Three: an espresso with Tony Buck and The Necks

Image Credits: The Necks © The Necks

November 21, 2020

Australians Chris Abrahams, Tony Buck and Lloyd Swanton are The Necks, since 1987 they play suggestive and intense improvised instrumental music. We asked them about Three, their recently released 18th studio album.

> Ivano Rossato 

How were the 3 long and peculiar compositions of “Three” born and what approach to recording do you usually have?
We often decide on the “feeling” of a new recording in relation to the previous record we have released – often in the sense that we like to contrast the releases –  ”… the last record was dense and fast, let’s make a slow and sparse record this time.”

With the recording of Three, there seemed to be opposing ideas – make an uptempo record similar to BODY, our previous album and also, the more common idea of making a contrasting recording. I guess we thought it would be nice to make a record with more than one track and so we could accommodate both approaches.

What inspires your performance the most?
Everyone in the group is interested in many different things – painting, film, sport, literature – so as far as inspiration for the music goes, there are many varied influences. When we play live concerts, the room, the way the day has unfolded, the audience, etc.. all these things contribute to the music we present the public on that particular occasion. In the studio it is a little different as the process takes a little longer and we have the chance to be more reflective on the process and the aims we are trying to achieve.
How does your approach to performance and improvisation change in the studio and live?
In concert we walk onstage and play without talking to each other, responding spontaneously to the circumstances we find ourselves in.
Do you find yourself in the definition of “avante-garde jazz trio” and … what do you think it means to be avante-garde in art today?
I don’t think we are really considered an “avant-garde” group. The term is somewhat stale and irrelevant to me, these days as it seems to refer to a particular movement of art and thought from early in the last century. I guess the literal meaning of the term, if that has any meaning at all anymore, suggests that it is not possible to know how “avant-guard” one is, until the time moves on and somewhere in the future you are proved to be significant before your time. So, to be fir, I don’t think there is any meaning to be ”avant-garde’ in art today – the term has been somewhat appropriated by the early 20th Century.
After 33 years of music together and a monumental discography, how do you think your style and your artistic relationship have evolved?
Well, we still talk to each other and seem to have a desire to make this music together!! I think we are still finding new ways to play together, new influences to draw upon and new approaches to apply to our music, while  keeping the aesthetic concerns of the band intact, which has always been very clear and very important for us. It seems the way the group approaches music making is still bearing fruit and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.
Three: an espresso with Tony Buck and The Necks copyright Jazzespresso 2020.
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