Today I’m introducing you to the fourth track from the collaboration EP With. And this track is made by me and my buddy Erik Slättberg from Örebro. Erik is an amazing piano player which I have written about before, and you should just go ahead and check out everything Erik on the blog here!
Erik stated he wanted to write something in 5/4 pretty early. When I heard the piano track I was pretty sure I wasn’t gonna be able to add another piano to it… So that’s when I started experimenting with drums instead – since I am originally a drummer! The fun thing with working on this track for me is that I had, the week before, worked on another track (a singer songwriter song) by Anders Wiking which was also in 5/4. So I just sat down by my drum kit and started working on a beat. The rest just worked out! So here we go!
Tell us something about the track Seasons!
Seasons is my first track to be released as a collab (in my solo piano project).It is very different from the rest of my catalogue and the rest of Johans as well, and I think we both was a little surprised of how it turned out..hehe.Having a desire to create music with a wide range of emotion, I decided to create a track that was quite opposite to the calm, minimalistic approach that dominates the neoclassical piano genre. I send some piano tracks to Johan, consisting of rhythmic arpeggiated patterns in 5/4, were the melody was more or less embedded in the arpeggios. Johan then added most of the rest, such as drums, which turned the track into…well, i’m not sure if we really know the genre of this odd one. Maybe that is for everyone to decide.
Today I’m introducing you to another lovely song by Swedish pianist and composer Erik Slättberg based in Örebro. More about Erik can be found here!
The song Safe Here was released as a single on the 18th but is also featured on the compilation Uto’pians by Blue Spiral Records.
Tell us something about your song Here!
”Safe Here” was recorded together with other tracks last summer, were I happen to press record on one of these quite, rare and magic days where everything just clicks fine. The entire tune is an improvisation that happened just once, and where I did not try to project any forehand meaning, but where the meaning just happened by itself. It’s funny how I often create my most musical tracks in the mood of having no plan at all. You can here part of that jazzy kind of freedom where the parts are kind of the same but not as orderly as in most of the neoclassical music. Nonetheless, it reflects a very calm, light and meditative kind of emotion. It felt warm to me, which is why I named it the way I did. This track is released not only as a single, but also as a part of the collaboration album Uto’pians by Blue Spiral Records.
Thank you for sharing this with us Erik!
Today I’m introducing you (again) to my good friend Erik Slättberg, the amazing (jazz) pianist and composer from Örebro in Sweden. Erik was one of the first people to participate in my Behind the piano series, and you can read the full post about Erik here!
Eriks song Tybblelund taken from the album Growth is one of my all time favorites! I like it so much so I asked Erik to send over the sheet music so I can try to learn the song. Well, I tried, and I managed to play through the entire first part, but then I gave up. I enjoy listening to it still though, even if I can’t play it…
The song All that didn’t happen was released on the Sonder House compilation album Recollections Vol 3 which came out the last weekend of August of 2019.
Tell us something about your track All that didn’t happen!
It’s a bit funny because this track wasn’t intended to happen at all. I had a one day studio session, where I just finished recording two tracks that I had plan to record. But as I was about to finish to day I suddenly got a strong urge to go the the keyboard and just see what happened. So I pressed record (luckily) and just improvised for 3 minutes. That’s how this song came to be. It’s funny how you sometimes plan for things carefully but then suddenly something else just happens to turn out great out of spontaniety. I actually never played before or after that one take, and if I would I would have to transcribe myself to be able to do it 🙂
The name refers to one an insight I had, which is about how the things you want to change in your life gets better when you take action, while the change you long for without taking action, remains inside as a quiet, melancholic feeling, longing to be expressed in action. For me this tune expresses that feeling.
Thank you Erik! And good luck with this release!
The first pianist/composer I want to introduce to you is Erik Slättberg. My friend Bernt had borrowed my sound card and was in some fancy piano studio with Erik, trying to record Erik’s second album. Bernt had some problems, but together we solved it, and the album was recorded. When Erik released the album he contacted me and wanted some advice on how to promote his songs on Spotify. I was happy to help out once again!
I’ll let Erik introduce himself!
How did you come up with your artist name?
I didn’t really come up with a name, so I decided to keep my own name. I’ve always loved to explore the piano and in many ways it feels very personal to me, so keeping my own name felt very honest and natural. I do however have a different company name – Music With Erik – as I do a lot of different projects where i’m not doing it solo. I also work as a piano teacher.
How long have you been playing the piano?
I started to play sporadically when I was around thirtheen, but I didn’t really do much with it until I was around eighteen. I used to play guitar back then but got tired of it. Everytime I didn’t want to play guitar I went to the piano instead. That is basically how I got into it.
How long have you been making piano music?
In one way or another, i’ve been composing for as long as I’ve been into music. I’ve always have had a very strong ability to hear music inside my head. So whenever I was practicing something and it got into my head, my brain started to juggle with it and create new ideas and variations. I guess that’s a big part of how I always learned music and to compose. I play something, my head plays with it, then I go back to the instrument and see what I can do with it. So basically, composing has been a big part of how I learned to play music.
Have you made music in other genres before?
I’ve made jazz, classical and pop music. I also like to mix those three genres together.
What are your favorite artists in this “piano genre”?
It’s hard to pick just one. I also tend to like music that mixes genres and have also been a lot into jazz. I guess Brad Mehldau’s solo piano albums have formed me more than any other pianist, with his striking virtousity and ability to create piano music with a lot of layers. On the more minimalistic side, I enjoy Nils Frahm a lot. He got a lot of interesting stuff and I really enjoy the sound of his productions.
Is there one song which you play over and over again as soon as you sit down by a piano? Your own or someone else’s?
It varies a lot from time to time. At the moment, I do a lot of free improvisation and basically just see what happens.
What song inspires you the most when you’re making musik? Can you name just ONE song/composition?
Also varies, but right now I would pick Brad Mehldaus cover live version of a song called ”Bittersweet Symphony”. For me that is 16 minutes of ecstasy.
Tell me something about you latest release.
My latest release ”Growth” went out November 9th ,which I recorded it earlier this summer. It consists of nine tracks and it is a mix of neo classical, jazz, pop and occasionally some folk. I went through a lot of personal growth this year, and also developed my playing and composing a lot. So ”Growth” felt like the most fitting name. Compared to my previous album, this one has a lot more energy and spirit. If you like piano music that doesn’t close itself from being experimental at times, and which cares more about the emotion of the music than how it fits into a certain style, ”Growth” might appeal to you.
What’s happening next? New releases etc.
My plan is to start composing this winter. I’m going to write 24 piano preludes. That is one for every musical key. A lot of the old composers use this format and i’ve had this idea for more than ten years now. So I think it is time to do it now. I think i’ll release the first set in spring 2019.
I will also have a release concert for ”Growth”, Mars 10th in Örebro, Sweden. I will play a lot of music from the album, but with an open setlist and with room for free improvisation. I like to challenge myself and the audience by trying to be as responsive as possible to the ”vibe” of the moment, rather than getting to fixed about what i’m going to do. That way, I remain more present in what I do.
Today it’s release day for the latest Sleepy Songs EP called With!
This is a collaboration EP I’ve made together with Anders Wiking, Richard LaBrooy, Rikard Mathisson, Erik Slättberg and Merrill Crissey.
This song was written and recorded during my Christmas vacation in Arvika 2018. I sat by my piano in my old room in the basement of my parents house, looking out over my old neighborhood. The neighborhood is called Lundellsgärdet, so this is my theme for my old neighborhood in Arvika where I grew up.
Right befor Christmas, I was listening a lot to Erik Slättbergs album Growth, and especially the song Tybblelund, so I guess you can say that the song is very inspired by that particular song with the time signature changing between 4/4 and 3/4, and has a rather jazzy feeling to it.
Today I’m introducing you to Antarctic Wastelands and Dear Gravity, or Mike Graff (DG) and Ben Tatlow (AW), which is what the people behind the project is called in “real life”. Mike is from America, and Ben is based in Hong Kong (but moved from Sweden just 6 months ago). Both Ben and Mike uses words as “ambient” and “cinematic” to describe their music, which sound pretty much accurate to me!
This track is the second one I post about from the Sonder House compilation Recollections Vol 3 (the first being Erik Slättbergs song All that didn’t happen). The compilation was release in the end of august of 2019. My guess is that this won’t be the last post about this compilation!
Tell us something about your track Refuge!
As a collaboration, the piece is kind of a ‘conversation’ between different elements. The main piano composition was written first by Mike (Dear Gravity) – it’s more sparse than I (Mike) typically approach a song with, but I wanted to make plenty of room for other creative ideas to flourish… the higher piano melodies were added later by Ben, alongside the subtle backing ambiences that bring that Antarctic Wastelands-style atmosphere into the mix.
Thank you very much for this guys!
For more information about Ben and Mike, check out these following links:
I usually think of solo piano music as (neo) classical music. That was until I started talking to Erik Slättberg about his album Growth (2018). It then became clear to me that there’s an entire world of solo piano jazz to be found if you just bother to look for it. That’s how I found German composer and pianist Tom Blankenberg from Düsseldorf.
This is one of the songs from Tom’s album Atermus. He describes the album himself as “It’s very me”, and if he is anything like his track London Fields, I’d gladly get to know him better!
Tell us something about the London Fields!
London fields was written after spending a weekend in London. It evolved out of the first improvisation I did after that weekend.(A very long tine after writing, i found out that there would be a movie out with the same title… crashed totally last autumn.)
I tried to form a complete song around this first chord. This sould be the backbone of the track I planned. On the day in the studio recording it, months after the writing process and after having performed it live a few times, I changed it in three bars… Plan vs. Reality.
Thank you for sharing with us Tom!