The Sound and me #23with David El Malek

The Sound and me #23 avec David El Malek
At the age of just twenty, without any precise professional project, employed during the day in an ice cream company, David El Malek bought himself a tenor saxophone as well as a method, and began to discover the instrument with passion. At the price of hard work, he gradually builds up a musicality and a phrasing of a very personal richness. Well known for his work with Baptiste Trotignon, the musician talks about his relationship with music and his own history...

Take care of myself

When I started to be interested in music, I think I was not... I didn’t feel good about myself. And I had to take care of myself first. So talk, talk a lot. Being comfortable with one’s own voice was already a big step forward for the future musician that I was going to become. The books, or our teachers, would say: you have to blow like  this, you have to do this and that. It didn't work. I mean, it worked, but I couldn't really express my feelings, what I had in my head, that is, something that was related to my own life, an emotion… Not a musical emotion, but something that vibrates, that makes you vibrate. It has nothing to do with art, but it's going to be, somewhere. That's what's going to make us at some point find a way, perhaps. It's a lengthy process. It’s a long journey and so I’m still trying to sort some things out... You have to feel good, have a healthy relationship with yourself, physical and mental, to be able to express something via an instrument.

Poeticise my own story

It’s as if I was trying to poeticise my own story, to render it… Finally, it's not bad, it's my story. It's not jazz, it's not classical, it's not… I don't know what it is. I play and inside I see myself in it. And then I say to myself: here, this isn’t bad! Because when one says to oneself, this is not bad, it allows one to keep believing in oneself. And so, yes, for me, it was first of all a reconciliation with myself. That’s kind of the basis of sound. Because when I was a kid and I was listening to Mozart's Symphony No. 40, I was thinking... It's too much. Too many emotions. It's impossible to reach that. And so when you're there with your saxophone, you think... What am I going to tell, finally?

It is no easy task to make people happy, because that's what we do. We play for the people. And I don't think I play for people. I’m sorry, but I think I play for myself.

To search and not to to produce

I don't give a damn about the technique, in the broadest possible sense, i.e. the emission of sound, the fingerings... I don't care about that. Today, with time, with 30 years of hindsight, I say, well, it took that to say to myself: finally, with few notes and little technique, we can tell something. And what I mean is not... It's not necessarily an artistic thing. I just want to feel good. What thrills me is really to search and not to to produce something, in the artistic sense, to make a project, a record, a piece... What interests me is to say to myself: here, I've done that, I worked that scale, I worked that passage; what is it that reconciles what I am? And I think that's the only thing that interests me in music.

Forget everything we learn

It's like in yoga. It's something that… At some point, you let go of everything, completely. And so, when you have a certain repertoire, you don't let go, you don't let go at all. On the contrary, you are riveted on what you have to play. And then… That's music. I was about to say: that's a know-how. And I'm not interested in that, but precisely to forget everything we learn. Sometimes I wonder if we couldn't just jump right into the sound and just go for it. Without preparation. So from a business point of view, I think it wouldn’t interest much people. But why not? This may be a way to explore...

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