Intervista a Mik Quantius


Continuo con le interviste che ho fatto nell’ultimo paio di anni agli artisti che sono venuti a suonare al Btomic.

Mik Quantius è un personaggio abbastanza particolare, che non solo fa parte degli Embryo  ma si esibisce in performance basate tutte sulla sua fisicità e su un modo originalissimo di usare la voce. È anche simpaticissimo!

La serata prevedeva anche una performance di Lori Goldston, di cui pubblicherò l’intervista la settimana prossima.




I don’t know where to start, you have played with such an amazing variety of musicians and have lots of different experiences…

Yeah, Embryo are always on the road, and with them every day is different. The rule is: if today we play this, then it has to be different, we don’t want to be on the safe side. This is good for a musician. Sometimes they play heavy and carry the singer, but when the audience goes “wow, your singer is so good”, then they don’t give a shit about the band, so we always do it different, and it doesn’t turn into an ego thing, and it’s good.

If it’s hard, then you find a new way, and often it’s good to experiment with music from other countries, a different rhythm, different tones. As a musician you get so many surprises, and it’s important to give your best, not to show your best. Music shouldn’t be work, then it’s like working in a factory, but that’s not the life we chose.

I’m always laid back, I’m also not so educated, I’m life-educated. I don’t have a musical education, but it comes by doing and especially playing with good musicians from Morocco, Indonesia, everywhere, they really can play… they can play in every village, and it’s healthy to play music, to smile and to go over the top and not do only boring stuff… it’s also fun, and if you have fun you can do a good job and also teach the kids to have fun exploring music…

Are you touring around Italy, now?

Yes, I’ve 4 or 5 concerts now with Lori on tour. I think with Embryo we’ve had more than 200 hundred concerts in Italy in the last ten years. Italy can be very open to music, sometimes… once we played in Ferrara, before the church, and then 70-year old people came and said “complimenti”… wow, this is Italy, everyone knows Demetrio Stratos and it’s a different background than what we have in Germany…

You think we are better than Germany?

Yes, I often think the audience is brighter, also at the squats, the generations are more together, in Germany it’s really this… and this… and this [gestures with his hands]: everyone is separated… and I saw squats in Rome where live normal families, everywhere, I saw really a lot in Italy and it’s pretty intense. And the food… there’s so much good culture… if the food is good it goes around the world, if the music is good it goes around the world.

If art is good, and maybe films are breaking minds, then politics cannot do so much. We need art to change… art can show it and the politicians have to underwrite it, ha ha! With politics it’s the same shit as with school: I didn’t want to go to school because school was bad. School should normally be good if you learn good things, but it took me 20 years to realise that… we need different schools. As a teenager, you hate school, you do everything out of school; yeah, at school I do my homework in the morning, but if you are a bit smart you can choose, otherwise you really go down.

While you’re touring, do you get a chance to meet people?

Always, because the stages we play are usually not so big and we don’t sleep in hotels, so then the city is open, often better than watching old buildings, you know how it is…

I saw your bus, by the way. Great!

Yeah, it was by accident because no-one wanted a flower bus, so it was cheap on Ebay and with Embryo we always trust these old cars, because the last van had travelled 850,000 km and we had it for 10 years… so… it’s falling apart now… I think in September it’s finished. It’s not this one, this is mine. It was because I also wanted a bus, sometimes I have bands I like to help because it’s really expensive to rent a car, you need 110 euros a day, and you have no fuel inside.

This car drinks 15 liters, but we don’t have to pay anything. And you can trust these old cars, in the old times the Germans made good cars. Now there’s too much electronic inside, if you have a problem, you really have a problem. And now nothing is produced in Germany, everything goes to China. We did it because for us it was cheaper, now it got more expensive… we always went, do it cheaper, there’s a crisis, we can’t give you money, but now no one has money and everything has collapsed.

In 10 minutes you have to go on. Do you go first?

Yes, now, because we do it different sometimes, sometimes I’m in between, I don’t like to do things the same way and she’s also like this…

What about your way of singing? How did you invent it? You probably get asked all the time…

No, because no one knows me so much… I don’t give so many interviews! In the past I probably wanted to sing the way I liked… we are individuals, we all have our own sound, everyone can do something different, but often if there’s something that people like, everybody does it, and to explore new things is healthy, I think. The way I sing comes from lots of years of work, improvisation, art performance, more and more…

Especially if you have to react on one another’s tones, you can’t do your thing, you have to go together, normally this happens in world music too. With Embryo we play with people that normally wouldn’t fit, but it fits, if you’re good, and then it turns into a new thing. It’s not often understandable for the audience.

Sometimes I do improvised lyrics but not this time. What I do is more visual, and often the people say “that’s what I saw”, and I go, “you are right, you had this impression, you saw a picture”. It’s like painting what I do, it’s a performance, I like to give my best, I often like to play with the accident, and then I make it clear with my voice. I always adapt to the context, and it’s a risk, I’m not on the safe side.