Name: Erik Truffaz
Occupation: Trumpet player, improviser, composer
Nationality: French
Recent release: Erik Truffaz's most recent full-length album is Lune Rouge from 2019, released via Foufino.

If you enjoyed this interview with Erik Truffaz and would like to find out more about his work, visit his official website. He is also also on Instagram, Facebook, and twitter.

Over the course of his career, Erik Truffaz has played and recorded with a wide range of artists, including Bugge Wesseltoft, Joe Claussell, Murcof, Riatsu, and Jochen Rückert.

[Read our Bugge Wesseltoft interview]
[Read our Bugge Wesseltoft interview about improvisation]

[Read our Joe Claussell interview]
[Read our Joe Claussell interview about his creative process]

[Read our Jochen Rückert interview]
[Read our Jochen Rückert interview about artificial intelligence]
[Read our Riatsu interview]

What's your own definition of originality?

For a musician it’s more about the originality of his sound and his musical direction. Being mysterious and transmitting emotions while trying to find a direction and a sound and not copying what has already been said and done is a process older than the world itself I would say!

The poetical aspect that comes from an artist, a recording or a piece is essential in my eyes. It often defines the originality of a band or musician.

Originality is first preceded by a phase of learning and, often, emulating others. What was this like for you? How would you describe your own development as an artist and the transition towards your own voice?

From my youngest age, I composed smooth and aerial melodies. Of course, the expression of my trumpet has developed throughout the years and composition has developed through collaborations with my musicians friends … With my quartet, as well as with Murcof.

To write the music I play and propose to Murcof or to write my own pieces for piano, I work with the piano … searching and trying and testing a lot. When it comes to playing to Murcof’s music, I compose and record my ideas on trumpet and then I select the best parts. Like all musicians, I just try to do my best even though what comes out is not always in my mind. Life inspires me.

I also composed a classical piece for a symphonic orchestra and a contemporary piece for two pianos and one trumpet. To be able to imagine music for a symphonic orchestra and try out my ideas on a computer is something incredible, and that is a positive result of technological advances.

Way more positive than the gradual extinction of grasshoppers, bees, butterflies or of my wife tonight.

How do you see the evolution of the value of originality?

It is very difficult not to do what has already been done and to not be inspired by the past. But it is essential to be yourself. Therein lies the key of the originality.

I think that the more artists there are the more chances there also are to find real gems, but there are also more chances of finding very bad stuff. This law is almost scientific isn’t it?

I like the rock bands my daughter listens to, like Girls In Hawai, Radiohead, or The Ice. From my side I tend to listen more to stuff like Stravinsky, John Adams or the old Miles Davis from the Prestige period. I also love Anna Aaron’s latest album. I am looking for originality and honesty in music.

Chance accidents which have allowed humans from all kinds of cultural worlds to create music are at the basis for the evolution of music. The blues is the perfect expression of this. Then the technical evolution of instruments has modeled sounds, the shift from the harpsichord to the piano for example. Finally the social evolutions which have made us evolve from Gregorian chants to Radiohead, Massive Attack, Ligeti and Jimi Jendrix … All this has been the poetic expression of an evolving and moving society.

Do you have a vision of a piece of music which you haven't been able to realise for technical or financial reasons?

I always find a way to make my dreams come true even though sometimes it may take some time … but I always go through with them.

How do you see the relationship between the tools to create music and originality?

Tools are instruments that allow us to channel dreams and poetry, they paint a picture of an audible instant.

There is no direct relationship between tools and originality. It should first and foremost be the result of an internal journey.