• Spotted!

    Spotted: Eamonn Watt – I’ll Wait for You

    Today I’m treating you with another track by the composer Eamon Watt from the Shetland Islands. I have written about plenty of Eamonn’s songs before, so check out this page.

    The track I’ll wait for you was released as a single on the 24th os September, 2021.

    Tell us something about your track I’ll wait for you!
    “I’ll Wait for You” is a peaceful piano composition based on a repeating theme and chord pattern and has that “in deep thought” sort of sound, thinking of how much time has passed and what’s to come in the future. It was written in Cubase using the Giant piano library.

    Thanks once again Eamonn for sharing your music with us!

  • Spotted!

    Spotted: João Balouta – Dream

    Today I’m introducing you to the Portuguese composer and piano player João Balouta and his track Dream. João discovered his talent for music when he was 17 years old after discovering the soundtrack to the movie Le Fabuleux Destin d’Amélie Poulain. Those songs were the first one he learned on the piano!

    The track Dream was released as a single on the 24th of September, 2021.

    Tell us something about your track Dream!
    Dream is a song about the threshold between the reality and the fantasy, where everything can be perfect, even if it’s in our minds, for few moments. Its melody aims to make the listener travel to a peaceful parallel universe to meet his own soul. 

    Thank you very much for seeding me this track!

  • Spotted!

    Spotted: Nick Vereshchak – Reactions

    Today I’m introducing you to the track Reactions by the composer and piano player Nick Vereshchak, based in Toronto, Canada. Nick has played the piano since the age of eight and was mainly interested in learning by ear. Nick started composing about six years ago and started to take his composing more seriously three years ago.

    The track Reactions was released as a single on the 23rd of September, 2020, and will also be part of an upcoming EP.

    Tell us something about your track Reactions!
    I wrote Reactions in one sitting – it was a very impulsive piece. I found myself thinking about the concept of reactions a lot; they’re often almost impossible to control, and they can span a wide range of emotions. As someone who experiences anxiety quite often, I realized I was reacting in unhelpful ways to a lot of things that were happening in my life, and sometimes that was detrimental to the people close to me. I wrote this piece as a way to sort of sit with those feelings, and focus on getting out of the initial reaction phase of whatever I was dealing with at the time. 

    Thanks for sending this track in, Nick!

  • Behind the piano

    Behind the piano: Francois Mathian

    Where are you from? And where do you live?
    I was born in France, raised in Burgundy then lived in Paris for a while before moving to Australia where I spent over 10 years, to the point that Sydney now feels like my “home”. Currently I live in Vietnam, where I find a great energy to create.

    How long have you been playing the piano, and do you play other instruments as well?
    I started learning music with piano lessons when I was a kid, and although I switched to violin as my main instrument after a few years, I could never go without having a piano around. It is a fundamental part of my composition process, along with the violin.

    Tell us about how you started playing music. 
    I started playing music at the conservatory in Burgundy, and as soon as I started learning the violin I could become part of the student orchestra, which was such a great learning experience, and a lot of fun. 

    How long have you been making piano music?
    I had been improvising on the piano pretty much since I started music, but I did not put the effort into structuring my ideas until a few years ago. However it is only since a few months ago that I have started releasing solo piano tracks, I have found they allow me to express calmer emotions. 

    Tell us something about that moment you realized you could make songs yourself!
    I was a teenager at the time, and the piano was part of this process. I remember writing some melodies and showing them to my violin teacher, but to be honest my knowledge of harmony was still quite green and I’m glad I took up harmony classes later in my life.

    What are your favorite artists in this “piano genre”?
    I really enjoy the modern composers: Nils Frahm, Ólafur Arnalds, Yann Tiersen, Peter Cavallo, especially because they also excel at arranging piano with strings and create these deep experiences. For piano solo, Dominique Charpentier, Ludovico Einaudi, Ron Adelaar, Elliott Jacques, are wonderful inspirations.

    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? 
    Most of the time when I sit on the piano, it is to improvise or work on a new piece of music, so it feels more like a white canva. 

    What rules (in making music) need to be broken?
    I would say some harmonic rules still make a lot of sense in the neoclassical style, although to break them repeatedly with intent can create a more “electronic” vibe to the music. Also, in our current streaming and playlists world, we tend to constrain ourselves to create shorter and shorter tracks, but I hope there is still room for longer pieces to come through.

    How do you record your music? Yourself? In a big studio? Etc.
    I produce and mostly record myself in a small studio, currently based in Ho Chi Minh City, where the mixing and mastering are also done. If I need to record a real piano, I would however hire an external studio. 

    What’s your take on sampled instruments?
    I do find some of the sampled piano quite realistic, although I must say for solo piano works being able to record with a real piano changes significantly the emotional and authentic impact of the music. For piano and strings, being able to use sampled instruments can be an advantage, especially during mixing, with the ability to fine tune the best matching sound and minimising the use of post-processing.

    Anything else you want to share? 
    Apart from neoclassical, I also find the piano to be a very versatile instrument, and recently have enjoyed creating more electronic ambient and lofi pieces with it as well. 

    The last question is asked by my 7 year old son:
    Where do all your songs come from? 

    The music I produce comes through me from a desire to connect and express authentic emotions.

    Thank you for sharing Francois!

    For more information and updates, please check out the following:
    Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Website / Spotify

  • Spotted!

    Spotted: Luca Fattoretto – Family

    Today I’m introducing you to the Italian composer Luca Fattoretto from Veneto and his track Family. Luca is a big jazz music fan but has experience in many other genres.

    I like to call myself a curious and eclectic composer. I don’t have a precise sound, I try to let myself be carried away by the music and I hope to be able to convey my emotions.

    The track Family was released as a single on the 27th of august, 2021.

    Tell us something about your track Family!
    The song “Family” speaks of childhood seen from the eyes of the adult, but it does not want to be a regret, rather I tried to give a sense of sweet nostalgia for a beautiful moment of life lived with carefree.

    Thanks for sharing this with us Luca!

  • Spotted!

    Spotted: Stiehler – Plagwitz

    Today I’m introducing you to the track Plagwitz by the German composer and piano player Stiehler. Stiehler started playing the piano at the age of six and later studied piano at the HMT Leipzig. After the encouragement of other musicians around him, Stiehler wrote and recorded his first piano album.

    The track Plagwitz was released as a single om the 10th of September, 2021, but will also be part of an upcoming album.

    Tell us something about your track Plagwitz!
    The song is dedicated to my adopted home. Plagwitz is a district in the west of Leipzig that is characterized by the colorful flourishing of the art scene. In a way, it is the new Berlin. Between rough industrial buildings on one side and lush green spaces and waterways on the other, there are numerous studios, cafés, and small stores here.I’ve lived and worked here for over 10 years, and founded the artists’ house “Egolauthaus” together with Antonio Lucaciu. I run my studio here, where I also record and produce my solopiano music. 

    Thank you very much for sending in this song! Looking forward to the album!

  • Spotted!

    Spotted: Juliano – Trees of Gold

    Today I’m introducing you to the German composer and piano player Juliano and his track Trees of Gold. Juliano started playing the piano at the age of 15, but started out as a accordion player before that. He started out by rewriting arrangements of well-known songs for orchestra at an early age, and later went on to write his own tunes.

    The track Trees Of Gold was released as a single on August 27th of 2021. 

    Tell us something about your track Trees of Gold!
    Trees Of Gold was inspired by a walk through the forest. When you are walking through the forest, it often seems as if time stands still. The peace that nature radiates makes us forget everyday life. And when the sun’s rays shine between the leaves, there is a wonderful play of light and it seems as if nature begins to dance. I wanted to catch this moment in music.  

    Thank you for this piece of music Juliano!

  • Spotted!

    Spotted: Andrei Poliakov – I Felt

    Today I’m introducing you to a brand new track by the Russian bord, but Switzerland based, composer and piano player Andrei Poliakov. Andrei plays the piano to helt people calm down, and has done so since he was four years old.

    The track I Felt was released as a single on the 1st of October, 2021.

    Tell us about your track I Felt!
    It’s a calm and peaceful music with sparse ambient elements, composed and recorded in Switzerland in the summer of 2021 “I Felt” title is a metaphor for a felted piano and the feelings of a person at the same time. Because in our dynamic, aggressive, and everchanging world there is very little space to stop, breathe, and contemplate. Our feelings and emotions get suppressed and hidden while our most deep and intimate thoughts vanish before reaching the edge of our consciousness. The sounds of a felted piano awake our inner self giving us this breathing space – so we recognise our feelings, contemplate the beauty of the outside world, and enjoy the freedom inside ourselves.

    Thank you very much for this track Andrei!

  • Spotted!

    Spotted: Wings for Louise – Lucie

    Today I’m introducing you to the track Lucie by the Canadian based composer and piano player Wings for Louise, which you can read all about in this Behind the piano article. Wings for Louise’s real name is Charly Martin, and even though he is based in Montreal, he was born in France.

    The track Lucie is taken from the EP Lights, Slow Places which was release on the 24th of September, 2021.

    Tell us something about your track Lucie!
    The first track Lucie is named after my girlfriend, who was at my sides every single day during the lockdown. Lucie and her smile were constant shining lights during this odd moment locked down in Hochelaga, a working-class neighbourhood in Montreal with which I have a love/hate relationship. During the album’s creation process, I had to escape myself from everyday life and its stresses, I did a lot of meditation, during which, my mind often travelled to Bages, a small fishing village in the south of France, next to Narbonne, the small town where I grew up. I realized what the common point between the present and the places where my mind drifted to had in common was their slowness, that’s why I named the third track Lent, which means slow in French. 

    Thank you very much for this track Charly!

  • Behind the piano

    Behind the piano: Aatraus

    A while back I posted about the track Gone are the days by the Finnish composer Aatraus, and today we go Behind the piano to get to know the person behind the artist name a bit better!

    What’s your real name?
    Sami Lehtiö. My piano album bears my real name, but orchestral music I only release under my artist name.

    How did you come up with your artist name?
    I tried to come up with a more international name than my own, and I was ready to make music under an old online alias that I always liked. It was, however, quite hard for some Finns to pronounce, so a friend suggested I just adjust it to fit a Finnish mouth. I shunned the notion at first, but then it grew on me, and now I love it.

    Where are you from? And where do you live?
    I am from Finland and live in a city called Tampere.

    How long have you been playing the piano, and do you play other instruments as well?
    We got our first keyboard when I was seven, and with that my dad taught me my ABCs, so to speak. I’m 31 now and have been playing on and off since then, but I was never really any good. Only in the last six years or so did I actually try to learn a bit more as I started taking composing more seriously. Before that I did have my own power metal band, but I played the drums.

    Tell us about how you started playing music.
    I think it’s fair to say that I’ve always been creative and music has been my number one outlet. It’s hard to pinpoint how I started, but my father has always been musical and music was a big part of my childhood in one way or another. Funnily enough, I never wanted to be a musician but a writer, until I noticed how much easier it was for me to write a story in melodies than it was in words.

    How long have you been making piano music?
    I probably wrote my first composition at age 13. We started our band soon after and made bad metal for a few years. Some 10 years later I started playing a bit more determinedly and learning orchestral composition. Although almost all of the songs I’ve ever composed have been piano-based to some extent, this new album is my first project to feature only piano.

    Tell us something about that moment you realized you could make songs yourself!
    I discovered early on that I could learn songs by heart pretty easily, but because I wasn’t very good, I couldn’t make other people’s songs sound correct without following notation. Soon I got frustrated trying to copy others, and I started playing how I felt comfortable. Not long after, I could play a handful of songs from memory, all of which were my own.

    What are your favorite artists in this “piano genre”?
    Hard one. I like to listen to all kinds of composers and make new discoveries. If you pushed me, I’d probably say Ludovico Einaudi and Yann Tiersen, and also Alexandre Desplat to whatever extent he fits this genre. If I may, I also want to shoutout fellow SleepySongs feature Thomas Hewitt Jones, who I’ve been a huge fan of since discovering his album Neoclassical.

    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?
    I can only really play my own songs. If I sit down to play, I usually warm up with the same song. For a long time it has been “Cascades”, which is quite an old composition, though I recorded it for the first time for the new album. If I sit down to compose, I might not warm up at all, because I like to empty my mind into the melodies.

    What rules (in making music) need to be broken?
    I am a huge perfectionist myself and constantly struggle with being content with any piece of music I write, so I want to say the presumption that music should be perfect, because someone like me out there needs to hear it.

    How do you record your music? Yourself? In a big studio? etc.
    I have a rather primitive home studio where I make all of my music.

    What’s your take on sampled instruments?
    They are a life-saver for someone like me, who has a strong creative disposition to make music but limited resources to record real instruments or musicians. They also allow me to compose everything I do on a piano, the only instrument I truly play.

    The last question is asked by my 6 year old son:
    Where do all your songs come from?
    Mostly, trial and error.

    Thank you very much for this Sami!