From an interview Juan Martin Koch did with Monika Roscher:
“Big Band Songs”, “Jazz Orchestra”? “Indie stuff”? You cannot pin down a certain genre for this guitarist / vocalist / big band leader who writes for her band founded just a year ago.
Casually she tells how all this came about and talks about her first concerts and her upcoming CD.
Well, it had to do with the kids in Illinois/USA where she spent a year in school exchange. When the other kids watched TV, Monika practised and tried out musical scores. Back in Germany she was accepted with her guitar at the Munich Conservatory and in Gregor Huebner’s composition class the big band composer Monika was born.
”This shit is berserk!” brings the reactions of the Bavarian radio jury to Monika’s demo tape to the point. The jazz slot doesn’t really fit for what comes up in the age-old line up and slides by any expectations by a hair’s breadth.
The synthesis of heterogenous styles isn’t calculated, it reflects simply her listening experience and what she likes. “Rock and pop is often more simply knitted but the expressive power is often more immediate. This way you reach a depth that I truly like, but I also enjoy the things bizarre and bewildering in jazz and try to join both.”
Press: “In ten years time she will do the title melody of the new James Bond film and her orchestra will be the favorite band of Quentin Tarantino!” BR-Media.
Monika Roscher: The Band of Transfiguration
“At the very beginning this band wanted to be called “Big Band” or “Orchestra”. Sounded a bit too shiny and at the same time too clean – somehow not crazy enough. In my book the name of “Band of Transfiguration” expresses a certain fool’s license, it lives, it is wild!
And that is exactly what is important to me: that each member of the band can fully live up to his emotions. It does not matter when sometimes a wrong note is slipped in, it does not matter “when it really crashes”, like in the piece “Die Parade” when the whole funeral band falls off a cliff. It is not important that the band falls down, it is important how they do it! Fervently and with deep conviction – opposing life and death at the same time. It is a concept of freedom that I try to transpose into my music.
You can’t expect from every musician to commit collective suicide in his imagination. I am grateful to play and work with these wonderful musicians you can listen to on this recording and in our concerts. They have the gift to become involved with my images and they take the time to understand and simultaneously to transform them – sometimes to the extreme.
During the recording and during our short tours the band really grew together and developed its identity. In the meantime I have each musician’s sound in my head when writing so that I know whom to trust with which piece. On the other hand the band has to confide in me when it should make music out of my transfigured imagination, for example of a desert knowing that I have never set foot into one.
We are not dealing here with faithful reproduction but rather how to avoid perfection. It is the rough edges and the ruptures that surprise and move me: the blemished beauty of Alice in “Failure in Wonderland”, the tension between harmony and disharmony that I can only vaguely approach with my lyrics. To me words cannot nail it the way music does.
And so it does not matter what the band is actually called, Orchestra or Big Band. May “Band of Transfiguration” remain as a second name anyhow.”