As Elliot Galvin tours the UK, we sent him some questions and here’s what he had to say:
Q – You’ve been accused (by the Guardian no less!) of having a very English sense of humour. How does this influence you musically?
Elliot – I’m influenced by a lot of extra musical art, and some of my favourite artists are comedians like Stuart Lee and Spike Milligan. Humour is a very difficult thing to get right in a musical context without it sounding twee, but it’s a very beautiful connection with an audience when it works. The timing and methods of constructing material that people like Stewart Lee employ have been a big influence on me.
Q – You work with a number of forms of improvised music as well as composing for Ensembles, Dance Companies, Theatre Groups and Festivals and working with film and multi-media events and happenings but the trio appears to be your main artistic outlet. Is the jazz part of the whole, or is the whole part of the jazz?
Elliot – To me it’s all part of the same process, I see them all as different contexts, some material is more appropriate for one context than another and the trick is exploiting the context your creating in to its full potential. Each context informs the others. My trio gives me the unique opportunity to have a working band that plays together regularly allowing the music to grow and evolve in a way that just isn’t possible when writing a one off piece for a project. Because of this it’s become my main artistic outlet and one of the most enjoyable ones to work with.
Q – You use piano, keyboards and a variety of little instruments, as well as a souped up melodica – could you give us a tour and say what they mean to the music?
Elliot – They mean texture. Texture is really important to me and using other instruments beside piano bass and drums allows for a much broader textural pallet. The ones we use on punch are:
Kalimba – I bought this from a tacky souvenir shop, and because of this it has a slights child like, cheap quality that I think works great in Tipu’s Tiger.
Microtonal Melodica – I built this myself by filing down some of the inner reeds that make up a melodica’s sound. The only limitation that bugs me about the piano is the difficulty to play the notes between the notes, but with this instrument I can do just that.
Tape player – I found an old tape of a Punch and Judy show in a record store and loved the imagery it conjured up and its dark childlike quality.
Catch Elliot and his trio on tour:
16 – The Blue Lamp ABERDEEN
17 – Wales Millennium Centre CARDIFF
21 – The Spotted Dog BIRMINGHAM
26 – Seven Arts Leeds LEEDS
13 – Kings Place LONDON
14 – The Bear Inn at Hotwells BRISTOL
19 – The Lescar SHEFFIELD
29 – Cheltenham Jazz Festival CHELTENHAM