The Kilimanjaro Darkjazz Ensemble and The Mount Fuji Doomjazz Corporation speak to SonicAbuse

Please tell our readers what’s the idea behind TKDE and MFDJC. How and when did those projects come to life and what you’ve managed to do so far.

We formed TKDE back in 2000, just as a duo working with existing sound and film. Re-arranging existing music with old silent film.

We quickly started to compose our own music because we didn’t find the exact music we would like to use. We immediately knew we wanted to work on making some form of dark, cinematic jazz.

In 2004 Gideon and myself decided to take the project further and slowly start developing it into a group. Little by little we bumped into the right group of musicians who we asked to become part of TKDE.

Around 2008 the whole band decided it would be cool if we started a side-project which would fully focus on improv. A direct opposite to how we worked with TKDE. So we formed TMFDJC more as a simple creational outlet, we never planned to release any albums.

TKDE and MFDJC are basically the same people, the music does not differ across the bands significantly why didn’t you saddle with one band and brought to life two project.?

This is quite simple.

TKDE is linear, studio composed music.

TMFDJC is totally improvisational and non-linear.

Both of the bands have mountain peaks in their names. Is there anything specific about those two mountain tops or the mountains in general that you decided to name you projects after them?

We chose Kilimanjaro because it always had a mysterious vibe surrounding it. Also the location and the phonetics of the word work really well. It seemed right to give the side-project name a similar name so people would directly see the link between the two bands, so we chose Mt Fuji, to be honest this could have been any other mountain top in the world.

MFDJC is an improvised project. How does the creative and recording process differ in TKDE and MFDJC?

TMFDJC is just plug in and play, no planning, its 100% improvisation. So, it really depends on the line up of the show we play which decides how the outcome will be. A Mt Fuji show with drums always turns out completely different than a recording without drums.

How much do your MFDJC live versions of you works differ from the ones recorded on the albums, since it’s an improvised project?

I think the question above answers this. Also the venue, city, location in question influences the recording. As also the mood of the band when we get on stage.

At the beginning TKDE was an instrumental project. What made u decide to introduce the vocal parts, and are the lyrics of any significance, or the human voice is simply treated as another instrument?

Originally Charlotte wasn’t to eager to do ‘traditional’ singing in TKDE. When I met her at a show she was playing at the time she was using her voice in an abstract way, that’s what she wanted to do in TKDE aswell. We tried one track with normal vocals for the Here Be Dragons album and it worked out quite well. So it actually came out of chance than that we actually discussed doing this.

In one of the interviews one of you said, that your biggest dram is to play to “The Elephant Man”. That dream came true on the polish Asymmetry Festival. How did u feel then, and since that dream came true, what next goal have you set as your dream?

Yes, that was a good show. Our next dream is to do an official recording for a film, that dream is going to be fulfilled aswell, as we will be making a special alternate soundtrack for the film ‘Amer’. Then our next dream will be to compose an official soundtrack to a film.

You always say how important movies were and are as an inspiration for your music. Imagine that you never came across the silent cinema, or the horror movies. Do you think that you would be playing the same kind of music without your cinematic inspirations, or played music at all?

I think this is impossible to answer, as film has always been a huge inspiration to all my musical projects. But to accept this question, yes, even without film existing I would still be making and playing music.

The members of your group come from different backgrounds and countries, but you sound like you all grew up on the same street, doing the same things. Was it hard to find the right people?

Well it wasn’t really hard. Its not that we went to search everyone, its more the intuition you have when you meet a musician. You feel immediately you are on the same level; the music you love, life’s experiences, etc. It took us well over 4 years to find the right balance.

How does your creative process look like. Isn’t the fact, that you live in different places a problem?

We adapt to this. And basically if you are only used to working in this one method you don’t really know better, so its never been an issue. I guess I would prefer to have the band together more often, we could really go much deeper than we do now. But its like this, and we adapt ourselves.

Are you making visuals to your shows by yourselves? What comes first, the visuals, or the music?

It’s always been our goal to make our film/story one day, the problem is that it’s a really expensive process. Film, lighting, props, location…the logistics and productional costs are really high, its not the same as composing music where you can go into your studio and compose. But it’s a long term plan we have, someday we’ll get to it.

I read that you would be interested in writing soundtracks, but no one offered you that you such an opportunity yet. Anything changed in that matter?

Not yet, we had some small propositions, but nothing that blew our minds. We’re patient.

If you had the chance and resources, would you be interested in making a movie of your own, from scrap, meaning, writing the script, producing, casting and of course writing the music to such a picture, would you do it? If so what kind of movie would that be?

Absolutely… Its definitely a plan of ours.

What kind of movie it would be ? I’m not sure, I have several ideas in my head. It would be pretty emotionally heavy if I would have my say, something you wouldn’t really want to watch twice. I enjoy anguish in film.

Which of your two faces is more recognizable and popular, TKDE or MFDJC and is any of them of bigger importance to you? Say if you were asked to play as TKDE or MFDJC at the same time, for the same amount of money knowing that both venues will be attended by the exactly the same amount of people in equally beautiful places which one would u pick?

I really wouldn’t mind. For us they are one and the same.

How do you remember your shows in Poland?

Of course! Poland is great. I think we have the biggest fanbase in Poland.

Is there any chance that we will be seeing you in Poland soon?

If it were up to us we’d be there every weekend!

Is there anything that you would like to say to our readers?


Thanks for the interview and all the best!


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