On Collaboration: Amsterdam in the 80s to now

Post Author:
Malka Spigel

In the early 80's myself and a group of friends, who would later become the band Minimal Compact, bored with Tel Aviv's provinciality, decided to re-locate to Amsterdam. We didn't know many people there and quickly ran out of money. All we really had was each other but we did have some instruments and evenings were spent entertaining ourselves by playing and recording the results to cassette. This was my first experience of being in any kind of band. It had a very pure quality, we had no expectation that anyone would be interested in what we did, we just played for our own fun. For me this is a touchstone of how to make music. I don't really know any other way but collaboration.

Collaboration is the key to all the music I've been connected to over the past few years whether it be with Githead or on my new album, Every Day Is like The First Day. The collaboration works on many levels, especially with the new album. Obviously since Colin (Newman) & I have been together, we have collaborated on many projects but I don't think there has been project where the collaboration has been so pure as is with this one. We started the album in a special way, with no planning, not even a click track to play against. With me just playing the first thing that came to my hands on whatever instrument I happened to be playing and Colin finding complimentary parts almost in parallel. We evolved the structures of the pieces in real time and left in many spur of the moment idiosyncrasies because they felt right at that moment. The evolution of the pieces also happened in collaboration as we took the material to friends' studios in various places to gather their contributions and brought them to our studio also.

These kinds of collaborations create a special connection to people, which is beyond the music. It's like we have something in common through working together on material that is for me also very personal. I guess I let them into my world. In return they let you into theirs. This was made doubly special by the fact that neither Colin or I had ever collaborated with any of those people before. We became friends….

I should stress that for me collaboration is a choice, I don't collaborate because I'm not able to do on my own, I do it because the exchange leads to better and more interesting results. The best kind of collaborations are ones in which not a lot needs to be said and I can say that amongst the people with whom I have collaborated in the best way there is not one who cannot be counted as a life long friend. I don't really now what a friend with benefits is but I do know that the benefit of great collaboration is that you not only end up with great music but you also feel enriched by the experience.

Buy Malka Spigel's Every Day Is Like The First Day at Mayanewman.