What's Happening, Mario Rom?

Mario Rom's Interzone will open this year's Happening. The band combines elements from pop music with the improvisation of jazz, and the motto of the band that is not afraid of risks is "Everything is allowed!"

© Severin Koller

Besides jazz, your music has a lot of influences from other styles. What is your view of this so called post-jazz-thing?

All of us from Interzone are trying to stay as open as possible to all kinds of things, to never miss an inspiration. Everyone in this band is allowed or even desired to bring in everything to the band – all kinds of influences, ideas, styles – which can be completely different every time.

I think in creating new ways in jazz or any music, you are basically kind of combining all of your own influences – the music you listen to and like (of any style) – in your personal way. Jazz is generally opening up in different directions right now, being influenced by other styles and also influencing a lot of other genres as well. Maybe that's also the main reason why it is starting to have this current "revival".

How do you put your pieces together? How would you describe your writing process?

My writing process tends to be different every time. Sometimes something is just coming to my head.

Sometimes I sit by the piano or the trumpet and try to compose on purpose. Most of the time, I try to record little ideas on my phone and come back sometime later, to see if it's good enough to make a tune or something out of it.

A lot of tunes we play with Interzone have a composed theme followed by completely free improvisation. Our free improvisation very often sounds like it could be written out, or planned – at least that's what we heard from our audience a lot of times.

So we're basically trying to compose together on the spot. Free Jazz to us doesn't mean to play any particular style, just that everything is permitted – every groove, every style, whatever. In the Interzone avantgarde has the same permission as old school jazz, or disco.

What does joyfulness mean to you in a musical context?

We have so much fun in playing with the trio every time. Every concert is really different from the other and we really take a lot of risks all the time. All that develops a unique kind of energy, leading most of the time to completely taking off together with the audience. Those moments are really addictive.

What is your greatest achievement so far and why?

One of the biggest moments we had with this band so far was definitely our tour through Canada in 2017. We played six great festivals in Vancouver, Toronto, Rochester, Ottawa, Edmonton and even the great Montreal Jazz Festival.

As a band we had a big connection from the very first time we played, but we still somehow managed to constantly develop in the last 8 years. I think I would call that an achievement.

What is the jazz scene like in Austria?

In Austria, particularly in Vienna, we have the great luck to have many different scenes of great musicians expressing their versions or visions of jazz music. There are so many great young bands coming up right now, trying to create their own music together, as we do with Interzone.

I would say that a band sound is becoming more and more important than the individual musician. That's great. For me it is really inspiring to live in Vienna.

Mario Rom's Interzone at Klubi on Thursday, November 1st, at 19.00. Free entrance!