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Interview with Jose Cruz (JCRZ)

Recently writer and critic Robert Nagle made a list of 11 Incredible Musicians You Can Download for Free . Many of the musicians on this top list make their music freely available on Jamendo, a free and legal music sharing site. Several musicians  appearing on this  list also gave interviews to this blog  (Read the other interviews).  You can also download a free sampler containing full songs from artists profiled here. jcrw2

JCRZ is  a French electronic musician  named José Cruz who has produced 12 albums for Jamendo. of which Sit Down & Dance 2.0 is the most accessible of JCRZ’s 12 albums:  fun, dancey, very pop and energetic. The melodies are simple and the electronic effects are understated. There are occasional voice tracks, but mostly it is electronic. It is straight/ conventional techno, but the formula is just right. The tracks that jumped out immediately were: Dreamsequence and Attraction Zero, and also Rollercoaster especially. All three are hard and very fun techno tracks. One Day Ago reminds me of some of the Suzanne Palmer remixes (that voice certainly sounds like her!) Also notable was the more serene/dreamy Memory Lost which reminded me of Paul van Dyk. (so did Fallen Angel).  JCRZ’s other albums are worth checking out, especially Kind of Music and Fractal Attraction. In Non-compliant Human Being, JCRZ does two amazing dream trances, Red Javeline (Sun Mix) and Blue Javeline (Moon Mix). I especially love the 16 minute Red Javeline, which has an otherworldly magic, stretching outward to the sky and ending in a kind of lovely musical fog. In Checksum of Life, songs like Touched by an Angel and  the lackadaisical Urban Interlude are so simple and joyful that one wonders if they were created in a happier and simpler era.   His latest album Volume 10 doesn’t exactly cover new territory, but it is still enthralling music.

1. Can you talk a little about your creative process? What parts about making music are the easiest for you? What parts are the most difficult?

Well, my way of making music is intuitive.  Most of the time I begin by playing the synth or making a rhythm;  next I will add  sound elements:  a bass, string pads (i love strings) …  Making a track can  take a couple of hours or sometimes  days. But I never know if i will keep it or throw it away.  Sometimes, after hours of work, a track can sound good.. But when i listen to it the next day, it sounds awful. The “next-day”  listening test is very important to know if I keep or not a track I composed. I learnt electro music by myself, never went to musical school.. so I know my limits. It’s like having a one-colored pencil to make a color drawing. This limit gives  my music a kind of minimalist flavor. You will never get a “note overdose” while listening to my music. I’m light years away from Beethoven or Bruckner 🙂   I always learn a little more with every track I compose.  For me, making music is like a endless quest. jcrw1

2. How has your biography or geography affected the kind of music you make? What do you think is unique or different about the music you make?

I  have traveled to Africa, Brazil and lots of European clubs. That has definitely affected  my music.   Often one of my pieces will be reminiscent of another.     But it doesn’t matter. Every piece of music is influenced by another.  Every musician has only 12 semi-tones  to play with. I do not pretend to be creating something new.

As far as what is unique about my music, that’s a question only my  listeners  could  answer.    My music is only studio music but  one day I  would like to hear one of my tracks played  in an acoustic performance or   by real musicians. It would be a step out of  cyberspace.

3. What other musician or musicians have inspired you? Can you name someone who is not a musician who has provided inspiration for your creativity?

I always liked listening to  film music and electronic music. When I was young, i fell in love with film music  by John Williams and Jerry Goldsmith then Hans Zimmer…  my musical heroes. I  also liked film composers like Giorgio Moroder (who invented electro disco) and John Carpenter (who invented minimal horror film music). My first electro non-film music influences are Jean Michel Jarre 70’s German electro music (Tangerine Dream, Klaus Shulze, Kraftwerk), Philip Glass, Moby….  Synthpop has influenced me too;   Pet Shop Boys are my favorite band.. and I’m also  influenced by trance music and Eurodance  : Paul Van Dyk, Blank & Jones, Jam & Spoon ….

4. If a friend or family member listened to your music, what parts of your personality would this person recognize in it?

My music has melancholic parts. Most of my tracks are in minor key. If someone listen to my music, I  think the minor key sounds are the most recognizable.

5. What is the most difficult part  about being a musician?

After finishing a piece of music, I worry  about running out of inspiration.  It is like asking “Can I  find someone again to fall in love with?” After a creativity phase, there is always a kind  of loneliness.

6. Music seems to be an important part of videos and film now. Have you ever imagined what kind of video or film might be  perfect  for your music? What is the best situation (i.e., time and place) for people to hear your music?

Some of my  music  can be used to accompany video or film. I made some dreamy tracks that can be used to illustrate nature or space movies. Other tracks can be used on films  or video game  action sequences.   To hear my music you have to “Sit Down And Dance” : listen to my music and let your imagination go.

7. Can you think of one event in your life which caused you to decide to “become serious” about music?

Perhaps, a worldwide success of one of my tracks could decide this. Musical creativity has always been a big part of my life. In fact, making music for fun is total freedom.  Perhaps someday one of my tracks will become internationally known and that may determine how serious I need to get about my music; on the other hand  “becoming serious” about music could mean losing some of that  freedom.

{ 6 comments… add one }
  • Vilmar Junior 1/14/2010, 10:47 pm

    This guy makes a different an incredible sounds, I kown your work and listen everday Human Being Abum… some sounds remind me a retro-futurist musics of 80’s… Greetings from Brazil!

  • ArnoG 1/15/2010, 11:37 am

    JCRZ tracks sound very very good ! If you love really good electronic music, you must listen JCRZ absolutely!

  • Peter... 1/16/2010, 6:30 am

    Amazing !!! José has one of the best potential in the world of music !

  • Silvio 8/16/2011, 5:57 pm

    I just fell in love with his music, the first time I listen to a PET SHOP BOY’S remix that he did..after that , I can’t stop listen to his music..GRET JOB!!!!!!..Love you work!!!!

  • Evaldo de Souza 10/7/2011, 8:04 am

    Vou escrever em português, hehe
    Recentemen te, quase sem querer, fiquei conhecendo a música de JCRZ e achei-a bastante atraente. Como ele mesmo disse, transmite uma certa melancolia, mas não chega a ser pesada como um Pink Floyd, por exemplo. Então, gostei muito de ter descoberto o JCRZ, pois trata-se de música da melhorr qualidade. Não comercial. Extremamente de bom gosto. Fazia muito tempo que um artista desconhecido (para mim), não me causava tanta surpresa! Abraço e sucesso!

  • Deb Paley 4/3/2017, 4:11 pm

    I think you’re a genius. I know all your Pet Shop boys mixes and I promise to explore the rest of your work. You’re amazingly talented. My parents were musicians, so music is in my blood and the air I breathe. Thank you.

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