en fri jazz — new interview!

Jan.07, 2022

a new interview by the great swedish blog ” EN FRI JAZZ”  (A FREE JAZZ)

https://www.enfrijazz.se/2022/01/07/mats-gustafsson-en-motstandsman/

on streaming, sharing and ALL related!!!

thank you Gustav, for bringing up VERY important matters and subjects!!!

 

the interview is originally made in swedish — but , we made an english version for all of you! see below:

share share and share —– and STOP using spotifuck and other platforms that are paying peanuts or less to the artists!!!

PEACE & FIRE!!!!!

Bild publicerad med tillstånd av Mats Gustafsson.

foto: Ziga Koritnik

 

 

Mats Gustafsson is essentially a man of the north – well, from the Swedish region of ‘Västerbotten’ which happens to be south of the region of ‘Norrbotten’, where I’m from, but still very far north of almost everything else. His origin is in many ways the most important thing to mention. On the theme; ‘north’ and ‘happiness’ Ronny Eriksson (Swedish comedian and musician) once said that ‘the happiness one carries inside is only to be released little by little…we’ve got long winters up here, and there’s no guarantee that there’s enough happiness for a laughter…but there might be enough to avoid crying’.

 

I don’t think Gustafsson, being one of the most successful musicians in the genre that really should be called ‘resistance music’, is sadder than anyone else. But to me, his music represents a lot of the ‘northern darkness’, and a deep understanding of resistance that I believe comes from, albeit not exclusively, growing up in a part of Sweden where darkness is very much present during early fall and that won’t really let go until the winter turns to spring, around March-April.

 

Gustafssons music often carries an abyss, a darkness and an angry roar. But right there is where hope is born. When one stands on the bottom, at least one has firm ground underneath. That’s where nothing can become something. Is there anything more important in 2022? This blog is not about doom and gloom, but it is about resistance in many ways. The music I love and write about, and that Mats is a big part of, is always punching from below. If not, it has got to change.

 

On the theme ‘resistance’, present and future – I got a nice opportunity in the spirit of the pandemic, to ‘talk’ to Gustafsson. The result can be seen below. I’d like to thank Mats for taking the time to generously share his thoughts with a platform; this one, that is quite insignificant. It meant a lot to me, and refilled my account with joy that I, in the northern spirit, can release – little bit little, or that at least will help me not to cry once or twice during the wintertime that we’re currently in.

 

Enjoy!

 

What’s your thoughts around that fact that everything these days seems to be ‘limited edition’? The scarcity principle is used everywhere as marketing, even in free and improvised music. I do understand that tiny releases and quantities are closely connected to funding the very same releases, and the fact that many artists will have to secure funding for the entire release – but the marketing strategy is somehow still contributing to the sense of ‘having to purchase before it’s gone’?

 

That’s really a qualified truth. This type of music; alternative / questioning, has never sold any larger quantities. And there’s almost always limited editions. Nowadays at least. But when the edition is below 300, it really is something limited. Maybe limits could be defined? Or is this not interesting? Of course, there’s always an element of hunting and farming customers, in different ways. The key is to not fall for the most stupid tricks, but at the same time take the opportunity if one finds something you really want. Never wait, never leave anything behind…that’s words to live by. Now, when CD’s are dying, vinyl is selling better than the past 30 years – but the editions are generally quite small. I’m not bothered by phenomena like fomo when it comes to buying music, I will pick up what interests me – trading or buying, depending on price. There’s always a way.

 

Is there a way forward with regards to streaming music; and could part of that way forward being new types of services; think Vandermarks Catalytic Soundstream? Or do you think artists should work together to change the situation with current services?

 

The current situations is not to be changed a whole lot. You’d need a boycott for that to happen. Spotifuck is really the worst ripoff ever, with regards to music. 100% theft. This was made clear from day one. It’s provocative that more musicians and companies aren’t reacting. The music I’m involved in is always DIY. What Vandermark and Catalytic Sounds is doing is a step in the right direction. We can run this on our own. There’s platforms that work, Bandcamp and others. But Spotifuck is out of the question for me. It’s disturbingly provocative that it’s used by so many. Musicians are being robbed of money and music and doesn’t react! Artists will have to be more accountable again, not just be comfortable with what’s happening around them. Fuck it! We can all create new opportunities – these days, with online activities and knowledge, we’re only limited by our imagination. Fuck it! Create our own! Boycott idiots like spotifuck!

 

Spotify, regardless of what one feels about it – won’t go away, they’re in many ways the new record company. They’ve got a big following, an audience, on their platform – is that only a bad thing to reach fans this way?

 

YES! See my previous answer. There’s NOTHING good coming out of making a profit from other people’s music and rights. On top of that, when we see how they’re investing their profits, I get really scared. The Spotify executive salaries are absurd. We have got to stand up. No one NEEDS to be seen on this type of platform, it’s really insane. There’s million ways to find music. Having your music being taken from you – voluntarily – like this. What’s that?!

 

…furthermore, what type of communication exists between more influential musicians, like yourself, and the large streaming services? Are you involved, or in regular contact with them?

 

None. They’re not interested. They’re a corporation with a focus on profit. The music we create, generates almost no media interest, and thereby not a lot of money. And the money it does generate will go right down the pockets of those people who run their business by using us. And I’m not interested in that, in any way whatsoever. If they showed a genuine interest for alternative music I’d listen – and communicate of course. No, we’ve got to create our own platforms. There’s good ways to promote radical and alternative music that swim upstream. The commercial music swims downstream. Only dead fish swim downstream.

 

You’re quite a successful artist within the genre. You have a relatively large platform, with regards to openings doors for others, leading the way, teaching and so on. What responsibility do you have? See one, do one, teach one?

 

This is one of the most important areas of responsibility as an artist and musician. I’m constantly trying to deepen this. To share. SHARE. First and foremost with the young generation. That’s how music and arts deepen. To share, communicate and interact. It’s equal parts musical and political. To learn how to listen free, think free, act free. It’s my god damn responsibility to make this happen – and I’m doing it with a smile. It’s the elixir of life. There’s nothing better than to involve new voices in projects, tours, recordings. ROCK ON!

 

Elaborating on how to make music more accessible to more people, inspire to creativity, what role does the jazz media of today play? How can they change, improve, adapt? I’m thinking that regardless of format there’s a big need to help new jazzfans. The output today is enourmous, and it’s difficult to know where to start. I’m not talking about “lists” but rather a compass to get the journey going. How can media help?

 

Media can really help. But there’s not a lot of interest. It’s a constant problem. We need actie journalists and editors on the large daily newspapers. But the past 20 years, everything has changed for the worse. There’s a BIG difference compared to the 00’s; crazy wisdom started, blacknuss collective was rumbling around. We had full pages in the daily news, on radio, Swedish television was on board. We need a more active jazz media, both online and in print. It’s exactly how you describe it – a compass. The listener needs to open their own doors, but it’s the media’s responsibility to guide and set direction.  Jazz media of today must live in the now and catch trends – not just watch in retrospect. ‘Orkesterjournalen’ has improved, but it’s not enough. The readers are older…we need young people who can add their insights. I really believe in an active jazz media who engage and understands what’s going on. Everything new is not great by default, it’s the opposite really. But either way…things ARE happning….that no one sees…

 

There’s a mentality that focuses on everything to everyone, eBay and Discogs aren’t helping, but also pushed for more sales, more more more. In the relatively small world that is free jazz and improvised music, there’s a lot of music being released. Even I, with my interest, doesn’t stand a chance to listen to all of it, I too need to filter and prioritize. I’d like to listen to stuff from the past, but also be curious and find new gems from new releases. How can new, young artists reach through the noise, when competition is fierce?

 

It’s impossible to listen to catch everything. But it’s a lot of FUN trying. We need a new kind of hub. Like a hub-compass-for-jazz kind of. A collective force that can present news in a creative shape and form. Releases, tours, projects, thoughts, perspectives. Maybe Orkesterjournalen / JAZZ can become this force, but for that to happen they need a total remake. Magnus Nygren did an amazing job with the resources he had at his disposal as editor in chief. But I believe we need a NEW way, and a new direction. New media, new channels. A ‘Speakers Corner’ for jazz where both young and old feel welcome. I miss the debate! Why aren’t there any jazz-debate in Sweden?! We’d need ONE media that everyone reads and can debate within.

 

I think we should shift our focus to meeting real people, getting access to more venues to play on; libraries, cafées, after-school houses etc, but I’m asking myself who’s responsible for what? Let me elaborate a bit, I’d like to get your perspective on this. I’m having a really hard time with the current ‘complain culture’ that I see. It’s always someone else’s fault. What’s you take on this statement? If we start with established artists, what type of responsibility do they have – to help younger artists getting started, moving forward?

DYI. It’s spelled DIY. And that’s how it’s always going to be. It’s all about initiatives. There’s no other way. No one will do anything for you. You have to get things done on your own. Entreprenours are needed. Who’s got the energy to do stuff. You’ve got Jonas Kullhammar, Joachim Nordwall, Alexander Zethson; three good examples of fantastic entreprenours. They do stuff. ALL the time. For OTHERS. Not just for themselves. That’s the key. Young and old needs to realize this. You can reshape the entire cultural climate in Sweden. The infrastructure. We’ve got to do this piece by piece. The revolution is slow these days. Since “rikskonserter” was closed down – clearly for political reasons – there’s NO ONE in Sweden being accountable for producing music for younger people; the avant garde music, music from other cultures etc. No accountability at all. It’s serious. And it’s scary. And it has got to change immediately. But of course, it’s easier to work together with someone, sharing responsibilities. It’s FUN to work for each other. Doesn’t people get this?!

I’m missing the passion and engagement with many musicians. The PASSION! The ENERGY!

If everyone can realize that we’re stronger together, when we can gather round individual initatives, which makes a collective thought and deed! DIY DIY DIY!!

 

Moving forward, what’s the current state with the jazz communities and clubs – are they fighting to organize concerts for younger artists on new types of ‘stages’?

 

It’s an extremely slow change, I believe. A younger generation organizing converts. Extremely slow. Musicians will always have to ‘create’ their own venues to play on. We know what it takes. We know HOW to do it. But time is big problem. We all have got to improve to REALLY create initiatives, delegate tasks to others. We can help each other out more so that there’s not only a couple of people doing everything at a burn-out pace. It’s something happening too often.

Again, we need a hub who can act as a compass.

 

Let’s discuss DIY a bit more. I see less of the DIY mentality today – but also MORE on some platforms. Bandcamp is a good example. Artists can do things on their own, using digital channels, reach out with their music. It’s underutilized the way I see it. There’s a lot of opportunities to do something good here. Why can’t the same type of listening blindfold sessions be done online? Twitch-livestreams, blogs? I don’t see a lot of these initiatives. Not to replace meeting face to face, but ALSO. I believe the young generation has the power to take great leaps forward and help the even younger generation reaching through the noise. It’s not either-or, hell, I’m using regular pencils for my daily writing, but I’m also digitally savvy!

What’s your view on this – focus on the future ‘resistance’, which our music is and have always been?

 

All ways are good, it pushes development. It’s got to be tested. And tested again. Nothing beats the social situation with a blindfold in real life. There’s so much happening around that social gathering. Ideas are born, thoughts get deep. Sure, it can be done on ZOOM, TEAMS, TWITCH – meetings of all kind and all platforms are good. And especially in these pandemic times, they’re great – we’ve got to use all channels available. And also making channels unavailable available. Blindfold sessions, however, with friends, enemies, colleagues is the best school! It was, and is, my school. My university. Unconditional listening. It changes your vision, your hearing – and therefore life – in the best way possible!

Finally, how can we take ownership, and push for change in the world instead of waiting for it to happen?! I believe jazz has ALWAYS been there as a constant reminder of change, refinement, breaking down, building up.

 

Jazz IS change. Communication. Interaction. And RESISTANCE! Whatever shape, sound, looks. With eyes, ears and soul – at least in my case. Radical music is always resistance music. And therefore political. We’ve got to stand up against the commercial doctrine that are created by technical “solutions” surrounding all of us. We’ve got to use the new mechanisms available, and make them ours. Not just stay seated and go along for the ride. Jazz has got to be a MEETING. It’s best done in real life, but there’s also opportunities to use the tools available, more. Someone has to be courageous enough to take the first steps towards a more active DEBATE – where all generations, dialects and branches on the jazz tree are allowed to speak. We all play on the same side of the pitch.


discaholic interview on listening

Sep.30, 2021

http://www.furious.com/perfect/matsgustafsson.html

a 9 month long interview(!) …. on LISTENING and related behaviours!!!!

 

check it out!   and check all the other articles out  —

 

http://www.furious.com/perfect/toc.html


new interview

Sep.07, 2020

a newly published interview by the great sammy stein:

september 2020 on the current situation and more….

https://www.freejazzblog.org/2020/09/an-interview-with-mats-gustafsson.html

 

 

 


new interview in BOMB!!

Apr.17, 2020

quarantine times …. but shit is still going on… online concerts… plans…. music…. texts……

a new interview published today in teh excellent BOMB magazine.

interview by the great Alan Licht:

 

https://bombmagazine.org/articles/mats-gustafsson-interviewed/

 

Alan And Mats 3


new interview – 15 questions

Aug.23, 2018

new interview up on the great  and interesting site:

https://15questions.net/interviews/2018/

 

check it out here:

https://15questions.net/interview/fifteen-questions-interview-mats-gustafsson/page-1/

 

new technique

photo: Johnny Corvette



my favourite things

Dec.12, 2016

new interview in italian…. my favourite things….. lists and comments and more… all in italian! va bene!

 

https://www.allaboutjazz.com/mats-gustafsson-e-il-questionario-di-proust-mats-gustafsson-by-paolo-peviani.php

 

Mats Gustafsson


new interview

Nov.30, 2015

new interview:

http://somethingelsereviews.com/2015/11/26/mats-gustafsson-interview/

executed by the great sammy stein – this time focusing on the jazz and the “industry of jazz”.


recent interviews and shit

Oct.04, 2015

one in swedish by the greatest sport journalist in sweden: CEGE BERGLUND!

http://spanaren.se/2015/09/22/for-honom-ar-wasaskeppet-inspiration-i-musiken/

 

 

 


solo video! and feature in the Quietus!

Nov.11, 2013

a mats gustafsson feature in the great web mag THE QUIETUS is published as of today:
http://thequietus.com/articles/13830-mats-gustafsson-interview

 

and check out:

a recent sax solo by Mats Gustafsson was filmed by great and excellent film maker, photographer, sausage maker and webmaster Micke keysendal!!

see below. and:

http://matsgus.com/archives/category/solo

 

at the iDEAL fest in stockholm, nov 8th, 2013,  at the legendary FYLKINGEN space!

support iDEAL:

http://www.idealrecordings.com/

 

support FYLKINGEN:
http://www.fylkingen.se/

 

support keysendal:

http://keysendal.com/fotoblog/