AN INTERVIEW WITH WAYNE NAUS
by Trey Stuvek,
Berklee News Paper, "The Groove"
TS--- GIVE US A QUICK HISTORY OF MOKSHA AND WHY AND HOW
YOU CHOSE THE NAME.
WN--- I began the group in the Mid 1970’s and at that
time performed numerous concerts around the Boston area.
In 1982 I dissolved the group to persue other musical
directions such as Latin Jazz, Be-bop and Big Band
music. It was in 1998 that I decided it was time to
regroup Moksha and continue where we left off. The band
still maintains the same musical direction and
philosophy, but due to the changes in technology, we
incorporate contemporary sounds combined with computer
generated visual effects.
The name “Moksha” comes from Sanskrit and means”
freedom”. Kenny Werner makes reference to it in his book
“Effortless Mastery”. I first discovered the word in
1975 when I was interested in the philosophy of Allen
Watts. I adopted the name for the band because I felt it
appropriately represented our music and where the music
seemed to be leading us.
TS--- WHO ARE THE OTHER MEMBERS OF
MOKSHA AND HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN PLAYING WITH THEM?
WN---The first meeting of the new group in December 1998
was memorable in that the temperature with the wind
chill was -50 degrees. The musicians that came out to
play on that day with a band they really new nothing
about, are the same musicians in the group today. I feel
very fortunate to have such incredible musicians that
are willing to play my music. They are : Joe Mulholland
- Synthesizer and Either Way Therimin. Dino Govoni -
Tenor Sax, Berke McKelvey -Atmospheres and Sound Design,
Bob Schlink -Viatar, John DiSanto -Drums, Michael
Farquharson-Bass and myself on electric trumpet. Vasshua
Vassyuk is our recording engineer and has been with us
since the beginning. His ability to mix the music is
really amazing; he’ll spend months on each performance
and literally listens closely to each beat on Pro Tools.
TS--- What could you tell those
not hip to your group’s music about Moksha?
WN---The first thing I would say is that “It’s not about
a style...it’s about an adventure”. The music is
designed for mind travel, and that is where the
adventure comes in. We like to create a audio and visual
backdrop for mind travel. The interesting thing about
this music is that it can be experienced on many levels
simultaneously depending on what your interests are. You
can get real close and listen to it on a technical
level, or step back and view it from a distance.
Recently we started to project original computer
generated cyber animation behind the band while we play.
The animation, created by Berklee graduate, Raleigh
Green, adds yet another dimension to the overall
2. Each performance is approximatly one hour in length
with no breaks between tunes. I compose three or four
tunes for each performance. We decide on the order in
which they will be played but everything between each
tune is an improvisational interlude. When we rehearse,
we only rehearse the tunes. Quite often these interludes
provide material for future compositions. I would say
each performance is approximately 30% written and 70%
improvised. This assures many musical surprises along
the way for the listener as well as the performers. The
challenge for this style of performance is to maintain a
feeling of forward musical momentum. It requires
experienced players to pull it off.
Ts--- You seem to incorporate many
other elements into your music (crazy sound FX, A/V
FX,etc.). When did you start doing that? What
influenced you to start doing so?
WN--- I was incorporating pre-recorded sounds into the
music from the very beginning. I felt it helped to give
the music a depth and direction which makes the
listening experience more unique. Anything goes-from
whale sounds to waves to someone speaking Swedish but in
reverse. Berke McKelvey is our sound design person. He
is mainly responsible for “ finding the perfect balance
of sonic perspective and density”.
Bob Schlink plays an instrument which he invented called
a “Viatar”. It’s a cross between a violin and a guitar.
Very interesting colors. Our synthesizer player, Joe
Mulholland also plays an Either Way Therimin. It usually
creates a little humor in each performance which we feel
is important. I am running my trumpet through a variety
of electronic effects which adds to the overall sound of
Ts--- Any future gigs or important
events we should know about?
WN---Our venues are somewhat limited due to our sound
system requirements. As a result, we have been limited,
but fortunate enough to perform in the Berklee
Performance Center almost each semester. Hopefully we
will have a date in the Spring at the BPC. Last summer
during the 5-week program, we had saxophonist, Dave
Liebman, as a guest. His style of playing was a perfect
match for our music. Until our next performance you can
visit our web site at www.mokshamusic.com
We have CD’s available, anyone interested can contact me
at my Berklee extension 617-744-8293. Thank’s Trey for
the interview !!
Wayne Naus is a full time faculty
member at Berklee
College of Music. In addition to teaching Core
Harmony courses, he conducts the Berklee
Tower Of Power Ensemble, teaches his own
composition elective entitled “The Music Of The
Yellowjackets” and is the author of “Beyond Functional
Harmony” published by Advance Music.