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Progressive Rock Interviews


Interviewed by Gary Hill
Interview with Sonja Kristina of Mask from 2010

What do you see as the differences between Mask and Curved Air?

MASK is a more theatrical concept . Curved Air is essentially a rock band. Musically MASK is Marvin’s musical voice, sound and production supporting and embellishing my lyrics and performance which have grown from joint improvisations over the sequences that became the songs.

MSJ: What are the similarities?

Curved Air at its time was innovative collaboration between Francis Monkman and Darryl Way – both music college graduates. Both wrote music inspired by the contemporary rock and classical composers and performers. Marvin and I are also inspired by elements of contemporary and classical styles and collaborations with other artists. Now we can draw from the coolest and best of our influences through all the recent decades.

MSJ: If you weren't involved in music, what do you think you'd be doing?

A hippie traveler … actress, a nurse , a healer……a courtesan….a geisha…..

MSJ: How would you describe the sound of Mask?

Layers of violins, cellos and sonic manipulation with some other instrumentation shaped into songs with rhythms suggesting moods and dances – not derivative – each song with its own imagery, atmosphere and truth….

MSJ: How about the sound of Curved Air?

Curved Air is more conventionally composed and arranged with extended areas for solos ….clearly a mix of rock, jazz, classical and art song. The Curved Air chord progressions are unique in their drama and development …ahead of its time in its time.

MSJ: What's ahead for you?

Following my inspiration … working in theatre and music with strong creative people. Writing a few more songs. Expressing my life in words written and sung.

MSJ: Are there musicians you'd like to play with in the future?

David Bowie….Peter Gabriel , David Byrne . Laurie Anderson.. Tom Waites

MSJ: Do you think that downloading of music is a help or hindrance to the careers of musicians? It's been said by the major labels that it's essentially the heart of all the problems they are having in terms of lower sales - would you agree?
It seems to act as promotion for your work. Like organic radio play that ultimately if you’re lucky will have people purchasing and following your career.
MSJ: In a related question how do you feel about fans recording shows and trading them?

Not much can be done about that at the moment. Of course one likes everything to be perfect. So the solution is to record properly and sell your own version.

MSJ: If you were a superhero, what music person would be your arch-nemesis and why?

The manager or label who steals from the artist by binding them into long contracts, then defaulting on payment. Who has the resources to bleed you dry in legal proceedings as they know little guy cannot fight…

MSJ: If you were to put together your ultimate band, who would be in it?

Tom Waites piano and stories, David Bowie and Dylan on Acoustic guitar and backing vocals, Marvin Ayres cello , Jerry Goodman violin, Jaco Pastorius bass , Viv Prince drums

MSJ: If you were in charge of assembling a music festival and wanted it to be the ultimate one from your point of view, who would be playing?

Radiohead, Bowie, Dylan, John Lennon, Janis Joplin , Tom Waites, Jeff Buckley, Sigur Ros, Billy Holiday, Chet Baker, Edith Piaf, Jacques Brel, Buffy Sainte Marie, Robin Williamson, Maria Callas, Eric Satie, Carl Orf, Steve Reich, Avro Part, Phillip Glass, Ray Charles

MSJ: What was the last CD you bought, or what have you been listening to lately?

Sigur Ros

MSJ: What about the last concert you attended for your enjoyment?

My son’s band The Hot Head Show

MSJ: What has been your biggest Spinal Tap moment?

Sharing a limo to an awards event with Diana Ross and talking about bringing up children. Or chatting with Paul and Linda McCartney about grazing sheep and managing land at a gallery opening for her photography.

MSJ: Finally, are there any closing thoughts you'd like to get out there?
Keep inventing new musical styles, forms and expressions
MSJ: This interview is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2010  Volume 2 at
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