Happy Hour Harmonica Podcast

Mathias Heise interview

March 11, 2022 Neil Warren Season 1 Episode 57
Happy Hour Harmonica Podcast
Mathias Heise interview
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Mathias Heise joins me on episode 57.

Mathias is a chromatic player from Copenhagen in Denmark. He started out playing diatonic, aged eight, before moving across to the chromatic, with which he was the first player to attend the Music Conservatory in Copenhagen. 
Mathias won the World Harmonica Championship in Trossingen at the age of 20 with his own composition, Sudden Ascent. The album containing this track won Mathias the composers competition ‘New Jazz Star of the Year’ in Denmark in 2015. In his band, the Mathias Heise Quadrillion, Mathias is leading the way as a chromatic player in a jazz fusion band. 
His most recent album, The Beast, is recorded with the Danish Radio Big Band, with all the arrangements written by Mathias. 
He has also appeared on numerous recordings as a sideman and more recently in a duo with a guitarist. Mathias has two new jazz albums coming out later in 2022.



Suzuki chromatic bass harmonica:

Clockwork delay pedal:

Hall of Fame reverb pedal:

Isn’t She Lovely:

Spain with Phillip Achille:

ShuffleFunk with effects pedal:

Playing in a duo with guitarist Pelle von Bulow:

HUK 2017: Killer Joe

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Mathias is a chromatic player from Denmark, near Copenhagen, and the music scene there
Was the first harmonica player to attend Music Conservatory in Copenhagen
First musical instrument was violin
Hearing harmonica on television when 8 years old inspired him to take up the diatonic
Started playing chromatic a few years later
Had lessons on violin but enjoyed the freedom of the harmonica more
Also learnt piano when young and the way it has supported learning chromatic
The comparisons between the chromatic and piano
Had some harmonica lessons on diatonic and chromatic, and lessons with a saxophone player
The value of having a face-to-face teacher
Also important to spend a lot of time yourself with your instrument, especially the harmonica
Value of learning jazz chromatic from a saxophone player, and transcribing saxophone solos
Advice for people who want to take on learning jazz on the chromatic
Mathias decision to move entirely to chromatic and overblows on diatonic
Differences between diatonic and chromatic harmonicas
Harmonica players who influenced Mathias: Toots Thielemans and Stevie Wonder
Antonio Serrano is another influence
Won the World Harmonica Championship at the age of 20, which helped raised his profile
Did a performance with Phillip Achille at that World Harmonica festival
Won the composers competition ‘New Jazz Star of the Year’ in Denmark in 2015, for his debut album Sudden Ascent
Mathias approaches composing using both the chromatic and the piano
The Mathias Heise Quadrillion band is a fusion of funk, rock and jazz
Mathias is possibly the only fusion harmonica player in the world today
Has been making use of some effects pedals more recently
Second album, Decadence, released in 2017, and what is a Quadrillion
The band spends a lot of time in post-production on the albums
Third album is called The Beast, recorded with Danish State Big Band
Mathias wrote the arrangements for all the instruments in the Big Band
Released two singles recently, which are part of a new album coming out in June 22
Releasing singles is a strategy to get on streaming platform playlists
Done lots of recordings as a sideman on other performers albums
The appeal of the chromatic harmonica to the female vocalist
Other recordings with different artists
Recently been playing in a duo with a guitar player and role of chromatic in a duo
Doesn’t sing
TV sessions and appearances on Denmark TV and harmonica composition which Mathias plays
Does a little face-to-face teaching when it fits into busy schedule
Festival and international appearances
10 minute question
Practise regime
Plays the G48 chromatic
Diatonics of choice and how much he plays them
Only uses 12 hole chromatics and in only uses key of C, for now
Suzuki chromatic bass harmonica
Embouchre and split octaves
Uses SM58 mic
Amplification and using reverb
The actual pedals Mathias uses
Also uses SM58 when recording
Also cups SM58 when playing and recording
Future plans