VAZHMARR (Vazha Marr) is a music producer from Tbilisi. He experiments on a variety of genres: ambient, glitch, or conventional melodic structures. Inspired to re-define the legacy of past decades, Marr’s multi-directional narratives may often unite under the tag of IDM. However, with a weapon of choice being live instruments and aleatory flow, especially during his performances. In the early 2000’s Marr was part of the indie-electronic duo ‘Me and My Monkey’ (MAMM) and performed various lives in Europe. Outside his solo-projects, he actively collaborates with musicians and artists of different backgrounds.
Marr’s professional experience has always been centered around music, however, as a curator of cultural content in the form of various publications, audio-visual pieces, and an initiator of various independent creative activities in Tbilisi, Marr has been active around multiple mediums and directions. in 2012-2016, as a director and as a sound engineer he was a member of the creative team at Artarea/TV2.0 – the first television on arts and culture.
In 2015-2016 Marr directed and contributed to the content of the award-winning art TV program “Transmisia”(“Transmission”). In 2017, As a head curator of the multi-functional art platform “Tavisupali Sivrtse”)(“Free Space”), he conducted and programmed musical events: educational, performative, and practical.
Marr’s recent work is centered around the Laboratory of Sonic Arts which he founded within the frames of art organization Propaganda. Under Marr’s program development and curation, the Laboratory works around the principles of free improvisation, unlimited experiments, and shared knowledge.
(“Me and My Monkey” performance music week in Villnius at “Loftas” club)
(“Live@Twilight” series of live events on “Artarea” with musician Nathalie Beridze)
How would you describe the electronic scene in Georgia? Considering rich cultural background in music how is electronic music accepted?
I think Electronic music itself in Georgia is in its best phase of development, at least it was before covid epidemics. Though there are strange times for me, personally Georgian electronic scene is one of the most inspiring places in the world with its potential and sometimes scattered, varied expressions. The environment which has recently reached the status of best clubbing point in Europe has now got very interesting in experimental directions and there is even more interesting history which led to that. However, there are still many issues (problems) in the industry itself, artists struggle financially due to the small audience, while other political urgencies in the country leave no room and time for their appreciation.
How do you explain that controversy? On one side good reputation of the club scene and lack of audience on the other?
Before covid clubs were more than full. During covid there are no gigs, therefore, Dj and musicians don’t get paid. Music industry is not that sophisticated in our country to live only on selling records and tracks online!
So the ecosystem is established, but it is more suited for physical events. Do you think the music industry is changing, and how are you as an artist adopting to “new normal”?
Obviously the industry is changing and will continue to change but besides this, it has a lot of side effects. There are some small “advantages “ in a way. I think artists have more time to experiment and reevaluate things that are more important for them at least it works that way for me. Now I am more concentrated on production and gaining new skills, trying to come out of my comfort zone. I don’t know how exactly the industry will change, but it is becoming more clear over time, that musicians who rely on live income are going to struggle. earnings from streaming are not significant enough to sustain yourself.
How did you decide to dedicate yourself to electronic music? Who has most influenced you?
Actually, I didn’t decide anything, it just happened. I started listening to music at an early age, in the mid-’90s. For me, it was one of the significant and inspiring phases in my life and in music history as well. I was really into grunge, industrial, alternative, and punk rock bands. As I was growing, I got more and more into electro-acoustic, classical, and electronic music. Erik Satie, John Cage, Steve Reich, Delia Derbyshire, Brian Eno, Daphne Oram, Boards of Canada, Farmers Manual, Autechre, Richard D. James, and many others have all shaped my musical perception together. Now I can boldly say that I can be inspired by any genre or style of music, and that is the most exciting part for me.
(Performance in underground gallery curated by Jan Chudozilov. Photo by Jan Chudozilov)
I see a lot of influences you had. rock industrial. Are there interesting alt-rock bands in Georgia and do you collab with them?
Me and TeTe Noise had an indie/electronic band “Me and My Monkey”(MAMM) we traveled a lot it was fun! Then we decided to concentrate on our separate projects. But yeah we still jam very often. So, Yeah I’m still collaborating with different artists from different backgrounds.
It is time for gaining new skills. Is there an important thing that artists need to practice and develop?
I think it’s individual for every person. For me, it could be a lack of what they call “conservative “ musical education for some people it might be totally different. So it’s up to you to choose, but there is time, and it’s cool. Because it is always hard to find free time for practicing new skills.
(From left to right: artist Manana Arabuli, Vazha Marr, musician Dro: Photo by Khatuna Khutsishvili)
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