The Kilimanjaro Darkjazz Ensemble is a mutant mix of what has inspired us musically, and especially visually.
TKDE started off as an audiovisual project back in 2000, influenced by old silent movie directors such as Murnau and Lang, but also the animations of Jan Svankmeijer or the films of the Quay Brothers.
Jason Köhnen and Gideon Kiers, started creating soundtracks to old silent movies (Nosferatu, Metropolis) and progressively composed new music inspired by these images which eventually became TKDE.
Trombonist Hilary Jeffery (originally from the UK, residing in Amsterdam) joined in 2004 and introduced Swiss born Nina Hitz ...
The debut album 'The Kilimanjaro Darkjazz Ensemble' was recorded with this line up, and was released on UK electronica label Planet Mu early 2006.
TKDE expanded to six when Eelco Bosman and French vocalist Charlotte Cegarra joined the ensemble in 2007. In 2009 Chrome Hoof's Sarah Anderson added the ensemble as violinist. (tkde myspace)
How did you come to the idea to write scores for old classic silent movies?
Gideon and myself used to work at a multimedia company in 2000, in our spare time we started editing old silent films with mixes i made.
After a short while we decide to start producing dark electronic jazz to combine with the initial classics Nosferatu and Metropolis.
One thing led to another and we officially decided to form TKDE in 2001.
What do you think about movie scores today? Is it becoming the lost art?
Well has a different importance than in the days of silent film obviously. I dont think its a lost art, but there are less classic soundtracks these days than for instance scores from the likes of Ennio Morricone. Although you can see how a composer like Angelo Badalamenti has managed to create a certain vibe which is quite specific.
Would you consider making an original score for a contemporaty movie? Any favorite directors?
Of course. I think that would be a great challenge. Favourite directors would definitely be David Lynch. Also Mario Bava..but also a lot of contemporary Eastern European directors, for instance Bela Tarr. In animation it would have to be The Quay Brothers and Jan Svankmeyer.
The Kilimanjaro Darkjazz Ensemble - Here Be Dragons
TKDE consists of people from many different countries and musical backgrounds. How did you all come together?
I kind of ran into all of the members on the road. It clicked musically and personally and we all hooked up from there basically. I dont think we're a band who would audition for members, it wouldnt work.
The are six people in the band. How does your creative process look like?
Gideon and myself produce the tracks. We are evolving that the new members are adding their sound and style to the new material, but the two of us still compose and produce the basics.
What other inspiration do you have, apart from movies?
Life in general i guess.
Who would you say are your influences?
This would be the same answer as question 6. You can never really pin point what influences you at a given time. Its also not really important, i guess all past influences build up to the forming of your creative character.
You have a new album out, ''Here Be Dragons''. Can you tell us something more about it?
It was a long two year process. We evolved from a producers duo to a 6 piece band. There were a lot of developments in all forms, compositional and production wise since the debut album was written between 2001 and 2003. I think the result of the album speaks for itself, well, thats the goal we have with the music. We prefer to leave an open conclusion for the listener, hopefully every listener has their personal trip / experience when listening.
Who does visuals for your live shows and how important are they for experiencing your music?
Because we make 'visual' music, i think both accentuate each other in a strong way.
You have used Gerald McDermott's animations for your videos "Shadows" and "Avian Lung". What's the story behind it and did you get any feedback from Gerald McDermott?
Yes, he approved the clips and loves the music. There were plans to do some co-operation, but unfortunately the busy schedules did make it possible.
The Mount Fuji Doomjazz Corporation is a new alter ego we have spawned in which we will be releasing and performing with several TKDE members + special guests every now and then.
A side project focussing on Improv/Jazz/Doom/Drones...heavy and evil!!
The second Mount Fuji live improv album will be appearing around Summer of 2009. (tkde myspace)
Can you tell us something about The Mount Fuji Doomjazz Corporation?
TMFDJC is simply our live improv side project.
The Mount Fuji Doomjazz Corporation - Succubus
What are the differences between TKDE and TMFDC?
TKDE is more structured in its composing and TMFDJC is our outlet for our bizarre ideas / musical tests.
Why mountains Kilimanjaro & Fuji in your bands names?
Its a great metaphor for something colossal.
What is your favorite (classic) movie?
Murnau's Nosferatu. No doubt about it!
What music do you listen to these days?
Lately a lot of riddims, some old Supercat tracks. Also some doom ; Electric Wizard and Pentagram.