Interview with Domas Žeromskas: I guess time will tell what comes after that: Video

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Jazz Interview with lithuanian jazz pianist Domas Žeromskas. An interview by email in writing.

JazzBluesNews.Space: – First let’s start with where you grew up, and what got you interested in music?

Domas Žeromskas: – I grew up in Vilnius, Lithuania. I couldn’t name one thing that got me interested in music, because in one or other form it was always around me. Though my mother is a music teacher at school, she didn’t try to direct me towards it. I believe that radio and records my parents played at home in my childhood had a bigger impact.

JBN.S: – What got you interested in picking up the piano?

DZ: – We had a piano at home, so before I was able to choose an instrument in music school at the age of eight, I had already been fooling around the piano for more than four years.

JBN.S: – What teacher or teachers helped you progress to the level of playing you have today? What made you choose the piano?

DZ: – I owe everything to my jazz piano teacher Oleg Molokojedov. Since my first steps into jazz he has been doing his best to inculcate the essential principles and truths of his craft, yet remaining open to my needs and ideas. I’m also studying with contemporary composer Tomas Kutavičius, from whom I’ve learned a lot about writing and arranging. Speaking of the ensemble playing, I was involved in it by Vytautas Labutis (then a jazz ensemble teacher at my music school), a leader of Silent Blast. To him I owe valuable lessons including interplay, real-time creation and overall live performance. As I’ve already mentioned, I haven’t chosen piano intentionally, but now that I know what a colourful and multifunctional instrument it is, I’m feeling quite blessed that piano has chosen me itself.

JBN.S: – How did your sound evolve over time? What did you do to find and develop your sound?

DZ: – As my connection with jazz is relatively recent and I’m still a high school student, I am sure that my sound currently is and for a period of time will be in a process of evolution, so I couldn’t comment a lot on this. The most significant recent breakpoint for me was our line-up update in Silent Blast, especially the arrival of drummer Jonas Gliaudelis. I have noticed that his way of treating rhythmic and dramaturgical aspects and understanding of music in general caused a radical change in my own sense of timing, space and even musical taste, not to mention the overall sound of our band.

JBN.S: – What practice routine or exercise have you developed to maintain and improve your current musical ability especially pertaining to rhythm?

DZ: – I am listening to and transcribing lots of different music. My practice routines consist mostly of various exploitations of that material, usually involving rhythmic displacements and different motoric exercises.

JBN.S: – How can we get young people interested in jazz when most of the standard tunes are half a century old?

DZ: – In my opinion, some standard tunes are indispensable, but some kind of update is always needed. I really liked the concept of Herbie Hancock’s 1995 album “The New Standard” in which he covered popular songs from the late 20th century. This album represents quite clear statement to me. The standard tunes belong to a certain period of time – obviously, most jazz standards are the popular tunes from the time when jazz was born. And now that we are a century ahead of those times, maybe it’s time to redefine the term of “standard tune”…

JBN.S: – John Coltrane said that music was his spirit. How do you understand the spirit and the meaning of life?

DZ: – It’s difficult and probably too early for me to discuss topics like this one, but I’ve really noticed the connection between these two. The closer I get to music, the bigger grows its impact on me.

JBN.S: – What are your expectations of the future? What brings you fear or anxiety?

DZ: – The biggest fear of mine is, as my mentor once called it, the creative stagnation, which I understand as a lasting shortage of new ideas. Another fear is of course not being able to do what you believe is right to do, which, in terms of art, might probably be caused by some financial or political restrictions. Expectations? Speaking of my nearest future – graduating from high school and enrolling in college. I am going to try my success abroad, probably in Unites States. I guess time will tell what comes after that.

JBN.S: – What’s the next musical frontier for you?

DZ: – We are currently working on a concept of our first studio album with Vytautas Labutis and Silent Blast. This creative area is yet completely new to me.

JBN.S: – Are there any similarities between jazz and world music, including folk music?

DZ: – I guess today it’s hard to tell what is jazz and what is not, so I wouldn’t know which kind so called “jazz” we are comparing with this world music. If we take, for example, contemporary Scandinavian jazz – it is equally based on American tradition and Scandinavian folk music.

JBN.S: – Who do you find yourself listening to these days?

DZ: – Everyday something new. It’s really easy to get lost these days, especially for me. In any kind of good quality jazz or music in general I usually find something that speaks to me.

JBN.S: – What’s your current setup?

DZ: – I’m really excited about what we are currently doing with Silent Blast and even more excited about what is yet to come, speaking of which, you can never know what it might be.

Interview by Simon Sargsyan

Фото Vilija Visockienė.

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