Vladimir Maras

Maturity and jazz playing has a lot of things in common

The second part of the interview with Vladimir Maras by Sanja Raickovic. Read the Part I here>>

SR: Tell more about the new album you are working on. What guides you through that journey, what sound denotes it? You collaborated mostly with musicians from Belgrade on your projects. Does the new one brings new music cooperations and has a new “color”?

VM: Some good collaborations are coming, you’ll see soon. I’ll give you a hint – I’m preparing my 4th album and, probably, we’ll go to the studio in April of 2019. So here it is, a moment of truth, after 8 years. Thanks to the guys their maximum help and presence. It should be a project of historical value for me, maybe for Montenegro also. Some great musicians will take part in it.

SR: Your work in your record company „Rabbit records” is significant – supporting local colleagues. You published three albums, a compilation of original compositions of Montenegrin musicians, „Montenegrin Instrumental Forces”. Are you preparing a new album with our ethnic songs with various performers? How do you see the future of the company? Are there some other projects?

VM: Besides three “Montenegrin Instrumental Forces” project, we have published a “Carlo sings standards” CD, created by one of the most known Montenegrin jazz performers Karlo Djordjevic. It’s a hard thing to do here, to encourage all quality and creative musicians to compose tunes just for that specific recording, but we’ll try to do that again. It was a good project. Also, Rabbit Records has a lot of partners on many projects such as Unicef, World EXPO fairs in Shanghai and Milan, and many others. We have strong connections with local cultural centers in Montenegro – last year we brought RTS Big band to Bar (art festival Barski ljetopis), and this July we’ll bring huge project “Rock opera” to the same destination, in collaboration with Big bend of Novi Sad and orchestra of Serbian national theatre. So, we’re trying to bring some quality fresh air in our small community and we’ll try to do that in the future.

SR: You played in several rock bands as a young man. Your own style was smooth jazz and ethnic jazz. The road leads to jazz. What do you think does a musician needs to get experience and maturity to become a jazz musician. The word jazz could be a synonym for the word life. You have to live different emotions to be able to understand and drift through improvisation. The critical thing is musical knowledge and virtuosity too. In your opinion what combines an excellent and sensible musician?

VM: You can learn some techniques, but you can’t learn how to like jazz. You’re right, jazz is life. If you feel that way, you’re a lucky guy. Life experience is an important thing, and maturity and jazz playing has a lot of things in common. But let me try to tell it simply – sometimes, you need to play just one note at the right place, and you’ll have jazz.

SR: You also write a column for the local portal. You touch the subjects about mentality, culture, social, humanity, politics, music, art and other topics in our country, as well as the world. What does it mean to you to tell what you think and feel, to try to make some influence in the society, pointing to troubles, which the humankind is facing, especially, in recent years?

VM: It’s some kind of stress relief session. A lot of things look bad globally, and we need to work hard to make it better. On a local level, I’m trying to send some messages to our youngsters, to tell them that they need to move their asses, they must ask for more and for better, always. I’m happy because I see that lot of people reads the article on Thursdays in “Objektiv”. I’ll do my best in the future, also.

SR: You have significant experience in media, working for several years as the music editor in local television. The result is a lot of clips, television commercials, jingles. These music miniatures seem simple, but it is very challenging to create in few minutes or seconds an attractive tune, matching the „product”. You also composed music for a theatre play „Čorba od kanarinca”. Also, you wrote a lot of songs and arrangements. How do you feel about all this creative work?

VM: As I said before, all this stuff goes into “Experience” life Folder. Sometimes it’s hard to match an exact tune for some product or promotional statement, but if you have your creativity active all the way, it’s so simple. The same thing as in composing a part. If you have an idea, the main theme, you’re done. I had deadlines, I had producers with lack of their own idea to chase as a final product, but I did all this very successfully. One day, it’ll be an important part of my discography, I’m sure.

SR: For the last few years, you are a chief music editor at the Montenegro National Radio. In a society like this, there is often a lot of stagnation happening. What is your mission in a position like that?

VM: My mission as a music editor in national radio broadcaster was to reorganize work process and to try to put the best music editors in front. To give some new responsibilities to them and to follow all the progress as a listener, not as an editor. The national broadcaster is not a commercial radio station, which should be promoting just hits and popular music. Our mission is to follow the modern music world, of course, but at the same time, to take care of our national music legacy and to find the right place in our music program scheme for it. We need to give deserved importance to our national music and all other values. National radio broadcaster must take care of that. And we’re, just, at the beginning…

SR: In 2011 started working the Ethno Jazz Club „Sejdefa”. There you try to promote good music and musicians. How is all this developing and what does it mean to you?

VM: Sometimes, as kids or students, we are dreaming of having our own club, where we can host friends and have “our place” to hang out. Sejdefa started the same way. My idea was to open a club with jazz music and western culture, combining it with national food and drinks. And guess what, it worked! We have a lot of gigs over the year, mostly by the local or regional bands, and it’s hard. Jazz culture in Montenegro is still on the society margins, but we’re trying to survive and what is more important – to survive without changing the starting idea. Jazz will live in Montenegro, I’m sure. Sejdefa now, 7 years after opening, is one of the most popular clubs in Montenegro. We have more than 200 events over the year, and we’ll try to make more. Visit us in July, there will be a lot of good gigs to hear. Welcome.