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..:: Ed Starink - Interview ::..

Conducted in German by Andreas Heinz on September 13th, 2001. Translation by Stefan Fleischmann.

Andreas: Do you have a special source of inspiration?

Ed: This depends on the work I am doing. When I did film music, this was a different thing than when I did synthesizer music. In general this depends, of course, on my education. I studied and practised on the piano every day, which is necessary to obtain a piano diploma. I own the certificates "Piano A" and "B". I was engaged in classical composition then, but at the same time also in modern productions in the studio, that I worked in since I was 15. In those days there were only 4 studios in Holland, and soon I played a role in most productions, and that didn't change since.

Ed Starink with Andreas

In the beginning there was classical music, on the other hand I played with popular musicians, for instance on the synthesizer. This was business. Thus, an answer to that question is, I live in two worlds, and on principle my source of inspiration was classical music. Later this shifted to a certain extent when different work had to be done, but it all comes back now. It's in my head, it will always come back. My actual sources of inspiration mainly were the classical composers Mozart, Bach, and Scriabin. These three are my "daily bread" principally, I deal with them every day for a while. It's a source that persists in all the years, and naturally it also depends on the work, the people I meet, and so on.

Another source for the domain of synthesizer music has not been Jarre or Vangelis, but Tomita. At that time he was my source of inspiration, in the early days of synthesizer music. I learned more from Tomita's work than, say, from Vangelis or Jarre.

Andreas: Is your wife a source of inspiration, a muse for you, too?

Ed: Yes, she is.

Andreas: With which of your own compositions are you satisfied most?

Ed: (laughs) I am not the type of person that says, "This piece I like or don't like". It is my work, and for instance I may work on a new piece for a whole day or an entire week, and when I go eating or so, I?m no longer preoccupied with it. I learned that during my studies. No matter whether I work on my own compositions or pieces of others, and I am completely absorbed in it then, and when I stop, it's gone. Strawinsky is my big role model when it comes to how one should make music: you sit down, take a pencil and begin with work.

With "Cristallin", for example, I wanted to enrich the world of music of that time with something new, by combining classical composition with synthesizer music. Similarly to Wendy (Walter) Carlos, whom I would call a good model, too. I like the album "Cristallin" in my creative period of those days. I couldn't compose that today any more. That's a certain period, and it is over, and today I am in an entirely different period of music. I cannot really make a judgement on it, since to me this is a different Ed Starink than today. To me this is nostalgia - I cannot say more about it.

Andreas: But you were content and proud of your work, weren't you?

Ed: Regardless of whether it is a piece by Jarre that I do not like or by another composer: I like it when I say "That's it, fantastic!". This has always been my standard for everything, and this applies to my own compositions as well. I never hear something through again - if it's done, it's finished.

Andreas: Did you ever think about composing film music?

Ed: Yes, did think about it, but this is not the right thing for me. I was asked very often, also about a very big project, but this not the right thing for me. To me music is abstract, for a film it's programmatic. I did music for commercials for two or three years, and that was terrible. I made a few soundtracks for documentary films. I did not yet have my Fairlight then, and needed the money to pay for it. That was a very nice project, and the music served the film well.

Andreas: However, you wouldn't want to create music for a film such as "Star Wars", or maybe even win an Oscar?

Ed: No, no! I always wanted to stay in the background. I do not like this kind of work.

Andreas: Which music do you like privately?

Ed: No synthesizer music - I like synthesizers in a context, and a composer whom I like with respect to this is Eric Serra. He uses synthesizers together with an orchestra and in my opinion that is how it should be, and not like others only synthesizers. This is somewhat strange to me.

Andreas: When you hear a piece on the radio, is it your first thought how to re-play it yourself?

Ed: (laughs) No, I do not think about how to re-play it myself, but I hear immediately how many and which instruments were mostly used. However, with today's sampling technology this has changed, too, and I like that very much. You cannot hear any more whether it's an Oberheim, an Arp, or a Moog.

Andreas: So it is not like you hear a song of, say, Michael Jackson and you think about how to cover it for "Synthesizer Spectacular Volume 5"?

Ed: I can give you a very brief answer: I do not do this work any more.

Andreas: It's a pity. This was also a question I wanted to ask later on. You wouldn't even if we beg for it?

Ed: No, not even then.

Andreas: Can you imagine giving a concert of your own compositions?

Ed: In the past I gave demonstrations on the Musicom in Rotterdam. That was very popular then, and it was the time of the Fairlight, too. But today, I don?t think so. I find the problem with these synthesizers is that they bring along a certain automatism. Perhaps I will give piano concerts, this would be possible, but not merely with one sequencer here and one synthesizer there.

Andreas: Do you plan for a new album with compositions of your own?

Ed: Yes. This is yet another period. The first one was the time when "Cristallin" was created, the second was the work for ARCADE, and then I had a phase of rest, when I was not concerned with music in the studio for five years. And now the early time returns. I work on four very different projects, and it will take about three years until it's finished. I'm probably going to work a little in the studio this autumn, and now I finally have the time to do that, and I want to invest a lot of time in these projects, too. I do not find it important whether it becomes a commercial success. It's just the music I want to make, for once.

Andreas: The strings and the brass in "Back to the Future", "Battlestar Galactica", and in several other pieces of "Music From Outer Space" sound very dynamic and crisp. How did you create these sounds, and why didn't you use them for the Classical Masterpieces albums as well?

Ed: "Battlestar Galactica" and others were my own projects, where I used my own instruments, whereas I did the classical pieces for ARCADE in a different studio, where I worked with different means.

Andreas: Was all of this made with synthesizers?

Ed: No. The film themes such as "Star Wars" are all very large scores, and there are a great many instruments involved. In Holland I took the best trumpet player, the best horn player, and so forth, and then I made the attack with the trumpet, since this is very difficult with a synthesizer and always sounds somewhat muffled - at least at that time. So in the foreground you hear authentic instruments, and beneath there are the synthesizers. For the classical of Synthesizer Greatest I needed real violas, cellos, etc. as well, and good musicians, of course.

Andreas: Can you estimate how many CDs exist with your music?

Ed: No... all I can say is that I did approx. 30 for ARCADE, released more than 100 under Star Inc. and 70 or so for other projects. Altogether about 200 releases with album length. You see, I started with this at a very young age. I was 15 and went to directly to the studio, and I was in the best studio from the very beginning.

Andreas: May we hope for further releases?

Ed: Yes, but not for things like "Synthesizer Greatest" any more. I was so often asked to do this, but I don't want that any more.

Andreas: Are there more pseudonyms such as "London Starlight Orchestra" and "Hollywood Studio Orchestra" that we do not know of yet?

Ed: Eddy Starr Singers with the big choir, Edgar Starink as the guitar player of the band Gamma (a jazz rock band), and the Eddy Starr Orchestra. Maybe there are more pseudonyms, but I don't know.

Andreas: Does Philippe L'Auran really exist, or is it a pseudonym of yours as well?

Ed: No, that's me, too. Another record company searched for a different name, and I played the piano, instructed by a piano CD. They couldn't use the same name.

Andreas: Do you have other hobbies besides music?

Ed: Mhmm... let me think... no, not really something I am engaged with daily.

Andreas: Sports - tennis or golf?

Ed: No, no sports.

Andreas: Do or did you have contact to any artist you have covered?

Ed: No, I do not think so. It was only once that Disques Dreyfus asked ARCADE if they could wait with the release of "Synthesizer Greatest" until a new record by Jarre was on the market, so that I could cover one of the titles.

Andreas: How do you arrange the music? Do you have the notes of the pieces, or do you play them by ear?

Ed: You mean the pieces of "Synthesizer Greatest"?

Andreas: Yes.

Ed: I take the original and write down the complete score using the headphones.

Andreas: So you hear all the notes individually?

Ed: All of them. I do the filtering of the parts in my head - so when I want to hear the bass, I do not hear anything but the bass, etc.

Andreas: Did you always have to buy the latest records of Jarre, Vangelis, etc. or did ARCADE furnish you with them?

Ed: I received those from ARCADE. They always sent a tape with the songs I should re-play.

Andreas: So ARCADE decided what you should play?

Ed: Not at the beginning, but later, since the compilations for France were different from those for Spain, for example.

Andreas: When comparing your interpretations of the Jan Hammer titles with the originals, it appears that you often use a cool electric guitar. Is there anything behind it?

Ed: I always wanted to respect the original. However, if I could do something to improve the original, I did that. But always with respect for the original. Sometimes this is successful, sometimes not. It is difficult to find a balance in this matter.

Andreas: What do you think about Jarre, Vangelis and Hammer?

Ed: They are three very different musicians. I like Vangelis because he is foremost a musician. He sits and he plays, I like that. I like the atmosphere of his music. Of Jan Hammer I only know the few titles I have covered, I cannot say more about that. And Jarre is not my music... that's show. However, the live concerts of Jarre please me more than those of Vangelis do.

Andreas: What do you think about our web sites?

Ed: I was amazed by their wealth of information, given that I?m not that popular. But I cannot really judge them, since this is not my métier.

Andreas: And the content?

Ed: No, I cannot judge it... before I have seen 20 or 30 other web sites. It's the first time I see a synthesizer web site. But I am amazed how many information you have collected, more than we here.

Dieses Interview auf Deutsch.
Dit interview in het Nederlands.
Cette interview en Français.

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