Words w/ Wladimir Gasper, An Electronic Maestro

Anticipate a musical hangover as Wladimir Gasper bestows upon listeners an overdose of electronics and classical staples between Philip Glass and Paul Van Dyk. It’s multi-instrumental collage art.  It’s toxic adrenaline. It’s science and sound off the cuff of Brazilian elecro-dance funk from a self-taught talent with a mechanical arm for DIY.

Not without sweat and appetite does Pedro Bernardes, aka Wladimir Gasper, draft and revise, chance and revive the synchronization between a DJ and musical scripter in a labyrinth of emotional highs. Notes hit deep where spin meets scratch meets snare to undercut this melodist’s drive to the gut as the Ukrainian-born, Brasilian-grown artist propels his work into a sphere of provocative layers – piano, guitar, and the silver and gold of an electronic switchboard – at the epicenter of a sonic boom.

As a preliminary debut, Gasper released his musical ammo from the streets of Los Angeles to the high desert of Salt Lake in his one man journey through audio adventure.The compilation of audio-visual art narrating his style, labour and addiction to the madness of sound culture, all come forth with this 7-minute introduction to modern art via mix masterpiece (filmed by Barry G. Walker//agent, Pedro Araripe).

“I create different universes and pseudonyms. I guess there are ways of being in each universe so I think Wladimir Gasper is one of those that transits in this universe or samples and with a different type of rhythmic sounds from the electronic universe. I come from a really diverse school of different influences of rhythms, like the funk music, here, from Rio de Janeiro. I always use new stuff, for the sake of dancing.”

Working on what he calls his “prehistory,” his early career includes collaboration with artists such as Beck, John Legend, Marcelo D2, Bebel Gilberto, Marisa Monte, Mario Caldato, and Seu Jorge, which has amounted to early buzz and an eagerness for growth. When asked about his street performance, Gasper recalls, “The thing about playing in the streets is that I like to go out of my comfort zone and play for people who are not expecting, who still don’t understand my music. It is a different view. I felt an amazing exchanging of vibes between the public and I.”

Below, check out an exclusive exchange with this diamond in the rough on his style, his experience, and his passion for the science of sound. Catch the mixer du jour on the fly at resident venues near Praia de Botafogo before he takes on New York this summer for the Brazil Summer Fest and stay tuned with via Facebook for his soon-to-be-released debut tour.

* Original post for Trendland

 —– Interview with Wladimir Gasper, Pedro Bernardos, by Angela Gleason —–

AG: I want to learn first about the piece released on vimeo recently:

Where did you shoot the intro and flashback scenes of the high desert setting? -What was the significance in fusing this location with your Los Angeles street performance? 

WG: The high desert shots took place in Salt Lake LA, during the same week of the other scenes in LA. I was in New York City for a gig on a basketball event and Mario (Caldato), a good friend and great producer, invited me to his place to produce some tracks in LA. I ended up also recording a remix for Beck with Mario. Since I was already there, Mario asked me where would I like to play, and I said: “In the streets!” so he said “ok, so let’s film it!”. He called Barry G. Walker, his friend and director. So in one day we picked the settings, rehearsed, and on the next day we shot the city and the desert scenes.

The video shows a little bit of at what point I was in my career during this past year. Next year will be like my year “zero” (laughs), I’m still working on my “prehistory”.

AG: As a multi-intrumentalist, your layers in sound serve as strongly different characters. When you compile sounds and effects is there an element of storytelling behind in your material?

WG: The way I make music is never an isolated song, it an idea that envolves a whole context of a story, a place, a texture.. My music shows this. I often create exercises by imagining places, images where that certain song would fit.

AG: Being self-taught in musical technology/production and born with creativity, when and where were you first turned on to sound and its possibilities?

WG: I never asked myself, I just went on doing, playing. It was never a conscious choice, it was all very organic. It seems like my own nature chose it for me.

AG: Having a diverse background, rooted in Ukraine and thriving in Brasil, how much of your cultural and geographical experiences have played a role in your music work?

WG: Since I don’t have any pre established commitment in my creative process with a certain genre or method or style, I take music as a vehicle that allows me to materialize the immaterial. So, to organize myself I create internal universes where my creations make sense, this way I can organize this materialization. Where the creation has to relate to that internal universe, and not with myself especifically. Maybe Wladimir Gasper is one of these materializations.

AG: What was it like performing on the streets in Los Angeles, and did you feel a positive energy with a responsive crowd compared to where you have played previously?

WG: The thing about playing in the streets is that I like to go out of my comfort zone and play for people who are not expecting, who still don’t understand my music. It is a different view. I felt an amazing exchanging of vibes between the public and I.

And the desert is a more lisergic experience, the response of the public comes afterwords, with the video, etc… It actually wasn’t thought, premeditated, we did it for the sake of the moment, for fun.

AG: When you think about music on a global scale, where do you feel music culture is nourished today in society? Where do you feel you have the most artistic freedom?

WG: I don’t do exercises on thinking about the “north” or “south” of the music. It is not something that I search for my music. If somehow what I do sounds contemporary, modern, it is not intentional or premeditated. It is something spontaneous. I’m not very attached to how i should or shouldn’t insert me self as a musician and that also apply on things that I consume often. I don’t usually connect to it. Things touch me or not, simple as this.

AG: Greatest challenge as a musician? Greatest rewards with creating material?

WG: I guess the greatest challenge is when I have energy. I passed lots of time with energy and ideas pumping, then get into a process to materialize the ideas and researches. This was my challenge, being locked up in studios for such long time, on a kinda lonely process, to dominate the production process. on the other hand I try not to be addicted to it. There can’t be much attached to something you dominate. The biggest reward for me is to formulate something in mind and hear afterwards. For me it’s powerful.

AG: Your video captures precisely the work in progress through the labor, the high, and the sweat and glory behind creating your music. How much preparation goes into a complete track?

WG: The truth involving my creation progress, it all turns into a big puzzle where the pieces are connected and conversing with each other and it feels like I take each piece and try to turn it to a track somehow.

AG: With an ear and a mind for the science of sound and the art of emotional evocation, do you feel there is a distinct separation between classical sounds (piano, guitar, drum…) and mechanically altered sounds (sampling, synthing, cutting, mixing, collaging…)?

WG: With my experience, I’ve seen people not from the electronic scene connected somehow with what I do exactly because it comes from an organic nature. I guess the way I play, even though I manipulate it, is really organic. I try to incorporate lots of organic sound, like animals, people, instruments. I don’t know until what point I make this internal distinction, but i feel that it has to exist. It doesn’t matter much for me, I guess what matters more is for who is listening or selling it.

AG: You mention being very spontaneous as though you build your work without boundaries. But is there a distinct sound or ‘brand’ to your work that you foresee consistent in every piece? Do you feel you are learning new sounds every time you create?

WG: To be honest, to organize my self, I create different universes and pseudonyms. I guess there are ways of been in each “universe”, so i think Wladimir Gasper is one of those that transits in this universe or samples a different type of rhythmic sound from the electronic universe. I come from a really diverse school of different influences of rhythms, like the funk music, here, from Rio de Janeiro. I always use new stuff, for the sake of dancing.

AG: Best music experience thus far with your work?

WG: I have a group of experiences taken from a connection with the music frequency. I dont have a particular moment. Me recording with Joao Donato til 6am, when everyone has left and we tried to tune our instruments with the noise that little grasshoppers make when its summer in Rio. I guess this is one of those special moments, like many others that I can’t remember right now. But basically exchanging ideas with people that I have already worked with is the ‘best experience’.”

AG: what next?

WG: Everything. I will pass the last week of July with live performances in New York, and next semester there will be a public a documentary about my creative process and by the end of the year I should have my album ready – let me check out because I have a lot of work.

– Tks Angela and everyone, Wladimir Gasper

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About Angela Gleason

visual designer | writer | pianist in the basement | painter in the night | fashion critic | lush | Italian savant check me out: www.taxisandwalnuts.com