Blowing minds around the world with occasional high-caliber accomplices, Virginia Genta and David Vanzan been steamrolling ears and stages as Jooklo Duo since 2004. Demented psychedelic improvisations that defy all notion: percussive batterings relentlessly crash and collide through the frenzied drive of the reeds, opening expansive fields of sonic possibility that leaves you nothing short of bewildered, taking your ears places only your third eye can see.

You two have been playing together since the early 2000s. What were the origins of this Jookloverse of yours? What were your inspirations, musical or otherwise?

In 2003 David and I were both already playing under the name Zurich against Zurich, a kind-of-rock monster which quickly turned into an harsh-noise vortex, where I played electric guitar and David played triggered drums, both through our own sound system which we always carried around and was often bigger than the venue’s PA. The band survived around 4 super intense crazy years, and parallel to it we started developing an acoustic project, Jooklo Duo, where I played an old sax I just bought at a flea market. At some point we realized how much easier and nicer it was to tour without carrying a lot of speakers…! The music we liked around that time was everything that could be free and wild and dissonant, from Merzbow to Ornette to a lot of European free improv masters, but also some classics like Monk, Sun Ra, and so on. If I analyze it now, the Jookloverse was thrown out of a strong desire from both of us to break with the painful boredom of the province and the tight conventions of society.

Besides playing as a duo, you have been involved in collaborations with all sorts of artists and musicians. How do these collaborations come about?

Well, in different ways. Surely the main reason is the magic of traveling which leads to many encounters. Empathies and affinities rise naturally with some people, a resonance is there. And then you wanna see each other again and jam more to see what that could bring. It’s a sort of loop which fuels itself. Usually we stick to the same collaborations over the years, so to give them the proper time to grow, on the musical and the human side… we are both not huge fans of random one-off collaborations, although this can also happen sometimes, eventually with surprising and refreshing results.

As active and prolific as you guys are, there’s comparatively little in terms of discography (at least per Discogs). Is it a deliberate choice to not tie the music down to a format, or are there more circumstantial factors that come into play when you decide to release Jooklo stuff?

We’ve had a phase when we’d put out A LOT of records, between 2006 and 2012. To the point of saturation. Then we got a little annoyed with the record business and deliberately decided to slow it down and play more live concerts instead. And when we slowed down we started thinking that maybe not everything we recorded had to be released. For experience, we’ve seen that the most satisfying thing for us is when you manage to get a good recording of a good live concert. Good to the point of deciding to release it. That’s the best, but it’s rare. We do a lot of studio work in any case, we really dig recording, mixing, mastering, everything related to sound production. Let’s say we are now growing an archive of stuff, some of which will come out of the obscurity of our hard-drives some day. Actually we have a new LP coming out in May on Jazz Aggression. It goes under the band name Muumiot and was recorded last year in Finland.

Speaking of records, you also run (or ran?) the Troglosound label. What’s been the driving force behind it? Are you still planning more releases/activities around it?

Troglosound keeps going as always, slow! Since the “recent” years’ of vinyl’s new boom, we started doing mostly tapes, and we take them as seriously as we did for vinyls. A release is a release, whatever format, when it’s out it’s out, and somehow it will stay. We are right now preparing a cassette of D.O.V.E. (Drums Organ Vibes Ensemble), an Italian trio which delivers some really warm soulful jazz with a ‘60s vibe… some other things are in the pot too but that will be the next. We’ll also keep throwing some Troglofests here and there. Nothing ever changes, right?

You’re currently in Germany for Virginia’s artist residency, what’s that about? And what’s in store for the Jooklos in the near future?

It’s a residency program offered by the Moers Festival. For 17 years they had been inviting every year a new artist to install into the town and hopefully bring some new energies. It’s a pretty peculiar thing because it always lasts one whole year. It makes you think of time… and space too. It just started in January, we’ve blessed the new house with 2 concerts of Sinergia Elettronica. It’s a huge space in the city center, meant to host guests and creative activities. We’ve already set up a nice jam/studio room, and the living room is a great spot to host small house shows, and also to work on bigger textile artworks and whatever needs space to be done. Basically I was offered to do what we usually do everywhere since ever, but circumscribing it to Moers, let’s see what will come out of it! Of course we are not forced to be here the whole time, so we are planning some Jooklo shots around this part of Europe, it’s a good opportunity to change the anchor point for a while. April: Melting Mind tour from Veneto to Westfalia. May: Moers Festival and Peter Broetzmann memorial in Warsaw. And then let’s see. Also, we are cooking some funky music. Slowly but steady.

The Jookloverse keeps it real on their website, the Troglosound website & YouTube channel, as well as on Bandcamp and via some Soundcloud searching.

Jooklo Duo open KRAAK Festival 2024 at Het Bos in Antwerp, March 2! Tickets this way: