28 december, 2021
On the occasion of the publication of Mains, the new album of the J3PO project, we interviewed its creator, the American pianist, keyboardist, composer and producer Julian Pollack.
> Ivano Rossato
All of the compositions on Mains were born in my studio, during the lockdown of the pandemic. Most of the compositions came from little germs of ideas I had laying around on my computer or beats I was making at the time.
When I was mostly doing the “acoustic thing” (which I’m actually getting back into these days) it was quite different because everything came from sitting at the piano. Anything original would stem from pencil and paper. With electronic production it’s quite different because you’re actually developing the materials that the listener will hear in the final product. It’s not a “plan” like a score or lead sheet. You’re creating and crafting the materials, just like a visual artist, to display in a gallery. In our case, that gallery is your audio player or streaming device. I’m looking forward to trying to blend these two approaches to music composition over the next few years.
I appreciate that you hear some “tradition” in Mains. I still identify with being a “jazz pianist” these days even though what I’m doing some would say is not jazz at all. I love Bebop. I love the discipline of it, and I practice it. I take inspiration from the later greats such as Herbie Hancock all the way to present-day folks like Brad Mehldau. I appreciate what Robert Glasper has done for the music. And I’m excited by what my peers are creating, producer/instrumentalists like Anomalie, Kiefer, Rob Araujo, Lil BadSnacks, MXXWLL, to name a few.
I feel very lucky that I have solid relationships with all of the musical instrument makers whose instruments I use. I’m very close with Nord Keyboards and Sequential, and I feel that these instrument makers are part of the process — Dave Smith, Tom Oberheim, Hans Nordelius — they are artists too, along with all of us musicians. It has also been thrilling to have the “insider scoop” of what’s coming out next with these keyboard/synth makers, and I’ve enjoyed creating my signature sound banks as well as factory presets for many of the keyboards that have been coming out on the market.
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