HOT Interview I’m always on the lookout for creatives who I feel NEED to be interviewed… if you’re a regular reader here, you know that I really (REALLY) enjoy the music that Brian Kastan creates… here’s a splendid interview I just completed with him… the main photo is of Brian and his wife Maria‘s new studio, called Kastan Art Space… enjoy, and be sure to check these fantastic players, artists and photographers out!
RZ: As you know, I’ve been following your music & art for quite some time now… it’s nice to see that you and your wife have started an “art space”… please tell our readers what prompted you guys to set this up.
BK: The goal of Kastan Art Space in to have a home for all of the art work and a venue to perform. I have released 16 albums, 2 acoustic singer song-writer albums with Maria Kastan and the rest are jazz/improv style albums. I also work as a landscape photographer. My wife Maria Kastan is a sings, paints, drawing, and creates sculptures. Since opening Kastan Art Space we have the opportunity to promote everything that we do under one roof. We show as much art work as we want and I perform every Saturday night with various jazz artist playing guitar and/or bass. Whether artists are showing their work or musicians are performing we are looking for artists who have something new to say.
RZ: What kind(s) of art/music do you accept for Kastan Art Space?
BK: We are accepting contemporary modern art. Any type of art or music that has an original vibe and storyline. We want Kastan Art Space to be a place where artist and musicians are free to do whatever they want. If an artist is accepted, how long can they expect until their work/sound is on display? Artist can be displayed for 1 month and also need to do an artist talk for their opening night.
RZ: Since so much of your music is improvised, tell us who your “improv heroes” are?
BK: John Scofield, Pat Metheny, Bill Frisell, Vic Juris, Wayne Krantz, Scott Henderson, Wes Montgomery, Kenny Burrell, Joe Pass, John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Ornette Coleman, McCoy Tyner, Victor Wooten etc..Pretty much anyone who taps into their creative soul 🙂
RZ: Also, have you gotten to play with any of them?
BK: No, Maybe someday..lol
RZ: I’ve read (online somewhere) that you are also a nature photographer… did that come before your music, or after you started learning & playing music? Tell us about some of the places you’ve enjoyed creating photos from nature, please.
BK: I’m an avid hiker and love to visit beautiful places. I starting taking landscape photos just for fun about 12 years ago (I started playing music at 16 I’m 47 now). My wife had a painting show in NYC and the gallery owners saw some of my digital images on my phone and they asked me if I wanted to show at their gallery. A few months later my wife Maria and I had a group show together and then I was hooked. I
was so excited to take more landscape photos and get into more galleries. Since I lived in NYC for 10 years I would travel upstate New York and MT Washington, NH to capture the East coast landscape. I am always hungry to visit new places so I started headed out west to the Grand Canyon, Painted Desert, Death Valley, Yosemite, Josuha Tree, Red Rock Canyon and started to document the earth.
RZ: You’ve accomplished a LOT already… tell our readers what’s next in your great adventure – & why.
BK: I have a lot of projects I want to complete in 2020. I want to put out 2 Landscape photography books, 1st book will document abstract ice structures. I love the lines of the ice and how the light reflects through the ice. The 2nd book will document my photography range, from earlier morning to sunset light, rock structures, moving water, to frozen caves. I want to show my perspective as a photographer and
share what I see.
Musically, I want to finish composing and album for what I called the Brian Kastan 2 Trio. I play bass and guitar at the same time using a looping pedal. Basically, I jam with the drummer and find a groove that I like, loop it, and play guitar over the groove. I also, am thinking about recording some of my older songs as a jazz quartet
style playing nylon string guitar. In 2011 and 2012 I put out 2 albums called Songs for Thelonious and B Cerulean, acoustic and nylon string duets. I thought it would be fun to play them with a full band and give the tunes an updated musical perspective. I also like to recorded my own music. I have recorded 8 of my 16 albums so far. Since
many of the performances at Kastan Art Space are free improv gigs I would like to record a bunch of the jams and release then as well.
RZ: Do you and your wife Maria perform music together, or is she more of a visual artist?
BK: We do both, we are about to record a new acoustic duet album in early 2020. Depending on how many gigs we can get, sometimes we gig more with the music and sometimes she shows more art work. We played the downtown NYC scene for a while. It was a lot of fun playing the Knitting Factory, The Groove, Kenny’s Castaways, etc. We were on a few radio stations as well and tried to get a record deal..You know, the music industry is what it is…
RZ: Will any of the performances at K.A.S. include “spoken-word”? If so, why? If not, why?
BK: We call it Kastan Art Space so we can do whatever we want in the space. Instead of just calling it an art gallery. Spoken word is happening know with Grammy Winning Vocalist Miles Griffith, he improvises stores with the live band behind him.
RZ: Your bio says that you’re also an author… what have you written, and where can folks get copies of your work?
BK: The book is called Target Talking. My wife Maia and I wrote it together. Target Talking is an innovative approach to child development that you can easily learn today! It recognizes that parents and educators have the ability to naturally use specific language techniques to guide children at any age toward future success. Target Talking is a hands on guide that provides simple yet logical examples of how and why negative talking hurts children, how to motivate using positive thinking patterns, and many other Advanced Target Talking techniques to maintain positive rapport with children throughout their lifetime. Target Talking promotes family unity guiding all parental figures (men, women, grandparents, adoptive parents, divorced parents, single parents) to easily get on the same page and use this accessible method to build rapport.
RZ: I’m a firm believer in the ability of music to heal the ills of the world… is that something you embrace, too?
BK: Absolutely, especially since the universal language. There are a lot of psychological studies out there that document how music helps create euphoric and happy feeling from listening and playing. I always feel better when playing, it heals me all of the time 🙂 I feel if people listen to more positive music it can change peoples moods, behaviors and reduce stress.
RZ: As a performer, artist and author, what are your “words of wisdom” to folks out there who are interested in doing any of those things themselves? Is art & music a worthwhile “career” pursuit, or is it just a pipe-dream?
BK: It’s a pipe dream if people are doing it for the wrong reasons, such as success, fame or money. If your are doing it just to be an artist then I feel you can’t lose because you are doing for yourself.. If you love creating art or music then it is time well spent! If people feel they should be and artist of some sort and don’t do it then they probably won’t be not happy in the long run. If you create art and don’t make any money at it, well at least you still have your art ! In today’s economic climate it’s OK to work a side job to make money to support your artistic endeavors. Do what you have to do to create what you love!
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