Today I’m introducing you to piano player, composer and awesome dude Franco Robert. Facebook is awesome. One Friday evening this summer, I was home alone having a Long Island Iced Tea myself to celebrate the release of the song Rowan. I sent out the link to some people, and Franco was one of them. That link was the start of a very deep and interesting conversation that lasted for hours about everything from metal music to Argentina. Thank you for the conversation, and now it’s time for you to get to know Franco as well!
Where are you from? And where do you live?
I’m from Don Bosco, Buenos Aires, Argentina, and I still live here.
How long have you been playing the piano, and do you play other instruments as well?
It’s been 16 years, I started at 10. I don’t really play other instruments but I’ve made some accordion recordings for my metal band Tersivel as well as I could.
Tell us about how you started playing music.
Well, I listen to music since I was in my mother’s womb, precisely, Heavy Metal, like Iron Maiden, Ozzy Osbourne, Judas Priest, Metallica, etc., thanks to my father. When I was about five years old or so, I remember having a piano toy, and playing some Iron Maiden by ear. But I didn’t play again until I was 10, when I started a band at school with some friends, just like, to have a band, without knowing anything, and I got chosen for playing the guitar. I demonstrated my incredibly bad skills for that instrument and then tried with the keyboard and I loved it. And since then, I’ve never stopped. I entered a local band from the neighborhood and little time after that, at 13, I joined Tersivel.
I also went to private lessons for four years, and to the Classical music conservatory Teatro Roma, in Avellaneda, for two years, but I got bored and left.
How long have you been making piano music?
Since the beginning, but I never released it. I have many compositions that I’ve made through my life, but only the metal ones have been the ones that came to the light, because of my band. Some years ago, I started to think about releasing the other kinds of music I also make, and in 2018 I released my first piano album “Piano Spells I”. In 2019 the second one “Piano Spells II”, and I plan to release more music by the end of this year or the beginning of the next one.
Tell us something about that moment you realized you could make songs yourself!
It was right when I started. Melodies and everything just occurred to me and I recorded it. That’s why I’m a musician. This is the best way I know to express myself and feel complete. Learning and playing music from others is great to understand different perspectives and get richer composition skills, and it’s fun too, but music wouldn’t mean that much to me if I only played what others composed.
What are your favorite artists in this “piano genre”?
Currently: Nils Frahm, Ólafur Arnalds and Fabrizio Paterlini.
Is there one song which you play over and over again as soon as you sit down by a piano?
Not really. Generally when I play something very often it is because it’s something complicated to play and it’s fun to practice it until it gets right.
What rules (in making music) needs to be broken?
All. I hate rules in music. Of course there are some things that you can’t do sometimes, but mainly because it sounds horrible. If it sounds good, that’s it. Many times I don’t pay attention to what scale I’m playing on, or what signature, and I think somehow that it gives me more freedom than if I’d have everything under control.
How do you record your music?
I record it on my own, at home. Nowadays it’s possible to make music that sounds good with some affordable equipment. Also, it’s great to have all the time I want and need to record and record until it sounds exactly as I want.
Whats your take on sampled instruments?
I think they’re awesome. I don’t always use them but there are wonderful music libraries out there. Sometimes they’re exactly what I need for a song, and sometimes I feel better with my own sounds, I also feel a better control of what I play with the latter.
Anything else you want to share?
I just want to thank you, Johan, for your interest and I want to greet your blog’s readers.
The last question is asked by my 5 year old son:
Where do all your songs come from?
Beautiful question. Hard to answer. I don’t really know. It’s a feeling, a mood. I realize when I’m inspired, because I sense it, and then I simply play and it all comes along. Sometimes I have to look for it, but generally those aren’t the best compositions.
Thank you Franco!