Everything happens spontaneously - an interview with Francois Carrier

Piotr Wojdat

In November you're going to cooperate with Marcin Bozek. What are your plans for this collaboration?

There are no plans. That’s the beauty of this music. There are never any plans. It’s all about being spontaneous. Marcin Bozek, joined Michel Lambert and I for the first time in 2017 with tenor saxophonist Tomek Gadecki. Then last year, we had the opportunity to play as a trio which was different from having two horns. I was very happy to hear Marcin on the French horn last year. So, as a trio, the plan is to play music that we don’t know, that comes from within.

You're much into Polish scene. What do you like about it and about our audience?

I want to play as much music as possible, doesn’t matter too much where. East European audiences are very attentive to the music. When we are touring, we don’t have much time to get acquainted with audiences or with people.

Do you remember when and how you met Rafal Mazur? You've recorded a couple of albums with him and Michel Lambert?

I was in contact with Marek Winiarski from Not Two Records. We had just released a live album with Michel Lambert, John Edwards and I titled Overground to the Vortex. Marek mentioned to me that I might enjoy playing with bassist Rafal Mazur whim I never hear of before. I trusted Marek and reach Rafal through his email. Rafal liked the idea so he and Marek organized our first concert in Poland in 2014 at the Alchemia Club in Krakow. Two years after, Rafal organized an incredible tour in Budapest, Timisoara, Oradea, Samorín, Krakow, Lodz and Gdynia. All concerts were recorded and we released several albums of these concerts on Not Two, NoBusiness and FMR Records.

"Nirguna" is released by Polish label Fundacja Sluchaj!. Could you introduce this double album for our readers?

In 2017, Michel and I went on a European and East European tour again. As usual I recorded all concerts. NIRGUNA is the last night of our tour, and I invited pianist Alexander Hawkins to join us for this one night at the Vortex Jazz Club. Alexander never played with us before, but I was totally confident. Bassist John Edwards was also with us, and the four of us never spoke one instant about the music. As Cecil Taylor once told me: “One doesn’t talk about music, one plays it.”

The energy of the venue was very high and we, I could feel it. So we played two sets and months later I decided to listen to it. I couldn’t remember any of the music we played that night of June 7, 2017. The only word that came to me after listening to this music was : WOW!

I decided all 13 recordings of the tour to a couple of labels, and Maciej Karlowski Polish label Fundacja Sluchaj offered me to release the owl concert. Now here we are with this amazing double album.

What is Free Opera? Could you explain the concept?

I occupied an artist’s residency in London. I was there from July 1, 2011, to January 7, 2002, in Bow, East London. The Quebec Studio in London was very nice and spacious, the perfect environment to trigger creativity. I composed a lot of new music, more specifically a Free Opera.The topic of the opera of the “Ego” on five acts. Part of the music is written in traditional notation but most of it will be directed and improvised by the musicians and artists. The music will be played by a small orchestra, and Amerindian choir, two solo vocalists, one poet, one video artist and a couple of other multidisciplinary artists. Of course to put all this together and to present it Live is very costly, so I haven’t yet had the opportunity to make it public. I will have to apply for grants in order to make it happen or find sponsorship. I know it will happen one day or another.

You've worked with many famous musicians like Gary Peacock, Bobo Stenson or Tomasz Stanko. What impressions did they made on you?

What makes us who we are is the sum of all our experiences. Playing with all these great were memorable moments indeed. I am not interested in fame, I am interested in authenticity, I mean REAL authenticity. The energy that comes out of sharing moments with such great musicians is staggering and it definitely contributes to open you up. By observing these musicians with an open heart, you realise the importance and seriousness of Music. Music becomes kind of sacred not to say spiritual. I am so grateful.  I feel blessed to have had the opportunity to play with these Masters.

What are your plans for the near future?

Like many musicians, I struggle with the fact that I don’t paly enough. I must find ways to play more and one of the solutions is to go on tour more often so starting now, I plans 3 to 4 tours a year. I am also working on a project to release a 5 LP Box Set with a Photos Book in early 2020 but I haven’t made a decision on which label yet. I also want to make many other collaborations with great musicians. But now, I am focusing on my coming Spring Tour in May/June and the Polish Tour in November with Marcin Bozek. I forgot to mention the Japanese Tour also in early November, just before going to Poland but venues are not confirmed yet.

Ideally, the help of a touring agent in Europe would be welcome!