Ondrey Zintaer – Silence can be very extreme part of intensive music

Ondrey Zintaer wywiad Anxious Magazine
fot. Daniel DeeXGee Golias

Ondrey Zintaer is a Slovak improviser from Kosice. The artist experiments mainly with noise, free impro and free jazz. Having collaborated with many musicians, Ondrey creates his recordings giving them a new quality. His intense sounds are controlled, meaningful and expressive. Zintaer’s two albums with quite different content have just been released.

Michał Majcher

Michał Majcher: When did you start making music? What were your beginnings like?

Ondrey Zintaer: The story begins like 10 years before. It sounds funny but it’s true. I started to be a father and in connection to that I started to live a sober life. One of the surprising effect of this (life without talking blah-blah bullshits about nothing and everything with drunk friends all night long) was to feel overfull with information and emotions around a lot of music that was turning around me that time. Alcohol is very destructive in the sense of suppressing the individual creative energy. I started to write poems more again (because I already did it as a kid), writing short stories, start to paint, doing collages, etc. Once I saw one DIY paper zine that was completely only about such experiments and that was for me a really shock. The idea to prepare something compact and self-contained like paper zine full of whatever I want was hypnotizing. And the result was the zine called ZINTAER. The name is like a toy-play of words and should be pronounce as “cinter” that in northeast Slovak dialect of Ruthenian people means cemetery. After like 6 years there were 3 volumes of 96 pages long A4 paper zines full of reviews, interviews, reports from DIY HC Punk area but more focused to experimental eclectic avant-garde fastcore, powerviolence, noisecore, etc with also reviews of books of poetry and also my own poetry written under the name of Ema Tryzna. After these 6 years and cca 300 pages the feeling of full up was gone. But new feeling was here. I have made reviews many times for so very minimalistic noisy and simple but very interesting music. And this really made me very curious of how that can be done etc. Then I bought my first distortion pedal … and it simply started. The beginning were very simple. I experimented with everything that can be plug in the distortions, delay, fuzz, echo, equaliser etc Then I started to play with looped no input small analog mixer. After these first child steps I bought some nice synthesizers and I still starting to play them. In evolution of this I started to feel (it is my very personal feeling, nothing objective) that all these electronic deep sounds sound better in contrast with acoustic instruments. During the covid 19 quarantine I bought alto saxophone and later clarinet, soprano and tenor sax (and of course all flutes and whatever small wind instruments). And it really completely catch me.

Ondrey Zintaer interview Anxious Magazine
fot. Václav Kremser

MM: In February this year you released two cassettes. The first is the work “Brain”, recorded with Japanese drummer, Ryosuke Kiyasu known from for example Fushitsusha, SHRIMP, Sete Star Sept. This album brings quite intense music on the borderline of noise and free jazz. How did your cooperation come about?

OZ: Cooperation with Kiyasu is also a pseudo-result of my paper zine ZINTAER. There is a nice interview with Kiyasu and Kae as Sete Star Sept in the third volume. So one day in a very good brave mood I asked Kiyasu about the cooperation and he said yes. Spontaneity in (everything, but especially in) all these cooperations is extremely important for me. Everything was done remotely. Kiyasu sent me his recordings of his full set drums improvisations that I fulfilled them with my winds and synths. I asked young artist from Košice Filip Frič for cover art and bought tapes and recorded everything at home (and also in my office). Kiyasu wrote me then that all the tapes I sent him were perfectly sold out during his euro tour. Hence we deal a new album BRAIN. Unmissable cover art and design of the tape was done by amazing artist, designer and friend Daniel DeeXGee Goliáš. Sound mastering was done by young but great musician Adam Jakab. The result is really great (also my personal feeling).

Ondrey Zintaer interview Anxious Magazine
fot.: Danilo Tornello

MM: Another album also released in February this year is “anthroportrait”. In my opinion, it’s a bit different material compared to what you create. It has more ambience and dark sounds, and you use your poetry as well. Is there a concept behind it?

OZ: Yes, right. It is different. There are few ways of how to look at such differences. It can be seen as a result of long time thinking about the creation of “album of songs”. Not so long tracks but shorter and somehow more prepared before. Maybe the word composition can be very carefully be used here. I love improvisation. As it can be heard in album with Kiyasu, but I would like the improvisation be a part of something more complicated, more colourful, something with more declarative value. Also my poetry is a very important part of it, and I wanted each poem has its own atmosphere made by its music. There were also many different ideas and ways of my self-expression hence I decided to something like “put everything” inside but in reasonable volume and reasonable combinations. Reasonable in the sense not overfull it too much in any sense. Let everything sounds. Not to be in hurry etc. I asked my friends pianist Paolo Tognola and drummer Filippo BOTOX Cocozza, both from Italy and electronic experimental artist Fabiano Pimenta from Brazil for their participation. I am happy they accepted. They really improve the result value of the album. Fabiano also mastered all tracks at the end. Thank you, my friends.

Ondrey Zintaer interview Anxious magazine

I started to think about the album long time before with a lot of writing of notes, recording, selecting, mixing and so. To be honest some of the last corrections of the album I did in half asleep in early mornings with really bad earache. The album is really a loved child. The album is somehow conceptual in some sense. I came up with the word “anthroportrait” as a play on words while playing with random bitmap manipulation of my photos, where I inserted random pixels into them, creating various warped photos. I have posted them in my Facebook account just for fun. There were a lot of options artisticaly “destroy” my autoportraits. One of them is the cover art of this album. The connection of words anthroportrait is a combination of the words anthropo and portrait, i.e. something like a portrait of a human being, which with computer deformed photos was something like looking into a crooked mirror, I thought it was quite interesting. That concept began to resonate with me. Hence the songs are something like looking into my mind or soul. All poems are about my feelings mainly connected to war in our neighbour country. Poems and music help me to somehow handle such undefined scary feelings of being lost (not only) in my country in the middle of people they say that they want peace. But in reality they are just selfish and don’t want to understand the situation. The word anthroportrait can then also be understood as a portrait of humans created and deformed by their presentations mainly on social networks trapped in circles of artificially created lies, fear and hate.

Ondrey Zintaer interview Anxious Magazine
fot. Daniel DeeXGee Golias

MM: Your work is mainly based on noise and free jazz music. These are quite intense sounds. Cleansing for some people, and incomprehensible cacophony for others. What is the most fascinating thing about these sounds for you?

OZ: During my first music/noise experimenting I was (like a kid) amazed with destruction, but I found it like somehow useless and dead end. After few tries I found that it is something like with colours, when you mix everything you will obtain something dirty, grey, boring, etc. Hence my way approach become more creative then destructive that completely changed my philosophy. Now I’m much more fascinated by something like looking for music somewhere deep inside of darkness of sounds generated by synths, radio, looped mix, etc. All the sounds or noises are then like part of space where the real experimenting and communication with acoustic instruments can start. Fascinating is the mystery behind. You never know where you arrived. What will be the result. It is surprising always. Free jazz or free improvisation on acoustic instruments make this mystery much more interesting. It is like a crossroad of several cultural ways like surrealism and its automated brain creation and something like shamanic trance invocation known in many cultural heritages. Cacophony is something that scares people but I feel something like it is one of the hidden machines of music.

MM: When playing quite extreme music, do you have an assumption to push the boundaries of sound intensity?

OZ: To be honest I am not a big fan of earplugs at live shows. I of course like it when the music is as loud as the situation need, but I am more for intensity that rises from style of playing. Paradoxically silence can be very extreme part of intensive music.

Ondrey Zintaer interview Anxious Magazine
fot.: Juraj Sevc

MM: Do you have yours masters of noise and free jazz? What albums and artists made you start playing this way?

OZ: Back to my paper zine time. I was amazed by bands like MAN IS THE BASTARD, SPAZZ, DEAD RADICAL, ENDLESS BLOCKADE, MENTAL HYGIENE TERRORISM ORCHESTRA, SHEEVA YOGA, SUPPRESSION, NAKED CITY, PAINKILLER, LAST EXIT, DEAD NEANDERTHALS, MASSOLA, All solos, duos, trios, quartets,.. of Peter Brotzmann … These bands were like the first bus stop. Then I discovered all the harsh noise scene and also pure free improvised music as two new worlds with some intersections. Absolutely first attack on me was the album Improdimensions of pianist Agusti Fernandez and sax player Liudas Mockunas. Most important for me now are Roscoe Mitchell (representative album: Bells for the Southside), Anthony Braxton (compilations: Composition, Improvisation, Synthesis and Past, Present, Future), Barry Guy (compilation Portrait). But many many more. Label No Business records from Lithuania was a really great discovery for me. Also Fundacja Słuchaj from Warsaw is also world level label. Instead of this I am very focused to classical and contemporary classical music and anything beauty and interesting.

MM: You have collaborated with many musicians. Will you tell about them? Do you prefer to work solo or in collaboration?

OZ: Most important collaborations are the following.

With sax player Vladimir Adamíra under the name KURVIK19 (it has nothing to do with antiwax movement or whatever downgrading of covid19). We released two albums s/t in 2020 and Z diaľav zabudnutia (From the depths of oblivion) from 2021. Áda is great guy. He is a sax player in killer jazz grindcore duo Massola.

With legendary Radek Kopel the very special Dadaistic collaboration Emgetaer Zinton und L​ä​rmorchester von Amateurpsychiatern. Radek Kopel was part of harsh noise project NAPALMED that belched noise 30 years before.

Album with guitar experimental musician, composer and journalist Angelo Esmanhotto.

Any collaboration is always great. It brings always something new. New energy. New angle of view. I love it. But I am very solitary personality hence I also love to work alone. So it is for me very important to meet people and also I feel it is very important to be alone and to be focused and concentrate on your own creative process. I love both because both parts enrich each other.

MM: In October 2022, the Polish label Antenna Non Grata released your project ZTB Trio in digital form.

OZ: ZTB Trio consists of pianist Paolo Tognola, drummer Filippo BOTOX Cocozza and me. The acronym means Zintaer-Tognola-Botox. Paolo started his fb group called International collective of free jazz and free improvisation and started to organize remote recording of musicians from all around the world and mix it into videos clips. Here is the example

It is exactly 1 year and 1 day today when we released the video “All moms and kids of war” as a reaction of aggressive Russian attack and all the people running away from their homes in Ukraine. It was very emotional and still hurts.

I have prepared the synths and winds and I felt that the track should be extended in some more instruments. Hence I asked Paolo and Filippo for help. The result is unbelievable great for me. I love the resulted track. It deserved to have a better video but I created the best I could in that time. All of us wanted to continue. So we create the whole album under the name Fear of War. Later the album was supported by Right Brain records from Seattle.


Half a year later we decided to continue and created a 30 min long improvisation video “Breath” for internet online festival Improfest.


We wanted to somehow release it as an album. Hence we prepared the second half an hour track “Breath 2” and released them as album Breath under the really great label Antenna non grata in Poland.

As I mentioned before I always try to move the improvisation to be the part of some more complicated creative process. I have prepared something like scenario of the whole album called Spiritus Mundi. It is composed from improvisations that were recorded under the mentioned scenario. 7 songs in 11 minutes and one more 11 minutes long bonus track.

Our last album called Organ is one hour long album in four tracks. We experimented here much more with sound where Paolo rediscovered his old electronic jazz organ. Filippo started to play on his drum kit more sounds and noises than rhythms and I accidentally switched my effect from boost to fuzz and my sax started to sound really scratchy. It was released by label Sickhead records from Germany.

This collaboration is really very nice. Paolo and Filippo are nice persons and it is always great pleasure to cooperate with them. I really hope I meet them personally one day and play with them in one space and time.

MM: I also know that you co-create the band NIČITEL. There is also mentioned ZTB Trio. Do you have other projects?

OZ: I am a part of NIČITEĽ (destroyer) two and half years now as a singer. The band is a trio composed by bass, drums and voice. Their music is very interesting. Very avant-garde HC post metal. Lyrics and music are composed by bass player Tomáš. Hence I am not a part of creative process of the band, something like guest singer, but to be a part of the band is really great. Boys are very nice and funny. We released very nice album ANNA last year.

MM: Your next collaboration is due out in April. It’s about recordings with Willhelm Grasslich.

OZ: It started as a joke. I comment on fb a video “Graf Zeppelin in peril in 1929”. I wrote under the video something like “Ladies and Gentlemen, fasten your seatbelts and relax. Steward will bring you opium pipe and glass of absinthe.” Willhelm Grasslich came with this idea of the album and I said yes. Wilhelm is respected artist. It was a pleasure. Wait for it.

MM: Your recordings are released mainly on cassettes. Is this your favourite format? What do you find interesting in them?

OZ: Tapes are great because they are cheap nice and it is easy to record them at home. Moreover as a kid I grew up while listening, recording, trading, lending, borrowing, buying, collecting … tapes. DIY underground scene is full of tapes. So it is very natural now for me.

MM: Can you talk about interesting initiatives, bands, labels from Slovakia?

OZ: In Slovakia (and also Czechia, our scenes are pretty connected) there are a lot of great clubs, cultural centers, teams of people organizing concerts and festivals and of course artists. It would be hard to mention everything. For example Miro Toth…


MM: What are your plans for the future?

OZ: I have some very abstract feeling how and where to move my music. Nothing concrete. Just keep writing, composing and playing.