• Behind the piano

    Behind the piano: Matt Stewart-Evans

    I have written about multiple songs by the British composer Matt Stewart-Evans before, and now it’s time to get to know the person behind the name a bit better!

    Where are you from? And where do you live?
    I’m originally from Nottingham in the UK, but I’ve been based in London for the past 15 years.

    How long have you been playing the piano, and do you play other instruments as well?
    I’ve been playing for the last twelve years, having decided after University to teach myself and complete all the exams up to Diploma level.

    Tell us about how you started playing music. 
    I had two or three years of piano lessons as a child which taught me the basics and was hugely valuable in picking the instrument back up years later. At 15 I got my first pair of turntables and mixer and that was my main musical outlet for the next ten years, but piano slowly took up more time and become more serious once I’d set the goal of completing all the exams up to Diploma level by the time I was 30 (I was a couple of months late, but managed it!).

    How long have you been making piano music?
    I’ve been improvising since I first took the piano back up, and decided to start recording the pieces around ten years ago and putting them on Soundcloud. That early feedback was a nice encouragement to keep going.

    Tell us something about that moment you realized you could make songs yourself!
    I’ve always loved improvising and creating music of my own, but in the early days I was frustrated that my lack of technical ability meant I couldn’t make anywhere near what I was practising from real composers. I therefore made improvising and creating my own pieces my “reward” after getting through piano exam practise each day. I found that made my ‘noodling’ a lot more effective.

    What are your favorite artists in this “piano genre”?
    I’ll name current top 5 as there’s way too many to mention. Nils Frahm (of course), Lambert, Chilly Gonzales, Hania Rani, Poppy Ackroyd

    Is there one song which you play over and over again as soon as you sit down by a piano?
    I try not to get to stuck into playing one particular piece, although the latest album is fresh in the mind – ‘Glow’ is my favourite to play of the release. Greig’s Ballad in G minor has also been haunting me for a while as it’s 20 minutes long and a beast to learn.

    What rules (in making music) needs to be broken?
    I think every individual will have their own rules and habits as part of their music-making process, and breaking those ones that are hindering creativity is all important.

    How do you record your music?
    All recorded myself in my home studio. Sadly it’s not practical at the moment to have an upright and/or grand in the studio, but it’s a future goal.

    Whats your take on sampled instruments?
    As much as I prefer the sound and feel of real pianos, I’d be nowhere without sampled instruments. Long may they continue.

    Anything else you want to share? 
    My latest album COLOUR / SHADES is out now on 1631 Recordings and you can take a listen here.

    The last question is asked by my 6 year old son:
    Where do all your songs come from? 
    Head, heart and fingers.

    Thank you Matt!

    For more information, please check out these links:
    Facebook / Instagram / Website / Spotify

  • Spotted!

    Spotted: Matt Stewart-Evans – Linger

    Today I’m introducing you to the latest track by the British composer Matt Stewart-Evans. I have previously written about another song, which you can find here!

    The track Linger is released as single, but is also featured on the album Colour / Shades.

    Tell us something about your track Linger!
    The track started life as a similar theme for a Sonder House compilation, with a piece called ‘Close Your Eyes’ which came out last month. I felt it the melody could work in a slightly different form, and so I composed a variation for the album which acts as a short prelude to a longer piece called ‘Maze’.

    Thank you for sharing your new album with us Matt!

    For more information, please check out these links:
    Facebook / Instagram / Website / Spotify

  • Spotted!

    Spotted: Matt Stewart-Evans – Solo

    Today I’m introducing you to Matt Stewart-Evans, a composer from Nottingham, UK currently based in London. Matt is self taught on the piano and together with the Swedish record company 1631 he has gotten over 10 million streams on his first EP Wanderer from 2016.

    Today, however, I’m introducing you to his brand new album Solo which contains of seven pieces for the piano.

    Tell us something about the album!
    The album came together as a collection of solo piano pieces slowly and fairly organically over a period of about 2 years. Up until now, my composing time has been limited to pockets of time in the evenings and weekends alongside a full-time job, so the creative process tends to move quite slowly. However, ‘Retrospect’ came out on the day that I switched to a part-time role to focus on creative endeavours, so this album marks nearly a month into a new creative period for me. No excuses now! I mean, other than money…

    Tell us something more about that track Retrospect!
    Retrospect was a piece born out of an improvisation that evoked strong nostalgic feelings about being a kid for some reason – it’s not all that often that a piece reminds me of a specific feeling like that. It also resonated with many others when I was ‘road testing’ the pieces, so made sense to me to use as the single. ‘Lulled’ comes in a close second, as it’s one of the first pieces I composed of this collection, and I still love playing it and improvising further with it two years on.

    Thank you for sharing this wonderful album with us Matt! And let’s hope you’ll reach 10 million streams on this album as well!

    For more information, please check out these links:
    Facebook / Instagram / Website / Spotify