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Hi-tech Jazz

We catch a few minutes with Cobblestone Jazz...

Cobblestone Jazz are one of those prolific groups who've secured a place right in the pounding heart of the creative techno industry. Their '23 Seconds' LP is already a pivotal moment in the post-minimal world. The group consists of Mathew Jonson, Danuel Tate, and Tyger Dhula. We got a hold of most of the gang for a quick Q and A.

Why did you decide to make Cobblestone Jazz a live proposition?

TYGER: "Cobblestone has always had its foundation in live performance. While a couple of us had DJed before the band formed, it wasn't a major aspect to us playing together. Danuel's background of playing in numerous trios and bands was one of the main impetuses for the band's formation. As a DJ I think it is a natural progression from playing other people's music to creating your own, and Cobblestone has been a great vehicle for that."

How did the group come about in its current form?

T: "Cobblestone Jazz was a by-product of The Modern Deep Left Quartet, which is the three of us from Cobblestone along with the mole of soul. When Danuel and Dhula returned to Victoria from a move to Montréal, the mole remained in the east. In order to continue making music with Mathew we formed another project, hence Cobblestone was born. We all met in the mid '90s in Victoria BC, where we were all involved in a fairly healthy music community, with many club events and underground parties. Danuel was the one who thought it would be a good idea to get together and improvise electronic music in front of an audience, and for the first few years there was an extreme desire to have every show we played be completely different, even if we were playing every couple of weeks. This lead to a lot of different bed writing and a lot of coming up with fresh ideas on the spot, which is still a big part of how we make music in the studio, and is also present in our live performances to this day."

By the pick of the instruments it seems like the purpose was to make the band one that predominantly plays dance music.

DANUEL: "Yes, absolutely. There was never any doubt that Cobblestone was focused on the dance floor."

What musical movement reflected on you when you decided to perform live on stage?

D: "Thelonius monk." T: "Again, it was the first incarnation of the band, playing live. We actually didn't go in to the studio to record any music for the first two years of the band's existence; it was strictly a live performance project."

How do you find the busy schedule in terms of performance abilities and overall grind?

D: "It's good work." T: "It can certainly be tough, especially considering two of us have small children at home. As hard as it is for us to be playing on little sleep or lots of travel or poor eating habits, it's also hard for our wives at home to pick up the slack while we are not around."

Can you each give a short sentence about your musical selves?

D: "Wait for it then ring the bell…" T: "I have DJed for 15 years, and I have always been taken by fresh, cutting-edge jazzy music that makes me feel good. It comes down to an intangible feeling - it either works or it doesn't."

Is working as a band all fun as it appears? Does working together ease things up?

T: "I think so, especially since we all get along really well outside of music. As well, with three people if one is not "on" on a given occasion, the others can pick up the slack. But certainly the magic happens when we are all firing together, and connected."

Saying that your releases were warmly accepted would be somewhat of an understatement. Did you see it coming? Do you think that your music fills a void?

T: "I have never given it much thought to be honest. All I can say is that when we started performing our music live in Victoria, and since, we have received a lot of positive feedback from our peers. These are people we feel have a good scope and vision of what is out there, and I guess that positive feedback, along with our feelings of connectedness to what we do, has always allowed us to feel comfortable that we are contributing something valid to the electronic music community."

Your sound signature is second to none. Who is to take the credit for that?

T: "Again, being a true collaboration the credit can only go to the fact that we each as individuals dedicated the time necessary to create together. The fact that we have each made it a priority over time is the reason we have been able to develop a sound."

What does the future hold for the band?

D : "Change." T: "Touring, more 12s, another album and more collaborations."