Time for track number three from the collaboration EP With! Today I present to you the track Hawthorn made by me Andy buddy Rikard Mathisson. It has been an interesting journey with Rikard. We first me through Facebook where Rikard was looking for someone to help out with mix and master for his very first release! Since then; we have both grown musically and I’m excited to share with you the second track we have worked with (the first one being Rowan).
On Rowan I wrote the first piano parts and then Rikard added his parts. On this tune, we did the other way around. I worked on my parts during the summer of 2019 when I was living in a house in Falsterbo, Sweden.
Tell us something about the track, Rikard!
I’ve been getting to know this friend of mine, Johan Eckman quite well the last few years, and we’ve been doing several other projects together, mostly not piano related though. One of these days, I got a hunch that we should do a joint effort and combine our two piano voices. It turned out to be a great idea, We share the joy in creating piano music it was great fun, and our two pianos meet well in a conversation, with intertwined melodies. It is a really emotional piece, and I’ve even written some lyrics, although that is a story for later…
Today it’s time to introduce you to the next track from my collaboration EP called “with”. This one is made together with the amazing American piano player, composer and friend Merrill Crissey.
What I think is the most interesting thing with working on this song is that it was actually a “finished” song that I never found a place for on any of my early releases. While Merrill though that I added the strings after I got his piano parts, it was actually the other way around; everything was already there, I just choose to hide it to see what he would add to just my piano track! When I got the pianos and “un muted” the already existing tracks – magic happened!
Well, Merrill, tell us something about the track Gymnopedie from your point of view!
Gymnopedie is not my first collaboration, but it’s the first I’ve ever released. Johan Eckman started by laying down the chord progression. I liked it, but I found it quite challenging to write with for two reasons. the tempo was quite slow and there was a major seventh chord which made harmonies a bit tricky. I experimented with some very busy melodies trying to breath some life into it, but nothing seemed to gel. Finally, I went with the idea of stacking another chord over the original chords and making the melody simple. This gives it complexity in the harmonies but simplicity in the melody. The tune and the harmonies conjured up memories of Erik Satie which helped us decide on the title. Later, Johan put in some nice strings and a beat to give it a more polished sound and keep it interesting.
Today I’m presenting you to the first song taken from the collaboration EP With which was released last Friday. This tune is made by me and the Australian composer and musical magician Richard Labrooy!
I remember how this song started out clearly. I was sitting by the piano in a house in Falsterbo, Sweden and playing some nice chords. One of my sons improvised a melody and sang to it, and that’s how I found out how musically talented my oldest son is! Of course I didn’t remember or use any of what my son sang, but I recorded the chords and sent them to Australia. After a couple of weeks I got this track back by Richard and I was ecstatic to hear what he had made out out these chord and short melodies!
So Richard, tell us something about the track from your point of view!
Well, I can definitely say that the collaboration with Johan was very much overdue. Having known each other for a while now, and being a huge fan of what Johan was doing for the industry, I jumped at the opportunity to collaborate on a track.
I’m usually a little cautious when approaching a new collaborator, but Johan and I were very much on the same page. Basically, he sent me a couple of short ideas and snippets that he had been working on, and I knew exactly where I wanted to take it. I’m a very melodic writer, and I think what he started out with, very much complimented those tendencies.
I already had an idea for a string arrangement that I had been sitting on for a while, and I experimented with fusing it in with Johan’s ideas. It blended perfectly. Once I had the harmonic base I was looking for, I then played around with a little sound design. But the piece didn’t need too much. I like how simple it is, and it really didn’t take long to complete. Although that never stops me from overthinking it…
I very much enjoyed the process of playing with fragments of ideas and seeing how they play off each other, and fuse together. It’s very much like sampling. I think that’s one of the directions music is going, whether it’s hip hop, or neoclassical. There’s a real process in it. And I think that’s one of the best reasons for collaborations like this.
Today it’s release day for the latest Sleepy Songs EP called With!
This is a collaboration EP I’ve made together with Anders Wiking, Richard LaBrooy, Rikard Mathisson, Erik Slättberg and Merrill Crissey.
A while back, I introduced you yo the track Brume by the French composer Pascal Lengagne. And now the time has come to get to know the composer behind the track a bit better!
Where are you from? And where do you live?
I am from France and I leave in Pézenas, beautiful small city in the south of France, near Montpellier.
How long have you been playing the piano, and do you play other instruments as well?
I am 53 years old and I’ve started playing piano at 5. I ‘ve tried to play saxophone one month, but I didn’t like the feeling of the vibration on the lips.
Tell us about how you started playing music.
My first teacher said to my parents that music was not for me, because I didn’t want to go to her lessons. But she was a little bit scary for me. Now since 2003 my only job is music, composing for films, commercials and shows.
How long have you been making piano music? And tell us something about when you figured out how to make music yourself!
I’ve started when I was 16. It was at the cinema that I wanted to compose, I love film music, and also thanks to songs that I liked on the radio.
What are your favorite artists in this “piano genre”?
My first hero is Ryuichi Sakamoto, and I like Olafur Arnalds, Max Richter, Nils Frahm too.
Is there one song which you play over and over again as soon as you sit down by a piano?
I’ve played very often « Someday my prince will come » or Ryuichi Sakamoto’music, now I am improvising most of the time
What rules (in making music) needs to be broken?
Trying to be the best, want to prove something, seek virtuosity before musicality.
How do you record your music?
Most of the time at home on my lovely Bechstein upright piano (1925) , sometimes in a big Studio in Paris when I compose for films
Whats your take on sampled instruments?
Very useful to learn composition, we can try our ideas and ear the result easily now. Some piano library are very cool (like Noire piano, Native instruments)
The last question is asked by my 5 year old son:
Where do all your songs come from?
Not only from the brain, inspiration is kind of magic. We need some technique first obviously, but when we have it it’s necessary to connect to our best part (soul ?), and let it flow. But sometimes it’s beautiful, sometimes it still gives shit music :). But I think that we need to find some evidence in the music.
Thank you for this wonderful interview Pascal!
Today I’m introducing you to Australian composer and multi-instrumentalist Gregory Paul Mineeff from Wollongong. Gregory started out with playing the piano in a young age, when moved on to guitar and later came back to the piano.
I enjoy simplicity and emotion in music and the dynamics these can bring. I began composing simple minimal piano pieces as a means to this end, collecting many over the years.
The track Catatonia Live Improvisation is released as a single early February of 2020.
Tell us something about the track Catatonia Live Improvisation!
The track is my response to the track Catatonia, a beautiful track from my Cosmic Leaf label mate, Zero Cult. My interpretation is a simple piano piece with repetitive motion and melody. I enjoyed recording the track acoustically using my CP70 Electric Grand piano to create a unique atmosphere, recording the shuffling mechanics of the piano to add a new and different life to the track it is based on.
Thank you for sending me this tune!
Today I’m introducing you to the Finnish composer and musician Julia Andersson. Julia has been fascinated by music in general, and piano especially, since she was a kid and has been playing the piano since the age of nine. As many others she started out with classical music, but in her late teens she moved on to play jazz and improvised music.
The track Tilia Cordata is featured on the EP Within, without which was released on 7th February 2020.
Tell us something about your track Tilia Cordata!
This is an emotional solo piano piece with a lot of expression that aims to tell a story. “Tilia Cordata” means littleleaf linden – the track is essentially about a tree going through the four seasons, constantly changing and growing. Nature (mostly the forest) has always inspired me when I’m writing music. The recording was done on a small Schimmel upright, with microphones close to both the piano strings and also the piano keys, to get an intimate and intriguing sound, which also captures all the details in the surrounding sounds of the piano.
Thank you so much Julia for sending me this track!
Today I’m introducing you to the instrumental two man band Wide Waters from Westchester, New York. The band consists of the members Justin Krass and Sam Stauss who are also members of the post-rock band, Wess Meets West.
Sam and I began this project a little over a year ago and we have both been playing/writing music for a number of years now. Justin plays piano in the band and Sam plays guitar.
The track “Tides” is part of a the EP A Cabin In The Woods, Pt.1 which was release in februari of 2020.
Tell us something about your track Tundra!
All of these songs for the new EP were actually written in a cabin in upstate NY hence the album title. Justin originally composed “Tides” as a solo piano piece but later Sam added some ambient guitar and it turned into the song it is today. These songs were meant to have the listener go on journey of self-exploration which we hope comes across because that is what we experienced writing them it was very meditative.
Thank you Sam and Justin for sending me this!
Today I’m introducing you to the track e by the French artist Sylvain Chauveau based in Brussels, Belgium. Sylvain mainly makes instrumental music but sometimes includes vocals.
In my music, I try to stay as close as possible to silence.
The song e was released as a single early February of 2020, but will also be featured on the album Life Without Machines in April of 2020.
Tell us something about your track e!
I’ve started composing this album in 2016. After 2 days, I had 3 or 4 pieces done. I thought the compositions would be finished within less than a week. But it slowed down. Finally, it took me 3 years to finish it up…
On the recording, all the tracks are played by a wonderful pianist named Melaine Dalibert. And some discrete, ghostly electronic sounds are provided by composer Pierre-Yves Macé.
I’ve chosen “e” as a first excerpt from the album because it showcases how minimal and simple I wanted this music to be.
Thank you very much for sharing this with us Sylvain!
Today I’m introducing you to the track The Stairs by the Belgian composer and piano player Mirek Coutigny living in Ghent. Mirek has studied classical piano and composition but turned more towards electronic music in the last couple of years.
The track The Stairs is taken from the album The Further We Ventured which was released mid February of 2020.
Tell us something about your track The Stairs!
“The Stairs” was originally written for a contemporary dance performance, and was set to accompany a very poetic descent from a staircase by the dancers. I imagined it as a staircase in an apartment building, where every door looks the same, but has a different story behind it.
Thank you Mirek!