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Mark Guiliana: New Beats

By Published: April 8, 2008

New Projects

AAJ: Let's talk about some of your own projects. The Heernt band. The first album really reveals that element of throwing out the rule book. What was the genesis of that album?

MG: I was out with Avishai a lot. I had no intention of being a leader. I was learning so much. This was kind of like, "Oh, I've started writing some songs. Let's just get some guys and play them." That was the initial intention. Then as we started playing it kind of presented itself to me that this was a band, so let's run with it. So that's the genesis of the band.

As for the songs themselves, I think it helped that I was taking it so lightly. I never had a record in mind. I never had goals other than what do I feel like playing? Like electronica—you mentioned that earlier—there's a song on there that kind of has a jungly thing and it's in seven. And that is me loving a record by Venetian Snares. A lot of the compositions on their record were in seven. So I wanted to explore that world and so wrote a song as a vehicle to explore that world. Then it became a song and showed up on the record.

align=center>Mark Guiliana / Heernt> Heernt (Mark Guiliana with typewriter) </p> <P><br /><br />There is another song called
AAJ: How did the typewriter get involved?

MG: The typewrite got involved because I brought it to the studio as a formal way to take notes and get stuff down because it has some special character and I liked the way text appeared on paper. Kind of a gag. "Hey, if you have ideas or want to jot something down, sit down and do your thing." Then, we didn't have an intro to the song "Locked in a Basement." The song is based around a very rhythmic phrase and again jokingly "maybe we can include the typewriter in that rhythm" and we did the intro. Then when it worked, it kind of became a band member. It's on the cover, it's in the artwork.

AAJ: I had complex post-modern theories of intertextualism and things like that.

MG: [Laughs]). As much as I love that stuff a lot of my decisions are based on (pause) fun.

AAJ: I'd say that shows on the album. It's very free, and therefore, compelling.

Avishai Cohen / Mark GuilianaMG: However, I would like to add that I guess there is a fine line because it could sound like compromise but I didn't want to go over peoples' heads or ignore the listener in my thought process in making the album. It was really important to me. Particularly the song "Locked in a Basement." I found that [with] the rhythmic motif that loops through the song, which intellectually someone could excited about or maybe figure out, it was important to match that with a disco beat just a nice back-beat and some root position triads—really organic harmony to balance out the "sophistication" of the rhythm. I liked the idea—because when I play that at gigs people dance. And that was the goal. I definitely have two parts of my brain that I am trying to satisfy. The sophistication, the jazz school thing—and I just want to hang out, feel the groove.

AAJ: Tell me a little about the latest project?

MG: Specifically, I've been playing a lot with Jason Linder and the band is called Now vs. Now. We play a lot as a trio. Sometimes it features Avishai Cohen the trumpet player who is amazing and I love playing with him. And Baba Israel. But the trio unit is the most consistent.

AAJ: Will we see a recording soon?

MG: The music is definitely ready to be recorded. Now it is just the logistics. Jason is absolutely one of my favorite guys to play with. I'm always inspired. He is so open and we go to new places when we play. He was one of my favorites before we even played together so it is a real treat.

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Mark On Mark:

AAJ: Did you have a favorite children's book.

MG: No.

AAJ: Favorite food?

Avishai Cohen / Mark GuilianaMG: Right now? I discovered an amazing espresso in Italy. It's called dimesse. I wasn't a coffee drinker until a year ago. And I bought an espresso machine, and I bought this espresso in Italy—and I am totally not that guy—but this is unbelievable.

AAJ: What do you do when you are not playing?

MG: Lately, its been being an uncle. I'm about a half hour from my family. Both my brothers have children and it is definitely a really big part of my life to be with them. I am as inspired by the time I spend with them as I am by music.

AAJ: And yourself? Married? Single?

MG: Single. Just hanging out.

AAJ: Audiophile or not?

MG: Can you help me with the official definition?

AAJ: I'm not sure either. People who have to spend a ton of money on all the fancy gear.

MG: Oh, no, not at all. No. Absolutely not.

AAJ: Do you have a presidential candidate.

MG:; Not enough to publicly state.

AAJ: What's the most beautiful place you've been?

Mark GuilianaMG: Some of the Spanish Islands. The Canary Islands or Majorca. Hard to choose. And I'd love to have it be somewhere I didn't go for a gig. But gig's have taken me to much more beautiful places then my vacations.

AAJ: Advice for young drummers?

MG: Don't practice too much. Practice a lot. But don't practice too much. It's a fine line. Always have your ear to the ground and never lose sight of what is happening all around the world. As specialized as your studies may get, never lose sight of how important all music is. You don't want to disrespect anyone or any music, but don't be afraid to add your two cents and always serve the music. All the breaking of rules, the explorations, always has to come second to the music. Oh wait. The easy answer. Always make sure it is fun.

Selected Discography

Adam Gilbert, Fishing for Water (Independent, 2008)
Avishai Cohen, As Is...Live at the Blue Note (Smalls, 2007
Heernt, Locked in a Basement (Razdaz, 2006)
Avishai Cohen, Continuo (Razdaz, 2006)
Avishai Cohen, At Home (Razdaz, 2005)
Avishai Cohen, Continuo (Razdaz, 2003)

Photo Credits
Top and Heernt Group Photos: Courtesy of Mark Guiliana
Bottom Photo: Kamila Czerniawska

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