Exclusive Interview: COLLIGNON

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A life spent on the road has provided endless inspiration for Jori Collignon. But after 15 years criss-crossing the globe with former bands SKIP&DIE, Nobody Beats The Drum, and C-Mon & Kypski, the Dutch producer has settled into a house in Palmela, Portugal, complete with guesthouse, garden, and studio, turning it into a place of inspiration, activity and creativity where many artists pass through, leaving their stories and ideas. And it’s here that Collignon has deepened and expanded his sound, pouring his extensive musical and travel experiences into the rich, diverse, and colourful productions. Jori likes to describe COLLIGNON as his new band: “I’m on the wheel of this bus, but as interaction between musicians often is the thing that makes music come alive, I use this alias to collaborate with different artists from a variety of backgrounds”. Following the recent release of his vivacious ‘Pontcha ku Lua’ EP on esteemed Dutch imprint Reflektor Records, we caught up with Jori to find out more…

Hi Jori! Welcome to We Own The Nite and thanks for taking time out of your schedule to talk to us. How are you?

Very well, thank you very much!

Where in the world are you right now and what’s life like there?

I’m in Portugal, a small quiet village south of Lisbon, not too far from the ocean. The air is getting a bit colder these days, but the sun is still shining, it’s nice here.

The COLLIGNON band is a relatively new project for you — how would you best describe your sound for those that may not be familiar?

It’s sort of a kind of Global Electronic music. Influences and ideas come from everywhere in the world. I use acoustic and electronic instruments, analog and digital gear for the productions. It’s a mix of worlds. It’s music to move to, music to travel with.

Who else is involved in the project?

COLLIGNON is set up as something in between a band and a solo project, it gives me the freedom and opportunity to work with many different musicians from diverse backgrounds. Gino Bombrini is my buddy and percussionist/multi-instrumentalist when we play live. We’ve been playing together long and it’s really fun to improvise and interact on stage.

What were you doing before you launched COLLIGNON? 

I’ve always been in bands, producing and writing music. We were on the road a lot.My last group was called SKIP&DIE, a collaboration with Cata.Pirata, a singer and visual artist from South Africa. Gino was playing in the band too.After we quit touring, I built a studio where I could work to develop my sound more. This EP is the first result of that.

Who were your biggest musical inspirations growing up and how did you get into live electronic music?

I have always loved musical travellers, venturers like Ry Cooder, David Byrne, Damon Albarn or Manu Chao, or Thelonious Monk or Yusef Lateef, or hidden gems like Alain Peters from La Reunion. My father taught me the basics of jazz piano, but I never wanted to be in music school, I just wanted to be in a band with a group of friends, going around, making a mess. We used to play really energetic live sets. It was always about that energy and the connection to the people in the room. I got into synthesizers, drum machines, samplers and more into production after all that. 

You’re just about to drop your 3-track debut EP Pontcha ku Lua. Can you tell us a bit more about the release and the inspiration behind it?

It is the very first release of this new project, so I’m very happy and excited the music will finally be out there.‘Pontcha ku Lua’ is an uplifting track with some influences from West African music. Sr Nelson, a star guitar player from Guine Bissau plays on it. ’I Left my Wallet in Essaouira’ takes a Moroccan gnawa rhythm and adds a psychedelic electronic vibe to it. The theme sounds like a guembri, a traditional bass instrument, but in fact Gino and I recorded a Ukelele and pitched it down to sound like a bass. The third song Noetic is spacey and bassy, with silky synths and marimbas.

What studio gear did you use to create the EP?

I have a modest set of cool microphones, a really nice old German Studer mixing desk and some tape fx and recorders. I have some amplifiers and springverbs around the studio that I use to re-amp the sounds. A couple of old synths, MS20, Jupiter 6, a Voyager, piano and fender rhodes. Also a small modular synth setup and I use the drummachines and sampler from Elektron quite a lot.

Producing or performing — if you had to pick one, what would you choose and why?

Ha, that would be performing. Ultimately I think music is most valuable, most special, as something that exists in the moment and brings people together. These Covid times are surely painful.

What are you most looking forward to for the rest of this year? Any more cool projects or releases you can tell us about?

After this EP there will be another single and we will release the full album next year. There are a couple of cool projects on the way. I’ve been given the opportunity to organise some special concerts with a small orchestra, to be formed with musicians from Syria and variety of backgrounds. I’m dreaming about that already.

Thanks Jori!

Thank you!

COLLIGNON – Pontcha ku Lua is out now via Reflektor Records

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