|INTERVIEW WITH ZELJKO
KERLETA -by ELIA RULI, ECHOES MAGAZINE, March 2001.
How long have you been in London?
Since August 1988
How long have you been collecting rare Eastern European jazz?
I always had some records but serious exploring and collecting started in early 90's.
What other styles of music do you collect?
It would be easier to say what style I don’t collect. Main part of my collection is Jazz and Fusion then Brazilian, Latin and African. There is a lot of Soul and Funk as well but I don’t buy it anymore as much as I used to. Also I have, library records, soundtracks, ezo and exotic sounds, folk funk and even some hard rock and blues from 70's that I used to collect at that time. Of course I also have some 90’s contemporary stuff as well.
What is your history as a musician - Zeljko, I don't know what you play etc. Please explain what instruments you play and how long you've been making music. Also, if you have released anything before the 'Space Runner' album.
In 70’s I used to play guitar and bass in a blues band, back home in Belgrade. I am kind of rusty now and haven’t played anything for years. I was concentrated on my architectural career. Then in mid 90’s I discovered sequencers, samplers and other gizmos and I started producing my own music, initially planned as a soundtracks for my architectural 3D animations. Timewarp spotted it and licensed “Running Fast” for their compilation Warpfactor 2. That was my first release. That was in April 1999. Later same year I finished the whole album, started label in October and released my Space Runner in December.
How do you feel Cosmic Sounds output of new contemporary music relates to the Eastern European re-releases?
This is all the music that I like and would go out and buy it if it was available on any other label. When I play clubs I don’t look if the record was contemporary or 70’s stuff. The only thing that matters is if it is good or not. Why I choused Eastern Europe? Because a lot of excellent quality is lying there for ages and it was always underrated and neglected and all these musicians definitely deserve to get more exposure. So what I am trying here is to present what was the from these countries in the last 40 years and at the same time to give the chance to some young contemporary talents. Someone had to do it sooner or later. It seems that I have started a trend. I’ve noticed that quite a few labels are jumping on a same wagon and trying to exploit that ‘eastern trend’. Sometimes these are just money driven projects but mostly they are done out of passion.
How do you go about licensing the tracks?
This is not easy at all. In ex communist countries labels were initially ran by government and after the collapse it wasn’t very clear who is going to keep the rights for the recordings. You have to go from case to case and try to clear it out. It is time consuming job but it’s worthed. To see some of these masterpieces available around makes me feel good.
me a little about each of the solo artists albums you've released
you have already noticed I am running two parallel programs on Cosmic Sounds
label. First one is “Fresh New CS Sound” with contemporary music. Second
program is called “Discoveries From The East” and is consisted of re-issues
of original albums and series of compilations under the title “Rare Jazz
Fusion Gems From Eastern European Vaults” wher each of them is dedicated
to one of the countries.
What releases both new and re-issues do you have coming up?
one to come out in late April is “TONE JANSA – Bouyancy (1976-78)”. Probably
the best ever Yugoslavian saxophonist. He is actually from Slovenia. Reminds
me a lot of Pharoah Sanders. Excellent jazz, Coltrane’s school. Has to
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