Hello. Since some of our readers may not be familiar with The Kilimanjaro Darkjazz Ensemble, would you like to tell us something about your sound identity and your musical and visual sources of inspiration?

We formed TKDE back in 2000, just as a duo working with existing sound and film. Re-arranging existing music with old silent film. We quickly started to compose our own music because we didn’t find the exact music we would like to use. We immediately knew we wanted to work on making some form of dark, cinematic jazz. In 2004 Gideon and myself decided to take the project further and slowly start developing it into a group. Little by little we bumped into the right group of musicians who we asked to become part of TKDE. Around 2008 the whole band decided it would be cool if we started a side-project which would fully focus on improv. A direct opposite to how we worked with TKDE. So we formed TMFDJC more as a simple creational outlet, we never planned to release any albums.

I read that you admire the works of silent movie directors such as F. W. Murnau and Fritz Lang which was also a part of your studies. How did you come to the idea to write scores for silent movies and which are your favorite ones?

At the time (around 1999) Gideon and myself worked together at a multimedia company in Amsterdam. In our spare time we decided to make short audiovisual ‘mixes’ of music with existing silent films. Re-editing, re-scoring to to our taste. This eventually evolved into starting the Kilimanjaro Darkjazz Ensemble project. I think one of our all time favourites is definitely ‘Nosferatu’

Any directors that you would like to collaborate with? Which genre would you prefer?

Well Lynch or the Quay Brothers would be incredible. I think any project could be a challenge.

What do you think about movie scores today? Do you think they are becoming the lost art or they are losing their direction as more and more bands are getting involved? A favorite soundtrack?

Most mainstream film music is quite generic. You can feel the desired feeling coming from a distance. I think I’m from a different generation, growing up with films with soundtracks from Morricone, etc… Its never a question of whats good or bad … just taste and approach.

Tell us a few things about your compositional and recording process. How does this differ in TKDE and MFDJC and how difficult is it for a band consisted of people from different countries and backgrounds to work together?

This is quite simple.

TKDE is linear, studio composed music.

TMFDJC is totally improvisational and non-linear.

How did the two names come? You are certainly in love with mountain peaks.

We chose Kilimanjaro because it always had a mysterious vibe surrounding it. Also the location and the phonetics of the word work really well. It seemed right to give the side-project name a similar name so people would directly see the link between the two bands, so we chose Mt Fuji, to be honest this could have been any other mountain top in the world.

Is dark, melancholic and somber mood your only music nature? The stairs on the cover of your recent album, “From The Stairwell”, are leading down to darkness. Would your music inspiration be effective in a sunnier environment?

TKDE is just one of many musical outlets. Each bandmember has his or her own other project(s). In TKDE we enjoy the melancholy and darkness. It’s a natural musical process.

What motivates you at the moment (apart from movies)?

This interview!

Could you see your music without images while composing? And how important are the visuals for the audience to experience your music?

I think our music holds easily without visuals. The whole visual aspect is also because I visualize my music while I compose. This is maybe why this transposes similarly to the listener.

How tough is it to “dress” a different band persona and perform the same night?

Not at all. Its just a straightforward thing.

Are you satisfied with your last albums as TKDE and MFDJC?


We have a new TMFDJC album ready, it should be released early 2012. TKDE album plans are in the conceptual phase, it should be around 2013 before we release new material.

The Kilimanjaro Darkjazz Ensemble

November 2011