Ramon Prats: “After 8 hours playing, it is like flying with the sound”

Marta Jundziłł

Ramon Prats is a Catalan drummer who plays with such avant-garde players as Agustí Fernández, Axel Dörner or Mats Gustafsson. But his strongest musical relation is the one with Albert Cirera. Together, they played a 10 hours long concert, to celebrate their 10th anniversary. Ramon told me about their musical connection, his last year and the meaning of improvisation in music.

Was 2019 a good year for you? Could you sum up it somehow?
Yes! My daughter was born in 2019, so I can say that it’s the best year in my life, for sure. And I guess, somehow it has been a great year for me in a musical way, as well. I started in January with a long solo tour (almost one month) and it was a deep connection with oneself and with the sound. I was trying not to talk too much with the people I meet during the tour, and trying to be as much as possible alone, connecting with the sound out there.
The main projects I’m involved has been growing these past year and a new one has born in October, a new trio which I’m really excited, with vibes, accordion + electronics, and drums.

In October last year, in Poland you’ve performed with DUOT with Albert Cirera. You’ve invited to this project polish pianist Grzegorz Targot. What DUOT had gained after adding to the group another person and instrument?
With DUOT we grow up playing every Thursday in Barcelona, in a club called Robadors 23. Every month we invited one guest for helping us not to be always in the same mood. And it was a big help because everyone it makes you to play different. With Albert we have a long time connection and our thoughts and feelings in music are almost the same, but when you add another musician everything changes. It’s fresh air, somehow.
With Grzegorz was great because the last times we are moving a little bit in a more abstract zone, but he makes us to play with more density, being more specific in a rhythmic way. We had a lot of fun and would be nice to play again.

You play with Albert for a quite long time. Can you point, what have you gained from this cooperation?
I feel lucky to have this kind of relationship with him. I feel that we are building something and this something will stay with us till we die. I enjoy every note we play together and I’m excited to imagine us playing in the future.
And it’s not easy to feel that, because it’s not a matter of oneself to choose who it’s going to be your partner, it’s a matter of being enough lucky to find the right person in the right moment. I wish everyone could have this experience.

You released an album “10 years 10 hours” – result of performing together to celebrate your first decade. Tell us about this performance. What was the hardest part for you during playing for 10 hours? How did you plan this concert?
My plan was to save the energy, I was sure that it was really important. But Albert started to play with all he got and I couldn’t say no, so my only plan was frustrated in the first 30 minutes.
I was a little bit scary for playing during 10 hours, but I have to say that I want to do it again! The feeling after 8 hours playing is like flying with the sound, there’s no space between you and the notes, it’s all the same. It was really amazing! The day after I was exhausted. Both, mind and body were exhausted. And we did it after one month, we play for 10 hours two times, one time was during the daylight and the second one was at night. It was more demanding at night, but I enjoyed both.  

And what is like to improvise in a bigger group?
When it’s bigger than a quartet, it’s another world. There’s no much groups that does that without any kind of organization. Maybe there is no compositions, but somehow there is a plan. I like both worlds, because each one brings you something different.

How social and the political situation from last few months in Catalonia, had affected you, as a musician?
I don’t think or I try not to think while I’m playing but it’s impossible that this political situation doesn’t affect you. It affects you in your normal life, so I think I have to admit that somehow it makes me play different. 

Do you have some special projects planned for this year?
The trio we started in October is with Zbigniew Chojnacki playing the accordion and electronics, so it would be nice to play in Poland the upcoming year!