An extraordinary Dutch lute player Jozef van Wissem in interview: «I try to tell people to have a heart»

Jozef van Wissem is a mystical and unusual man with unusual choice of musical instrument. And he shared with Eatmusic his unusual vision of the world. He is a minimalist in the music and it seems in all the rest too. You can read the most extraordinary interview with the great master right here right now.

Jozef van Wissem in interview | Лютнист Йозеф ван Виссем в интервьюEM: Dear Mr Jozef van Wissem, welcome to Russia once again! You will be here not for the first time. Tell us please how do you feel in our country?

Jozef van Wissem: Thank you! I feel good in Russia. The audience always makes me want to return.

ЕМ: Do your fans in Russia have differences from the other fans in the world?

JvW: I feel that my music is something sacred for the fans in Russia.

ЕМ: How do you think where is your music more understandable for people in this crazy and madness world?

JvW: The language of music is universal!


In 2013 Jozef van Wissem won the Cannes Soundtrack Award for the score of Only Lovers Left Alive at the Cannes Film Festival:

ЕМ: Tell us please how did you start your way with music? Why did you do so strange and extraordinary choice like lute after guitar playing in the childhood?

JvW: I studied a classical guitar. My teacher had a lute in her room and she would have me play lute pieces on a classical guitar from a book «Music from Shakespeare’s time». That’s how I was introduced to the lute repertoire.

ЕМ: What do you try to tell people through your music?

JvW: I try to tell people to have a heart.

ЕМ: If you can describe a lute with only four any words, what words would it be?

JvW: Intimate, female, round, history.

ЕМ: As we know you read lectures about a lute. Have you ever had a plan to open your own school to provide this type of music?

JvW: No, I prefer touring, touring.

Jozef van Wissem in interview | Лютнист Йозеф ван Виссем в интервью
Jozef van Wissem with his friend, famous director Jim Jarmusch

ЕМ: How do you think what will happen with the music in the nearest future? There are so many music programs, computers etc.

JvW: I think people should destroy their computers and phones and talk to each other face to face.

ЕМ: Your first album «It Is All That Is Made» was released in 2009, but you started you relationships with the music in the childhood. Why it happened only in 2009?

JvW: I was ready to receive melodies from above in 2009.

ЕМ: Your new album «Nobody living can ever make me turn back» will come soon. What kind of music will it be? Will it have some differences from other your albums?

JvW: Yes, it’s more electronic.

ЕМ: By the way, from the very beginning you did only music, then you started to sing the songs too. What happened? Did you feel like «this is time to start to sing»?

JvW: I started to sing because I felt it would bring more recognition to the lute not because I wanted to sing. I like singers who can’t sing.

ЕМ: With which musician or music band from Russia or from somewhere else would you like to work?

JvW: Fanny Kaplan.

ЕМ: What should we expect from the shows in Moscow and in Saint-Petersburg?

JvW: Deep trance.

ЕМ: Give an advice to the musicians who lost yourself or only started their way and are scared in this corruptible world?

JvW: You are the only one who can change the world!

Advices from Mr Jozef van Wissem

— A book we need to read:

JvW: Henry Suso «The Life of the Servant»

— A film we need to see:

JvW: «Ordet» by Carl Theodor Dreyer

— A place we need to visit:

JvW: South Poland

— An album we need to listen:

JvW: «Les Roi de Versailles» by Miguel Yisrael

— A live performance we need to see:

Jozef van Wissem: The Pope

ЕМ: Thank you so much and good luck!


Jozef van Wissem Tour Dates: October, 12 – St. Petersburg, Erarta; October, 13 – Moscow, Tsentral’nyy Dom Khudozhnika. Support by The Jack Wood.

The Russian version of Jozef van Wissem’s interview is available here.

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