Canadian pianist Chilly Gonzales prepares for first Fringe shows
The multi-talented musician is set to blend comedy, music and spoken word
This article is from 2012.
‘The world that the Fringe represents is a world I’ve always been conscious of,’ says omnitalented raconteur, pianist and friend to Canada’s finest alternative musicians, Chilly Gonzales. ‘But to be honest, I’ve always chosen consciously not to go there.’ Interesting. After all, anyone who has seen Chilly (real name Jason Beck; Canadian, now lives between Paris and Berlin; collaborators include Peaches, Feist, Jamie Lidell and Boys Noize) perform will know his hilarious but deftly-performed show is perfect for Edinburgh.
‘I’ve firmly defined myself as an underground musician releasing records in a fast moving, trend-based world,’ he says. ‘To be part of that is a decision I’ve made, rather than just becoming a live performer, even though it’s what I feel I’m best at. But at the same time I’m jealous of the Tim Minchins of this world who can play the same city ten nights in a row, whereas my career is all about gaining just enough press to maybe play to five hundred people just one night.’ He denies this two-date foray into Edinburgh is a potentially career-changing move, but it’s one he’s clearly thought hard about. ‘I want to see which of the clichés about Edinburgh are true,’ he says.
Self-described as a ‘piano talk show’, a typical Chilly Gonzales set involves skilled playing from his music-only albums Solo Piano and this month’s Solo Piano II, sharply comedic vocal tracks from his albums, the latest of which was last year’s The Unspeakable Chilly Gonzales, and plenty of amusing, near-knuckle chatter. ‘It’s a chance to transgress and redeem and a chance to explore what a musical genius is supposed to act like on stage. Are they even supposed to call themselves that?’ Whether that last point’s in character or not, we’ll leave you to figure out for yourselves.
Queen’s Hall, Edinburgh, Fri 3 & Sun 26 Aug, 9.45-11pm, £14 (£10). Solo Piano II is released on Mon 27 Aug.