Ottmar Liebert Brings Flamenco Sounds to Saint Rocke

Nuevo Flamenco champion Ottmar Liebert brings his latin flavored sonics to the shores of Los Angeles and the walls of Saint Rocke on Thursday February 12th.   We caught up with the legend in the making and chatted about his recent records “three-oh-five,” which he claimed “features more electric guitar playing than [he has] done before” and “Bare Wood”, his “all acoustic compilation of favorite pieces originally recorded between 2002 and 2012.”

With a career more than twenty-five years strong, and a catalogue of recordings in the hundreds, Ottmar has “too many [recordings] to choose from” to pick a favorite, but “Heart Still Beating” is an older track you might want to check out.   A champion of music, he still buys vinyl (albeit “only rarely”), he does not “like the sound of mp3s” and prefers his digital files in FLAC or Apple Lossless. If his tell-it-like-it-is attitude does not make him cool in your book, the fact that the last CD he purchased was “Ya Nass” by Lebanese singer Yasmine Hamdan and that he watched a Bob Marley concert on DVD last week should.  A constant innovator, Ottmar could not rest on touring his two 2014 releases and is already so deep into work on his next record.  While we were getting some air time, we learned what Ottmar might do in his final 24 hours, that his instrument mastery outside of guitar is limited and some fun facts about his recordings.

 

Brandon Dorsky (SUPERGOODMUSIC): What does three-oh-five stand for?

Ottmar Liebert: The cover shows my OL logo drawn on the dusty glass in front of my face. One time a fan asked what three-oh-five on a t-shirt meant, and I realized that the logo looks like a clock at five minutes past three.

 

Brandon Dorsky (SUPERGOODMUSIC): Do you have a personal favorite track from the album? For what reasons is it your favorite?

Ottmar Liebert: I recorded one new composition twice, as a slow ballad with only guitars and upright bass for “Bare Wood”, and as an upbeat rumba with a larger instrumentation for “three-oh-five”. I like how different the composition feels on the two albums.

 

Brandon Dorsky (SUPERGOODMUSIC) Was recording this most recent record different from past projects? If so, how? Did you try out any new techniques? Or use new equipment?

Ottmar Liebert:  I wanted a new electric guitar amp and searched for quite a while before I found the Mesa Boogie that I used on the album. I think it was also the first time that I played all of the electric guitar parts with my fingers – meaning I did not use a pick/plectrum.

 

Brandon Dorsky (SUPERGOODMUSIC): Having recorded for so long – what developments in recording and music are you excited about?

Ottmar Liebert:  I am glad I got my start in the music business in the early nineties, that I had the experience of all-analog recordings and that I can remember the way the industry was in those days. The mid-nineties were a wonderful time for me and it is sad what has happened to our industry.

 

Brandon Dorky (SUPERGOODMUSIC):  Is there any musical decision you regret?

Ottmar Liebert:  No, there is not. For me every recording is a learning process. I usually devise a different palette of sounds and instruments for each album and so every album documents the process of working within those parameters, for example recording the binaural surround sound album “Up Close” with the band sitting around an artificial head with realistic ears (each contained a microphone) in my studio. Or recording with a classical orchestra for my album “Leaning Into the Night”. Or working with an accordion for the album “Dune”. Or doing my first solo album “One Guitar:. Everything is worth trying, I think. If I don’t like how something turns out it’ll never leave my studio.

 

 

Brandon Dorsky (SUPERGOODMUSIC): How long have you worked with Jon Gagan? Chris Steele?

Ottmar Liebert:  Jon and have been working together for twenty-six years and this is the fourth year for Chris. There is a great sense of being able to depend on one another during performances that only comes with time. We know where the other person is going to place the beat. Knowing how the rhythm will feel one can concentrate on being creative rather than trying to “keep it together.”  That’s a great feeling.

 

Brandon Dorsky (SUPERGOODMUSIC):  What makes your music “Nouveau Flamenco”?

Ottmar Liebert:  I think it is the best and easiest way to describe my music.  I play a Flamenco guitar and use a lot of Flamenco techniques and rhythms, but I also use elements from many other types of music. I prefer melodic playing and favor clear arrangements that have verse and chorus sections. When I recorded my first album in 1989 there really was very little Flamenco music that had a chorus. Now it has become more common.

 

Brandon Dorsky (SUPERGOODMUSIC):  What is some wisdom you’d like to share with aspiring artists?

Ottmar Liebert:  I wrote a few articles called “Letter to a Young Musician” for an online magazine.   You can find the first one Ottmar authored here –  http://www.ottmarliebert.com/diary/?p=6517

 

Brandon Dorsky (SUPERGOODMUSIC):  What instrument can you not play?

Ottmar Liebert:   Hm, everything that is not a guitar.

 

Brandon Dorsky (SUPERGOODMUSIC):  If you only had 24 hours left to live – what are some of the last things you would eat?

Ottmar Liebert:  I might walk around or hang out with friends. I have been baking bread for three years and might make sandwiches. Or I might go eat at La Boca in Santa Fe – Basque tapas.

 

Get tickets for the Ottmar Liebert and Luna Negra show at Saint Rocke here.   Show starts at 8 pm.    Tickets are $30.

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