Behind the piano: Gianluca Piacenza

Behind the piano: Gianluca Piacenza

A while back, I introduced you to the song Sometimes by Gianluca Piacenza. Today it’s time to learn more about Gianluca!

Where are you from? And where do you live?
I’m from Italy, and I live in Piacenza, a small city just 70km away from Milano.

How long have you been playing the piano, and do you play other instruments as well?
I started playing the piano when I was 4 or 5 years old, I also played a little bit of electric guitar in my teenage years but I have always been captured by electronic music and synthesizers, samplers and drum machines!

Tell us about how you started playing music. 
I think I’ve always been playing something! When I was maybe 3 years old I received as a gift a little toy snare drum with two sticks and began hitting it! Then I had a little “Bontempi” keyboard and a Casio mini-synth. Then my family rented an upright piano, a beautiful Petrof which I have now in my studio and then I started taking formal piano lessons.

How long have you been making piano music?
Being academically trained in both piano and composition, I only started writing piano music when I was a student at the local conservatory, but at that time I was more of an contemporary-experimental composer. Than I understood that my emotions need a minimal and simple language to transfer to the listeners, and my modern-classical piano journey began.

Tell us something about that moment you realized you could make songs yourself!
When I was a student I had the fortune to have one of the first prosumer Tascam 4 track tape recorders: I could layer piano and synths, drum machines, vocals together and then I started experimenting and adding more gear. Then listening to the results I said to myself: good, you must improve but maybe you could become a composer and a producer! I have so much raw material, piano tracks, songs, orchestral compositions in my hard drives, but I try only to release what in my opinion add something unique and special or has a really deep connection with my soul.

What are your favorite artists in this “piano genre”?
I have so many, but probably I must say Nils Frahm, Olafur Arnalds, Max Richter.

Is there one song which you play over and over again as soon as you sit down by a piano?
I don’t have a specific song I play when I sit at the piano, but I always start improvising something and get in touch with the instrument (especially if its a piano I never played before): I explore the timbre, melodic capability, dynamic and then try to make it sing….

What rules (in making music) needs to be broken?
In my opinion there are simply no rules: as we speak of art, everything become subjective and everyone could potentially have something to say. The problem is that only a minimal fraction of what an artist produce today is really a masterpiece (this is the reason why classical composers like Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Chopin etc. will always stay in another league).

How do you record your music?
I’ve always been interested in recording gear and now I’m very proud of my “Red Couch Studio”, a perfect space for my music in which I have an treated piano room for clean recordings (and a beautiful Yamaha grand) but also a control room with my upright Petrof and a bunch of analog synths and effects. So I learned to record myself properly but at the same time I always like exploring new techniques.

Whats your take on sampled instruments?
I use them and I like them very much, it’s fantastic to see what awesome tools we have now as modern composers… But I firmly believe that a real instrument and a real performance are on another level of depth and emotion.

Anything else you want to share? 
Being an indie artist could be very demanding and demotivating at times: I’m trying to develop a real audience for my music, and I really think indie artists are the most interesting these days and I’m always discovering new unexpected talents… Sad thing is that almost nobody else know them… So if you like an artist, please support him and above all spread the word with all your friends!

And as always, the question my 5-year old son once asked me:
Where do all your songs come from?

The inspiration for my music come from everywhere: it could be an emotion, a travel, a book or a picture, a natural sound… But at the end of the day I hope all my songs come from my heart and my soul and are a path to know me as a real person also.

Thank you very much Gianluca!

For more information, please check out these following links:
Twitter / Instagram / Website / Spotify