When did you discover your love for your craft and what made you realize you wanted to pursue a career in it?
From the very moment I began Conservatory, I felt something very special. The attraction to music was magnetic and I could keep listening to music in my head even after each class. At that moment in Cordoba (Spain) there was an exceptional cast of teachers belonging to a unique generation: Fernando Chicano, Rafael Quero, and, above all, Rafael Orozco, who left an immense mark on me.
They profoundly marked my musical formation and taste for music. At the same time, growing up in Andalusia, where we have so many cultural influences and a very rich past, opened my musical sensitivity to other non-Western classical music, such as the “Andalusi” orchestras of Morocco, the traditional Sephardic songs or the Celtic music that arrived from Galicia in Spain. All of them seemed to me both fascinating and full of unprecedented musical richness.
Whilst still a student at the conservatory, I created various “ensembles” that performed fusion music between East and West. We played a lot around Andalusia and, above all, let our creativity loose. I approached instruments completely foreign to my tradition: the Moroccan oud, African percussion, Renaissance flutes… It was a very enriching period for me both as a musician and as a person.
After I finished my studies and became a conservatory teacher, one thing led to another. And now I was sure: I was a musician.
To what or whom do you accredit your sense of style?
For me, style is a path. That is to say, it is something that is formed as a life experience and that has two main influences: music teachers and all the people and situations you encounter and experience over the years. Minimalism or jazz has had a huge influence on my music.
Philip Glass, Jenkins, Max Richter, Einaudi… but also Chick Corea, Keith Jarrett, and Miles Davis. It is difficult to label your music. I also believe that every good musician is also a great lover of all music and does not reject any style: the musician must know as much music as possible in order to appreciate what really passions him.
Javier Rodriguez Interview with Muzique Magazine
On your current project, how did you come up with the concept?
When I composed the music for “The Price of Salt”, a Senegalese film directed by African filmmaker Elodie Toto, I certainly had in mind the richness of rhythms that would be found around the lake where, aside from human tragedy and harsh labor conditions, there is a great community of women and men with a vast musical and linguistic tradition.
That is why I called on several friends such as Modou Touré and Yaroldi Abreu to confront these influences and concentrate them on the soundtrack. Modou Touré has recorded 3 of the tracks of the new soundtrack for “The Price of Salt”. He is, in addition to being a great musician, a friend.
What are some of your greatest challenges, and what is your greatest attribute when it comes to your work ethic?
I always strive to ensure that music is not divorced from social reality. Ethics and music go hand in hand and beauty for beauty’s sake does not interest me. I am involved in various musical projects to help Non-Governmental Organizations in India, particularly with Odanadi.org, an organization based in the state of Karnataka which helps children who have been victims of “human trafficking”.
Music has to have a social purpose. From Beethoven to the great benefit galas of the 20th century, this social and educational intent has been inherent in artistic creation.
What are your plans for the near future?
For the immediate future, there are several ballet and theatre projects I am working on. Particularly interesting is the direct commission from the Spanish Circle in London of a ballet that celebrates the cultural symbiosis between the United Kingdom and the Hispanic world. It will be a continuation of a previous project “Embrujo” where the roots of flamenco will be fused with contemporary dance.
In addition to these projects, the film “The Price of Salt” will premiere in July, whose soundtrack, dedicated to African music, can be heard on online platforms such as Spotify.
How can fans find you?
What suggestions do you have for other artists like yourself?
My only suggestion to any musician is “Play what you mean, mean what you play”