A while back I posted about the track Toulouse by the American composer and piano player Chafa, and today we go behind the piano to get to know him a bit better!
What’s your real name?
My real name is Shayne Reagan
How did you come up with your artist name?
Chafa is the last name of my mother’s side of the family
Where are you from? And where do you live?
I’m from California and currently live in LA.
How long have you been playing the piano, and do you play other instruments as well?
I have been teaching myself piano since I was 12. I also play accordion, guitar, ukulele, and sing.
Tell us about how you started playing music.
I grew up in an impoverished neighborhood in Oakland, California. Music was a way to escape the world around me.
How long have you been making piano music?
I have been writing original music for over 10 years now.
Tell us something about that moment you realized you could make songs yourself!
I think a light bulb moment came when I began rearranging songs I already knew, and adding my own flare to them.
What are your favorite artists in this “piano genre”?
Olafur Arnolds, Ludovico Einaudi, Philip Glass, Stephan Moccio, and Max Richter.
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 necessarily a song, but I usually always start my sessions with a major 7 chord and let it ring out. It sets a calming atmosphere for my writing sessions.
What rules (in making music) needs to be broken?
The idea that you must follow certain musical principles and rules. I started out on a shabby plastic keyboard and was told by many teachers and students that if I’m not going to have a real piano or take lessons, that I shouldn’t start; that I’ll develop too many bad habits to work around. Music should always be about expression, no matter the form or medium.
How do you record your music? Yourself? In a big studio? etc.
I record in my kitchen. It’s simply my keyboard plugged into my computer. We got rid of the dining room area to make space for the ‘creative corner’. Not like anyone is coming over during quarantine! haha
What’s your take on sampled instruments?
I use a VST since I don’t have a real piano – my apartment doesn’t permit a real piano. Make do with what you have!
Anything else you want to share?
I’m very excited to release my music this year. I have over ten years worth of compositions but life got in the way. I was finally able to learn how to record at home during lockdown, and hope to release an album or EP by the end of the year.
The last question is asked by my 6 year old son:
Where do all your songs come from?
They come from the heart – which comes from all of the experience life gives to you.
Thank you very much for this little talk Shayne!