Have You Ever
Menlo Park, United States
Anton Commissaris is a solo artist based in Menlo Park, United States. The main influences of his sound include musical genres: Jazz, Rhythm & Blues, Soul, and Latin jazz and artists Frank Sinatra, Sarah Vaughan, Ray Charles, Etta James, and Lauryn Hill.
His latest track 'Have You Ever' was recorded
at 25th Street Recording Studio in Oakland, CA, USA with the musical direction of Bennett Roth-Newell. 'Have You Ever' is a Latin-infused Jazz tune that touches on themes of childhood companionship and adult romantic love with a backdrop of natural landscapes. It has the intention of creating a space that reflects another time and place.
So, the first thing that I need to ask you is… How did you create ‘Have You Ever’ ?
what was the initial lightbulb moment?
As this one did, most songs enter my head in an initial flash. It was in the evening after dinner and wine at home. I was washing my hands over a sink when the initial melodic hook and lyric sparked. If it feels good, engaging, and original, I’ll keep it and develop it from there.
And how did it progress from there?
The initial lyric was, “Have you ever felt like this before?” I thought, ah; this seems like a romantic jazz ballad looking for some shape. But then, as I developed the lyric, harmony, and melody over the ensuing days, it seemed to be going somewhere else. I had to stop and ask myself, what are you writing about? It turned out to be more centered around childhood companionship and the wonders of nature that can nourish and protect us. Indeed, the song never uses the word “love” once though there are romantic references.
What drew you to Latin-infused Jazz? Was it a planned route or did you just feel it deeply and go from there?
I love Latin music, whether Afro-Brazilian Sambas and Bossa Novas or Afro-Cuban Salsas, Rhumbas, and Cha-Chas. Songs like Desafinado from Jobim and Besame Mucho from Velazquez are great songs infused in my head. As this type of music generally pairs well with Jazz harmonies, there’s not much to change. It’s in the rhythms and syncopation where one finds the fundamental differences, which can make a song more exciting and lively. If I hear a specific tempo and cadence, I’ll often ponder whether the tune can develop as Latin-infused, and this one lent itself well to that format, so I went with a Cha-Cha.
When describing your intention and feel of the track you said, “Imagine a pre-Castro lounge in Havana, Cuba with a big band playing.” Firstly, I’m off to Varadero next month and I’ll be taking a few trips to Havanna, this is saved on my travel playlist! I definitely envisioned that cocktail on the beach. Have you ever been to Cuba?
I have not been to Cuba, but I long to go. When I do, I’ll be in all the bars and lounges I can find listening to their music. And on the street as well.
I heard that you play piano, how long have you played piano and how has that influenced your artistic sound?
I’ve lost track of how long I’ve been playing piano since I drifted in and out and abandoned playing for many years while other things preoccupied me. It’s somewhere north of 15 years.
The lyrics in the track are very reflective of natural things – what does listening to your heart mean and look like to you?
It means don’t be afraid of your emotions, or you will miss out on some of life’s most remarkable experiences, including love. If you let reason and rationality rule, it may be safer, but it will not be as exciting or rewarding. Listen to your heart sometimes rather than always defaulting to listening to what your head might be telling you.