Vasco Trilla - We're starting the second decade! Interview!

Andrzej Nowak (

Vasco Trilla, an excellent Catalan drummer, improviser, a man who has elevated the percussion to the top rank of the most creative instruments of free improvisation, has just released his ... tenth and eleventh album in Poland! It is a great occasion for us that the musician himself recalls them all to us and talks about his strong relationships with Poland, our musicians and publishers.

But it is not quantity that matters here but quality. Each of these discs is so different from the other one that (using the links to the bandcamp) everyone can easily arrange their own, extremely original, playlist of Vasco Trilla’s music for the second part of the summer, and maybe the whole autumn.
I spoke to the musician electronically in June and July this year.

Hello Vasco. I do not know if you know, but your tenth album released in Poland has just appeared! I would like to talk to you about all of them. But let's start with how Poland, situated thousands of miles away from Barcelona and Lisbon, appeared in your life, both musical and ... what for some is not a secret, also in your private life. Tell us about it.

Hello!! Wow, I didn’t know about this!!! Ten records is quite a lot. I feel very grateful to Polish labels for believing in my music and supporting it so strongly.
My relations with Poland are now quite deep, as I have played many times there, and I have lots of friends, both musicians and not. As a musician I have collaborated and recorded with lots of Polish artists: Mikołaj Trzaska, Rafal Mazur, Michal Dymny, Artur Majewski, Jacek Mazurkiewicz, Piotr Melech, Paulina Owczarek, Tomek Gadecki, Witold Oleszak, among many others.
I think Poland has an incredible and super strong cultural identity. As I studied art history at university I was very attracted by Polish and Russian cinema and music. Movies by Wojciech Jerzy Haas, Andrzej Wajda, Andrzej Munk, Jerzy Kawalerowicz, Krzysztof Kieślowski and many others, as well as the music of composers like early Penderecki and Lutoslawski had a very strong impact on my aesthetics. In Literature - Gombrowicz, Witkacy (specially ‘Insatiability’) and Bruno Schulz are among my favourite writers of all time.

I’m also following closely the extreme metal scene in Poland, absolutely brilliant, with such bands as Decapitated, Mgła, Kriegsmachine and a long etc.
I’ve been lucky enough to perform around the country visiting more and lesser known cities. So if I remember well I have played in Warsaw, Wrocław, Kraków, Lublin, Katowice, Kazimierz Dolny, Kalisz, Poznań, Gdańsk, Sopot, Gorzów Wielkopolski, Bydgoszcz, Łódź and Zielona Góra.

I’m very grateful for that, and I hope I can come in autumn again. I have some plans though I can’t say for sure now... but I guess I will visit you still in this 2019!!!!!!!
For the near future I have two new recordings due to be released before or this summer in Poland. Nobject “X-Rayed” (Martin Kuchen, Rafal Mazur), a double album is released by the time this interview is being carried out (by Fundacja Sluchaj). And also another one - “Dog /Hum/ Brain” (Jacek Mazurkiewicz, Piotr Mełech) - a triple album that will be released in Multikulti in the near future.

Also my beloved Spontaneous Music Tribune Series will release two exciting new trios - Hung Mung and TNT at the end of 2019.

This tenth album is "Sumpflegende", a recording made by the trio Phicus with the guest participation of the Swedish saxophonist Martin Kuchen. This trio is probably an important element of your musical activities, am I right? Bring us closer to this group and the idea of its creation.

Yes, Phicus is one of my main projects nowadays. It’s a project where we really wanted to work as a unit, in a way closer to a rock band than a free jazz trio, with rehearsals every week and a lot of work dedicated to finding our own voice as a trio. The main idea for this trio came from Ferran Fages. It was probably a reaction towards the Barcelona scene at that moment, where you couldn’t find any stable groups other than Duot. So we felt the need to develop our own thing with time and determination.

“Sumpflegende” is Phicus third album, the first one was “Plom”, released by Multikulti-Spontaneous Music Tribune, and the second one was a collaboration with Russian sax/electronics Ilia Belorukov, released in Russia by Intonema.

For this album we wanted to collaborate with Swedish saxophonist Martin Kuchen, who both Ferran and me had collaborated with in the past. We decided to invite him for a few concerts in Spain and we recorded in the same studio where we recorded “Plom”. It is a collaboration with some plans for the near future, so hopefully we can tour and do another recording next year!

Recently we had a two full day studio booked to record our second album as a trio and I can say that we are very excited with the material we have, so stay tuned for the next chapter!!!

Let's go back to the beginning of your musical adventures connected with Poland. This was the album "Tidal Heating" with Michał Dymny and Rafał Mazur, and before that the duo with Michał, but released in the renowned British FMR Records ("Cave Canem"). Dymny is your important partner. Tell us about those recordings, but also about new ones that you made at the beginning of April this year.

Dymny and me have known each other for some time already, we’ve played lots of times with different musicians both in Poland and in Barcelona. He is a wonderful musician and we connected pretty closely from the very beginning. With him we recorded “Cave Canem” on FMR records, a trio you mentioned with Rafal Mazur on Not Two and a trio with Tom Chant on Discordian Records. On my last visit to Krakow, we played trio together with Luis Vicente, who I was touring with as duo, and before that we did a duo recording with Michał which I find very interesting. We are ultimating the music so I hope it will be released soon.

Then Mikołaj Trzaska appeared on your artistic path. He came to Barcelona in April 2016. It was probably your first meeting?

No, with Mikolaj we met at the festival Musica Privata in Łódź a year before. I was playing duo with Yedo Gibson and Mikolaj did a workshop there and we ended up playing all together as an ensemble. Since then I’d had the idea about doing something with him and with the help of Maciej Lewenstein, we organized both Jazz Festival in Vic and Jamboree in Barcelona, where we recorded what was later the album edited by Maciej Karlowski on his Fundacja Sluchaj Records (“Catapulta de pols d’estrelles”). After that we played some concerts in Poland and hopefully we will play some more in the near future!


Before we go on to discuss what has happened in the editorial process in your Polish musical life over the last two and a half years, we should also explain the name Tatvamasi.

I got in touch with Tatvamasi through my friend Steve Feigenbaum from Cuneiform Records, he released one of their albums (the first one – add by author). I wrote to Grzegorz Lesiak and from then on we started a very nice collaboration. He organized a gig for Yedo Gibson and me when we were touring in Poland. We ended up playing a set with the band that later became an official Tatvamasi’ album. I think they are a very interesting band with special ideas, and above all great people. My last visit there with Luis Vicente was super nice, we hung out and we tried all homemade Polish delicacies and home brew!! Can’t wait to be in Lublin again!!!

On March 18, 2016 you recorded an amazing recording session with friends from Barcelona. A quartet which was created on that occasion, took for the name one of the Russian rivers. Exactly one year later, the premiere of the CD took place at the Barcelona Magia Roja Club.

Völga was a project conceived by Fernando Carrasco with a clear idea of playing droney improvised music. We played a concert in Magia Roja and from there we decided to take it as a project and record our first album. It was a very special album for us and also started the Spontaneous Music Tribune series, so we are really, really proud of it. The official presentation of the cd was of course in Magia Roja one year after the recording. Völga is now on standby, but Alex (Reviriego – add by author) and Fernando are working on an interesting project called L’ocell.

Perhaps it is known only for two of us, but the first album in the series of Spontaneous Music Tribunes was to be your duet with Yedo Gibson, which finally appeared a few months later as "Antenna". Gibson, the theme of the river, an amazing musician and a great man. Tell us about him, about your friendship and music.

Yes, that’s true. “Antenna” was supposed to be the first one, but we got a bit delayed with the mix and master and we finally released it a few months later as you said.

“Antenna” is the second album of the duo, the first one was released on the Belgium, label El Negocito. It was recorded in the Scratch Built studio in the same days that we recorded the album “Chain” (NoBusiness Records) – trio with Hernani Faustino.

With Yedo we met 5 years ago in Barcelona and since then we’ve been really good friends and done a lot of musical projects together. When he was living in Holland we were part of the band Boi Akih, with whom we toured Brasil, China and Europe.

For the near future we have two more albums together coming soon: Fish Wool, a trio with Susana Santos Silva, recorded in Coimbra and to be released soon by JACC records, and the second album of Chain is in the process of mixing.

I think we have probably played with Yedo more than 100 concerts together since we first met, last one with Fish Wool in the Cerkno Jazz Testival in Slovenia in May this year.  And the future will bring more things for us together!!!

We are like brothers and you can feel that especially when we play duo, as we’ve developed a very strong connection musically! So you can expect a bit more of Yedo Gibson & Vasco Trilla for the next season!!! We are very much looking forward to!!!!!!

Together we also recorded L3 album with Luis Vicente...

Our idea is clearly to continue with this trio, we are already trying to book some gigs for autumn and spring 2020!!

This year, a new concert editions "Spontaneous Live Series" was born. Of course Trilla's on first release! And there are two different sets of Witek Oleszak, the first with Luis Vicente, the second with you, both from last year's May Spontaneous Music Festival. Tell us about your music with Witek.

Witek is a fantastic musician! Very personal and very easy to play with for me. Every time I played with him it was kind of magical, on every occasion I was pushed a bit further and discovered
new thing.

Hope I can play more times and record with master Witek! His concert with Roger Turner at 2. Spontaneous Music Festival last November was really impressive! I want more Witek in my life!!!

In our conversation one can not overlook the name Low Vertigo. How did this crazy project, extensively strong music, therefore even more fascinating, come to life? And the debut concert (by the way promoting the album) of course in Poland, in the Dragon.

Low Vertigo came around because we three are very much into Metal music and we share a passion for slow distorted music. So we wanted to play an improvised doom-metal-jazz album.

Goncalo Almeida has a wonderful distorted sound on the electric bass, so he basically was the core of this trio with his powerful sound and idea.

With Diego we were talking for sometime already to make a doom-jazz album, we did some attempts with El Pricto, and Ilona Schneider, but we didn’t manage to record and keep the band going. Talking to Goncalo we realized that we share lots of influences together and we decided to make a few concerts in Barcelona. We did a duo gig based on the same idea of Low Vertigo - GOVA.

We organized the recording session for the next day of the duo concert, and Low Vertigo was born. Hope we can turn L.V into a a working band and record a new album!!

Vasco, the last question, actually two names to be explained - TNT and Hung Mung. What are these creatures?

TNT is the acronyms of Tejero, Nastesjo and Trilla. The trio consists of Ricardo Tejero, a beautiful saxophone player from Madrid, who used to live in London for some time, and Johannes Nastesjo, a Swedish double bass player who lives in Malmo.

Hung Mung is a trio with some history already, El Pricto, Diego Caicedo and me, we have known each other for a long time and we have played hundreds of times together, both improvised and composed materials. And this is the first time we have decided to record a trio album, so it’s needless to say that this is a special album for us!
What both trios have in common is that they are going to have a debut album soon on Spontaneous Music Tribune Series.

In addition to this unbelievable Vasco recordings catalog in Poland, at the end of our conversation I would like to add that in the "Spontaneous Live Series" as a number 002, during the third edition of the Spontaneous Music Festival in Poznań, we will have premiere of the new album with two joint sets of Trilla and British saxophonist Colin Webster (the second one also with the participation of Michał Dymny on the guitar), registered in the Dragon Club in November last year.  Also at that time, the duet with Polish guitarist Paweł Doskocz should appear.

Thank you Vasco for this conversation!