Interview: Ensamble Majamama


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Ensamble Majamama

  • biography
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    Interview: 10 questions

    1. When did you start making music, what is/was your motivation to do
    it?

    EM started is music making in 2004 as a collaboration between two different musical projects: Tro Payaya and Burn Fire Project, functioning as a extension of the other two perfomances. In 2005 two mew musicians were invited to the project, and it strted is own independent life.
    Our motivation has always been the investigation of music and sound, and the possibilities of its organization in improvised contexts.

    2. Tell me something about your living environment and the musical
    education.

    Our living environment is the city of Santiago. Polluted, aesthetically noisy, with no respect for the past, very socially segregated, in a squizophrenic search for the modern (as some sort of paradise free of contradictions). The social life in Santiahgo has many faces: some completely assimilated to a fictional image of ‘modern first world countries’, some colonizated by TV, fashion, commercial press and media, some hibridly traditional, obsolete and popular, behind curtains of corporate and institutional power; the traditional image of Chile and its people is in advanced dusk.

    The musical education is standarized: classical, popular and folklore, all living in universitary like structure.

    3.Is making music your profession? What is the context in which you
    practice music nowadays?

    No, making music is our labour. All of us were trained to other musical practices, or professions outside music. The context of our music-making is a samll circuit of venues, in very small venues, to no more than 40 people audiences, with other bandsof “outside the realms of mainstream” music.

    4. How do you compose or create music or sound? Have you certain
    principles, use certain styles etc?

    Each f us use the devices, objects or instruments of his choice. Our only principle is hearing what the others are playing, what you are playing, the unfolding of sounds, the directions inside the material and music, and the overall sound of the music played. Our practice hasn’t got to a point when we can say “we’ve a style”; we have, shall we say, a sound; besides, there’s no point of reference with other groups in Chile, we are all alone (we have to look to references in Europe or Japan).

    5. Tell me something about the instruments, technical equipment or tools you use?

    We use all kinds of electric and electronic devices: radios, cassete or cd players, pick-ups, power amplifiers, effect boxes, contact mics, wretched mixers or keyboards, TV, multiple band equalizer and one analog synth; normally this devices are feed through a mixer, in standard fashion or in feedback, and all devices and particular mixers go to main mixer. This one goes to power and speakers.

    6. What are the chances of New Media for the music production in
    general and you personally?

    In Chile, virtually none. Scarsely we have media to do anything.

    7. How about producing and financing your musical productions?

    When we produce something is frommoney in our pockets. when we want to make something more elaborated or trascendental than playing in a small venue, we have to look for fundings. In chile there’s no private or corporate fundings to experimental or contemporary arts or music; some cultural insititutions give something, but you have to be very “well connected” to get anything. mainly there’s goverment fundings, the state is the carriying father of culture; but again, you have to be very “well connected”, or do projects that have “wide social impact” (and EM social impact is not “wide” enough to goverment standards).

    8. Do you work individually as a musician/soundartist or in a group or
    collaborative? If you have experience in both, what is the difference, what do you prefer?

    We work as a collective. we subdivide to do another projects, and have other bands, projects, labours, works, studies and professions outside EM.

    9. Is there any group, composer, style or movement which has a lasting
    influence on making music?

    Electroacoustic music, be it from composers or improvisers, be it from Europe, Japan or USA, be it electronica, noise, ambient, plunderphonics, concrete, acousmatic, turntable hiphop, etc. Also music outside Western musical thinking: tibetan, javanese, altiplanic, etc. Improvised music in general, be it electroacoustic or not. We all have different influences and backgrounds.

    10. What are your future plans or dreams as a soundartist or musician?

    To survive and keep making this music, outside the realms of the mainstream or the “wide social impact” mentality.

    The selections are from longer pieces. One from a live show (26-9-2005), the other from a rehersal (22-4-2006); the first is a sextet and the second a quartet. All music is completely improvised.

    Today Ensamble Majamama is: Raúl Díaz, Edén Carrasco, Ignacio Morales, Francisco Papas, Álvaro Ortega, Nicolás Carrasco

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