Name: Bruno Bavota
Occupation: Composer, multi-instrumentalist
Current release: Bruno Bavota's A Closer Distance, a collaboration with Dutch singer/songwriter Chantal Acda, is out via Temporary Residence.
If you enjoyed this interview with Bruno Bavota, visit his official website for everything you ever wanted to know about him. He is also on Instagram, Facebook, and Soundcloud. Or head over to our Chantal Acda interview about the topic of collaboration.
For many artists, a solitary phase of creative development precedes collaborative work. What was this like for you: How would you describe your own development as an artist and the transition towards your first collaborations?
This is my first collaboration ever and I was really surprised about how it developed.
I always imagined that for doing something like that, you should have been in the same room, seeing each other and talk about how to do music together.
That didn’t happen for this particular project with Chantal but I immediately felt there would be no distance between us.
Tell me a bit, about your current instruments and tools, please. In which way do they support creative exchange and collaborations with others? Are there obstacles and what are potential solutions towards making collaborations easier?
Besides from piano and my left-handed guitar, I’m a lot into synthesizers and effects pedals. I’ve a pedalboard with a good selections of guitar pedals that I use on the piano and synths I work with, Op-1 and Op-z. I think it’s a good way to use it to give different colors and shapes to the music I make.
I don’t believe there could be obstacles, the important things are to be open-minded and always listen and care about the other's thoughts.
No vanity. Everything has to support the goal of celebrating the music.
What were some of your earliest collaborations? How do you look back on them with hindsight?
Before being a solo artist, I used to play in a band with 5 members (long time ago!).
It was fun and It helped me a lot about understanding the value of sharing music and life experiences with other people.
Besides the aforementioned early collaborations, can you talk about one particular collaboration that was important for you? Why did it feel special to you? When, why and how did you start working on it, what were some of the motivations and ideas behind it?
As I said before, this is my first collaboration and I can say that I didn’t imagine in my future a lot of collaborations.
It’s not to easy for me to share my music world with other people. It’s something very intimate. I’ll be forever thankful to Chantal for gently knocking at my door and letting me into her music and crafting.
This collaboration is special in any way possible and right from beginning I thought that it would have been a unique journey. We started working last year in May I think, when we made our first track. It was supposed to be an EP of 3-4 tracks but in July we found ourselves with a full album!
I recorded everything in my Summer home in the mountains and then sent the music to Chantal. Within 48 hours, she sent me back her vocals. It was magical.
How do you feel your sense of identity influences your collaborations? Do you feel as though you are able to express yourself more fully in solo mode or, conversely, through the interaction with other musicians? Are you “gaining” or “sacrificing” something in a collaboration?
I’m always happy about working alone.
That said, I’m totally convinced that I’m not sacrificing anything in a collaboration. Being able to make music together with another artist is a priceless treasure also on the human side.
There are many potential models for collaboration, from live performances and jamming via producing in the same room together up to file sharing. Which of these do you prefer – and why?
Live music with any doubt! It’s beautiful to have the chance to share the music with people in a room. It creates connections and that’s the thing that the music has to make.
What tend to be the best collaborations in your opinion – those with artists you have a lot in common with or those where you have more differences? What happens when another musician take you outside of your comfort zone?
I think the best thing would be a balance between having a lot in common and having differences music ideas.
Having a similar feelings helps a lot through the crafting project. But on the other hand having a different vision could bring you to do things that you never imagined musically speaking and maybe you can do your better work.
Do you need to have a good relationship with your collaborator? Or can there be a benefit to working with someone you may not get along with on a personal level?
For me it’s very important to have a good relationship! I can’t imagine making music with someone without that.
Some artists feel as though the creative process should not be a democratic one. What are your thoughts on the interaction with other musicians, the need for compromise and the decision making process?
Compromise is always a good thing. I’m not the one who put my foot down and I strongly believe in the power of dialogue. The thoughts of the others are always important.
In a live situation, decisions between creatives often work without words. How does this process work – and how does it change your performance compared to a solo performance?
In this particular case with Chantal we had the chance to record a couple of live session last September 2021 in Utrecht.
It was the first time that we saw each other after making the whole album and also the first time that we played our music.
I think we’re on the way that we don’t have to use a lot of words. :)