FB: Why don't you tell us aboout some of the other nodes of activity in the greater Boston area. I mean you've just gotten your MA, PhD at the conservatory in microtonality? DF: Masters. FB: Masters. There's at least one or two societies for microtonality. Tell us a little about them. DF: Well interestingly enough, I had first thought I'll just do this on my own and I was always looking outside of Berklee. I've been playing with Hiromi, who is a fantasic Japanese piano player, over the last two years. Touring more than ever. It was kind of crazy teaching full time and studying full time, I was like doing homework on the word. But to make a long story short, Taiwan, Japan, Canada, the States, all over Europe, I asked the same question, " Who's experimenting with their traditional music and mixing that with western stuff?" That's nothing new, that's like world music. Who's looking into microtones and experiementing with that in a harmonic context with their traditional music or western ideas. And very few or just about none. And I really traveled far and wide, I've been in touch with microtonal societies in New York, UK, Salzburg, Austria, Australia, with fans online. I mean they're always up on the newest newest. The answer has always been no, no , no , no and no. We've never heard of this, we dont' know anyone who's doing it. So actually interestingly enough the best place to do it is here. Because at Berklee, in terms of new groove ideas, where are you going to have an institution where basically a thousand experts like this gentlemen here enter school every year and know what the newest thing is going on in terms of pop and so forth. I mean I'm forty-four I don't know alot of these things that are going on. And in my classes I force them to transcribe a simple rhtyhm of a groove that everyone's talking about and that they love or hate, and that they have to learn how to transcribe it, manipulate it, write something with it. FB: What kind? Like a I-IV-V pattern on bass? DF: No I'm talking about just a kick, snare, high hat pattern. That's usually what it revolves around and the bass line. And then write something in an unusual mode. So we have that here at Berklee. We have some world music classes here. NEC has been doing that forever. NEC is really the only school in the world that has had microtonal instruction. There's the Boston Microtonal Society... FB: Are these mostly classical cats? DF: Mostly. And there's an incredible amount of world music in the greater Boston area. So it's interesting enough I had always been looking on the outside, it's really been right under my nose right here. It just needs to be pulled together. FB: Back in your own backyard. DF: Yeah. Somebody else said, there's a guy Wolf around the corner who's been fixing guitars for decades. I knew him as a student. He's like, "Aw you're back. Just lik the salmon swimming back upstream." FB: Are you able to play some microtonal stuff in Hiromi's band? Can you get into that? DF: The really hip thing about Hiromi is that she, yeah to answer your question in different bands I can do different things, with Hiromi she lets me do anything I want to do. As long as I, you know I obviously play the head and do a solo and so forth. So on some pieces I would do kind of an Indian influence improvisation. In one piece there would be a point when she and I would do a pentatonic improvisation and I would play a quarter tone away against her and we would all of the sudden have this amazing, dissonant but sweet dissonant tapestry. FB: Mhmm, and not only a familiar theme, but just a little bit out of whack. I played your chinese go go track in one of my blindfold tests for my students last spring and they all looked at each other, I had alot of bass and guitar, they weren't ready for that. But maybe they will be. DF: I think so. FB: Is Hiromi looking around for a microtonal keyboard, or is she not ready to? DF: I've tried to corrupt her, but she's incorruptable, she'll see the light someday. FB: Can you work on the bass player? DF: There's not much movement. It's all here. Here I have, you know there's the Student Microtonal Society. FB: Well tell us about that. I don't even know about that. DF: We have one of these keyboards here, I'm going to pull it out in two weeks and demonstrate it, and try to find some ew victims who are interested. Keyboards players who want to experiement and play on it. I have the, Berklee's fretless guitar lab, where I introduce you know, a little easy Arabic melody and some quarter tones just to get their feet wet. And usually that's where I get a guitar player for the microtonal ensemble. But you know, there's great diversity here. I mean, again I guess I had that wrong attitude. I came here thinking I teach, okay that's it, I leave. But you know I took lessons. I bartered, I would trade, you know I would teach chord scale knowledge, and in exchange I took lessons with a Japanese Kodo player, a fabulous Dmitri, what's his name, a fabulous Greek Ood player, Gutch Gulay, and incredible fretless guitar player and singer, and more. FB: It's a two way street. DF: It's really all here. FB: Pakido said you know you're always going to learn some new stuff from your students, and he's so right. If you get too legitified in you're teaching, then you close too many doors. DF: They keep me on my toes, which is actually the best thing.