Five minutes...with Rafael Jerjen from MaxMantis

Five minutes...with Rafael Jerjen from MaxMantis

How did MaxMantis come about?

Well we were the backing band for lots of horn-players and singers for a few years, and during that time we kept being told by friends, audience members and other musicians with how much energy, enthusiasm and joy we played together. So after a while it became a natural decision to form a trio and collaboratively write music for it. Luckily enough for us we are still very good friends today and all contribute equally to writing and making music together.

Who are your biggest influences?

The three of us, well, we love the giants like John Coltrane, Bill Evans, Ahmad Jamal, Art Blakey, Ray Brown etc. and modern bands like the Wayne Shorter Quartet and The Bad Plus definitely inspire us, however what influences us as well  is our Swiss heritage and finding ways of adapting and re-inventing our folk music to fit within the jazz idiom that all of us love so much. This gives both genres (Swiss folk music and jazz) a breath of fresh air. Lastly, we definitely can’t forget each other, we influence each other a lot, in the moments when we improvise and play with the music but also in life as well it’s like each of us having two brothers…. from other mothers….

What can audiences expect to hear when MaxMantis play at MIJF?

“Hear”….. Maybe “feel” is more important…. Audiences can expect to feel a lot of energy and excitement. they can also expect to hear a storm and chaos and at the same time moments of calm distinct melodies that resonate through their simplicity. There will definitely be contrast, we love contrast and doing the unexpected, it's what keeps it entertaining. We are sure that by the end of the night audiences will understand WHY we make music together, the joy, the laughter and the desire to create in the moment binds us.

What’s the jazz scene like in Switzerland?

Switzerland has a natural appreciation and culture for music that has developed from traditional folk music. This upbeat and very danceable folk music transcends nicely to Jazz, which is reflected in a hip, busy litte jazz scene in the heart of Europe.

What do you do to unwind?

Eat good food and enjoy each others company

What are you most looking forward to about coming to Melbourne? 


Five minutes...with Rafael Jerjen from MaxMantis

Rafael performs with MaxMantis at The Jazzlab on Friday 9 June. Book here.

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