With the reign of social media, a fair amount of people contact me with questions- here are the most frequently asked ones:
Where are you from/ Where did you grow up?
I grew up in the suburbs of Cologne, Germany.
When did you move to New York?
I moved around 1995, when I was about 19, after realising Germany wasn't for me, musically.
Did you go to music school?
After quitting high school in 1992, I went to the music conservatory in Cologne for about 2 years, I didn't learn all that much there. I didn't go to school in the US, I had a few private lessons in NYC.
How was it moving to New York that young?
It was a little rough, I didn't have much work and had visa trouble. It took me quite a while to get a real gig, about two years. I was lucky enough to have enough work in Europe to keep me going. Eventually I got settled with an O-1 visa, then a green card and now citizenship.
How long has your Quartet been playing ?
I started the band in 2009 and we've been playing consistently since then, with Brad Shepik at first, now with Lage Lund and sometimes Mike Moreno. We released an album called "Somewhere, Meeting Nobody" in 2011 on Pirouet records in Germany. It was my first album with original songs.
How do you write your songs?
Usually, on the piano, after some wine. My piano skills are close to zero, so it takes a lot of time and imagination; I try to avoid using computers. Often, I write after studying/transcribing.
Who books your band and how much do you play and rehearse?
I do all the booking myself ( email@example.com) and it sucks. We play roughly 2 two-week tours in Europe a year, do the odd Goethe Institute tour in weird places as well as a few gigs in New York at Smalls and the like. Initially we rehearsed twice for the first album, now we do it during sound check for new songs since everybody is familiar with the older songs.
You program a lot of fairly crazy electronic music under the alias "Wolff Parkinson White"- how did you start and does your jazz music and your programming influence each other?
I always have been fascinated by "Venetian Snares", who programs a lot in confusing odd meters, some amazing stuff, but maybe not the most interesting melodically/harmonically. I felt like I can bring those aspects to the table, so I started programming in 2005. The jazz part does influence the electronic part a fair bit, but not really the other way around.
Do you have plans to move back to Europe ?
What's with the Ben Street slamming song titles on Wolff Parkinson White albums?
Nothing, it's a joke, he loves the attention, the racist fatso.
What kind of Equipment do you use?
Drum-wise I still use my late 60's Ludwig kit I bought in 1995, bebop sizes, I now play a somewhat deep 6.5" 1930's WFL snare drum. Haven't really looked at other drums since I got these. Cymbal wise, I use some old K Zildjian, some Craig Lauritsen and Spizzichino cymbals, all 24" and 22", I recently started using a very thin 24"old A Zildjian somebody lathed and hammered. I use 15"old K Zildjian and 16" old A Zildjian hihats. I have a 26" 30th anniversary Agop i play occasionally. I have a very light Frank Gegerle MK III 24". I also have a couple of Jesse Simpsons great cymbals. For sticks, i play mostly Vater maple bebop 550 or "super jazz models", I use Otis' "Bomber" fluffy bass drum beater and coated Remo Ambassador heads.
Programming-wise I am in Ableton live plus anything I can get my my hands on. I generate a lot of the sounds used in plugin-synths, most of the songs use 24 notes in an octave and some other unusual tunings.
I use Max and touchdesigner for the visuals. I try very hard to not use Apple products because those guys are cunts.