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Interviews

Bojan Z: Stranger Sounds

By Published: July 31, 2006

AAJ: He was a very special case though.

BZ: He's one of the special cases but hey, better listen to special cases like this because they kick my ass and everybody needs it every now and then.

AAJ: Are you familiar with a pianist, Jan Johansson?

BZ: No?

AAJ: He's a...dead. He was Swedish and nobody knows the guy...

BZ: Ok! It's possible that it was this guy that Esbjorn Svenson mentioned at some concert that they were dedicating a tune—it was in the Sarajevo Festival. That's where I saw Esbjorn with the trio, where I was playing the first part of the evening and he was playing afterwards, and he was speaking about this guy, dedicating a tune, and I think it was this name. So who is the guy?

AAJ : Jan Johansson. I was curious if you are familiar with him because he sounds like nobody else. He's Swedish who, loosely speaking, you could call a jazz pianist—solo stuff by and large, but not dissimilar to yourself—he has the folkloric side which sweeps, infuses right the way through everything he plays. Beautiful, quite minimalist. The version you did of "Ashes to Ashes" in Siem Reap—I could see him, if he were alive today, doing something like that.

BZ: That I really look forward to hearing.

AAJ: While we're on Bowie. I read an interview with Bowie not that long ago and he said that in the near future musicians are going to have to start doing an awful lot of gigs because that's the only way they'll be able to generate any money because he says musicians are losing control over their music because of pirating, downloading and that made me think, because of your song "CD Rom," which is a kind of fond portrayal of the CD pirating in Belgrade. I just wondered where you stand on pirating of music.

Bojan ZBZ: Things are very clear for me, because I just finished this recording and I know that the making of the CD cost 35,000 euros. This is the investment. So, what is the way of generating the money back? Author rights. They take 50% of my author rights, but this is not just for them making money, this is to inject money in my career, my posters, things like this. And the second thing is selling. I'm lucky to be working with guys who are investing in quality besides the fact that the times are not hard, they are impossible to live for them. So there are many different views why it is like this, but this is not the question. So, very obvious, the object itself is completely devalued. I heard my producer Pierre Walforz say this on the radio a few days ago, doing a radio promotion in Belgium and he said that nowadays, you know, bringing a CD as a gift at a birthday party is the worst gift you can think of. It's like, come on in anyway.

AAJ: It's the best gift you can get!

BZ: How about this? I would receive an LP and jump over the person, look at it and couldn't sleep for looking at it. So, it's true that nowadays, with the CD it's hard to make people believe that this is a work of art. This is art, work, that costs money. If you want to have a nice cover, somebody thought about it—it costs money to make it and things like this. The good thing if I can say it's a good thing for me is that I am already used to not earning my living by selling CDs. I'm still doing OK. I'm still selling like at least 10,000 CDs.

AAJ: Per year, you mean?

BZ: No, no. it's an average for CDs I make. For example Solobsession (Label Bleu, 2000) is getting up to 20,000, but it was done in 2001. It's still selling. But most of them did reach this respectable number of 10,000. If Bowie says it he cannot be wrong about it because it's there. If I park my computer here in the hotel and put my CD in it I can send this CD to my wife in real time, which means it will take the time that it takes to listen to it, or even less. You can pass this quality music through the cable in real time. And it's going even much faster so we'd better get things organized, or there will not be good music any more.


Selected Discography

:

Bojan Z, Xenophonia (Label Bleu, 2006)
Julien Lourau, Fire and Forget (Label Bleu, 2005)
Marimanga Trio, Marimanga Trio (Gramofon, 2004)
Bojan Z, Transpacifik (Label Bleu, 2003)
Nguyen Lé, Purple—Celebrating Jimi Hendrix (ACT, 2002)
Henri Texier Azur Quintet, String Spirit (Label Bleu, 2002)
Julien Lourau, The Rise (Label Bleu, 2001)
Bojan Z, Solobsession (Label Bleu, 2000)
Karim Ziad, Ifrikyia (ACT, 2000)
Bojan Z, Koreni (Label Bleu, 1999)
Henri Texier Azur Quintet, Mosaic Man (Label Bleu, 1998)
Nguyen Le, Maghreb & Friends (ACT, 1997)
Simon Spang-Hanssen, Instant Blue (Storyville, 1997)
Michel Portal, Dockings (Label Bleu, 1997)
Bojan Z, Yopla! (Label Bleu, 1995)
Henri Texier Sonjal Septet, Mad Nomads (Label Bleu, 1995)
Bojan Z, Bojan Z Quartet (Label Bleu, 1993)
Henri Texier Azur Quartet, An Indian's Week (Label Bleu, 1993)
Sylvian Beuf 4tet, Impro Primo (Big Blue Records, 1993)
Vincent Courtois, Turkish Blend (Al Sur, 1992)
Jacques Bolognesi Big Band, Caravanserail (OMD, 1988)

Photo Credits:
Top Photo: JM Lobrano
Center Two Photos: Ian Patterson
Bottom Photo: Jean-Luc Agathos



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