Questionnaire: Dieter Kovacic (dieb13) (2007)
1. Have you got any formal musical training, and what do you draw from it now?
No. Apart from a little bit of guitar and recorder as a child, I haven’t learned any “traditional” instrument, and never attended any course or class.
2. What kind of equipment/instrument do you use, and what is you relationship towards it? What do you think lies behind your choice of the equipment/instrument?
My main instrument is turntables. And I use computers, partly with self-written audio software. The reason for this choice is my notion of how new music always developes out of existing music. Ideas are always based on previous ideas. The use of turntables as my main live-instrument was not a one-off choice, but rather came from the experience that turntables give the most interesting live-performance – at least for my works.
3. What is it that attracts you towards musical experimentation?
The fact that pure playback is boring ;-).
4. Why are you involved in improvisation, and how do you perceive it?
I think that “improvisation” is a problematic term, because live-music always has improvised elements. In my case “improvisation” means an unstable state somewhere in-between loss of control and heading in specific directions.
5. How do you perceive the relation between planning and spontaneity in improvisation?
It’s like using language. I use specific “words” (sounds/techniques…) to communicate with other musicians and the audience. There is hardly any planning but a lot of explicit and immanent system and structure in what I do. In this context spontaneity is just to let happen, what exists inside my head anyway.
6. Do you “practise” for an improvisation, and what are your general thoughts on the idea of “practising” for improvisation?
When you improvise, do you use sounds that you’ve already “tried out”, and how much room is there for actual sound experimentation?
This depends on the project and type of concert. I don’t practise for solo concerts, but sometimes for ensemble-concerts. I think there should always be a lot of room for variations/experiments to keep things interesting.
7. How do you evaluate an improvisation? What is it, according to you, that makes one improvisation better than another?
I basically use the same criteria for “composed” and “improvised” music. It’s good when it’s catchy and it’s catchy when it is stringent and, at the same time, able to surprise me.
8. When you are recording for a release, does the awareness of being recorded influence your playing, and in what way?
When I play live, there is not much difference whether the concert is being recorded or not. When I record in a studio, I try to catch as many variations as possible and don’t care much about form since I can do it later.