I don't remember my life without the piano.

I would like to start this interview with a brief introduction of Sarkis Ricci, the talented jazz pianist and producer from Gaswerksiedlung.
He is a silent character, but his music has been played loud and clear at numerous events. It has left no one indifferent, as his compositions are still echoing.
In fact, at his last concert, which I had the luck to attend, I just could not stop dancing. I was also impressed, by Sarkis’ talent as a dj, mixing jazz with electronica…… in one word, sublime.
Another side of this multi-faceted musician is Sarkis being the worst opponent you can find at the ping pong table. We all know it, and for this reason, when we cross him in the garden, we look at him with great respect.

Q: ‘What do you think about the social media landscape for promoting yourself’
I don’t think we should spend all our time on these platforms, but it helps.
But right now you won’t find much about me on the internet, because what I released before, which was a lot, I don’t find that it’s the style I’m composing now. I deleted it all.

I don’t think we should spend all our time on these platforms, but it helps.

Are you in a new cycle of creativity?

yeaaahhhhh…… searching. I’m much more in a moment of searching, going to the studio and trying it out.
I’m very hard on myself. When I look at old compositions, I think, oh no, this is disgusting and I delete it.
When I listen to something I did 5 years ago, I don’t like it at all.

What is your method to advance in finding yourself creatively?

I used to listen to a lot of music of different styles and then I tried not to copy but to develop techniques, sounds, rhythms or compositions that I found interesting.
Now I do it completely different, I go to the studio and start, I don’t plan anything, I prefer to improvise.

How do you start a new composition?

I compose one song a day, some are better than others.
For an hour I’m in my studio listening to all kinds of music and then I start composing.
My favourite instrument is the piano, but I often use the guitar to start, …I have more feeling, maybe because I have much more technique with the piano and when I start something it’s very precise and I lose the spontaneity and mistakes. That’s why, when I start something from scratch, I do it with the guitar.

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How long have you been involved with music?

I don’t remember my life without the piano. I started playing the piano when I was 5 years old, or maybe even earlier. I have seen some videos of me playing the piano when I was three years old.

What is a normal day like for you?

During the weekend I’m doing concerts and during the week I’m composing, but now with Covid, every day is the same day.
You get up, not too early, because you usually go to sleep late when you are a musician. First you do technique exercises, I take a break, get some fresh air, do some ping pong or some sport and then around 16-17 I start composing.
It’s about 5-8 hours of music, maybe two hours of practice and the rest consists of composing, researching…
 
Do you prefer to create alone or work in a team?

I prefer to start playing alone because I have control of everything. (Jokingly)…
The thing is that when you play jazz with excellent musicians it’s very easy because we’ve all been studying for more than 5 years how to play, so there’s a high level of understanding of rhythm, harmony, sound, improvisation.
It’s good to play like this, but I’m a bit bored of the world of Jazz, it’s too technical, too closed in only one style of music. On the other hand, when I play music that I like, electronic music, improvisation with electronic music, the problem is that the language is not the same.
It’s a challenge to link the two worlds, ignoring theorical mistakes and just letting the feeling talk by itself. It’s hard to find the perfect balance point in between technique / theory and freedom.
So as an answer I can say that it very much depends on the people you playing with, and the level of mutual understanding and synchronisation.

I don’t remember my life without the piano. I started playing the piano when I was 5 years old, or maybe even earlier.

In your education, have you done any masters that you would like to highlight?

Yes, with Tigran Hamasyan. He was my idol when I was younger and one day I sent a message to his manager, and it turned out he was in Paris and I could take a master class with him.  I learned a lot. And I’m still using some of his teachings now.
In Armenia there is a strong musical culture, in every house there is a piano, so if an Armenian plays jazz, he just kills it.
 
Are you currently working on any new projects?

I’m working on an album, Aegean blues. I did it in a three-month residency in Greece. I recorded 16 minutes of piano solo of my compositions.
Aegean Blues means the mixture of music that travels around the Mediterranean, Turkey, Italy, Spain, Greece, Armenia, Maghreb.
This is what I’m into, mixing the styles, the scales, the harmonies…I’m very proud of it.

We are also about to release with Stephane Lefrançois some songs with a project called Maracuja, it’s a mix of afro beats with electronic bossanova.

 
A piece of advice for someone who is just starting to compose, but feels that everything they do is bullshit?

Practice, practice, practice.

A Dish
The Armenian dumplings ‘manti’
A colour
Green
Mornings or evenings
Nights
A phrase
I just try to be happy

I want to add special thank you to Stephan, that he is here to help us, I think these times are difficult for him as well. A special thanks to him for keeping this thing going.

©2021 Kapela

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