Redstar delivers an exclusive interview with bassist Pete Scherr, founder of Creative Music in China and the organizer of The Tectonic Quartet’s Continental Drift Tour which stops in Qingdao at the Redstar office in Creative 100 (100 Nanjing Lu, Room 401) on October 23. Call 136.6886.7325 and 135.8320.6332 for tickets and information.

Broadly speaking, what style will The Tectonic Quartet be playing? Is it closer to the rockier sounds of Headache, world-music influenced a la Trio Tarana, or more classical like Jenny Scheinman?

I think this one is gonna be more of a melodic, rocky kind of vibe. Michael Blake (saxophone) is the key voice of this group. He is soulful and bluesy. Great smoky sound… And Teddy Kumpel (guitar) is a long time musical partner of Blake’s and a friend of mine, so we will be in good company. We will actually be playing some songs from the Son of August record, along with a lot of Blake’s stuff.

You recorded with Michael Blake on the Son Of August album, how is it reuniting with him for this tour?

I’m super excited to be playing with Blake. I have been in love with his sound ever since I heard him on record with his groups with my brother, and also Slow Poke and John Lurie stuff. When I was recording Son of August with him in 2008, I had this uncanny moment where I realized that I was hearing That Sound in my cans, while I was recording one of my songs. It was pretty exciting. I’m just happy that he’s into with playing with me. 

Interview Peter Scherr Michael Blake Sax

This tour goes to Guangzhou, Shanghai’s JZ festival, Wuxi, Hangzhou, Suzhou, Qingdao, Changsha, Shenzhen and Hong Kong. That’s a lot of places, including many second tier cities. Is this one of the biggest you’ve arranged?

Seems like I’ve figured out a pretty comfortable circuit in the Shanghai area, which includes a lot of the cities that you’ve mentioned. There are some really cool places to play, and we can do a week’s tour just with a van, which is much more economical than flying every day. It’s a lot less stressful too. This tour is definitely on the ambitious side for me. But the music will be so much fun that I am sure it will be worth it. 

Why no Beijing?

I’d love to play in Beijing. We almost went there this time, but for a few administrative glitches… It’s hard to get a fee in Beijing that makes it affordable to travel there. This time, it looked like we had a great concert lined up in Tianjin, but they pulled out at the last minute. So maybe next time.

I’m super excited to be playing with Blake. I have been in love with his sound ever since I heard him on record with his groups with my brother, and also Slow Poke and John Lurie stuff.

What are some of the major challenges arranging these tours into China? Any difficulties specifically associated with this tour?

It’s not that hard organizing the tours, really. David Wong of Guangzhou has been helping me the past couple of years, and he takes a lot of the load off. He can handle most of the details of a tour himself, which is good, because I am getting busier with my studio in Hong Kong. Mainly we have to keep a flexible attitude, because there always seem to be last-minute changes, cancellations etc. There’s always financial pressures putting on something like this, but I think we will come pretty close to breaking even this time, so I feel good about it.

Relevant Links:
Creative Music in China
Peter Scherr Official Website
Billboard Interview with Michael Blake
Vancouver Jazz Interview with Michael Blake

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