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Electric Kompany Interview

Posted on 09 January 2007. © Copyright 2004-2020 Composition:Today

C:T talks to innovative Rock Quartet Electric Kompany, who perform serious contemporary music on rock instruments

Electric Kompany
What is Electric Kompany ?

Electric Kompany is a rock quartet dedicated to commissioning, composing and arranging modern music for rock quartet (electric bass, drum kit, electric guitar, and keyboard) . We are a contemporary ensemble which performs on contemporary instruments.

Who are what influenced you to go down this route?

There was no group that made me think of it – except perhaps king crimson….but even then, it wasn't the music of king crimson, but seeing them live for the first ti me 3 years go. Here we were in nyc's Town Hall at a rock show. 2,000 people were sitting and listening to the music quietly if it were a classical concert. That really got me thinking… EK seems very natural to me . I grew up playing rock music and always loved those sounds, but I also studied classical guitar and love the structure and interpretive details of classical and contemporary music. This group is a combination of those two worlds.

What training do you have as musicians? Tell us about your background

I went to Juilliard for classical guitar as did my keyoardist, Jim Johnston. Alex Walker, the bassist, got a degree in classical guitar from the Hart school of music (he's a fantastic guitarist as well as bassist). The drum mer, Sean McDaniel , is one of the top broadway drummers in nyc. He's also a composer and got a degree from North Texas University..

Which composers do you admire? Are there any better-know composers you'd love to get to write a piece for you?

My taste varies quite a bit. I do like the minimalists and post minimalists, but not as a full diet. I tend to dislike pop based classical music – unless it's really well written and interesting. Lately, I've been more interested in non – pulse based music, music with rubato, music with extreme dynamic contrast. I don't want composers to write a "rock" piece just because we have rock instrumentation. I want them to write something which expands on the idea of what a rock quartet can do, and for that matter – what contemporary music can be. Or course if there are rock influences, that is welcome , but the point of EK is to showcase various forms of contemporary music – as long as it's good music.

I am grateful that some of the composers I admire most have written for us. Jacob Ter Veldhuis, David Laganella, and Marc Mellits to na me a few. Who would I like to write for us? The first choice would be George Crumb. I would love to get so me thing primordial from him - very dynamic, dramatic, colorful. I'm sure he would write a great piece. Christopher Rouse is another composer I greatly admire…

Your call for scores mentions that you prefer scores with little or no improvisation. Why is that?

I do enjoy improvisation. We perform so me pieces by Nick Didkovsky which has improvisation. There have been great moments onstage through improvisation. However, I don't want improvisation as a basis for the music. If I weren't clear about that, I could imagine a composer sending us a head or just some general ideas, and then asking us to improvise on it in certain ways. I'm not interested in that. I like structure. I like details. I like the act of interpretation. I like through - composed music - whether that be a rock song, or a string quartet. So, a little improv is fine, but that's not the essence of the group. The mission is to create scored music for rock quartet.

Are you interested in collaborating with other performers/groups - for example by adding your instruments to a more conventional chamber group?

Oh yes, definitely. We have plans to make a rock octet with the string quartet Ethel this year. We've already commissioned Nick Didkovsky to write for that. I'm also interested in getting some art songs written. Serious contemporary music songs scored for rock quartet and singer. We may do an arrangement of Pierrot lunaire at some point. I also want some pieces written for rock quartet and symphony orchestra. That would be wonderful. In due time ….

What are your plans for the future?

It's already very clear that most people interested in contemporary music have a background in rock music – complex or otherwise. I want to see those two worlds come together in a highly artistic way. In the future, I see very popular concerts and festivals with cutting edge groups. I see them being attending by those interested in contemporary music and complex or experimental rock music. There will be no division. It will be a grand mix of high and low culture. It's already happening in some respect - bang on a can, icebreaker, ethel etc. We just need more daring presenters, performers, and arts organizations. It's coming...the genie is out of the box.

How can people find out more about you?

The best way is through the website We also have a myspace which is

Interview by Composition:Today © Copyright 2004-2020

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