Thursday, July 24, 2014

Seven questions with ... Tess Said So.



One of the many highlights on the recent compilation from Preserved Sound - "The Blinding White Heat of Summer Days" - is the opening track by Tess Said So, entitled "Intervention". Its a belter of a track and a fitting opener for what is an excellent showcase of the Preserved Sound label.

Recently Hayden from Preserved Sound caught up with Will Larsen and Rasa Daukus aka Tess Said So ... and asked them my wee blog interview. This is what they had to say:

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1) Who are you and what do you do?
Will: We’re a piano and percussion duo.  Rasa and I met when we were both still studying music at university.  We did a few projects together playing works by composers we both liked and just got on really well.

Rasa: We write and perform all our own material.  I guess it’s classical but we certainly apply a pop sensibility to it.  So the pieces we write are four to five minutes long and there will be all kinds of influences in there - pop, jazz, classical, electronica.


2) What are you working on at the moment?
Rasa: We’ve just finished recording our first album (“I Did That Tomorrow”).  I would start writing some of the pieces and hand them over to Will to add percussion.  Other pieces Will would start and leave me to finish.  It was all recorded in Will’s studio, Recliner Studios.

Will: I have just one more track to mix and master and then it’s done!


3) Who inspires you?
Will: That’s a really tricky one, particularly if you’re talking Tess Said So.  There’s a melting pot of ideas in there that’s not really a conscious effort to mimic anyone.  If anything, there’s a similarity to early 20th Century French music - Milhaud / Poulenc / Honegger.

Rasa: But then if you scratch just a little deeper, you’ll find Thelonius Monk and Dave Brubeck in there.  There’s also David Bowie, Elvis Costello, and Massive Attack.

Will: The title track off the album is kind of a fractured, demented Argentinian tango, so you could argue there’s a bit of Astor Piazzolla in there too.

- Name an artist who has inspired you.
Rasa: George Crumb, Toru Takemitsu, Ravi Shankar ...

Will: Manu Katché, Wong Kar-wai, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan

- Name a place that has inspired you.
Rasa: Hong Kong.

Will: ... and Singapore!

Rasa: We’re both obsessed with food.  Both those cities have the most amazing food everywhere you look.

- Name some "thing" that has inspired you.
Will:  Food.  Travel.  And Food.  I just have to say “laksa” and Rasa will ask, “When are we leaving?” (laughs).


4) What drives you to do what you do?
Rasa:  We’ve been talking about working on something together for a long, long time and for various reasons until now, one or the other of us has been busy with other projects.

Will:  I like the combination of piano and percussion and the way the two interact.  The harmonics and overtones generated are amazing.


5) What values do you wish your creativity to express?
Will: Tough question!  I guess, without wanting to sound too trite, music is best when it’s a shared experience.  I can write and sequence music on my laptop, but it’s not much fun if no one listens to it.  Better yet, writing and collaborating with Rasa is a much more exciting proposition, particularly when she takes an idea of mine and takes it somewhere I didn’t expect and I would never have thought on my own.  Better still, is then to perform that collaboration live in front of an audience and to share it with them.  Sharing that experience is what it’s all about.


6) What role does community play in what you do?
Rasa: We’re keen to collaborate with other artists, particularly from other disciplines.  We’d love to work with dance companies, creating both music and choreography from scratch.  We’d love to work with street artists in unconventional venues, or new media artists such as computer animators.  Something unconventional would be amazing!


7) What is next for what you do?
Will: We’ll do an album launch and then get out there to promote the album

Rasa: And tour!

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I can't wait to hear Tess Said So's debut album ... if it is anything like "Intervention" then it will be a real belter.

Have a wee listen to "The Blinding White Heat of Summer Days" and hear what I mean:



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