Aart Strootman: “less ‘Aart’ but all the more ‘TEMKO’.”

Ten years ago, composer and guitarist Aart Strootman, percussionist Ramon Lormans and bassist and electronics specialist Fred Jacobsson started the trio TEMKO. On June 17, they will present the result of ten years of rehearsing and improvising in Korzo. Aart Strootman tells us everything about the creation of their piece Entropy. Aart: “What remains after a year of kneading can be close to the initial sketch, but can also drift towards something less ‘Aart’ but all the more ‘TEMKO’.”

The starting point of
TEMKO ten years ago was the question ‘Who are we?’ Do you have an answer to that question after ten years?
When we started we did not meet to play ‘repertoire’, but to investigate the added value of the band members. We had striking preferences: groove, minimal, sound and some common heroes. In addition to rehearsing a lot (read: making music without a direct goal), we also came into contact with some of those sources of inspiration. We travelled to Zurich at an early stage for workshops with pianist Nik Bärtsch, for example. And that was adding fuel to the flames, we felt that we were developing something that we had not yet heard elsewhere. What that is? Difficult to describe, but at least it feels 100% ‘us‘, which is very valuable.

You describe your approach as “taking root in what we find most interesting”. Can you explain where your interests lie?
This was broad, very broad: from early Philip Glass pieces to heavy metal. In the rehearsal room we touched on this repertoire, but in improvisation and sketches we mainly looked for what such apparently unrelated sources had in common. That resulted in a lot of pieces, work that turned out to be worthless on closer inspection, but also wallflowers that could be further investigated. We have enjoyed doing this for ten years, with our current project Entropy as the result.

You are a composer and guitarist yourself. In TEMKO, these roles overlap. Can you explain something about your method?
I like to write, especially for people I know. I know Ramon and Fred like no other and writing for them is such a joy. What I capture in a score goes through the meat grinder of Ramon’s instrumentation (“this sounds better on wood, listen“) and is perfected by Fred’s dizzying precision on timing. What remains after a year of kneading can be close to the initial sketch, but can also drift towards something less ‘Aart’ but all the more ‘TEMKO’. I like to be surprised.

On June 17 you will play the piece Entropy. What is this about and what can the visitor expect?
Entropy is a term from thermodynamics. In short: ‘the degree of disorder’. What fascinates us is that this concept can be applied in many areas, in addition to physics, also politics, for example, or climate, cola with mentos, astronomy, the behaviour of coffee creamer and of course… music. How that sounds at TEMKO, you will hear on the 17th.

Want to see Entropy by Aart Strootman / TEMKO? Come to KORZO on June 17th at 7pm. Buy tickets.

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