Yesterday I received an email with questions for an interview with Greek media. Here are the questions and my answers.
Ottmar Liebert Questions
Question: What do you see as the main changes in the development of your career from the time of your first demo recording?
On the technical side there was the change from analog recording to digital recording. On the business side there was my switch from indie label (Higher Octave Music) to major label (Epic Records/Sony Music) in 1992, and then to my own label SSRI in 2002.
Question: What have you found to be your more boring moments over the span of your career?
I don’t get bored. Waiting is part of every musician’s life. A few years ago I wrote an article about musicians for a magazine:
A professional musician will spend a good amount of his life waiting – for the start of the concert, for the boarding of the flight, for the bus to reach the next venue, for the recording to get finished, for the CDs to arrive in stores, and most importantly for a check to arrive, months or sometimes years later… Being able to wait is a difficult skill to master. Most people will get bored, but one skilled in waiting will not.
Question: I guess that music is your first love. Tell me some things about your second great love: photography. Do you prefer automatic cameras? What’s your opinion about Digital Photography?
I like digital cameras. One of the reasons I did not become a photographer was my dislike of the darkroom and in particular the smell of the chemicals. The best camera is the one that we carry with us. Sometimes that’s my Canon 5D, and sometimes that’s my iPhone.
Here is a video that shows me playing guitar and some of the images from a slideshow that often accompanies my solo perfomances:
I also have a photoblog:
Question: What’s the secret of your success?
I have no idea, really. I think I write nice melodies, and my band creates a tight grove.
Question:Is music a code for international communication?
Absolutely. Music reaches across borders. I have listeners on every continent. I love instrumental music for that reason. There are no words that could get in the way. Instrumental music is like reading a book, while songs with lyrics are like watching a movie. What I mean by that is that a book requires the participation of the reader and instrumental music requires the participation of the listener. The reader has to imagine the tree that was discribed on the page – otherwise it is just words. The listener has to lend his imagination to the music, or it remains just notes…
Any song with lyrics, like a movie, requires no imagination… just acceptance. Everything is spelled out for the listener, or the viewer.
So you might say that instrumental music is an international code, a global language, and to speak it one has to allow one’s imagination to bloom.
Question: Your musical style combines the elements of Fusion, Flamenco and World Music. Do you identify your musical style with any particular term of art?
I think my music is some kind of fusion of many different styles. I think of my music as a brew in a large cauldron, full of different spices and foods.
Question: What’s your opinion about Miles Davis and his music? Tell me please some backstage information about your collaboration.
I did not collaborate with Miles Davis, but had the good fortune of opening for him at the Paramount theater in Seattle in 1990, which was a wonderful experience. I did, however, collaborate with Carlos Santana. We recorded a couple of songs for my album “Solo Para Ti” in 1992, and in 1996 my band opened for Santana for several months. Every night we would also perform with his band, which was very memorable.
Question: Do you consider yourself married to music?
No, I am “married” to life. But, music is my life, most of the time. I don’t consider music a career. Music is much more important to me than a career. A career is what happens because I live my (musical-)life.
Question: Do you see yourself as a symbol of “showbiz” or a typical music star?
My first record label demanded that I move to Los Angeles in 1990, but I refused. I live quite simply, in a small town called Santa Fe. I have been nominated for a Grammy five times, but chose to not attend any of the award ceremonies. I feel that’s for showbiz people or stars, but not for me.
Question: What do you know about Greece?
Not much. Like everyone I learned about Greek history in school, the Greek gods, the Iliad, Plato, Socrates, the mathematicians, and so on. I have only been to Greece once, when we played in Athens in 1996, and I regret to say I have never been to the Greek countryside and the seaside. I hope to travel there in the near future.
From the beginning of 2006 until the end of 2009 we had a Greek-America guitarist in the band. His name is Stephen Duros ( http://stephenduros.com ) and he recorded a couple of very nice albums that SSRI ( http://www.ssri.biz/label/album/thira ) released. Stephen’s great-grandparents were from Athens and had the name Pappanduros, but it was changed when they arrived in the USA.
Questions: What is your opinion about Greek women?
Unfortunately I don’t know very much about Greek women. Will you tell me?
Question: As a member of showbiz elite what would you change concerning a better tomorrow for everyone?
Peace, love and happiness, reduce, re-use, recycle, responsible stewartship of the eco-system…
Question: As a master of your art, what advice would you give to a young person who may want to enter the professional world of music?
Hm, I would ask whether they could consider a different profession? A musician’s life has become harder over the last two decades, I think. However, if music is what they love, then that is the path they should follow. The first advice I would give, is to start performing – recording can follow later.
Question: What is your opinion about reality and talent shows?
I have no opinion about them. I do not watch TV.
Question: What do you believe about the international financial crisis?
I am just a musician, not a financial expert. I have my own thoughts about the origins of the crisis, but this is not the place to get into that.
Question: How difficult is it to connect family and career in showbiz?
I don’t think it is very difficult. It is true that a musician has a life style that is different from most people, but we also have “down-time”, weeks between touring and recording projects that we can devote to family. You might say that rather than working during the day and spending evenings and weekends with family, we travel for weeks and then spend weeks with family. When I am home, I am home 100%.
Question: What are your main plans for the future?
In June SSRI will release my album “Santa Fe”. It’s a look back to some of our favorite music from the Nineties. We re-recorded songs like “Barcelona Nights”, “2 the Night”, “Santa Fe”, “Isla del Sol”, “Snakecharmer” and others. The album turned our great and was finished a month ago.
I also started work on music for two albums to be released in 2012, an album of new music with the band and a solo-guitar album.
PS: I should have insert WINNING! a few times, shouldn’t I?