• Spotted!

    Spotted: Steve Luck – Small Song Of Hope

    Today I’m presenting you with another great track by the British composer and piano player Steve Luck from Newcastle upon Tyne. You can read a lot more about Steve and his music here!

    The track Small Songs of Hope was released as a single on the 29th of June, but will also be part of an upcoming album in October, 2021.

    Tell us something about your track Small Song of Hope!
    Most of my music explores the boundaries between melancholy and hope. I love mixing major and minor chords in close proximity. This piece is the archetype for the style of music that will be released on the album. It’s a piano miniature, slow paced and played on my felted Kawai upright piano. Hopefully the listener feels a sense of poignancy, tinged with a little bit of hope. Thanks for listening.

    Thank you very much Steve!

  • Spotted!

    Spotted: Steve Luck – One Little Victory

    Today I’m presenting you with the track One little victory by the British composer and piano player Steve Luck from Newcastle Upon Tyne. Steve has played the piano since he was eight years old and started to release solo piano music in 2014.

    The track One little victory was released as a single on the 14th of may 2021, but will also be part of an album in October.

    Tell us something about your track One little victory!
    Whilst composing I will often take some time to reflect on how a piece is developing. Leave it alone for a while and come back to it again with fresh ears and clarity of thinking. When the piece that became ‘One Little Victory’ was nearly complete and I listened to what I had so far, I was struck by the restrained nature of the track, the simplicity and flexibility of the melody and a sense of smallness, a constrained emotion – gently unfolding and developing slowly, positive and maybe just a touch celebratory (after the minor key opening) but certainly not shouting it from the rooftops. 
    ‘One Little Victory’ felt appropriate as a title. I googled it to see if it had any other associations which might sway my opinion on whether I could use the title or not. I was both surprised and happy to discover that ‘One Little Victory’ is also the title of a song by my absolute favourite band when I was growing up – Canadian power trio Rush, with lyrics written by the late great Neil Peart. I had either forgotten it or had not heard it before but maybe I had seen the title written and subliminally stored it away. 
    It includes the lines…
    “The greatest act can be,
    One little victory”
    The song is about how it is the small accomplishments in life that can turn out to be the most rewarding and satisfying. It is also about challenging yourself within rather than measuring yourself against others. 
    This chimed with the way that I think about these things and so the title again felt appropriate and the whole experience felt serendipitous. Its not a victory in the sense of beating an opponent or winning a war but rather more to do with setting yourself challenges and trying your best to achieve them. To me the piece is about an inner dialogue and a reflection on those fleeting moments of satisfaction.  

    Thank you very much for this Steve!

  • Spotted!

    Spotted: Steve Luck – The Key

    Today I’m presenting you with the latest track, The Key, by the British composer and piano player Steve Luck. Steve is based in Newcastle upon Tyne in the UK. To know everything about Steve, make sure to check out this Behind the piano post!

    The track The Key was released as a single on the 12th of February, but will also be featured on an upcoming album; scheduled for September 2021.

    Tell us something about your track The Key!
    The piece was inspired by a visit some years ago to a French chateau in Normandy. The building and estate were elegant and charming and full of old world faded glamour. There were many parts to explore and a few outbuildings in the grounds and one of them had a key in the door. I turned it and ventured inside, to discover a room which looked as if it hadn’t been touched for fifty years. There was that sense that you can experience in some special places, of being very close to history and the people who had been there before – a different kind of magical, mysterious atmosphere that links you to the past and gives you a strong sense that everything is connected. This was the feeling I was trying to capture in the piece. It’s in three four time and in a minor key which gives the piece both a sense of place – it sounds very French – and it gives it an element of both mystery and nostalgia”

    Thank you for sharing this piece of music with us!

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

  • Spotted!

    Spotted: Steve Luck – Tesoro

    Today I’m introducing you to the latest track by British composer Steve Luck, located in Newcastle Upon Tyne. I have previosly written this great Behind the piano post about Steve, so check it out if you want to know it all!

    The track Tesoro was released as a single on the 11th of September, 2020 but will also be featured on an upcoming album in 2021.

    Tell us something about your track Tesoro!
    The track is an intimate, beautiful, and atmospheric piano miniature, recorded in August 2020. ‘Tesoro’ means treasure in Italian. This tender and soothing contemporary classical composition was inspired by images of a newborn baby. I am delighted with the recording of this very personal and intimate track. As a composition it has a simple structure, but I was very pleased with the atmosphere I captured on the recording – using the felt on my upright piano to bring to life the soft and delicate mood I was trying to create. I was put into this peaceful, and gentle frame of mind when at the keyboard by looking at images of my cousin and his partners brand new baby girl Ellie. I would definitely say that the track was inspired by her and has since been dedicated to her – it’s for Ellie Brown.

    Thank you for the music Steve!

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

  • Behind the piano

    Behind the piano: Steve Luck

    Where are you from? And where do you live?
    Newcastle upon Tyne UK

    How long have you been playing the piano, and do you play other instruments as well?
    I began playing aged 9and only play piano/keyboards

    Tell us about how you started playing music.
    I began with piano lessons. My grandfather and my uncle were not musically trained but both could play piano and organ by ear so perhaps I inherited some musical ability from that side of the family. I had a traditional classical music education, working through the ABRSM grades and reaching grade 8 at age 18 before going off to university to study music.

    How long have you been making piano music?
    I have played other peoples music on piano for 40 years and I began my career as a composer for film and television in 2006 but it’s only in the last six years since 2013 that I began composing my own pieces specifically for solo piano.

    Tell us something about that moment you realized you could make songs yourself!
    It took quite some time before I believed enough in what I was composing to let people hear it. I think a lot of musicians, even very successful ones, have what is sometimes called ‘imposter syndrome’ where in the back of their mind they feel like at some point they are going to get found out as not being ‘proper’ musicians like their colleagues/competitors. This was a factor in my musical life for a number of years and still is to a certain extent. There is always at least one moment when I question whether what I am doing in any good or not but it’s all part of creating – the trick is to not make those judgements too early and stifle the process. 

    Who are your favourite artists in this “piano genre”?
    My original inspiration to get into this genre came from George Winston and his groundbreaking album ‘December’. I love a lot of the music by both Olafur Arnalds and Max Richter and I also regularly enjoy listening to the music of some other pianists including Ben Crosland, Simeon Walker, Oliver Brouwer and Garreth Broke.  

    Is there one song which you play over and over again as soon as you sit down by a piano?
    When I was a music student as a break from the classical music world I would sit at the piano for hours and improvise boogie woogie piano blues – mostly in C major – that’s probably a favourite – especially a slow blues with a  Jimmy Yancey style left hand! 

    What rules (in making music) needs to be broken?
    I’m not sure if it’s a rule as such but I definitely feel that the current obsession with feeling like you absolutely must have the latest technology, hardware and software to make music on is a mistake. Spending time learning how to use the stuff you already have well enough and being creative in your sourcing of original unique sounds, will help differentiate your music from that of everyone else. 

    How do you record your music? Yourself? In a big studio? etc.
    I’m lucky to have a recording studio space in a wonderful listed building and artist workspace in the creative Ouseburn area of Newcastle Upon Tyne. I have a 1905 Bechstein grand piano and a PC running Cubase with a variety of software instruments. I mostly record myself for the solo piano pieces but also have regular visitors to the studio to either record their work or to collaborate. 

    Whats your take on sampled instruments?
    I use them every day as part of my work as a media composer. They are an instrument like any other, and demand time for practice to achieve mastery, so as to get the very best music from them at any given time. 

    Anything else you want to share?
    Do please check out the concert series I put on called Atmospherica. It features monthly performances from contemporary classical composers playing their own work in intimate and unusual venues around Newcastle Upon Tyne. More information can be found at www.atmospherica.co.uk

    The last question is asked by my 5 year old son:
    Where do all your songs come from? 

    I think that they probably already exist and I get to reveal them, to make them appear. I often think of the composing process as being like that of a sculptor starting with a large block of marble and chiselling away until a shape begins to emerge – I spend a long time improvising and working to develop rough ideas before refining and polishing them for presentation to the listener. 

    Thank you so much for this Steve!

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

  • Spotted!

    Spotted: Steve Luck – Crescent Moon

    Today I’m introducing you to Steve Luck, a British composer from Newcastle Upon Tyne. Steve has worked as a professional musician for about 30 years (well done, Steve!) and has made music for picture and different kind of production music libraries.

    Steve has composed solo piano music since 2013 and has released three EPs since then.

    The song Crescent Moon is released as a single and came out late June of 2019.

    Tell us something about your track Crescent moon!
    This new single was inspired by the first movement of Beethoven’s Piano Sonata in C# minor ‘Quasi una fantasia’ – better known as the Moonlight Sonata. I have always thought that there was something special about the Beethoven piece. It is one of the most popular piano pieces of all time and I have always been fascinated by it. It is one of those pieces in which, the relative simplicity of the notes belies its emotional depth. That principle, how to get the most emotion from as few notes as possible, underpins a lot of the current contemporary classical scene and has intrigued composers for hundreds of years. The performance was recorded in my studio in 36 Lime Street, Newcastle Upon Tyne on my 114 year old Bechstein grand piano using two stereo pairs of microphones – one set under the lid close to the strings and the other set were in  omni mode and placed more towards the middle of the room. These two recordings were then blended together and added to with a little reverb and eq before mastering.  I hope you enjoy listening to the result! 

    Thank you Steve for this!

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

  • Behind the piano

    Behind the piano: Klinger

    I have previously posted about the German composer Klinger, and now it’s time to get to know the person behind the name a bit better!

    What’s your real name? 
    My full name is Christoph Klinger.

    How did you come up with your artist name?
    It´s obviously my last name. In German language ‘klingen’ means ‘to sound’. So if you are a musician and you´ve been born with a name that means something like ‘the one who sounds’ it´s a pretty obvious choice, isn´t it? 🙂

    Where are you from? And where do you live?
    I´m from Bavaria in the south of Germany, near Austria. Now I live in Hamburg, in the very north. 

    How long have you been playing the piano, and do you play other instruments as well?
    I play everything I get my hands on, but not very well. In my work as a pop music producer and arranger it´s very helpful to have a basic understanding of many instruments. But the piano has always been my main instrument.

    Tell us about how you started playing music. 
    When I was about six my parents got a piano. I think we borrowed it from relatives. I was hooked from the first moment, so I took lessons. But soon I realized that playing sheet music was nothing for me. Luckily my teacher was very open and supported me with playing by ear, improvising and making up my own stuff.

    How long have you been making piano music?
    I play the piano for a very long time but I began only recently to release my own piano compositions. In 2018 I started to post little microcompositions on Instagram. They are just one minute long (because that´s the limit for videos on instagram) and recorded with nothing but my mobile phone. The idea is to make something quick and easy without going through a complex recording process. Just focus on the plain composition and keep it very short and basic. Also it´s a good practice to create something on a regular basis. Then in the beginning of 2019 I released my first full length song on Spotify and everywhere else.

    Tell us something about that moment you realized you could make songs yourself!
    That was very early. From the moment I discovered the piano I made my own little pieces. As a child I recorded them on tape. I would love to find those old casettes again someday. That could be a hell of a flashback. 🙂

    What are your favorite artists in this “piano genre”?
    I really like ‘Lambert’. His pieces sound very easy, just like pop music. But beneath the surface you find extremely well crafted compositions. Not just the purely diatonic monotony you often find these days. 

    Is there one song which you play over and over again as soon as you sit down by a piano?
    Actually yes. It´s ‘Death With Dignity’ by Sufjan Stevens. The original doesn’t even feature a piano. But somehow I weirdly love to play this song on the piano. Once I even recorded my own version.

    What rules (in making music) needs to be broken?
    As far as I´m concerned there are no hard rules in music. Every rule can be broken if it makes sense for your composition.

    How do you record your music?
    In my own studio.

    Whats your take on sampled instruments?
    Depends on the instrument. There are some incredibly well sampled pianos on the market. I use them a lot when I make layouts and later I decide if I exchange them with a real piano. In many cases the sampled pianos are already perfectly doing the job and I don´t need to change anything. But still nothing inspires me like sitting on a real piano. Especially very old old ones that already have a story to tell. And when it comes to pure piano music I will of course use a real piano.

    Anything else you want to share? 
    No more words. But two years ago I made music for a little film about the refugees stuck in Idomeni at that time. I´d like to share that because its message is still relevent today. Idomeni is closed but there are many other camps like this at the European border. We should think carefully if this is something we want to be responsible for as European citizens.

    The last question is asked by my 5 year old son:
    Where do all your songs come from? 
    That´s an excellent question. The true answer is that i have no clue. They just pop up somewhere in my head. In a way it´s a complete mystery. But my best attempt to explain it would be this: A composer is in fact something like a ‘mixer’. You throw a lot of stuff in – all the music you listen to, but also other things, everything you see or hear. Then you push the button, everything gets ripped apart in tiny pieces and then somehow all those little fragments get mixed up and combined to something new and eventually beautiful. So we don´t create something from nothing. We just rearrange things we´ve experienced before . Of course that does not mean that the composer doesn´t have an influence on his work. Each ‘mixer’ has his very own algorithm by which he tends to combine the bits and pieces in his mind. And very specific ingredients for his mixture. There is a good reason that Beethoven sounds like Beethoven and Steve Reich like Steve Reich. And that Klinger sounds like Klinger.

    Thank you for participating Klinger!

    For more information about Klinger and his music; check out these links:
    Facebook / Instagram / Spotify