Interview with Bennet Cerven, the violinist of The Trouble Notes
Let’s start from the name of your group.
Bennet: “Oh, surely it’s a curious thing about us.
It’s a play on words. It comes from ‘treble’, that is the highest notes in music and ‘trouble’, an adjective that means both ‘cool’ and ‘bad’ in English. We ourselves gave this name to our trio because it explains better our idea of creating and performing music. Our sound is eclectic, it’s a mixture of madness and something unconventional”.
How do you define your way to be musicians?
B: “We say we are an indie world fusion trio and ours is music for travels and travelers. As cultural explorers, when we write music we want to tell a story and the style is a part of the story, too. Travelers can be even refugees, not only those who travel for passion or work, so the music we create must be able to speak with and about both”.
When did you start playing together?
B: “The idea was born along the streets of New York in 2013.
I’m American and I lived there for years, where I used to play my violin as a busker in several occasions. Then I’ve decided to move to London and after knowing Oliver Maguire, our percussionist, we together moved to Germany where we met our guitarist Florian Eisenschmidt from Braunschweig. Now we are all based in Berlin”.
Are you going to widen your music family with other artists?
B. “No, but it’s possible. We shared some of our street performances with other musicians such as Dario Rossi, a famous Italian percussionist, but for the moment we prefer to be just three elements. Maybe we could add a bass player to our group in the future, but it’s only an idea”.
What is the coolest place where you played your musical instruments?
B: “There are a few. Among them there’s a famous concert house in Berlin where we performed two weeks ago, and in Genova on ancient Roman ruins. We played there two months ago. Another incredible experience was also to play a magical street concert outside a Roman portico in Verona three years ago.
Basically we played everywhere that was cool for us. We hope to make a place a little bit cooler by our music, even if we usually prefer historical places for their way to be.
The place undoubtedly affects the way we play”.
You come back to Bologna many times a year, as soon as you can. What do you like and what do you dislike of this city and our country in general?
B: “Oh, this is a nice question, guy!
Well, driving in Bologna is a shit, let me start saying that! Streets are a little bit narrow for some kind of cars. If we refer to music instead, I need to say that music scene in general is a little bit empty, because there are really a few opportunities and a complicated situation for groups like us.
Unlike Germany and other countries in Europe, another thing we dislike about performing music in Italy is that there are no many places that can house 300-400 persons for a concert like the ones we often have anywhere.
You have really cool festivals and very big arenas for great concerts, but not concert houses for less famous artists”
But you really love Italy, I know.
B: “Oh yeah, of course. The things we love are many more, luckily!
We really love this country, it’s true.
We do love Italian people, festivals, food, landscapes and cities. We performed in many of them and one of the thing we love the most is the fact that here we make friendship faster than in other places. There’s something magic and that’s incredible!”
What other city would you like to reach with your sound?
B: “I’m super interested in playing in East Asia.
My dream is to play along the cities of the ‘Silk Road’, a really big area that is still nowadays full of culture and wonderful cities.
Or having a music trip on the way Texas – Santiago del Chile or in Venezuela. They must be wonderful life experiences.
We are cultural explorers, don’t forget it!”
You also have your favorite artists. Is there anyone famous among them you would like to play with?
B: “Oh, sure. We’d like to create something with Rodrigo y Gabriela, two famous guitarists from Mexico, or do a song with Stromae. He sings in a really particular way! We love him so much”
We are at the end of this interview and it’s the moment for the most important question.
What do you suggest to musicians who are about to start your kind of career?
B: “Playing in the streets is not easy as it seems, because you need to find the right way to connect with the place you are and you are playing in.
A place has to speak with your music and music needs to do the same with the place you choose. We play in a more dynamic way when streets are more crowded, softly if there’s not so much noise.
Another thing to do is to create aura, that’s maybe the biggest part of the performance. You need to create the stage and the beauty of your sound has to be heard from far away as it’s possible.
The reason why we love Bologna and particularly Piazza della Mercanzia is right this, the way it is.
It’s perfect because it makes you create a connection where a connection is not”
Ph_ Juan Pérez
Listen to and follow them on social channels:
Their playlist is on Spotify: spotify:user:thetroublenotes:playlist:0pEx3HY8jgKqsglEEG1BKK