• Spotted!

    Spotted: Emma Jackson – Ada

    Today I’m presenting you with the track Ada by the British composer and piano player Emma Jackson. Emma lives in London and is drawn to making music to help calm the mind.

    I think the world we live in is a very busy and stressful place, and we could all do with having a moment to breathe and release from our day, no matter what our situation is. 

    The track Ada is released on the album Piano Mindfulness 2, which was released on June 24th, 2021.

    Tell us something about your track Ada!
    This is my track called Ada. I recorded this track over the Christmas lockdown at home, and had fun sticking tennis balls, strips of paper and curtain chains in the strings to create a unique sound to the track! Whether you close your eyes, light a candle, or play it to help you study, use this track to help calm and focus you. Enjoy!

    Thank you Emma!

  • Behind the piano

    Behind the piano: Matthew Paull

    Today we’ll go Behind the piano and meet the composer of the track Muriwai, Matt Paull!

    Let’s go!

    How did you come up with your artist name?
    As it happens, in every other aspect of my life people call me ‘Matt’, so when it came to choosing a name to release piano music under,  I thought I’d do something a bit different and release it under my full name.

    Where are you from? And where do you live?
    I’m from Taupo, in New Zealand, but I’ve been living in Berlin since 2016.

    How long have you been playing the piano, and do you play other instruments as well?
    I come from a family of music teachers, so I started playing Piano when I was 8 years old, then I added Drums, Guitar, Trombone, Vocals and a few other instruments to the roster throughout the years.

    Tell us about how you started playing music. 
    I started with regular Classical Piano lessons, working my way up through the graded exam system, before studying Jazz Piano at the University of Auckland.

    How long have you been making piano music?
    I’ve been on and off experimenting with writing music since I was a teenager, but after a long break from that, in 2020 it suddenly became more interesting to me, and I began writing pieces that I felt I’d actually like to share with people.

    Tell us something about that moment you realized you could make songs yourself!
    It was during 2020 that I wrote and released my first full-length piano piece, ‘Dreamboat’, and it was the reaction to that from friends and colleagues in the music industry that made me think I might actually be not too bad at this.

    What are your favorite artists in this “piano genre”?
    In the age of Playlists I find you end up listening to so many different artists that it’s harder to pick out favourites, but I would say some stand-out favourites of mine include Nils Frahm, Tom Ashbrook, Akira Kosemura, and from the wider pianist/composer sphere; Bill Evans, Joe Hisaishi and Brad Mehldau.

    Is there one song which you play over and over again as soon as you sit down by a piano?
    I wouldn’t say over and over again, but sometimes I tend to warm up on something like ‘Ambre’ by Nils Frahm, it’s a beautiful piece of music where the harmonic shape is so fluid that in the middle of playing it you tend to forget what the original key sounded like, things like this get my head in the right space for writing.

    What rules (in making music) needs to be broken?
    If anyone ever tells you you need to record piano music a certain way to be successful, walk away. I’ve had success with recordings on pianos where I had to take my shoes off and stuff my socks under the sustain pedal to reduce the pedal noise, or softened the hammer sound with pillow cases and cardigans. I’ve even recorded piano using the voice-memo feature on an iPhone. That ended up on someone’s album and it sounded fantastic.  

    What rules (in making music) needs to be broken?
    If anyone ever tells you you need to record piano music a certain way to be successful, walk away. I’ve had success with recordings on pianos where I had to take my shoes off and stuff my socks under the sustain pedal to reduce the pedal noise, or softened the hammer sound with pillow cases and cardigans. I’ve even recorded piano using the voice-memo feature on an iPhone. That ended up on someone’s album and it sounded fantastic.  

    How do you record your music?
    I usually record it all myself, I just need to find places with a piano I like. My first song ‘Dreamboat’ was recorded on a good friends piano in a small studio in Berlin, my next two releases were recorded in my hometown at a local performance venue, shout-out to the Great Lake Center in Taupo.

    Whats your take on sampled instruments?
    Other than being a pianist, I also work as a producer, so in that world sampled instruments are of course a way of life. When it comes to the piano genre, I think there is some fantastic software out there like Keyscape, Noire etc, but for recordings I prefer to use the real thing, although the software does come in handy for writing and making demos.  

    Anything else you want to share?
    Thank you Johan for the questions, and thank you to anyone out there who has taken the time to listen to my music, it means the world to me.

    The last question is asked by my 6 year old son:
    Where do all your songs come from?

    Great question! Usually when it comes to chords, I can come up with chord progressions I like quite quickly, when it comes to melodies I have to let that happen a bit more naturally, a lot of the time I’ll think of melodies when I’m not at the piano, so I’ll sing it into my phone so I won’t forget it.  

    Thank you very much for your participation, Matt!

  • Spotted!

    Spotted: Evan Wise – For Jordy

    Today I’m introducing you to the track For Jordy by the American composer and piano player Evan Wise. Evan comes from a small town in Texas with just 400 citizens and fought hard to go to the university where he could study music. He now lives in Los Angeles and writes music for television and movies.

    The track For Jordy was released on June 2nd of 2021.

    Tell us something about your track For Jordy!
    My latest release For Jordy is a love letter to my daughter Jordy who is due in September of 2021. I am extremely excited to become a father and I wrote this piece thinking about sharing it with her as she grows up. I muted the piano by draping a baby blanket over the strings and the result was a lovely warm lush sound. I also extended the use of the damper pedal to create some more interesting atmospheric sounds once I heard how clear the recording was becoming, although I have gotten some criticism for the ambience. But as traditional as my music can be I like to include an off kilter element because it reflects my personality and is poetic to my philosophical beliefs.

    Thank you very much for this Evan!

  • Spotted!

    Spotted: Tewksbury – Sitaantaago Elegy

    Today I’m introducing you to the American pianist and composer Tewksbury from Hamilton, Canada. Tewksbury has been a musician for his entire life even though this project is fairly new.

    The track Sitaantaago Elegy is taken from the album Paths, which was released in June 2021.

    Tell us something about your track Sitaantaago Elegy!
    The song ‘Sitaantaago Elegy’. It comes from the Sitaantaago Glacier (more commonly called the Mendenhall Glacier) in Juneau Alaska.  I was lucky to spend a few weeks in Juneau in Alaska, this place that feels unreal how big and empty and raw it is, housesitting for a friend, and my daughters and I went hiking almost every single day while we were there.  

    Seeing a glacier in real life is stunning, and you’re never really prepared for it, since it makes you reflect on time, and your place in this time on the earth. The Sitaantaago Glacier is in accelerated retreat due to climate change, and as you hike in to it, you pass rock cairns that mark where the glacier was at different times in history – 1700, 1800, 1924, 1956, 1988.  It’s retreated 2.5 miles so far, so you keep experiencing how large it once was as you, yourself, move through space. It’s stunning, and dire, and within a few decades the glacier will be gone.  It’s sobering to experience a thing that is almost certainly already dead.  In this song, I wanted to write a farewell, and to say goodbye with a beautiful moment. It’s a dark place to go, but I see beauty in it, and I hope that people who hear this song do, too.

    Thank you very much for this!

  • Spotted!

    Spotted: Eamonn Watt – Flow

    Today I’m presenting you with a new track by the composer Eamonn Watt from Shetlands Islands. You can read more about Eamonn and his music here!

    The track Flow was released as a single on the 25th of June, 2021.

    Tell us something about your track Flow!
    Flow is a piano single inspired by an image of someone sailing down a gentle flow of a calm river, it’s a super soft track that’s great after a long hard day of work and you just need to relax. It was all hand-clicked using the MIDI Editor on Cubase and uses the Imperfect Samples Fazioli Grand Piano for the soft, piano sound.

    Thanks for this Eamonn!

  • Spotted!

    Spotted: Tehlarissa – Little Cove

    Today I’m introducing you to the Irish composer and piano player Tehlarissa and the track Little Cove. Most of Tehlarissas family are musicians so the music has always been present.

    The track Little Cove was released as a single on the 18th of June, 2021.

    Tell us something about your track Little Cove!
    Little Cove is inspired by some of the beach coves near to where I live in Galway in Ireland. I always find the sea to be a big influence in my writing. It’s such a strong and brutal force, but when water appears in coves it takes on a completely different character and becomes gentle and subtle. I tried to recreate that feeling my in track.

    Thank you for this Tehlarissa!

  • Spotted!

    Spotted: Steven Poole – Noctambule

    Today I’m introducing you to Steven Poole and his track Noctambule. Steven is a British composer and piano player from London. He began playing the piano at the age of four and started composing a few years later. He has also studied the clarinet, guitar and tenor sax.

    This track was release on the EP The Memory of Water, which was released on June 17, 2021. 

    Tell us something about your track Noctambule!
    This gentle piece is meant to evoke the way the mind can wander at night — the title is French for “Sleepwalker”. In the left hand it’s influenced by one of my great musical loves, Erik Satie, and in the right hand by late-night jazz. For the tracks on this piano EP I used some subtle electronic atmospheres in the background — on this track, some clouds of feedback — to create a sense of imaginary space.  

    Thank you very much Steven!

  • Behind the piano

    Behind the piano: Daniel Rosenholm

    Back in April of 2021 I wrote a little something about Davids song La Solitude, but today the focus is entirely on the piano artist! Lets have a talk with Daniel Rosenholm!

    Where are you from? And where do you live?
    I’m originally from Åkersberga outside Stockholm, Sweden. After a couple of years of moving around different locations I’ve finally landed in Dalarö, south of Stockholm in the archipelago.

    How long have you been playing the piano, and do you play other instruments as well?
    I started playing piano around the age of 10, but when I was a teenager guitar became my main instrument. During many years I only played keyboard in the studio when producing music, so I kind of forgot about the piano until a couple of years ago when I started making music for film. It made me really rediscover the piano and now it’s my main instrument again.

    Tell us about how you started playing music. 
    As a kid we had an acoustic guitar and a piano at home, my mom sang and played and it really tempted me to try it out. Later on in the teens we started bands. We were quite early in my house with getting a computer, and I quickly learned how to make music on it and I haven’t looked back since.

    How long have you been making piano music?
    If we talk about piano music where the piano is the main focus, it’s about 3 years since I started to make more and more instrumental, piano based music.

    Tell us something about that moment you realized you could make songs yourself!
    I remember sitting with our guitar in my early teens trying to learn the chords of a song, but it was too hard, so instead of learning to play that song I wrote my own with the few chords I had learned so far. And that’s how I continued, I learned to play the instruments by writing songs and composing.

    What are your favorite artists in this “piano genre”?
    I think Agnes Obel is an amazing artist, composer and pianist, don’t know if she counts in the ”piano genre” but she has a couple of wonderful solo piano pieces. Other than her I’d say Jan Johansson and Joep Beving. But I also have to mentioned that this genre is flooded today by so many excellent pianists! I discover new ones all the time, there so much amazing talent out there!

    Is there one song which you play over and over again as soon as you sit down by a piano?
    I enjoy playing my song La Solitude, because it has nice flow in it, it’s quite meditative to play, really great if I’ve had a stressful day. I’m not so good at playing other peoples music, I don’t read sheet music, so I still experience music the way I did when I was learning it in the beginning, by composing.

    What rules (in making music) needs to be broken?
    I don’t think there’s one specific rule that needs to be broken. But I believe that good music benefits from having a combination of elements that breaks rules and others that follows rules. 

    How do you record your music?
    I record my music mostly at home. I have a guest house where I have a my music gear, except for my piano which is in my house in the living room. I also have a corner in the house where I have a midi-keyboard and all the necessary stuff to quickly record ideas or when I need to practice quietly.

    Whats your take on sampled instruments?
    I like them, I love to sample instruments myself, there’s lots of creative stuff you can do with sampled instruments. I’ve actually created my own sample library from my living room piano, it’s called November Piano and I’ve shared it for free on pianobook.co.uk. That said, there’s something really special sitting with a real instrument, the way the instruments starts to vibrate and spread in the room, the atmosphere that’s created when the room and the instrument becomes a unity. That’s something that’s, I’m not gonna say impossible, but very hard to recreate in a sampled instrument.

    Anything else you want to share? 
    I’d like to encourage everyone to learn to play an instrument, it will give you lots of pleasure and can help you through hard times, playing an instrument is really meditative and extra important these days when we need find activities that keep our eyes off all the screens that surround us and constantly fighting for our attention.

    The last question is asked by my 6 year old son:
    Where do all your songs come from? 

    I gather inspiration from many sources. All the music I listen to, the books I read and the movies I watch are like seeds that’s planted in my head and eventually grows to songs that appears to me when I least expect it. So I always make sure I have my phone with the voice memo app close to me so I can catch the songs when they come to me.

    Thank you very much for the David!

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

  • Spotted!

    Spotted: Jeff Blank – Years From Now

    Today I’m introducing you to the American composer and piano player Jeff Blank and his track Years from now. Jeff was born in Miami but is now located in Los Angeles. He got his first keyboard from his grandfather when he was nine and has been playing ever since.

    The track Years from now was released as a single on the 13th of June, 2021, and will also be featured on an upcoming album.

    Tell us something about your track Years from now!
    I wrote this song inspired by the beautiful Shel Silverstein poem ‘Years From Now’.  I often write songs inspired by people in my life and moments from my past, but this is the first time I’ve ever done it with a poem.

    Thank you very much for sending me this Jeff!

  • Spotted!

    Spotted: Claire Bigley – Quieting Tremors

    Today I’m presenting you with the track Quieting Tremors by the American composer and piano player Claire Biglet from New Orleans. Claire has plays the piano for her entire life and started recording and releasing music in the past few years.

    The track Quieting Tremors was released as a single on the 25th of June, 2021.

    Tell us something about your track Quieting Tremors!
    Quieting Tremors was an experiment in using my keyboard, rather than my acoustic piano. Construction noise on my street was making it very difficult to control background noise and I wanted this piece to take the listener to a deep and meditative place. I didn’t think the sound of jackhammers in the background would contribute.

    Thank you very much Claire!