Behind the piano: Dominique Charpentier

Behind the piano: Dominique Charpentier

Where are you from? And where do you live?
I was born in Nîmes, an old roman city in the south of France. After living in Paris for a few years I came back to the south a few weeks ago. I live in French Provence now, in Hyères, near the sea.

How long have you been playing the piano?
I started playing the piano at 8. I am 30 now. 

Do you play other instruments as well? 
Yes! Guitar, ukulele, accordion and a few others.

Tell us about how you started playing music. 
I started at a young age, with private lessons. Then I had to stop because it was too expensive for my parents, but I kept playing on my own, trying to learn new pieces by ear. And I finally joined a music school when I was a young adult, to learn the fundamentals I needed, both in theory and practice.

How long have you been making piano music?
You mean composing piano music? I think I started in 2003, so I have been composing for 15 years now. But it is a long maturation process.

Tell us something about that moment you realized you could make songs yourself!
It was pure fun and excitement and it felt as if the time has stopped. Then I thought “Wow, I am a fucking genius, like Beethoven”. Lol. I was totally mistaken of course! ☺ 

Have you made music in other genres before?
Yes. I am a composer for films and videogames also. So I have to compose in a lot of different genres sometimes. For example I remember creating a kind of “Indian music” track for a videogame. I love doing that, it is so much fun! 

What are your favorite artists in this “piano genre”?
Easy! Originally the first ones that I loved the most and influenced me the most are Yann Tiersen, Ludovico Einaudi and Phil Glass. Then my latest influences were Fabrizio Paterlini and Olafur Arnalds. So these are still my favourite ones I think. 

But I discovered a lot of new artists thanks to Spotify, and added the ones I really like to my “Soft Piano Playlist to Fall Asleep”. So, to be precise, all the artists that I love the most right now, are in there. If I have to name a few ones, I would say that I particularly appreciate the works of Luca Longobardi, Dirk Maassen, Simeon Walker, Daigo Hanada, Julien Marchal, Otto Totland, Dmitry Evgrafov, Mike Lazarev, Klangriket, Niklas Paschburg and Federico Albanese.

And if I have to name the dead ones, Chopin and Schubert are my absolute favourite piano composers.

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? 
Yes, lately I have been playing a lot two of my compositions, “Experience” and “Raz Blanchard”.

What song inspires you the most when you’re making music? Can you name just ONE song/composition?
No, it is impossible to name one, because it depends on what I am composing. Anyway, I used to think of a particular piece from a composer that I like a lot when composing. But I don’t do that anymore. I think that after years of learning the process of composition and sometimes imitating consciously or unconsciously the work of other composers, I am finally free of my musical influences. Since 2016 I think. As I said, for me composition was and still is a long and slow process.

Tell us something about you latest release.
The favourite piece of my latest album Carnet de Voyage is “Raz Banchard”. The “Raz Blanchard” is a strait that runs between Alderney and the Cap de la Hague, on the Cotentin peninsula in Normandy (France). There, a strong current runs through the race north of the Passage de la Déroute, that can run up to about twelve knots. It is one of the most powerful in Europe.

What’s happening next? New releases etc. 
Right now I am working on an original soundtrack for a feature documentary, and then I will release a new piano solo EP, at the beginning of next year.

Anything else you want to share?
Thank you for the interview! 

And thank you Dominique! You can find more info about him and his music on the following social media:

Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Homepage

And of course you should listen to Dominique on Spotify!