For the month of August, a new appointment with Le Interviste di Nick, here on Rock’s Temple. Last month we met through review the great project of the American composer Elk Minister, analyzing in detail his latest EP released at the time “Cancer“.
Influenced by listening to genres such as rock, jazz and classical music, Elk has dedicated his passion for music since the age of 7 and has been a composer for almost as long. Currently, Elk is busy in a large-scale project of 26 albums called “The Book of Slaw: Songs From My Great Aunt Coleslaw”, dedicated to the life of the Elk Minister’s Great Aunt.
With these assumptions, we are ready to let Elk tell us the story of his life and see what he will be able to tell us about him in some simple 10 questions:
Check out useful links and contacts at the end of the interview
1) As a first question, I would like you to tell me more about your musical background: how was your love for music born and how you approached it?
Elk: As a young boy I was not very interested in music. One day when I was 5, I was walking home from the dentist when I heard the most beautiful sound. It was the sound of wild animals. I recognized the rhythms and tones from a different plane of existence. From that day forward I have tried to make my music have an organic feel such as the oysters and clams.
2) How did you start and describe your songwriting activity?
Elk: My best friend and companion Gerald, a wooden stick, has been a great believer in my thoughts, songs, and melodies. In 1999, we wrote an opera based on the life cycle of fire ants called ‘Fire Ants.’ It was well received on the local circuit and pushed me to expand my musical ideas outside of operatic music and embrace experimental and psychedelic sounds. I usually write all of my melodies first on a flute that was given to me by my Uncle Radcliffe.
3) How would you describe your music in short?
Elk: Other wordly and different. All of the music I perform is either original, or written by My Great Aunt Coleslaw, who is in the future and sends me her music psychically via Gerald. My Great Aunt Coleslaw lives in the future, and because of this much of the music can sound like it is from another planet.
4) Which are the artists that have most inspired and influenced you?
Elk: Beethoven is one my greatest influence because of the sheer power and emotion he was able to convey with some silly black dots on a line. I am also a big fan of Andy Kaufman, Fred Rogers, and Pythagoras. Without Pythagoras I don’t think I would even know how to tune my guitar. Of course, the sounds of nature and the soft morning air is when I feel most inspired.
5) How much do you think it is important to have a strong musical identity and how would you comment on yours?
Elk: I think having a musical identity is the most important thing for every musician who wishes to do original music. There is nothing wrong with wanting to sound like someone else, or a particular genre, as most people need to identify with something familiar to like it first. Most artists wants to challenge their audience. For me, I personally like challenging myself. I like doing something musically that I have never done before is my goal.
6) Let’s talk about your last and actual musical project. What can you tell us about it?
Elk: This year, I consumed by the massive project, The Book of Slaw, a 26 part album that contains both music and poetry alternating every 2 weeks. Everything was written by My Great Aunt Coleslaw, and I record all the parts and release them for her. My Great Aunt Coleslaw has even dubbed this year, The Year of The Elk, and I am doing my best to bring her music to a worldwide audience. The project contains all of the music and poetry she had written over her 13 lifetimes on this planet.
7) Which do you think is your most representative song or that gave you more satisfaction?
Elk: The first song off of Capricorn, Everything is Make Believe, is a great representation of The Book of Slaw, and The Year of The Elk. My Great Aunt Coleslaw was a wonderful and also a spirit like none other. It was the first song My Great Aunt Coleslaw had ever written, and can more or less be seen as a foreshadow of the entire Book of Slaw. If people dig that song, they will most likely enjoy the other songs written by My Great Aunt Coleslaw.
8) What do you feel when you make music?
Elk: I feel a sense of oneness with the entire universe and multiverse. Music is a game of astronomy, with the sun being the center of a particular solar system. When those planets move, the notes move and make different rhythms. This is the concept of The Harmony of The Spheres that Pythagoras taught My Great Aunt Coleslaw. We are all a piece of the moving galaxy and where we land is music, we just cant hear it because the universe can’t be perceived that way. We are only humans and can’t feel the rotation of the Earth. But one day, perhaps we will be able to harness the great power of science with the magnetic transcendence of music.
9) Is there any artist would you like to cooperate with?
Elk: Most of my heroes are no longer living with us, but I do think I would like to work with Alice Cooper, or Ian Anderson. Both of these musicians have such individual personalities, I would be curious to see what we come up with. Then there animals such as dolphins, giraffes, and chimpanzees. I would like to record a big band jazz album with a group of meerkats.
10) What can you tell me about your future projects? And what peaks would you like to reach?
Elk: After The Book of Slaw, I will be taking a slight hiatus to reevaluate my existence. Why am I? What have I done to deserve the honor of playing and releasing the music of My Great Aunt Coleslaw? And now that it is over what will I do. I can say that I have been working on music for several years that is a cross between an exercise album and a tap dancing album. A album of covers is also in the works. I hope to release a song once a month next year.