Turner Sims Intern Charlie Laundon talks to tuba player and composer Daniel Herskedal ahead of his event here on Saturday 20 February. The Norwegian instrumentalist performs with his trio and a string ensemble from the University of Southampton in a project specially created for Turner Sims and supported by the Royal Norwegian Embassy.
CL: How do you prepare for a performance?
DH: On a performance day, I usually I do some warm up exercises for breathing and playing. But the most important thing is the mental preparation, trying to empty the brain for everything else but the music and the performance, to be able to focus 110% when you get on stage.
CL: When did you first discover that jazz was the right genre for you as a musician?
DH: I grew up in a small town with a big international jazz festival, Molde Jazz Festival. The festival arranges workshops for young school bands throughout the year, and through that program I met some very good players and teachers. I was around 13-14 when I started, and all the youngsters got free tickets for all festival concerts, which allowed me see world stars like Michael Brecker, Pat Metheny, Eric Clapton, Palle Mikkelborg and Stevie Wonder live.
CL: Tell us your top five jazz tracks?/ What are your top five most listened to song on your iPod?
DH: My taste in music is very varied. I’ve listened as much to classical and folk music as jazz music. Trying to develop the tuba’s place in jazz music, I’ve listened a lot to horn player’s with a very personal way of playing, like Arve Henriksen, Palle Mikkelborg and Jan Garbarek.
CL: Of all the places you have toured which was your favourite?
DH: There’s so many places I liked a lot, and it’s difficult to compare. It’s a very different thing to tour in Europe, Middle East, Latin America and USA. Not easy to pick one, but Rio de Janeiro is one of the places I really would like to visit again.
CL: If you could collaborate on a song with any artist, past or present who would it be?
DH: Bobby McFerrin – he has developed a lot of techniques on how to use your voice in different ways, I’m aiming for the same with the tuba. Would be very interesting to do a duo with him!
CL: If you could go back in time, what piece of advice would you give your 10-year-old self?
DH: Pick a smaller instrument!
CL: What is the atmosphere like when you are working with your band on and off stage?
DH: I am very privileged to work my favourite musicians. I often compose difficult things to play, sometimes impossible. My fellow band members always find good solutions to make it work, and we all put down a lot of effort off stage, so that we can have fun on stage.
CL: If you could choose any musical instrument other than the tuba, which one would you choose to play?
DH: Probably piano.
CL: What is your favourite food?
DH: Indian food!
CL: What are your hobbies when not recording, writing or performing?
DH: Skiing, fishing and mountain biking. I just moved back to Oslo from Copenhagen, which will make all those easier.
CL: What was it like to grow up in Norway?
DH: I grew up at the countryside, near a small town, which was nice and quiet. The nature and landscapes are fabulous there; it is always good to come back. There was a good music school in town, good instructors and a great jazz festival, which gave me the possibilities I needed to become a musician.
With personal thanks to Daniel for taking the time out to answer my questions. CL