MIKY ANTON – violin virtuoso & fusion artist meets LebenslustTV & ZeitblattTV, Bastian Lee Jones
Bastian Lee Jones sat in the foyer of the old celebrated Theater des Westens, Berlin, to do the interview for LebenslustTV and ZeitblattTV with violin virtuoso and fusion artist Miky Anton, who was solo violinist for the production “Fearless Vampire Killers” (We all remember the fabulous Roman Polanski movie – which Bastian might have seen approximately 30 times).
During childhood, Bastian visited the Theater des Westens during school and kindergarten – and the theatre haven’t lost its charme and beauty. But this time we entered through the stage door, went through the catacombs to the locker of Miky Anton and the canteen, drenched with the smell of paper mache and theatre, like in Deutsche Oper Berlin, where Bastian sang and performed as kid regularly. On our way to the foyer – friendly “chit chat” – one of the favourite words of Miky Anton, with colleagues and employees of the house. Finally – through corridors and marble staircases we reached the foyer with its huge red carpet and sparkling chandeliers. The right background for our interview – which can be seen on youtube:
(LebenslustTV & ZeitblattTV: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mDcBJ7e9Y8I&t=745s).
MIKY ANTON STARTING AS VIOLIN PLAYER
Miky’s career began at the age of 5 with private musical training as a violinist. His grandmother suggested the violin instead of an expensive piano. After the first exam followed by the education in the Lyceum of Music by George Enescu in Bucharest for exceptional musical talents – he subsequently studied on the University of Bucharest and got the Artist Diplom in Folkwang University Essen-Germany. After several international competitions that he won, Miky was mature enough to apply for responsible jobs as a soloist in Austria, Spain, France, Romania, Russia and Germany, and toured India and Africa in 2010-2012. Miky made his debut with the single “Morningstar” in 2013. Miky Anton is a master of crossover music and a genius in mixing the classical music with elements of electronic, film, pop and rock music. Between engagement, and touring, classical music and world music – he explains his soul of fusion.
BLJ: What is the difference between an engagement in such a theatre and a tour through Africa?
MA: You painted an almost to flowery picture about my jobs. Well – in this theatre I play regularly.
Everything I have to play is properly defined. Sometimes the audience hears me, sometimes not.
It is like playing in a band. Actually it is a band here. We try to do our job as good as possible.
We are conducted here, we try to stay focussed. The difference to Africa was – I mean – a tour
with a mix of classical instruments and traditional instruments, you would call it – folk music here.
Fusion and mixing was the overall motto. In the beginning I hadn’t have a clue what to play because
I had no idea how music for example in Burundi would be. Meeting the musicians there and
playing together – showed me, how the structures in African musics are. It is taken much more out
of a ritual context of the tribes. Endless repetitions losing track of mind, time and space.
We Westeners are doing music as entertainment, amusement or to express certain feelings.
There I did what I wanted to do. Here at the theatre I am doing what I was told to. Both are great
challenges. But staying balanced between these two extremes is a must. Between intense work
you need lots of rest – avoiding burn out and becoming a musical bureaucrat.
In Africa people don’t share our idea of time.We are always with our eyes at our smartphones. We
even don’t need our watches anymore. We have the watches and clocks but they have the time.
Whether it is 2pm or 4pm – it is not that important. This is reflected in their music as well. When
they start playing, they are losing everything. Their sense of time and space. This I imported even into
my studio recording work with my producer, Heiko Bandasch (Berlin, Vienna: http://www.2hero.com).
Heiko is asking me often: what tempo and beat? Then I often reply: no beat, no tempo. Free! How free?
Free!. In Africa I improvised and tried to perform with the native musicians my compositions. It was
fabulous. Here I read the scores, try to interpret and contribute and enjoy it.
BLJ: In African musics the metre and the organisation of time is very crucial. Repetitions as mentioned
but interesting effects occur, music ethnologists call them – interlocking patterns. When every player
plays his and her pattern, all the pattern played interlock. And this aspect is even in western rock and
beat music not as distinguished and elaborated as in African musics. No polyrhythms. You are losing
sense of time and space immediately there. But the strengths in Europe are: everything is
standardised, can be repeated, is measured and well designed as we see here in the background.
What thrills you most “fusioning” a much more repetitive and ritualistic musics, like the African ones
with your music? Are the reactions in the audiences in Europe to that kind of musical approach different than in
Africa? And how do you get your audience with that kind of music?
MA: What fascinates me most – and I talk about ordinary average people I met there, is their perception.
They seem to be very honest. They say what they mean and mean what they say whether it is
even maybe insulting or not. And with some compositions performed there – some were enticed by
them, some stood up during the concert and were walking along. While I was thinking: what are they
doing? Then they returned and sat down again and continued listening. For us quite unusual. Lots of them know
about western manners and they can behave like a western person but it is often not very popular to do
so. And as you said – the drums and percussions are as important as the other instruments. So
melody doesn’t lead as much as it does here. So I have to adapt it. And it makes lots of fun because
the vibes on stage changes and the audience feels it and goes along with the performance.
BLJ: And how do you get the audience here in Europe with the new and foreign material you perform? Every night
in each town the reactions may be any way different, but still?
MA: With pure dedication and passion – you can convince the people everywhere, doesn’t matter what
you are playing. They want to enjoy a happening. Well – not with contemporary or modern art music which is
quiet cacophonous. But if there is a balance between consonance and dissonance mixed with passion
then you have them. Some artists have tactics. Some are doing it with humour or their story.
And if they like something – they like the concert to be continued – until it doesn’t even make sense anymore.
BLJ: How do you bring your emotions onto a recording? When you are in a studio – considered between you
and your violin and the recording device is just a microphone?
MA: For sure. The acoustic in a studio is dead dry. You don’t get any response in a studio. No reaction on stage equals
being superfluous as artist and performer. In studio you try not being too passionate. You try to play
in time and accurate. But even if you play too passionately or too smooth – there are so many devices
you can modulate and design the sound, that I am astonished about the even unplanned results.
BLJ: You are recording a new EP (2014 “The Star in my Heart”, Single “Morningstar”) and the first single
and video “Childish” (available on iTunes, Amazon etc.) and its video is already published Youtube:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EAZWq9xu5uA . What kind of pieces are awaiting us?
MA: As you already mentioned – we just published the video of my single “Childish”. It is about some women,
how they behave, when they are falling in love and preparing for a date. There are always images in my
head, when composing. I have planned two new EP´s. One of them will be more a fusion of classic and electronic.
The second will be much more cinematic, because I love soundtracks a lot. It resonates a lot in my and people´s
In regard of your second question. For me as musician it is normal to be on stage and to perform as well as being
below stage in an orchestra pit to play, to compose, to cover, to interpret, to be in studio and record. That is what I
actually want to do, to be in a studio – to make my music known and heard. And this is also an experience, being
in a studio. The first 15 minutes in a concert are hard. I have to connect with the audience and me, getting the kind of
intimacy I need.
When there is a lack of intimacy – I am not that good. Something is missing. For instance – when I went to my
violin teacher – there was no intimacy. Something was missing there, too. Now I know about it. Now I even overcome
the obstacles. I developed a bunch of strategies. Sometimes I use some fixes and i am able to activate it – sometimes
In those days i was panicking – thinking what comes next and next. And I know I am not 100 percent involved. How
do I know? Because I cannot control all my movements. It would mean that I would be able to remember everything!
But I cannot remember when I was too nervous. A mechanism worked for me. A principle. Intelligent life in us is
continuing to show its effects. We practiced and trained our mind and body. And the body executes – which means we
don’t have to be 100% aware of everything in the moment while performing. Nowadays i am observer and witness
Nowadays in the studio sometimes I think: wow – this is what I have played! This is the biggest joy as musician. In
former times composers who wrote down their partituras where maybe able to listen to their work 5 till 10 years later
when a maybe mediocre orchestra is performing it. Today – you can detect mistakes and inappropriate spots in your
song immediately and you can decide if it is good or not. Leave it or change it. The only difference in studio is the lack
of the audience and the acoustics.
BLJ: At the age of 5 years your grandma bought you a violin. You studied at the lyceum and high school and in Essen.
What are your musical goals, your vision? Do you like to be on tour?
MA: My perfect vision what I think would make me happy, though knowing we don’t know yet whether that vision will
make me happy in deed – playing with a band. With good musicians who are able to follow. Running some shows
would be a dream. In China. in the world. I write stories down, which are fantastic. With a narrator, dancers and the
music. To inspire people thinking of time, love and its endurance. Doing mistakes in your life. Sometimes classical
concerts. I only exclude music that is so loud that your ears start to suffer, or meaningless music. I like to play music,
that has meaning and tells a story.
The former celebrated Jazzer, like Stéphane Grappelli – they improvised in a narrative way. And every violinist was a
composer. Violinists knew, what it means to compose, the mathematics and structures. If you know the structures –
you won’t be afraid. Being in harmony – timelessness – that is one goal. Well – I lost my real capability to play the
pianoforte properly. But I play primitive things. And in the spaces in between – you feel depth. And I take my time. All
the time that is needed. Otherwise you are stressed.
BLJ: When you compose? Are you thinking in sound, images, smells, colours?
MA: First the sound. Then comes the image. There are two or three ways to compose: sometimes I just fiddle around.
In studio or at home. What do you plan to do? I don’t know yet. I just play around. Sitting at the piano.
First the harmonies. Or a melodic line.
Or I hear the music in my head, when being alone. I must be alone. Then comes the idea of a phrase and images
are following. It depends on how I feel. Do I have time or not? Am I inspired by another composer?
I soliloquy. And when I am at home, I try to play it. Sometimes there is a good result, sometimes not. Enchanted in
the beginning sometimes I feel jaded – or the composition loses its magic.
BLJ: What makes you lust for life most? Lebenslust?
MA: Having time to meet friends in cafes. I love to read old books.
BLJ: Many thanks for your time and your deep thoughts sharing with our audience.
MA: Many thanks for the great interview.
Miky Anton on spotify: https://open.spotify.com/artist/3aPsI8eE5xN5EyIyOhkr8P?si=DTKYBTCaTzCA6YKq_JPYjQ
Miky Anton on iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/de/artist/miky-anton/815504063