It wouldn’t be a stretch to call Albert Dadon and Evripides Evripidou kindred souls. Dadon, who plays under the Albare moniker and six-string bassist Evripidou have been collaborating on their melody-driven jazz for close to 20 years now. Both come from a Mediterranean background, appreciating the harmony based music of their native countries (Dadon was born in Morocco and raised in France, while Evripidou was born in Cyprus – both immigrated to Australia at young ages) and together, both have injected life into Australia’s jazz scene.
Now, with the release of Long Way, Albare’s sixth full-length, the two are gearing up to take their tunes, which are consistently free of restraint, on the road. And though their relationship is over 20 years strong, Evripidou acknowledges the work that’s gone into building a successful collaborative effort.
“It’s all interdependent isn’t it?” he says, reached on the phone from his Melbourne home. “We collaborated on all the tunes on the new record. On this last album we pretty much did everything together. We’ve known each other for so long so we understand how we think and feel. We have a certain background and we’re compatible in that we both come from Mediterrenean backgrounds. And it’s conducive to a certain melody.”
Those melodies are particularly resonant on Long Way; Evripidou sees this as a product of their relationship as collaborators.
“It’s a natural affinity, when you meet someone and you have a common background. We both really connect on melody and that’s probably what brought us together. Most of our projects try to be very melody-based.”
Though Evripidou seems relatively jovial about the nature of their relationship, as any collaborators can attest, the end product is often a result of some fairly weighty compromise. And Long Way in particular walks in many different directions, which begs the question of their song-writing techniques. Do the two walk in with a distinct goal for each track or are they content to let the song roam?
For Evripidou, the key is to keep things spontaneous. And it seems to be working out well.
“There’s so many different ways to go about it. And I’m sure Albare himself could go about it in many different ways as well. This album, and most of the albums we work on are born spontaneously.”
“When you just kind of jam on a regular basis, try different things and experiment without thinking,” he continues, “you’re able to just polish what you have and it comes out sounding very beautiful. Instead of doing things that are pre-programmed and thinking you have to get things sounding a certain way, it can be very liberating otherwise.”
Evripidou is never a few minutes away from referencing how important harmony is to the music of Albare. Yet even a record such as Long Way, thick with harmony that it may be, is also free of lyrics. Without lyrics, many find it difficult to form emotional attachments to songs and records, which Evripidou acknowledges.
Still, Evripidou insists that the passion which both he and Albare bring towards their music cannot be understated. He’s also sure that it’s palpable within their music.
“We’re both very passionate people. I come from a Greek/Cypriot background and he comes from a French/Jewish background and there’s a lot of passion in our background.”
After being pressed on the message of Long Way, Evripidou soon puts a finger on it.
“When it comes to the message, [Albare and I] talked a lot about ethics, morals and spirituality. Some of the topics that come up when we write are of more of a personal nature. Dealing with relationships and the like. We also started thinking about some of humanity’s personal achievements and thinking about some of our own personal achievements.”
There’s a philosophy of care and personal affection which Evripidou brings up in earnest throughout our relaxed conversation. Evripidou speaks directly but in a slightly hushed tone, hesitant to let the thousands of kilometres and the exotic locales he’s both visited and lived in become a point of braggadocio.
Yet both Albare and Evripides Evripidou are men of the world, and cannot deny the influence which geography has had and will continue to have on their music.
“In our music we’re always gathering our personal experiences, especially those that happened while abroad. It’s always got to have a strong melodic element and a nice harmonic structure, which is something that we generally flock to when it comes to music of the world, both Greek and French. I started learning the Spanish guitar, then moved onto the classic guitar,” he says.
Evripidou concedes that life can’t always be spent in away from home. Even in Australia, walking the same streets every day, he fights to find inspiration.
“It does get a little boring sometimes,” he says with a hearty laugh. “Just before you called I was writing music for a film trailer and I was listening to the formula and sound of 'Hollywood,' which was offered to be as examples how this film trailer was supposed to sound. And I thought, 'Wouldn’t it be nice to explore things from a different point of view?' Different sounds, different melodies. It can certainly get a bit boring when you don’t have a stimulus.”
Any successful collaboration is about balance, and the two song-writers have found said balance. For Evripides Evripidou, a successful balance between the music of the world and his life in Austalia is also incredibly important.
“There’s always elements of the music we’ve heard throughout the world in our music.”
BY JOSHUA KLOKE
As part of the Melbourne Jazz Festival, ALBARE iTD will play the Melbourne Recital Centre on Tuesday June 5.