Today I’m introducing you to the French composer and piano player Pierre-Alexandre Monin and his track With you. Pierre-Alexandre started playing the piano at the age of eight, and the piano is his best way to express the music in his mind.
I use it to compose, and also to simply express in the moment what is trailing deep inside me. I love spending time on my piano, improvising, just to express what is happening in the present moment.
The track With you was released on the EP with the same name on march 8th, 2021.
Tell us something about the track With you!
I composed it while thinking of those pleasant moments which are imbued with melancholy. I wanted a very simple melody that was delicate and sweet. And emotionally ambiguous. I found it in this major key. For a long time I played it in C. The piece was brighter. And when the time came for the recording, I said to myself: I would like it deeper. At the last moment I changed the key and finally recorded it in G.
Thank you very much for this!
Today I present you with the track Smiles by the guitarist and composer Denis Turbide. Denis got his first guitar about 40 years ago and started releasing guitar music in 2008. This song is, however, a piano version of one of his guitar songs.
This version of the songs was released as a single on the 5th of march, 2021.
Tell us something about your track Smiles!
Smiles is a collaboration with fellow Canadian Jesse Brown AKA Winston Church. It’s a reworked piano version of a guitar tune I released back in 2011 called Dimples. This was the first track of mine to be added to a Spotify editorial playlist, Peaceful Guitar. I called it Dimples because my son has dimples.
Thank you very much Denis and Jesse!
I have written about several songs by the composer and piano player Matthias Gusset before, and you can find them all here! Today, we go Behind the piano and gets to know the person behind all those songs a bit better!
Where are you from? And where do you live?
I was born and bred in Basel and still live here since I really love the city and all my music-projects are based here.
How long have you been playing the piano, and do you play other instruments as well?
I’ve been playing the piano for 26 years now. As a teenager i wanted to be able to play all the band instruments. So I started to learn bass, guitar and drums. Don’t Kill The Beast, Moonpools, Slow Soak, Sheila She Loves You, The Night Is Still Young, Mastergrief and of course Kappa Mountain are musical projects in which I perform on different Instruments.
Tell us about how you started playing music.
My parents are heavily into music so I had to get in touch with it. I don’t really remember how I started with piano lessons, but my parents tell me it was out of my own free will.
How long have you been making piano music?
I’ve been writing my own songs for 14 years now. A lot of them were never released.
Tell us something about that moment you realized you could make songs yourself!
I always tried to play songs I liked on the piano as a kid, kind of pianocovers. At some point I started to change the melodies and harmonies of these songs. That was the moment I started creating new music. Also my best friends are all the middle child like me, so we were desperate for attention in our late teenage years. Writing songs and showing them to people gets you that.
What are your favorite artists in this “piano genre”?
I really love Arvo Pärt and his transcendet style of writing music. Also Max Richter and his feeling for heavy-hearted melodies and harmonies is a big inspiration for me. There are a lot of other artists I like in this genre.
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?
Not really, I always try to concentrate on new things.
What rules (in making music) needs to be broken?
I don’t know many rules, so I can’t say which ones I break. Something I’m learning more and more is that the magic while playing the piano lies in letting go of thoughts like:‘What will people think of my music’‘What do I think of my music’‘Is the oven still on?’Basicly any thoughts.
How do you record your music?
I recorded my album ‘3’ on a grandpiano in the auditorium of the school where i work as a primary teacher. The album ‘Inbetween Birdsongs’ which will be released soon was recorded on a Yamaha upright piano in a room used by theater groups. I prefer places which inspire me more than big studios. Both productions were made with Alain Meyer as sound engineer, producer, mixer and friend.
Whats your take on sampled instruments?
I especially love the concept of the mellotron instruments. Other sampled instruments like pianos or strings are interesting and very authentic nowadays but I prefer working the analogue way.
Anything else you want to share?
I just hope my music can inspire someone or help them in any way.
The last question is asked by my 6 year old son:
Where do all your songs come from?
I don’t know the place where they come from. Maybe in a hidden forest where it is not relevant who one is. Maybe there’s an ancient being who writes all the songs. So we can just be silent, listen and replay them.
Thank you very much for this, Matthias!
Today I’m presenting you with the track Brother from the Dutch composer, producer and piano player Wouter Hardy (HRDY). In 2019 Wouter produced the song Arcade by Duncan Laurence which won Eurovision Song Contest for the Netherlands. Last February he started making neo classical music, and this is his second release.
The track Brother was released as a single, but will also be part of an album in December, 2021.
Tell us something about your track Brother!
Brother is really special to me. I wrote it for my big brother. It’s about our history together as brothers written as an intimate musical piece. Enjoy!
Thank you for this!
Today I’m presenting you with the track Per Aspera Ad Astra by the British composer and piano player Dom Mason from Birmingham. Dom has made music since he was a teenager and plays a variety of instruments. He also works as a ballet pianist!
The track Per Aspera Ad Astra was released on the album Lockdown Sessions: Songs for John, which came out on the 19th of February, 2021.
Tell us something about your track Per Aspera Ad Astra!
The album is an exploration of my memories of John, my late stepfather. He sadly passed away during the initial lockdown in the Spring of 2020. This particular track is a moment of calm reflection, its placement at 6 is deliberate as it follows on from the busier ‘Memories of Sevilla’ and precedes the bittersweet ‘Little Bird’. The Latin title translates literally as “Through hardship(s), to the stars”, which perfectly summed up John’s struggles with his health in life over many years. The album represents the journey towards a peace which I believe he has now found. It is deeply personal. Some of the more tender, heartfelt melodies (such as track 14’s ‘It’s been a long time’) reflect those personal emotions.
Thank you very much for this!
Today I’m introducing you to the American composer and piano player Dan Schrage and the track Jarrett. Dan has written a lot of music for licensing (film and television) but hasn’t really released any of it. During the lockdowns of 2020 he started to write music again, and this time with the intent of releasing it to the public.
The track Jarrett was released as a single on the 24th of February, 2021.
Tell us something about your track Jarrett!
“Jarrett” is the product of a late night improvisation session following a week or so with Keith Jarrett’s The Köln Concert album basically on repeat. I am not a jazz musician, and “Jarrett” doesn’t sound like most of The Köln Concert, but if you know the album well you may hear the subtle influence of some of those quieter moments of Jarrett’s 1975 improvisational performance at the Opera House in Cologne (German: Köln).
Thank you Dan!
Today I’m introducing you to the American composer Bruce Stark and his track Little Waltz. Bruce is a classical trained composer, born and raised in California, now located in Redmond, Washington. After Juilliard he spent over 20 years in Tokyo before returning to the U.S. in 2013.
The track Little Waltz was released as a single on the 5th of march, 2021.
Tell us something about your track Little Waltz!
The track Little Waltz is a composition from a piano scorebook collection entitled “To A Child’s Heart,” composed during the 2020 lockdown, and dedicated to the child’s heart in all of us. Little Waltz is a delicate, even fragile, little piece for piano. It it touched with a bitter-sweet lyricism and nostalgia. A nice metaphor is a small flower, like the cover art.
Thank you Bruce!
My single King have been out for a couple of weeks, but now the full album is out!
Today I’m introducing you to the German composer and piano player Dennis Korn and his track Sad Lullaby. Dennis After studying musicology he devoted himself entirely to compose and produce music.
The track Sad Lullaby was released on the 26th of February, 2021. It will also be featured on the upcoming album Night songs.
Thank you Dennis!
Today I’m introducing you to the artist Saah, based in Austria, and the the track Changes. Saah was given an old piano at the age of nine and immediately fell in love with it.
I live in Lower Austria, next to vienna with my family,(I have two kids) and three pianos named COCO, the baby grand, and two stage pianos called baby and juna….
The track Changes was released as a single on February 26th, 2021.
Tell us something about your track Changes!
My latest release „CHANGES“ was recorded in my tiny home studio. Sometimes in the morning hours it happens that the sun appears in front of my studio window, while playing and recording. Then, I guess I am one of the most grateful humans in the world… that also happened while I was recording CHANGES.
I am kind of addicted to this feeling… so i guess i try to be aware of the beauty of the moment, because life means constant change. I am very grateful to have the opportunity to do what i love and to share my work with people who want to listen….
All of my songs become companions… like my pianos, i think that’s why they all have names!
Thank you very much for this!