Bill Ortiz – Exclusive interview with Jack Dorrington Editor Clown Magazine
What are the main points of your album release?
The music on my latest CD is a blend of musical elements that are a representation of my musical history, and my identity as an artist. I’m very much into conscious artistic Hip-Hop and Neo-Soul artists such as Mos Def, Talib Kweli, Zion I, Erykah Badu and OutKast. I like to mix this with the influence of such classic R&B artists as Donny Hathaway, Curtis Mayfield and Marvin Gaye. These styles are interconnected- it’s just the natural progression. I’m also heavily influenced by “jazz” artists who think outside the box, such as Bill Laswell, Miles Davis, Wayne Shorter, Joe Zawinul, Pharoah Saunders and Herbie Hancock. I like the idea of combining the groove, rawness and energy of hip hop and R&B with the advanced harmony and improvisation of jazz.
What’s the progression from scratch, start to finish in terms of your musical ideas and creativity?
Each song is different in regards to how they are conceived, written and recorded. Some start out as a lick or chord progression on the piano, sometimes something I’ll start with on the horn, and sometimes its something that pops in my head while I’m driving or taking a shower. That’s where the iPhone recorder app comes in handy.
What’s the flame that keeps you on track?
What I live for as an artist is creating moments of magic on stage-when we are collectively creating something we haven’t played before. I wake up daily looking to exploring new musical ground every time we play as a band, reinventing and reinterpreting songs we have played before, making them a new expression each time we play.
What does the future hold for you, and where do you want to end-up?
I would love my group to be viewed as a band that plays soulful music that is very creative, and presents musical surprises. In today’s world of excessively programmed music, overly auto tuned vocals and celebrity over art, I very much value organic creative music which also reflects contemporary culture.
Can you tell our faithful readers what’s next, and where are you at, and where does your creativity process take you from here to eternity?
At this stage of my career and life, it’s increasingly important to me to create music that is not only creative but also social conscious as well. So much of our media and culture today is based on the “trash for cash” model. When Marvin Gaye recorded “What’s Going On”, Gil Scott-Heron wrote “Winter In America” or when Mos Def wrote “UMI Says”-it was important to them that they put out something that had substance and depth. Obviously there is room for everything, but I think it’s very important that we don’t forget the music aspect of the music business.