The top of music published an interview with Stef. (in dutch)
Zita Swoon on the border between music and dance.
With its last tour, “a Band in a Box”, Zita Swoon was both at home and abroad a great success. The idea to place the band in the middle of the public was a winner. With its newest theater tour ‘Dancing with The Sound Hobbyist’, a mix of concert and dance theater, the band chooses again for the road off the beaten path. Singer Stef Kamil Carlens is quite enthusiastic: “In terms of appearance it’s really very special”.
It’s thanks to dance company ‘Rosas’ – who developed the whole concept together with Zita Swoon – this project became that special. This ensemble around Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker is not the least: the German magazine ‘Tanz’ named it last year’s ‘dance company of the year’. A collaboration between two exceptional groups of artists. Curious what it has achieved!
A mix of concert and dance, what’s that?
Stef Kamil Carlens: During this performances we will play a little more to the back of the stage than normal, to create a space for the Austrian dancer, Simon Mayer. He will dance between us through the show. This tour we only play in theaters because of the higher opportunities with light than in a normal concert. In venues like this people pay more attention, they look and listen better to what’s happening on stage.
Where did the idea actually came from to work with Rosas?
The cooperation was actually born by accident. The past two years I saw Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker regularly. And when we at Zita Swoon came up with the idea came to try to do something with music and dance, I contacted her and asked if she was interested to work together. My most practical question for her was if she had dancers who were also musicians. And she had some in her school.
The dancers will also make music?
Yes. Originally that was going to happen a lot more than you see in the show. Here and there it’s done, but still only in a minor degree. Simon Mayer, the Austrian dancer, sings for example, and plays a little percussion too. The reverse also happens, we will occasionally go dancing.
Simon has also developed the complete choreography. Many people think that’s the work of Anne Teresa, but that is absolutely not true. She has the project under her wings, but did not constantly worked on it. The last two weeks the cooperation with her was very intense, because we did the final finishing together. Sometimes we had to compromise, because she is someone who plans everything in advance, while at Zita Swoon it all happens spontaneously.
The dancers are not the only novelty in this show. The music is completely different than your normal sets.
Right. We made music for several years, and we have thus already made more music than we could use on our shows and CDs. They were also more fragile and darker than things we normally did. This performance seemed a good way to finally give those ideas a place.
Ultimately, these ideas are not used. We wrote new music build on our earlier ideas. It’s still quite experimental. This time, for example, I’ve only written six songs. For the other songs I have worked with our pianist, drummer and bassist. Another first time is that the girls wrote some songs, which they’re going to sing themselves.
Zita Swoon also loves to experiment with his performances and music. ‘Band in a Box’ already colored outside the lines of the normal action.
Experimenting is part of our nature, it’s true. Next to ‘a Band in a box’ we did many other special things. In’97 we did, for example, a silent film from 1924. We composed a new soundtrack for it and played in the dark in front of the cinema screen. Around 2000, three of us participated in a dance performance of “Les Ballets C de la D”. And further, there are also a lot of projects that I and other people of the band have done, for example as composer of theater music.
Will your next CD be as experimental as this performance?
No idea. If we made a cd from this show it would probably be something very special, not at all an ordinary Zita Swoon CD. But there are still no concrete plans for the next CD. We’ve been touring and making music for five years in a row, it’s time to ease it a bit. Every now and then you should take time just to live. Otherwise there won’t be a thing to write songs about.
Thanks Stef Kamil Carlens (LDG)
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