Hi Jori, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?
Very well, thank you!
Can you talk to us about your latest EP “Pontcha ku Lua”?
Pontcha ku Lua is my very first release as Collignon and I’m really happy and excited for the music to be finally out there. The EP contains 3 tracks. ‘Pontcha ku Lua’ has an uplifting West African, High Life vibe. ‘I Left my Wallet in Essaouira’ is like a psychedelic electronic track with influences from Gnawa music from Morocco. The last track ‘Noetic’ is a bit like a big kick drum spacing out with a marimba on a bed of static radio sounds and silky synthesizers.
What is the inspiration behind the release?
These last years I moved to a different country, became a father, stopped touring and built a new studio. All these things have influenced my music, it made me go through a process of looking inwards and less travelling, even before Corona hit. I guess this release came out of a very open period, with the freedom for me to make the music I wanted to make, work with the people I wanted to work with, all based on my best experiences from previous projects. And then at the same time that pressure of starting a new chapter.
Do you have plans to release any sort of music video for the track?
Ha, yes I do. I’ve been interested in video synthesizers. A while ago I found a very old-school machine, an Atari Video Music, in a cool shop in Austin. Now there is a company called LZX Industries from Portland, they build video synth modules. I use these instruments to create images for the tracks. It’s a bit geeky, but you can design very cool patterns and they have a really nice analog video feeling.
What’s the story behind the name of the title track “Pontcha ku Lua”?
It is Creole. ‘Pontcha’ is a liquor, ‘ku Lua’ means ‘and the moon’. Like, in between the rum and the moon, between the gutter and the stars. I asked my friend and singer Justino Delgado to translate it.
It’s about a feeling that came to me in some places, some neighborhoods. During the day it’s all sunny and optimistic, women and children playing outside. Then when the sun goes down and the air gets cold, the alcohol comes in and the energy gets more emotional, full of longing.
Can you tell us about the recording and writing process?
Yes, the track is a result of a couple of collaborations. I recorded congas with my buddy Gino Bombrini. We tuned 5 congas so we would have not only a rhythm, but also a little melody as a foundation for the track. We jammed and recorded the bass and first guitar-part too. Then I invited Sr Nelson Costa, a star-guitarist from Guine Bissau, to come to the studio and play. In Amsterdam I worked on some synths with Sjam Sjamsoedin. Sjam is a bit of a techno head and has a super awesome modular setup that always gives me a lot of interesting stuff to work with. I mixed it together with my friend Simon Akkermans, he’s running the amazing Epic Rainbow Unicorn studio with loads of old tape-echoes and other cool antiquities.
What studio gear did you use to record the EP?
Building my new studio has really changed the way I produce. I used to be in the back of the tour-bus with my laptop, now I have a nice room with all my instruments and I can really dive in to develop my sound.I have a nice old German Studer mixing desk, some old synths, MS20, Jupiter 6, a Moog Voyager, Fender Rhodes and a piano. I like to send the sounds to different speakers in the room, like a big leslie or a guitar amp with a springverb. I have a modest set of nice microphones, some outboard gear and tape machines I really like. I work a lot with the machines from Elektron and I try not to spend too much money on my modular synth.
Having lived there for a number of years now, what role does Portugal play in your music?
Portugal is a very interesting place for me to be, because there is a great mixture of cultures here, especially in Lisbon. The city is known for fado, but because of its historic connections with places like Brazil, Cape Verde, Angola and Mozambique, it has a very rich and diverse mix of musical styles. And besides that, also a cool electronic scene with labels like Principe and Enchufada.
What’s the biggest challenge in balancing traditional world music influences with modern electronic production techniques?
For me it’s all about groove. Those hot traditional rhythms that can take people into a trance, make them lose their minds and their bodies, pure fire. That energy is endless inspiration. Electronic music can be so static in comparison. Modern production on the other hand makes it possible to create new environments. Sometimes it feels a bit like making an abstract painting with sound. You can paint new worlds.
We’ve read that travelling plays a strong role in the inspiration behind your music. Where would you most like to travel, once restrictions have lifted?We are planning a trip to Guine Bissau, I mentioned it, a small country on the West Coast of Africa. Part of my family is from there and it has a rich musical culture. It’s a country I would love to learn more about. I have been working with a couple of amazing musicians from there recently.
Talk to us about your live show. What does it consist of? Where might fans be able to see you play soon?
Live I play together with Gino. He is a percussionist and multi-instrumentalist. We have been playing together for long, we don’t need many words and we can really interact on stage. The live set is dynamic, we have some samplers, a modular setup, keyboards, drums, percussion and guitar. No computer. We improvise, going in and out of the tracks. We are experimenting with different audio sources, like guitar-amps or cone-speakers, placing them in different places in the room for surprise effects.We’ve been lucky to play a couple of shows this year, but all with restrictions because of Covid19. The situation is dark. It looks like clubs and venues will be closed for a while and there will be a lot of serious damage in the sector. We will have to be inventive, but live music on a computer screen doesn’t do it for me.
What else is happening next in Jori Collignon’s world?
Well.. since recent months gave me some extra time in the garden, I just planted some peanuts! Growing my own peanuts and making my own peanut butter will be a major landmark achievement for me.
Finally, what’s next for you between now and the end of the year? Can we expect some more music?
Yes! The album is finished. First there will be another single and then the rest of the album will be out next year.