Meet the Artist // Jesus Gallardo

Jesus Gallardo is a professional percussionist musician with a passion for innovation and exploration. With a rich background in traditional and experimental percussion, he has shown his skills across various instruments, showcased in multiple published albums.

Can you introduce us to your practice as an artist and musician? How did you start making music? How did your artistic journey begin? Do you have any memorable anecdotes?

I am Jesús Gallardo from Castellón, Spain. It’s a small city between Valencia and Barcelona.
I am a musician and a song artist. This is my work.
I am also an educator, in Castellón I have a school of music which is open to everyone. There is theater, improvisation. It’s an interdisciplinary school. We teach classical music, experimental music. We have over three hundred students. I am very proud of it.

My artistic journey started when I was a little boy. I was interested in the sound of the world. All the songs appealed to me. But I was especially drawn to the drum set. I would beat pots and pans. It all began as an escape from the environment I was surrounded by. This is how I started making concerts and music in general. I was very curious about music. For me, it was intriguing.

As for the anecdote, I remember a drum play which shocked me and I thought “well this could surely be studied”. I saw a video of Sting’s Drummers by Vinnie Colaiuta around 1992. At that moment I was a musician. A punk musician. I played the drum set. But I also worked in the metal industry. I saw this video and something clicked. I wanted music to be my work.

Can you explain a little bit more about the type of music you make? What inspires you?

In my experimental practice I deal with improvisation a lot. I like to improvise music both alone and with other musicians. For me, collaboration is essential to my work.
Improvising is the way to make experimental music as well. It’s the foundation for my creative process. And also for my personality. It is something transcendental that according to my view is a core trait for a musician´s personality.
Experimental music is like a discipline in itself. I would say that experimental music is the most authentic kind of music thanks to the improvisation bit. Indeed, I improvise with whatever object I have access to. I improvise with everything because of my curious nature and so I am able to find inspiration all around myself. My main tool is curiosity.
To me, all things can be instruments. Everything can be played.

How do you see yourself in the contemporary art world?

Well, you see the market in Spain lacks opportunities. It is difficult for improvisationalmusicians to emerge.
But two years ago I had luck. I knew a guitar player, a saxophone player, a dancer… And so, a big collective was born. This was my luck. Me and my band – my friends – played in a little Museum of Fine Arts in Castellón every month. We don’t have many recordings of these gigs. But there were also performances, dancers, experimental poetry, painters. So, there were visual arts too. We made little money, but the whole situation felt important.
This was an inspiration to come here to the residency. Collaboration is crucial for me and I want to collaborate with other artists from various disciplines — dancers, singers, musicians, painters. It’s really important to me.

So, how is this residency and living with other artists having an influence on your production? And what are your plans after this residency?

For me, Berlin is an inspiration. And the other artists – Elisa, Nel, Marcos … – are an enrichment. When we talk, they enrich my personality and my ideas. They help me open my mind and give me other perspectives.

Afterwards, I obviously want to continue playing creative music and I want to do that in Berlin. But it’s difficult. In June I’ll go back to Spain. But I plan to apply for another residency. I find it’s a good experience.

As someone who has his life in Spain and everything already settled down, why did you decide to come to Berlin?

Again, curiosity and improvisation moved me.
I saw an offer in the council of Castellón. They offered a residency in Berlin, in GlogauAIR. And so I thought: “Go!”. All my life I’ve been thinking about going away for 3 months from Castellón.
So it was almost magic. I applied for the funding and came here.
It’s wonderful to make changes. But, at this moment, I’m the CEO of my company. So I can do whatever I want. I can go to Berlin, Munich, Paris, London. It’s my moment.

Do you have any advice for younger people?

A friend of mine says decisiveness is key.
This is advice for all people. Throughout life, be decisive and improvise. It’s the only one.