The deepest-digging rare groove connoisseur of Germany's celebrated six-man Jazzanova posse, DJ Alex Barck celebrates the 10th anniversary of his group's adventurous Sonar Kollektiv label along with the Trüby Trio's Roland Appel, Felix & Gani and the Movement crew at Supermarket (268 Augusta) Friday (October 12). $15, advance $10. 416-840-0501.
What record changed your life?
A friend of mine had a copy of A Tribe Called Quest's People's Instinctive Travels And The Paths Of Rhythm, and the first time he played it for me it blew my mind. Growing up in East Germany, I'd never heard anything like it before. For me, hiphop was the doorway to all this other amazing music -- jazz, funk, soul. You could hear it all in the samples they would use. That altered my whole relationship with music.
Do you listen to music that might surprise your fans?
Recently I've been listening to a lot of mid-80s new wave, some stuff by this Belgian band Nacht und Nebel, which means "Night and Fog" -- kind of cheesy, I know, but I like some of the tracks on their 12-inch EP -- as well as some later productions of Nick Beggs of Kajagoogoo fame that are actually quite interesting. It's funny, when I started buying records in the 80s, it was new wave and British pop stuff like the Housemartins and the Smiths, so I seem to have come full circle.
Sonar Kollektiv has never focused on dance-floor music. Releasing strummy folk threw some people for a loop, but why put out a cookbook?
A friend of mine once noted, Sonar Kollektiv is the only dance label in the world that doesn't release dance music, and in a way that's true. We did a couple of label compilations. For the next one we wanted to try a new approach, and my wife, who's an excellent cook, said, "Why not do a compilation with a cookbook?" So we asked our artist friends to contribute recipes, and Homecooking got a great response. Right now we're working on a German wine guide with Rainer Trüby, who's connected to all the independent vintners here and is selecting some appropriate music from our label to go with it.
How is Jazzanova adapting in the era of free downloading?
The whole way in which recording artists earn money is changing. In the future, it will be large corporations, advertising companies and publishers who'll pay artists to create new work, not record labels, and that's starting to happen already. At first it seemed strange when Prince made a deal with a British newspaper to release his new album, but it's actually very clever, because he's guaranteed payment for his music. We had a similar experience with Absolut Vodka, which paid us quite a bit of money to do a remix of a Lenny Kravitz track they posted on their website for free download. Negotiations are going on right now for our next album, which I can't discuss, but who knows? You may see it for sale in a coffee shop!
Will there be any radical changes to the Jazzanova sound on the new album?
It has become very expensive to make sample-based music, so instead of paying big money for licensing, we're hiring musicians to collaborate with us in the studio, like the members of Azymuth from Brazil and Finland's Five Corners Quintet, as well as a string section and some vocalists we admire, like Marcos Valle and Bembe Segue. So it's still the Jazzanova sound, only the new tracks we've completed have more of a live ensemble feel. It should be finished soon, and we're hoping to have the album out by March, but those who come to the Supermarket Friday evening will get a little preview.