Interview with Willi Grimm

Willi Grimm started his musical adventure as a bass player of diverse rock bands in the beginings of 1960's in Switzerland - it gave him a starter to break on with creative self-expression and moved him on to more sophisticated manner of artistic activity. His 3 year stay in Australia between 1969 and 1972 opened a new perspectives when he learnt and directly experience culture of native Aboriginal people of that country. His stay re-defined his approach and encouraged him to use digeridoo as his primary instrument. Since then being very active he put his music to a different level - playing in different projects - Naturton as one of the most important among many others, organising concerts, workshops and festivals and foremostly presenting native instrument in different contexts.

1. People who compose or improvise within a framework of modern contemporary improvised experimental music cite some experiences with music or in their life as the factor of inspiration? What about you? How did it start with making music in your case? 1960 - it was Rock n Roll, the electric guitar and the depth - either in sound, life, or mother earth. Thus from the melody guitar I soon changed to bass guitar. My other passion at this time was exploring caves. Here underground sound (or rather absence of sound) revealed me a hitherto neglected component, the silence. I was amazed how memorised experiences always refer to accompanying sound.

 2. The world is going through probably one of the worst moments of history, rather than the end of the world I think we are about to enter a new dimension of thought. what moves you going out of bed every morning? The simple fact that it is only this very life I have. Although I belive in some sort of reincarnation I am sure, it will be not with the senses I am equipped with today. For this I am grateful and do not postpone it to my next life. It is here and now! 

3. How does your music resonate with your personal philosophy ? Do you try to separate sociological/philosophical aspects from your music, leaving it rather to a vast terrain of associations generated by a listener's mind? It does resonate a lot. It is my personal philosophy. However, the listeners’s mind you refer to is not to be underestimated. I remember concerts where you literally felt a demand or distrust towards me as musician. In such situations it is quite a job to remember who you are and go for the strength to be you and not the others, or how they wanted you to be. 

4. Nature vs. Culture. Who is an artist? Both! A perfect match. A fine yet tricky exchange that takes place between the two. Here I’d like to refer to the traditional didjeridu playing where imitating sounds of nature is an important part. 

5. How would you describe the masculine or androgynous aspect of creativity and relate it to your work? Worshiping Chuck Berry, The Shadows and Rolling Stones it became obvious to me, this is men's bussines. Where are all the women in this section of music I asked myself? Voice yes, violine yes, piano yes - but an electric guitar or a drum kit - NO. I feel myself rather a soft androgynous type of man and therefore had a lot of work to do in getting my full power, if not aggressiveness - a quality needed to perform, as well as social acceptance. Today this is blending and every now and then I see women in these positions. Even more of this gender issue is related with my main instrument, the didjeridu. Many discussions being held, many more to come. But in the age of “Conchita Wurst” it seems to get more public? 

6. Imagine you can create your own island including your dreams, emotions, positive projections. How would it look like? A difficult question… The island as well as the positive are just the one side of the coin. Be aware of the verso. Then it is OK!

 7. Interaction with other musicians - what is important for you to make a collaboration a worthwhile quality? Well it helps if I like my opposite. As a libra (zodiac) it has to be a harmoniously music most of the time. Too much freestyle jazz is not my kind. I am an improviser most of the time and don’t like rehersals. However an inspiring chat with my fellow musician helps me to get on stage.

 8. Can you relate yourself to any kind of esoteric understanding of your creative process? Sure, it is my generation that had to go through all these shifts including the coming of Aquarius (as nicely refered to in “Hair”) and furthermore I play kind of an esoteric instrument, the didjeridu. The world in the 60’s and 70’s moved closer together, between East-West and North-South exchanges took place. Music makers talked of overtones and circular breathing, alternatve therapeutic work and of chakras and meridians. A new wave of spirituality lead to a different view, hearing and feeling. Throughout the euphoric boom of technologies achivements a counter-movement was noticeable - "less is more" and "back to nature", etc. This was fertile ground to play and work with an instrument like the didjeridu. Could it be when playing such an instrument that I connect with its spirit? If my intention is sincere and respectful, I am sure I bridge to the original culture's source. Here now comes the importance of combining ethnic instruments and modern composition. Ancient people knew about the healing power of harmonics. However, power is neither positive nor negative, it is just energy. We have to pay attention to overtones. They bring enjoyment and harmony to our soul. An example of using this technique in combination with perfect acoustic architecture was Gregorian spiritual chants. For ancient cultures, it was obvious that hearing was the most important sense, not vision as generally considered today. Harmonics are proportional replicas of cosmic and divine order. These simple mathematical facts recur in the distance from one planet to another, as well as in crystal and plant growth, and corresponding intervals are also to be found in our human body. While singing or playing harmonics, we vibrate into a harmonic state, the basis of all being.

 9. What does "peace" means to you? Being able to be in balance which means: Have the courrage to pendule from left to right, knowing there is a constant up and down, oszillating like my body cells. Even when I am calm and silent I speed on this ball called earth through space. 

10. How do you communicate with the idea of musical development in the years to come? What seems the most tempting and challenging? Here too I refer to the didjeridu. It is surprising how many new techniques and possibilities pop up every year and it never seems to end. This is a great gift for me, beeing with this instrument for almost 50 years. But on my part I realise it needs more and more practising to get a clear, nice sound out of this wooden trumpet and some times I wonder for how long I will keep it up? Well, to the last breath I guess!


Popular Posts