WITCHPOLICE RADIO: Welcome to Witchpolice Radio. It's always nice to catch up again with guests that I've had on the show semi recently and sort of find out what they've been doing in the time in between. And the guest on this episode is someone who I was sort of just introduced to, really for the first time last year. And we're following up now, and things have obviously changed in terms of… well, let me rewind a bit. Last time I talked to you, it was in the middle of the pandemic. Shows weren't happening. Lots of things were sort of up in the air. And now you're able to play shows and you have an exciting one coming up. , but before we get into that, if you'd like to introduce yourself and give a bit of background about what it is that you do musically, that would be a great way to start.
TETYANA HARASCHUK: Yeah, perfect. Thank you, Sam. My name is Tetyana. I grew up in Canada, but I was born in Ukraine. And I went to the U of M in Winnipeg for my Bachelor of Jazz Performance. And then I moved to Spain, to do a Berkeley master's degree. And I'm currently still living in Spain after completing my degree. And I'm happy to be back in Winnipeg. And, yeah, like you said, with COVID being less of a factor now, we're seeing shows come back. So I'm excited to be booking some things and to be playing some things and, basically, to really present the material that's been percolating in my mind and on the record and different places.
WR: Yeah. And that's going to be hard, right? Because I think last time we talked, you had recorded the album that came out last year, but you hadn't had an opportunity to really present it in the natural life kind of setting. Right?
TH: Yeah, absolutely. So, actually, the first time… the record was released, October 2021, and the first time we played any of the music to a live audience was May 27 of this year. So it was a bit of a delay, but it was exciting because we forgot some of the music and we had to relearn it and we use some different effects and yeah, it was a cool experience to come back to it at a different time.
WR: Yeah. I guess it's unique in that you hadn't had a chance to play it at all. Like, a lot of people have had this same issue while the pandemic’s happened. They've been unable to play shows, but it's material. They've played live dozens or hundreds of times. But this is a brand new thing. What was the response, I guess, to the record? Because that came out during the pandemic as well.
TH: Yeah. It was my first record, so everything was new. And I learned how much work you have to put in after actually having the album mastered and all of those things, , then actually trying to make physical copies of the album and the work and the promotion and sending it to people and asking people to listen. But it's been great. I'm super excited. It's an interesting journey, especially in this niche genre, which I'm realizing is called by society, like chamber jazz, modern, progressive rock, mixed influenced chamber jazz. So it's a niche, but it's super interesting because I get to connect with people from different parts of the world that are super passionate about the same thing that I'm passionate about. And it's a very interesting, very personal relationship that I have with a few people because of the record. And it's very special to me.
WR: Yeah, that is a cool way to look at the niche you're in. Like you say, there's a lot of ways to describe it. How did you fall into that niche? Jazz, obviously… and I know we talked about this a bit last time we did an interview, but that particular niche with the progressive rock elements and the chamber jazz, how did you kind of find your way to that small pocket of the larger jazz genre?
TH: Well, in school, I tried to focus. I really tried to do what school tells you to do and learn jazz and learn traditional jazz and bebop and all of these things. And I enjoy those things. And I really love listening to Charlie Parker, for example, but then as I kept playing first, I discovered Charles Mingus, and I really fell in love with his music. And for a while my compositions were in that avant-garde Charles Mingus style. And then they slowly shifted to I felt like I had permission to use non-traditional jazz elements -- especially doing a contemporary performance degree instead of a specifically jazz degree, I think gave me that room to expand and feel free to do that. So, like, on the record, you'll hear crazy textures and sounds from both guitar and the bass, and I love doing that. And we're exploring some of those things live, and it's super cool to me, and it sounds almost like psychedelic rock. I love those sounds. And it's weird to me to have to classify it as psychedelic music, because that's not really something I think about. I just love the textures and distortion. I think it brings a lot of weight to our melody, for example, just having those textures. So I think it was like an organic transition into being in an environment which is open musically to try different things. I think I essentially mixed what was in my brain with the organic environment, and the possibilities of adding those different elements that I'm also interested in.
WR: How did being overseas contribute to this sound? I mean, like you said, you're from Ukraine, you live in Winnipeg, you're in Spain. You got to be kind of just whether it's consciously or not, gathering elements from all the types of music and culture that is present in all those places. And some parts of it have to be rubbing off on you. Right?
TH: Yeah, absolutely. I think in high school and throughout university, I started becoming more interested in Ukrainian folk music. And, , I've always had the dream of rearranging Ukrainian folk music in a jazz setting, in a more improvised open setting, which is still a project that I would like to do, in the future and in Spain. Being around flamenco music and, I mean, even Spanish pop music has tuned my ear differently to production, for example, and maybe some of these textures, because pop music and production focuses a lot on textures and very specific things, which I'm finding are pleasurable to listen to. It's kind of sad. It's like playing nylon sticks on cymbals. Okay, it sounds good, but you're like but I feel bad because it's not wood tip. Yeah, I think production of pop music in Spain is very good. They have it figured out.
WR: Do you think that your future recordings are going to kind of be more influenced by where you are? I mean, I know that it's not going to take over what you're doing, and what you do is what you do, but do you feel like just that setting is going to lend itself to contributing to future recordings or even future live shows?
TH: Yeah, absolutely. I've definitely considered actually, I've released two singles now, the second one is in the process of being released, but I'm releasing some singles which I wrote lyrics for. And I'm passionate about that as well. And the lyrics are in English. So I think one of the things that I've actually considered is trying to write lyrics, maybe with somebody else that can help me write them in Spanish, because I'm learning Spanish, but I'm not there yet. So I would like to co-write a song, maybe in Spanish, in a different language, and connect more with that. Also, the environment, like, just the physical beauty of Spain. I think it motivates me in different ways and it inspires me to write different harmonies and melodies.
WR: Well, it's such a different landscape than here. Just everything about it is alien to each other. So, this show you have in Winnipeg, it's part of the Jazz Festival. Were you specifically wanting to come back here and perform, or was this something that just sort of fell into your lap?
TH: I applied to the festival, just because I thought it would be a good idea to see, I mean, if it would work out and the time of year. But actually, before anything was confirmed, I had already purchased tickets to come see my family, because it's a tough time. So I felt like I needed to go back, and then the Jazz Festival worked out, and so I'm excited to be back in Winnipeg for a month and also get to play the music. And it's exciting because I'll be reconnecting with Kyle Cobb and Devon Gillingham because we played as a trio for a while before I left. So that'll be super exciting for me, for them to experience the new flavors of the music and to combine what we used to do with these new things. And also someone I went to school with in Berkeley is coming and she's a vocalist from Brazil. I'm super excited because she has this percussive, all these things, and she uses a vocal processing pedal. It's a very cool texture. So I'm kind of combining my past and my future universes.
WR: And you could get a very interesting sound of that, just based on backgrounds and location and the way people's experiences, with music have progressed in the time you've been apart and things like that.
TH: Yeah, absolutely.
WR: That's pretty cool. Yeah. Are you playing anywhere else in Canada, or is it just the one Winnipeg show?
TH: Just Winnipeg. But actually, we're going to play a trio show at Red Haus.
TH: Just a small little patio set.
WR: I love those shows. Yeah, they're so good.
WR: Do you have a date for that yet? Or is that still to be determined?
TH: To be determined.
WR: Cool. I'm glad you're back playing here because that record… I listened to quite a lot since we originally talked last year. And, what you're saying about texture, I think, is kind of what I like about it, too, is it has a vibe through the whole thing as a single, unified kind of piece. And that's kind of what I like as far as jazz goes, too. I don't know enough about the subgenres of the subgenres of the subgenres to be able to pinpoint either. But, I mean, there's certain things that within a larger umbrella genre, like that, that people are looking for. And I think that you've hit on something, whatever you want to call it, right. There's something very specific that you do, and it works.
TH: Yeah. Thank you, Sam. I really appreciate that you listening and that you can appreciate it as well, thanks.
WR: That wasn't a question. I know. This year has been crazy, especially you're dealing with things going on with Ukraine and all that, on top of living in a different country than Canada and doing everything else, but being so kind of international in the way that your career as a musician has unfolded is it hard to pandemic aside, get things together as far as figuring out when shows can happen, or who you're going to play with, or where you're going to play. This has got to be, like, an added level of challenge, right?
TH: Yeah, absolutely.
TH: When we played the show in Valencia, actually, we did our degrees in Valencia, because Berkeley is based there in Spain. But the people who are playing on the show with me were all also graduates of Berkeley, and some of them came from Barcelona, some came from Madrid, and one of them came from Italy. So we really had to plan this thing just to play one show, because I think it's tough. I'm in the process of hopefully finding a permanent band that we all feel comfortable and invested enough to maybe go on tour. Because I think it's easier that way. You get to connect with these people, and you can prioritize some things like this tour or something that we do together, and we can have our own things on the side, but as something that we do together on a longer-term basis.
WR: Maybe an interesting question about that then, is, especially since you're a drummer, what do you look for in musicians that you would like to have, say, in a permanent band? What kind of sounds what kind of, I guess, feeling are you looking for from other players in order to best kind of represent your music?
TH: Yeah, that's a great question. I love both guitar and bass. And I think that's why I quickly figured out that a piano trio was not my thing because I love piano. I really love piano trio. I even love playing in piano trios. But that's not the sound of what I want to show as a musician. And so that's one factor of the instrumentation choices. Also, the guitar and bass are so flexible with effects and all of these things that we talked about before. But as musicians, I think it's super important for me to find musicians that are passionate about the same music and strong rhythmically, , because some things that are written down might be hard to read, but if you just have a strong inner sense of rhythm, you can feel them. Yeah, I think that's something important for me when I'm looking for musicians and for guitar players, I think someone who can really lead the band, someone who can phrase melodies beautifully.
WR: Well, I guess there's a lot of people you probably already have gone through so many other musicians you've worked with just over your time playing. Right. I mean, good or bad, I'm sure you've kind of experienced a lot of different styles and feels, and things like that from guitarists and bass players.
TH: Yeah, absolutely. Sometimes you find, like, this person can do this perfectly and you love that, but they can't do the other thing.
TH: And then this person can do this thing, but they can't do the other thing. So you wish you could combine to make a superhero.
WR: Yeah. Or I guess you just hire both of them. How does the songs from the record work then, if you're just playing with the trio? Because in some parts of the album there's more going on than just three people, obviously. Do you play just strip down versions of that? Do you kind of reimagine them? Do you skip them entirely and do different material?
TH: Well, we reimagined for the Valencia show, we reimagined it by having two guitar players. So we had a quintet, we had bass, two guitars, vocals and drums.
TH: And so the choir intro I rearranged to be one single vocal melody highlighting the peaks of the original choir melody. And then it was accompanied by acoustic guitar. And for the other parts, like the acoustic nylon string guitar was playing a lot of the vibraphone things.
TH: And the electric guitar could maintain its role. And for this show. It's going to be super different because I'm making Nina sing some of the vibraphone parts.
WR: Oh, cool.
TH: So I hope that it all comes together. And it's going to be super cool to have a different texture because we affected the vibes a little bit in post production for the record. But it'll be really cool to have so many options with the,voice for texture. So I'm super excited about that.
WR: How much time do you have to rehearse with all of the people you're bringing in or meeting here?
TH: Again, we're going to have about 4 hours to rehearse for this.
WR: Seriously? That's it? 4 hours?
TH: We hope.
WR: Well, I mean, I guess that's one thing about jazz though, right? That's good, is that you don't necessarily need to be playing everything 100%. It's not like being in a rock band where the songs are all verse chores, verse pre written. I mean, there's room for improvisation, obviously, and for kind of feel rather than note for note. Right. But that's not a lot of time.
TH: Yeah, absolutely. It's a little bit scary, but it's cool to have good musicians. So if I send them the music ahead of time and I give them recordings that they can listen to, I'm confident that, , they're going to put in the time to be prepared for those rehearsals. So that we just have to do the ironing in rehearsal.
WR: Have they been sending you audio as well or you're just sending it to them? How does it work being a part and trying to get ready for the show?
TH: No, basically, I send them the album tracks and then I make notes like, okay, so this person is covering this part actually because their instrumentation is different or like, watch out for this, or things like this. And if they have questions, they're just going to send me their questions and we have a call or we have a text, you know, return text.
WR: Just doing as much planning as you can, I guess, with the available ahead of time. And you're playing an interesting venue too, right?
WR: I know where it is. But just for listeners to know, where are you playing the show?
TH: Yeah, we're playing in a movie theater at the Cinematheque. And it's going to be interesting because I've never been in that movie theater to watch a movie.
TH: So I think one of the things that I want to do after we play there is watch a movie there, but yeah, it's going to be interesting.
WR: That's a cool thing. I mean, I've never seen music there. I've seen movies there a bunch of times, but the idea of a band playing there is kind of cool. It makes sense. I can see how it would work just visually imagining what the setup looks like, but I didn't realize there were actual shows there. Is this a new thing or did they just pick it for you? How did it happen?
TH: I think it's a new thing because it's a new series, right?
WR: Oh, yeah. Because the Jazz Fest is finally back after two years of pandemic related yeah, they've been doing different things. I don't think you could have picked a better time to be playing in Winnipeg. I mean, this is the audience for jazz is there, obviously. Right. And I mean, so hopefully you get a good turnout and people will want to check out what you're doing.
TH: Yeah, I hope so.
WR: What is the best way at this point to hear what you're up to? I mean, I know you have those new Steve, new singles on Bandcamp, and the album is out still, obviously, but where would you sort of send people online if they want to find out about upcoming shows? Whether it's here or over in Spain.
TH: Or anywhere else, I would say. I'm trying to update my social media with those announcements, but I'm finding that I think the best way for me to communicate with people is to actually start an email list, so I just opened a new link landing page where you can subscribe. And this will also give me the opportunity to connect with people through a newsletter type communication, which I think is better. I don't really like social media, to be honest.
WR: It has its problems.
TH: It's very painful for me.
TH: And I much prefer having that email list. And it'll be great because I can send you maybe pictures of a score or a video of me working on new things. Or ask, okay, who's checked out this musician? What are your thoughts on this musician? Or send you playlists that I'm listening to anything like that. I don't really want to do that on social media. It takes a lot of energy.
WR: It does, for sure. And I guess you have the benefit, too, of a newsletter being directly to people who voluntarily signed up for it. So you know already that they want to hear what you have to say and hear what music you're making and hear about shows. Whereas social media, you're just kind of screaming into the void, hoping somebody happens to wander into the room where you're screaming, that's cool. Is that already active or is that something you're launching?
TH: Yeah, it's active. I put my Link Tree, which is a very cool website. It's new to me. And it's like the thing where you can put all your links. So I have my Link Tree website on the Instagram, and one of the links is right at the top is like a special access email list. So if you go there, you can sign up for that.
TH: But yeah, the other way is like, find my email somewhere and just email me or send me a message. I much prefer having not in person conversations, but direct conversations with people rather than liking something on some social media.
WR: Because you never know the intention behind that, right?
TH: Yeah, exactly. So just find me directly and you can message me or ask me questions. I'm always down to talk.
WR: Cool. And then the album is out still, people can find that, I'm assuming, on most of the streaming spots. And you also have CDs?
TH: Yeah, it's available on the streaming. And then I just added the physical versions to Bandcamp.
TH: So you can order on Bandcamp, the physical copy, or you can message me directly and we can get that sorted out.
WR: Awesome. I highly recommend the album, too. People should check it out. And then just before I let you go, what are the details of the show again?
TH: This show is going to be June 17. That's a Friday. Next Friday, 08:00 P.m. At Cinematheque.