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Publicat in: 27.04.2012, 06:14AM
Autor: Richard Constantinidi
Comentarii: 0
Vizualizari: 1579
Etichete: Australia, Bristol, Lil Rhys, Mc Idle, Mr.woodnote, Saxophone, The Bonobo Hobos

Mr.Woodnote is a jazz musician in disguise.

Live loopstaion action with fx, he is beatboxin, stackin horn lines with saxophones, flutes and all sorts of toys.


CZB: Have you moved to Europe? Where in Europe do you feel more at home?

Mr. Woodnote: I first came to the UK in 2001 when I was 18, I had a scholarship for music and since then I have spent more time in the UK than Australia. I love Bristol, it is my favorite city for sure! Amazing and beautiful artists live here and we can play music

and make parties!

CZB: How often do you make it back to Australia?

Mr. Woodnote: Not very often, unfortunately. I went back home for a month in January this year, it was beautiful and hot! Before then I hadn’t been home in 3 and a half years, my mum gets very sad but my family loves what I do and understand and support my life.

CZB: How long is the flight from Australia to Britain and how many stopovers are there?

Mr. Woodnote: It feels like it takes days!! The first flight is usually 10-14 hours, you might stop over in Asia or Dubai. Then you wait for maybe a few hours and get back on for another 12-14 hours to London, then a two and a half hour trip to Bristol, the best place in this country :)

CZB: Is there a budget airline for this kind of flight?

Mr. Woodnote: Nope, it costs a lot of money.

CZB: How do you cope with all those hours on the plane?

Mr. Woodnote: It can be very boring and being over 6 foot tall it is very uncomfortable, last time I did the flight I was very lucky though, I was sitting next to a very very pretty and interesting girl and we talked the whole time, it was awesome! Haha

CZB: How long does it take to get over the jetlag? Australia must be 12 hours ahead of us.

Mr. Woodnote: Haha, it can be hard but you have to be tough, just have to stay awake as long as you can and then get a good sleep in : )

CZB: How did you start playing the saxophone?

Mr. Woodnote: I had played piano since I was 4 or 5 and also had started studying clarinet when I got my hands on a saxophone, I think I was about 12 years old. I had seen one on TV so I talked my parents into renting me a saxophone. 

The greatest thing anyone has ever done for me.

CZB: Have you gone through different instruments or was it the sax from the start?

Mr. Woodnote: I love loads of instruments, I really like playing bass guitar and tinkering on the piano and flute but its all about the saxophone for me, tenor saxophone is the most stunning sound to my ears.

CZB: Was music part of your upbringing at home or did you discover it on your own?

Mr. Woodnote: My home was full of music, my mother plays piano and guitar and is a wonderful singer. My father loves lots of different styles of music, I would have to say it was very much a part of my upbringing at home.

CZB: Have you met Courtney Pine or is his style not your style?

Mr. Woodnote: I was lucky enough to meet Courtney Pine when I was 18, he is an amazing saxophonist, his playing is steeped in tradition but he is contemporary in his style. We play differently but I have endless respect for him as an incredible saxophonist.


Courtney Pine. The CZB INTERVIEW


CZB: How many saxophones do you own and carry around with you?

Mr. Woodnote: I have a few beautiful instruments but I usually carry two, a tenor and an alto, although recently just the tenor. I identify more with that instrument than any other. Its a beautiful French, Henri Selmer Paris MKVII. I also bring a flute and melodica and a few other wicked toys.

CZB: In what way has streetmusic helped you develop as an artist?

Mr. Woodnote: When you play on the street you get an instant indication as to what works and what doesn’t in your music. If you are playing a song and everyone stops to listen, you want to play more songs like that. Different cities have different vibes too, so in Manchester for example, we might play darker heavy tunes and the kids love it, in Brighton on the beach we play happy bouncy beats and it fits the vibe. You get instant feedback playing on the street, I also like trying to ‘push it’ a bit, see how far we can take things sometimes, see if we can get some of the oldies into some heavy beats and bass lines!

CZB: Would you suggest that all young acoustic acts try out street playing as a means of developing their art or discovering if they have what it takes?

Mr. Woodnote: YES! I try to tell everyone to do it, its the best, you get to play every day, you get better very quickly when you have to perform every day.

CZB: How can street playing become frustrating at times, apart from lack of
crowds or little compensation for time and effort?

Mr. Woodnote: It is an awesome job, even in the hard times we remember working in shit and sometimes horrible jobs. We get shut down a lot, that is the hardest bit, you are out on the street playing your heart out and someone from an office or with a uniform tells you that you can’t play… That one complaint is more important than the 100 people around us loving it.

CZB: In what countries have you played on the street where it is necessary to obtain a license for practicing this art form in public and where was this procedure most difficult for you?

Mr. Woodnote: Every city has different rules. If they accommodate us then that is cool. If not, we usually find somewhere to set up and make a party anyway.

CZB: Do you have favorite cities you love to play on the streets or do you just like to travel around and soak the atmosphere?

Mr. Woodnote: Both. Bristol is still the best (even though we are no longer allowed to play there… but we do anyways!)

CZB: The sax is made from brass. Did you get your nickname from the wooden flute? How did this nickname stick and who is to blame?

Mr. Woodnote: A woodnote is ‘an artless sound’. Like a bird singing, it might sound beautiful to us but the bird just sings because that is what it does, not for art. That’s how I feel about the saxophone, it just feels like I do it by nature and I’m lucky that some people dig the sounds I make : )

CZB: Have you given your saxophone a name? Is there an interesting story
about how you got your first sax?

Mr. Woodnote: Haha, my saxophone doesn’t have a name but my van is named after my saxophone, ‘Selmer’. When I first wanted to play saxophone my parents were maybe a little worried,  I played a couple of instruments already and they didn’t have much money. My mother asked the music teacher at my school about it and he assured her that if they tried me out on a tenor saxophone it would be a bit too big for me at the time and they could convince me to try again in a year or two. My mum remembers that I got a good sound out of the tenor and the teacher had to admit that this was the instrument for me after all : )

CZB: What was the hottest offer you got to feature on someone elses material?

Mr. Woodnote: I guess I don’t see things as ‘hot offers’. Dub FX is the greatest and one of my best friends. Playing with him and recording on his album was an amazing honor.

CZB: How did you hook up with Dub FX? What helped make you two bond musically?

Mr. Woodnote: Ben (Dub FX) is also Australian but we didn’t meet until we were both in the UK. A mutual mate of ours had asked us to do a collaboration at the Sunrise Festival, we hadn’t met and I didn’t know too much about what he was up to. We had a wicked jam on stage as our first meeting, he asked me to play with him on other gigs he had and it all kind of rolled on from there. We started making tunes with another one of our mates, Distro and we played at stacks of festivals and gigs that year. The fact we are both Australians maybe helped us get along but we are very similar in other ways too. We lived together (Me, The Flower Fair and Dub FX) and recorded our albums. That was the best experience, I love them both stacks.

CZB: You will be coming to Cluj with two MCs. How did you meet and what is
the show like?
Mr. Woodnote: Haha… I do need their help : ) Lil Rhys and MC Idle are two amazing people and artists. They both feature on my album and we are all close mates. We play on the street together every week and we roll as a band. Together they are known as ‘The Bonobo Hobos’. We all used to jam together last year and as my loopstation show developed I found myself jamming and making wicked tunes with those guys. It is a three man show, they are amazing MCs with heavy, funny, sad, political and conscious ideas to share.


Interview: RiCo for CZB

Photo: Copyright Henry Oakley 2009



Our sincere thanks going out to the artist and to the photographer.

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