Human Touch is one of most long-lived Greek bands, having existed for about 20(!) years. David Lynch (Saxophones, Flutes, Whistles, Voice, Percussion) Yiotis Kiourtsoglou- (Electric Βass (Fretless & Fretted), Cajon) & Stavros Lantsias (Piano-Keyboards, Drums, Classical Guitar, Melodica) are the magic trio behind the group, and this Sunday, March 25th, they are hitting FAUST Bar-Theatre-Arts stage for a unique live performance. Last Day Deaf managed to ‘grab’ some words from them some hours before their show. So, there you go!
So after almost 20 years of Human Touch presence, would you like to tell us which are the latest band’s news, and how do you feel about this accomplishment?
Staying together as a band for 20 years means a lot of things. It shows us that the trust, imagination and interest continue to stay alive. Live performances still touch us and we’re lucky that Human Touch has taken care of us for some many years.
The soul of the band is what unites us. It’s like a central figure that feeds us as long as we take care of it. As individuals we continue to change and grow and we each strive to contribute that newness to the group.
Correct me if I am wrong, but despite all these years you have only released two full-length albums, with your most recent one the 2004’s ‘Movin’‘. Do you prefer performing live to recording?
I’d say that Human Touch is both a live and a recording band. We thrive on the feeling of the creative singular moment that is a live performance. It happens only once and then leaves way for the next. It keeps us fresh and spontaneous and holds many surprises for us and for our audience.
When we record as a band we love to go further into the arrangement and production aspects. We experiment over a longer period of time and compound all sorts of sound and colors. It’s almost like putting together a movie.
How do you cope with the “The Best Kept Musical Secret in the Balkans” compliment? Does it feel like a burden sometimes?
It’s a nice complement but we just want to continue staying true to our creative nature. It’s a life process that takes dedication, humility and honesty.
Which 5 albums have mostly inspired Human Touch in relation to their sound?
I’m not sure I can speak for the three of us when it comes to specific albums but, some artists and/or albums would include : (in random order) Wayne Shorter (‘Native Dancer‘, ‘Allegria‘), Stevie Wonder, Yellow Jackets, Eric Satie, Weather Report, Vassilis Soukas, Mode Plagal, Davy Spillane, Ennio Moriccone, Manos Hatzidakis, Jimi Hendrix, Sonny Rollins, Steve Gadd, Brad Mehldau , The Beatles, etc…
You recently performed at the legendary Half Note Jazz Club, along with George Kontrafouris. How was this experience?
It was a beautifully challenging experience. Fouris is a world-class musician who is open to just about any creative energy that comes his way. He is adventurous and very positive and really kept us on our toes. It was a lot of fun! He has a child-like spirit.
We played three performances at Half Note Jazz Club, with a different guest each time. The other two were Mihalis Kapilidis, who is a wonderful groovy drummer that always makes you move and, Thodoris Kotsifas, who is a beautiful composer and sweet-spirited guitarist.
Which 3 tracks of yours would you recommend a total unaware listener to start with Human Touch and why?
‘Yianni Mou To Mantili Sou‘ is an arrangement of a Greek traditional song that really brings out a travelogue aspect of the group’s colourful emotions.
‘Οτ’ Κατς‘ (Odd Cats) is a groove-oriented odd-rhythm tune. It brings out a funky rhythmic approach that is unique to Human Touch .
‘Slainte‘ is a sort of pop-like vocal tune that has some Irish colour to it. Add a 7/8 shuffle groove to that and you come up with some more of those things that make the group what it is.
I would mention several more tunes, each with its own characteristics, but you asked for three. There’s much variety to the group’s personalities.
Flashback now! What can you recall of your “Libra Music” era back in the mid 2000’s?
That was a creative period; many days in the studio where we would just flowingly follow our instinct. The ‘Movin’‘ album just unfolded day by day. That was also the last period where a record company was part of the picture. Now studio experiences are much quicker. Back then we would almost live together in that studio environment.
How would you describe the Greek contemporary jazz scene at the moment? Any emerging bands/acts we should take notice of?
The scene is becoming richer and richer! There are many choices, on any given day, if someone wants to go out and hear live music. There are over 100 exceptional musicians on the Athens jazz scene alone and many of them write and play original music. That, to me, sounds healthy. When any musician has an introspective side to his or her craft there’s liable to be honesty in what they produce. I think Greece still allows the space for that sincerity and it shows in the music.
What should we expect from your live appearance at FAUST Bar-Theatre-Arts on March 25th? Any clues?
You can expect to hear some material you haven’t heard before. As you pointed out above, we have released 2 CDs as a group, but we have material for another 3. Lately we’ve added more to that. We may also visit some of the much older stuff as well as material that we just wrote or have been introduced to through our latest Half-Note appearances.
What holds the future for Human Touch?
We’d love to do something large, maybe with a symphony orchestra or with an especially challenging/inspiring guest to write music for. When “the future” becomes “the now” we’ll know.
End this one the way you wish. Anything you’d like to add and haven’t been asked maybe?
The music that is heard publicly is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to each musician’s/writer’s artistic existence and relationship. I think we all wish to share some of those spontaneous “imperfect” creative moments that are magical beyond our realization. These are moments where the music flows unhindered, where there’s no time or conscious effort, just the witnessing of something revealing itself before you. These are the moments where we disappear and where art lives and breathes.