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In Words: KTU

- Pat Mastelotto & Trey Gunn - Apr. 2009 - Claudia Ehrhardt -

© Tuomo Manninen

Pat Mastelotto & Trey Gunn - April 8th 2009

With KTU a very interesting project has just released their 2nd album Quiver. An outstanding album of a very unusual band. More then one reason to send them over some questions, thanks to drummer Pat Mastelotto and guitarist Trey Gunn for answering them!

Is it right that the first idea of a cooperation with Kimmo was sparked about 10 years ago?

Yes, at SXSW in Austin, Texas. Kimmo played on the same show as ProjeKCt 3 (Fripp/Gunn/Mastelotto). We all loved Kimmo’s CDs, we met and had good vibrations. The plan to work together developed over a few years and our first gigs were in 2004.

How you get hooked up with Samuli Kosminen in the first place?

Samuli was working with Kimmo in the duo called Kluster. The original idea was to do a 'double duo' project: Kluster + TU. Also, we like his hair and he looks good in the nude.

Why KTU? Just add 'K' for Kimmo to TU?

Actually, K stands for Kimmo, Kosminen and Kluster, then if you add that to TU (the duo of Gunn/ Mastelotto, pronounced like the number 2), you have KTU (pronounced 'K2'). Also KTU is better than TUK for example which is a kind of hemorrhoid medical pad.

How did you get the shows in Japan where you recorded 8 Armed Monkey? Coz without an album it seems difficult to get gigs...

Our friend in Tokyo Tom Ohsawa booked those shows for us and hired top engineers. By the way, most of 8 Armed Monkey was recorded at Eggman in Tokyo, but some was recorded at Nosturi in Helsinki. In fact, 99% of Absinthe was recorded at the Nosturi show.

At Quiver you have more songs... How do you write songs? Is there one main songwriter?

We use all the available methods:

1. We improvise together and then work through the material that comes out of these jams – turning them into pieces.
2. We each, individually, do writing and then bring it to either one of the other members, or bring it to the full trio for development.
3. We work individually and send recordings to the other guys to record to – then we shape the outcome for the CD.

And Trey, is it different to write songs for KTU compared to your other stuff?

Yes, these guys make my butt hurt when we work together.

How important is the Warr guitar sound for KTU?

Well, it's my instrument. I choose to use it because it does what I need done. I have used it extensively on Quiver. Since the Warr Guitar is a full range instrument I can play bass solo with it. The same is true for Kimmo with his accordion – he can play melodies and chords or he can switch to a big fat low bass part that I can solo over. It is a perfect match, I think.

I know this question isn't an easy one, but which song(s) on Quiver represents the album best?

That seems like the kind of question that you, as a journalist, are better equipped to answer than I. We are quite happy with the album as a whole and with the individual pieces. We made a special effort to sequence the pieces in way that that the whole album flows nicely from the first piece Fragile Sun to the last piece Snow Reader.

And how was it to play 'Creation Of Peace' festival in Kazan, Republic of Tatarstan? Seems that it was a real experience....

AWESOME! It was a very, very good festival with all sorts of fantastic and unusual music. Ukrainians, Russians, Georgians, Patti Smith, Tony Levin, Adrian Belew, KTU.... KTU had some technical difficulties, but the energy was tremendous and the organizers were very nice. By the end of the night over 200,000 people were there. Even being in Kazan was an incredible experience, it is a beautiful place with an amazing history. Plus the after-show party was quite surreal and totally crazy.

Now you are a trio, but Samuli is still involved - when he has time. At an album it's easy, but what about live?

We do miss his lovely long hair and his sexy body. It is true. On stage, it also means more work for Pat. Now as a trio, the KTU sound and performance is leaner and heavier. We miss Samuli, but we are also quite happy with the new direction as a trio.

You just played Accordion Festival in Vienna... Did everything worked out the way you wanted?

It was great, except that they were so many accordions. What's wrong with these people?!... Seriously, it was a great show. We still had Samuli at that time and did some wonderful improvisations, one of which became the set up for Wasabi Fields.

What about touring? Any news you can tell?

We have dates planned for the summer. So far I know about Ostrava in Czech Republic in July. I think more are on the table.

Pat, looks like you have a busy schedule this year... Any new developments? Stickmen? Flower Kings?

Lots of Stickmen gigs and the recording is underway for a CD late this year or early next.

Lots of work on a new Tuner CD, it will be a multi-record set and we might have the A side ready by the end of the year. We also have a new live Tuner CD, called Zwar, almost ready (from the 2006 tour).

I also worked on Markus' (from Tuner) new duet with Ian Boddy, working together on the new Chrysta Bell record, and Fabio Trentini's Moodbound record.

No more Flower Kings work now, but I did work on the Roine solo CD that became Agents of Mercy.
I have been doing lots of remixing (reproduction) for the new Steven Wilson solo record and have been doing lots of remixing for MJK's Puscifer projects.

There is one new project with me, Allan Holdsworth, Terry Bozzio and Tony Levin (Hobolema) started last winter in Japan and we will be doing lots of gigs all over the world next year (looks like even India!).

There is also the recent CD release by Tunisia, my duet project with theremin virtuoso Pamelia Kurstin and it looks like we will appear in Sweden again with the IB expo.

Plus more TU gigs and perhaps even a new TU record when Trey feels ready.

Also various E-sessions.

And what about King Crimson?

No plans. Robert has parked KC for the present time.

Trey, can you tell us a bit more about Normalizer?

Normalizer is this crazy project where Marco Minnemann recorded a 52 minute drum solo and got a bunch of musicians to write and record to the entire drums solo. At present we have 7 full CDs, by myself, Alex Machacek, Marco, Mike Keneally, Mario Brinkman, Phi Yaan-Zek and John Czajkowsky. I am currently putting together a compilation of all of our records and then we will release one disc per month. These will go out on Abstract Logix records, beginning in June.

By the way, the Normalizer record is the most ambitious thing I have taken on since the KTU Quiver CD.

I think, you are re-mastering one of your solo albums, right? Can your fans expect something new from you? Or are you satisfied with working at the different band projects at the moment?

Yes, I have re-mastered The Third Star (with 6 added bonus tracks) and will also remaster One Thousand Years.

I do like working with all these different groups. However, I really prefer to be going out on tour with KTU and am looking forward to our summer shows.

Anything you want to add? Something I should have asked?

Wow, looks like these guys are workohilics addicted to music! So, keep your eyes open and check out the various bands / projects!

Claudia Ehrhardt


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