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Interviews

Dzijan Emin: Flood Of Ideas, Part 1-2

By Published: August 25, 2005
DE: It was our intention to include more strings—Bejkov is playing on upright bass, Miyo on cello, Vladimir Krstev and Gazmend Berisha are playing violins and we practically had a quartet. Besides playing keyboards, I also play French horn, which gave us an opportunity for a different kind of sound, to experiment both with the colors and the way it is performed. Almost all of us have a music degree, except for Gazmend Berisha, who doesn't need one, since he has found his own voice on the violin. The guy is practically talking through the violin. When someone is looking at him while playing he will notice his soul pouring out of the violin. Since I perform with the Macedonian Philharmonic Orchestra, and Bejkov played both with the Philharmonic Orchestra and the National Opera, we really had an opportunity to perform and listen to music by the great classical masters.

AAJ: How has that helped? How has classical music influenced the work of Project Zlust?

DE: That's a great inspiration, as during those moments while you are playing or listening to it, you have an opportunity to learn about the ideas that these people, who have left their mark in history, have had about music. You have an opportunity to experience astounding colors, forms, and an opportunity to see incredible orchestrations, that have delighted me many times while listening to it.

Beside this, in the previous century many other forms of music surfaced, like jazz, electronic music, and it's those things that push us to think in many different ways. One of those ways is epitomized by DNO, i.e. the art-rock form. But this band is at the very beginning and its idea and the concept will only really start to develop and evolve now.

AAJ: What's the idea behind Zlust? Is there a strict concept behind it?

DE: Project Zlust doesn't have a strictly-determined concept nor a specific style or a genre and an instrumentalism where everyone should strictly play a piece the way it is written and period. This is material that constantly evolves and is subject to changes. Things have changed since the period we first started working and during the coming period I think things will change even more. Lately, we cannot neglect jazz culture, since jazz music has played an enormous part in the process of our maturation. All of these aspects and influences are forcing us to work on different projects. It's some sort of inner desire for all of us, since everyone is a world of its own. Each of us has his own film in his head and an ego, and when you put these strands together, you leave something or throw away other, but the end result is something incredible. There is a strange chemistry that bonds us together. There is a strange mixture of energies, where complications are occurring...

AAJ: And the result of that is...?

DE: Thank God, it results in music, something that people can listen to. It's not always easy, but sometimes it's too easy. Sometimes it demands more effort, more work, and more consideration of what should be done. Sometimes it happens that you have and idea, where the concept shows up immediately and you do the arrangement right away. There is something intangible that keeps us together as a band.

AAJ: To me it's interesting that this collective has an imagination that really doesn't know of any stylistic limitations.

DE: I don't think anyone should allow having limitations at all, especially when it comes to their imagination. What is interesting for us as people, although we live in Macedonia, is that we are all of different nationalities and we all carry our cultures within ourselves, things like where you grew up, the families, and we carry these things that were given to us by our ancestors in our genes. When you put together all these things something wonderful and significant happens. We feel enormous joy when we play or work together since I don't know how we can function together if we did something else. As musicians we have played with all of the greatest musicians in Macedonia and abroad.

The most memorable was when we played with trumpeter Greg Hopkins. Me and Bejkov had an opportunity to play with him and Toni Kitanovski, at the Universal Hall, which was a memorable and wonderful experience for us. It is pure joy when you work with a genius like Hopkins, who is also a professor of composition at Berkley. We had one rehearsal prior to the gig but the feeling was as we had played together all of our lives. This is one of the virtues that these old masters have. They are excellent psychologists. He will talk to you first and after the first tune played together, he will know what you are capable of, how talented you are, how much you know and what your technical capabilities are like. Then, in a very indirect way, through his energy, he inspires you to give more in order to play up to your abilities, so the end result could sound as it should.


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