Behind the piano

Behind the piano: Björn Gottschall

A while back I posted about the track Sonnig Schwarz by the composer Björn Gottschall, and today it’s time to get to know Björn a bit better!

Where are you from? And where do you live?
I was born in germany and after living in quite a few countries, I am living in France now, which I really love – for cheese, wine and women… HAHA. Yes I kind of like the french lifestyle and also the diversity of nature in this country.

How long have you been playing the piano, and do you play other instruments as well? 
I play the piano since I am a child. But always when I saw an instrument, I wanted to play it and if there is something like talent – I was always able to play after a little while the melodies I had in mind on any instrument. But mainly I’ve played the piano. 

Tell us about how you started playing music. 
I can’t really find a beginning since for me even babies are musicians, everybody expresses himself with more or less organised sound in a way. Learning techniques and instruments are just largening the musical horizon. But I think there is no real end and beginning of playing music, it is just a part of life. 

Tell us something about that moment you realized you could make songs yourself! 
I think the first moment when I felt I have to express myself in my own musical language was when I had to digest the death of a close family member. I kind of used this melody as a retreat for my thoughts. 

What are your favorite artists in this “piano genre”? 
There are several people that I admire, for example Philip Glass, but also Thelonious Monk, Bill Evans and Chopin – I like a big range of piano music. 

Is there one song which you play over and over again as soon as you sit down by a piano?
Often there is one song like this, which I play always during one week. But this can change very fast, it is like having different love affairs. 

What rules (in making music) needs to be broken? 
Maybe not to many. I like rules in music and in life they provide us with orientation. I think the challenge is getting most out of a piece within your rules. Finding new ways, which are not forbidden, but still super surprising. 

How do you record your music? Yourself? In a big studio?
It depends, I did both. Not really in a “big” studio, but in a studio. My latest works were recorded at home. I have a wonderful piano, which I know very well and I don’t like this lost of control while recording on a studio piano which I don’t know at all. 

Anything else you want to share? 
Since last year I have a 6 octaves Kemble acoustic piano which I am using to play outside. The piano is always in the back of my car. And I can play it on the most beautiful places of this planet! Contrary to what people say, a piano is a very robust instrument and should not only be alone at home 🙂 

The last question is asked by my 6 year old son:
Where do all your songs come from?
In my opinion I just tell stories, which everybody knows by using my own words. 

Thank you Björn for this lovely talk!

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