and the profound communication between musicians on stage?


That is too hard to describe, words are not enough…



* Percussion may be a polyrhythm instrument but also extremely melodic,  you have a beautiful, personnal soundcolour, how would you define yourself?


Thank you!:-)

I usually describe myself more as a painter, a colourist rather than a drummer.

I’m not that interested in super technical playing though it could be fun to hear sometimes. I’m more interested in the sound that you create and if it’s coming from “you” in a deeper sense… or me in this case.



* Is there a really special moment from your life on stage that you would like to share with us?


When we had our first gig with our first band. It was me and Esbjörn Svensson and a couple of other guys. I was twelve years old and had my first own drumkit with toms but I didn’t have the money to buy a Ride cymbal. But on this gig I was happy to had the chance to borrow a Paiste 2002 22”Ride from Esbjörn’s cousin. I was in heaven! Small things matters…  



* What are your own musical preferences?


Wow, I don’t know if I have any preferences. I like different kind of music.

Bach, Sjostakovich, old jazz from the thirties,, Frank Sinatra, Sufjan Stevens, M. Ward, Wilco, Bill Frisell, Björk, etc You can find great music in any gengre. Right now I listen a lot to Laura Mvula. Fantastic record!


* In your concerts how would you describe the magical, impatient moment before the very first note, the first percussion.


Wow, a lot of adrenalin but still very calm. It’s really a magic moment…!:-) 



* Frequency | Energy | Speed …

How about the process of making music? And then silence… Could you say a few words concerning the powerful moments of silence that embraces music?


Too hard to describe that process but about silence: I think it’s actually the most important part in music. If there wasn’t any silence there would be no music… A lot of musicians seems to forget that and sometimes “overplay”. A lot of musicians plays too many notes, as far as I’m concerned. The music needs to breathe as we all do…



* When your soul receives on stage all these powerful sentiments, how easy is it for you to communicate again with the daily routine?


The moment right after a concert it could be really hard to say anything. Sometimes the music continues for several minutes inside of me after the last note and then I need to be for myself  ‘cause there’s a lot of emotions going on… Usaully it takes a few days to get back to normal after a tour, whatever normal is…



* The infinite field of freedom ... Do you feel free through music and what does that actually mean?


As I said before, the freedom seems to lay in that moment of “now”, could be music, could be looking at a sunset…


When nothing and everything matters… that’s freedom for me.






            by Natassa mare Moumtzidou | Thessaloniki, April 11, 2013

            Contact: info@natassamare.com | www.facebook.com/natassamare










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