It is not an easy task to write about the philosophy of the Trip AM community. From the beginning of the project to its recent crystallization, it has been not only a musical journey but also a philosophical one. I use the term philosophy on purpose because most of our members are eager to discuss music in all it's many aspects. The role of the artist, the music industry, the question of sound & spirituality, the significance of music and the different genres today, to name a few perpetual topics.
The starting notion was that some of the main concepts of popular music seemed somewhat confining, because we were being inspired by so many different influences that the idea of fitting into a certain genre always seemed far-fetched or better not inclusive enough for all the colors we were and are representing. Moreover, the idea of a band that stays the same seemed somewhat restricted because every time we played new musicians were joining. The musicians brought other friends and it was always surprising what they were able to add to the shows. Many of them were session musicians and/or jazzists so they would know how to make themselves fit in with just a little or sometimes no preparation at all - still we were not necessarily a session band or a jazz band. Even though some of us play jazz and we all cherish the genre and it's many varieties, we didnt really sound like a jazz band and the jazz police would be frowning at us. The influence of pop & soul music was too big. Furthermore the cultural influences from Africa and Latin-America were broadening the spectrum immensely, all this and more made it clear we were not a jazz band. Also the concepts of electronic music and/or organic did not apply because at times we mixed those. It was clear for all of us that we needed to define and represent ourselves in a fashion that would bring all the elements together and be open enough for the future to include new phenomena.
Trip AM was always a circle of friends who helped each other out no matter how ecclectic or exotic the task at hand seemed to be; only with time we realised that we were all profiting from it financially as well. With each new friend that worked with us, collaborated or was featured as an artist the spectrum and our repertoire and possibilities grew and the discussions got richer. With time after resolving and respecting the many differences we would slowly find common grounds. This ongoing fight that went on for years and made us very rich and ready to tackle any hand; no matter how exotic it might have seemed.
I am very proud to say that this collective is a proof that you can combine different ideologies and taste in music and create something fresh were ambivalences are a sign of the vitality and the open-mindedness of the members. There is a cultural richness when a project with members from Italy, Mozambique, Ireland, Sweden, Angola, Ghana, The States, Marocco, Tunesia, Denmark, Venezuela, Brazil, Cuba, etc. come together in Berlin to play together.
These at times puzzling combinations involved a lot of work, because what is normal for some was alien to others; but usually with time people get to know the talents of people where before they saw deficiencies. With friendship comes a willingness to learn, to respect and to expand your own paradigms. Once we overcome our differences there is always a mutually beneficial situation for both the session musicians and the featured solo artists. They learn from each other and make each other shine.
This is how we evolve. It is love that has gotten us this far and it will be love that takes us further.
It is normal for us that we want to share this love of differences and of different cultures; cuz most of us know very well from their own experience what the german philosopher and sociologist Georg Simmel once described as the psychology of the stranger. This phenomenon of German culture being so close and far away at the same time, is something we all seem to share. Our home base is androgynous. We are at home here but in many ways we are all strangers, because the majority of us come from different cultural backgrounds. Which makes us an interesting appearance in the contemporary postimmigrant discourse, as we have naturally added to the diversity of the scene since 20 years.
Nowadays, the most common appearance of Trip AM is as a band of three to six people with varying singers, customized accordingly with the respective event. Nevertheless there is always something new at the horizon. The collective willingness to try out new things, to evolve and to include new artists implicate that there is no stopping there.
So talk to us, argue and dream with us. Let music be an inspiration to listen to the beauty of difference, or just have a fun day with us. It is on you what you want - we will be there and always try our best to fulfill your expectations while staying true to ourselves our passion for what we think this world needs and to cut a long story short...it is mainly "more happiness, understanding and love".