‘I’m most definitely inspired by the people I work with’ | Interview with Curt Sydnor

The song starts with a spooky, detuned contemporary chord progression, substantially atonal which will bring to mind some of the famous Russian classic composers of the previous century. Wrapped and delivered with strong doses of psychedelia. Read our interview with Curt Sydnor below!

Describe your sound in three words please!

magpie mystery music

You have been releasing music extensively over the past few months. How do you think your sound has evolved?

This one was recorded several years ago, chronologically following the synth-heavy jazz focus of Deep End Shallow. It’s more lyric-driven and something of a departure from modern jazz practices. Even the instrumentals do not contain “solos” in the way that my earlier recordings do. Incidentally, the recordings I’m working on now (February 2021) rely heavily on song form and lyrics, using an acoustic jazz quartet (with a traditional approach to soloing). 

The chord progression in Sleeplessness is unconventional indeed.  Should music as a form of art always challenge the listener?

I feel that music as an art form is at its most compelling when when it combines elements of the familiar with something that is unfamiliar/challenging. All one thing or all the other is more difficult to pull off successfully. The chord progression to “Sleeplessness” is derived from the harmonies of Scriabin with a turnaround/resolution that was probably cribbed from Wayne Shorter.  But when presented as a workout for drums and bass and then sung over the source material fades in significance and the ear perceives something original (my hope, at least!).

What would you say is the most important thing in a collaboration?

To me the most important thing about a collaboration is the presence of a blueprint that supplies purpose & direction while retaining an intentional flexibility of approach that allows the collaborative aspect to redefine the outcome.   

What would be your dream performance venue?

Somewhere by a river, preferably near ruins

Which places would you choose to visit as part of a tour if you were to have one in the near future?

The answer again is ruins lol

Apart from making music you also teach!  Is songwriting a talent or a skill? Which advice would you give to aspiring musicians?

Songwriting is a skill that one develops by writing many failed songs. My advice would be to begin by copying the artists you love and then allow your focus to wander

Where does our inspiration mainly come from?

I’m most definitely inspired by the people I work with. With anybody I play creative music with I will want to write something for us to play together.

Thanks Curt!

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