Béla Fleck at Hamilton College 2004

Here is a 2004 interview with banjo player and innovator Béla Fleck. Béla has recently done some great work with pianist Marcus Roberts, and a look back with an older interview is always interesting. As with all Hamilton College interviews, this is in both text and audio format. In this excerpt, Fleck discusses a bit of his writing process:

Are there times when you write and you write a hook that you think, this is — I mean it’s probably hard to be objective about your own writing — but do you think like yeah, really have something good here?

Yes I do. I totally get in love with, and in fact I feel like as a writer you’re trying to write something you can fall in love with that you can be emotional about and stand behind. And not everything that I write did I feel that way about. But by the time I’ve written constantly over a year and then there’s a few tunes that I go, I keep thinking about that one tune that I wrote, that tune, so maybe if I’m still thinking about it maybe it’s good. Maybe it’s because I’m always careful about not becoming emotionally involved with I don’t want to like play a pretty progression and then get attached to it just because it might be the most hackneyed progression you’ve ever heard but if you play it for two hours suddenly you get all emotionally involved. And I don’t want it to be like that. I want it to really be good. And so I’m careful when I get emotionally involved with something to make sure and step back from it and then play it again and see if I can still get in that place, if it’s going to have that kind of power, if the right pieces of things come together it will have that power, but I just want to be careful that if you’re going to play something beautiful it’s not just beautiful because it’s in the right tempo and has the right chords, it actually is beautiful and you’ll hear it that way. You know what I mean?

Click here to read and listen to Béla Fleck at Hamilton College 2004