An Interview with Anthony Pateras of PIVIXKI

Kevin Keating
PIVIXKI (Pateras, Kohane; Photo: Aaron Chua)
On May 18th, the Bay Area will be treated to a performance at the Great American Music Hall like no other. The legendary, Mike Patton, will spend an evening with the Australian duo known as PIVIXKI, made up of Anthony Pateras (piano) and Max Kohane (drums.)

We were recently able to catch-up with Anthony Pateras to get the scoop on what to expect for the show and to learn more about the duo known simply as PIVIXKI.

SFBAC: For those who may not be familiar with your work, how would you describe PIVIXKI?

Pateras: Drums and piano used in a combination that may not be immediately obvious, but after a few songs makes total sense.

SFBAC: Where does the name PIVIXKI come from?

Pateras: Its a secret.

SFBAC: You seem to float in-between various collaborative groups depending on the type of music being created. Where do you feel most comfortable performing/composing? Which is most challenging? Which do you prefer?

Pateras: I’m very comfortable performing with Max (PIVIXKI drummer) - its great because he cancels out the strict composer side of my personality with his loose attitude, but he’s also really disciplined. Most challenging I have to say is writing new pieces – making something from nothing, with just a pen and paper. That can be terrifying, but immensely satisfying when something great happens.

SFBAC: How did you connect with Mike Patton and how did this show come about?

Pateras: We’ve been talking about working together for a while, and this seemed like a good place to start.

SFBAC: PIVIXKI has been self-described as 'high velocity piano/drums explorations', what can we expect at your upcoming show at the Great American Music Hall?

Pateras: Super-tight piano/drums songs with electronic bits with Mike singing over the top?

SFBAC: Should we expect more from PIVIXKI / Patton in the future?

Pateras: One show at a time!

SFBAC: Your site mentions the Victoriaville Festival in Canada after your show at the GAMH, do you have further touring plans after these two upcoming shows?

Pateras: We’re doing a big European tour in October/November with a friend of ours Marco Fusniato from one of my other bands POLETOPRA...afterwards we’re hoping to go to New Zealand, because it's the best.

SFBAC: You've worked with a number of impressive artists throughout your career, who's impressed you the most and why?

Pateras: There’s no hierarchy. I will say that Chris Abrahams (pianist from the Necks) is one of the most musical humans on the planet and listening to him play just makes me feel like there’s a point to all of this nonsense. He’s also hilarious. Composer Brett Dean is also a constant source of inspiration and one of the only conductors I know with truly open ears, and just a master orchestrator in every sense. Erkki Veltheim just plays the hell out of the violin like no one - hearing that guy play makes me get up in the morning. I’m also lucky to play in THYMOLPHTHALEIN with Jerome Noetinger, Clayton Thomas, Will Guthrie and Natasha Anderson – as a unit some seriously inexplicable magic happens that will sound lame if I try and articulate it here, but suffice to say, these people are gems.

SFBAC: Who have you been influenced by most?

Pateras: Recently deceased whom I wish I had a chance to talk to: Teiji Ito, Louise Bourgeois, Iannis Xenakis, Morton Feldman, Leigh Bowery, Moondog, Len Lye, J Dilla, Arthur Russell, Henri Chopin, Nam June Paik, David Tudor, Francis people whom I hope to talk to: Bernard Parmegiani, Colm Toibin, Caetano Veloso, Eliane Radigue, Cecil Taylor, Brigitte Fontaine, Lee Perry, Lo Borges, JG Thirlwell, Gary Indiana, Romeo Castellucci..contemporaries who I feel I can learn a lot from : Gisele Vienne, Peter Rehberg, Philip Brophy, Christos Tsiolkas, Marcus Schmickler, Michael Stevenson, Peter Evans, Bruce Russell....and this is not just a list of names to sound informed – these people keep me going with their imaginative, elegant and truthful work.

SFBAC: How did you 'find your calling' as an artist/composer/performer?

Pateras: When I realized that I felt really strange and depressed when I wasn’t making music.

SFBAC: Were you classically trained as a kid?

Pateras: Yeah I started when I was 5, stopped that training when I was 17 because I didn’t want to play other people’s music anymore and walk into that whole myth.

SFBAC: What type/size venues do you prefer to play?

Pateras: As long as the piano sounds good, the PA is killer, the room sounds nice, and the band is cool, I don’t care. And by band I mean orchestra, or playing with Marco or whatever....there are great people in all musical contexts...

SFBAC: What's your most memorable performance and why?

Pateras: Playing solo at Walt Disney Concert Hall in 2006, just after the LA Phil strings played an octet of mine (Chromatophore), was a trip. PIVIXKI Gravissima Launch at the Tote last year was a killer...playing in the oldest monastery in Europe in Catania with Pateras/Baxter/Brown, Music Unlimited 2010 with Thymolphthalein Quintet, or my new violin concerto for spatailized orchestra and 4-channel electronics at Federation Square in Melbourne last November, Now Now solo piano piece from 2009...there’s been quite few good ones....

SFBAC: What artist(s) would you like to work with and why?

Pateras: That’s a secret too.

SFBAC: Thanks again for your time and we're looking forward to your show in a few weeks at the Great American!

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