Behind the piano

Behind the piano: Jan Ove Fjeld

A couple of months back I wrote about the track Sky Divine by the Norwegian composer Jan Ove Fjeld, and since it’s Thursday today we’ll get to know him a bit better!

How long have you been playing the piano, and do you play other instruments as well?
Been playing most of my life since I was about 5-6 year old, grow up with a upright piano in my parents house, I used to play a bit guitar as well, but last 20 years ive been focusing on the piano, and be good at one instrument, always loved the sound of a piano too.

Tell us about how you started playing music. 
Always played on the piano at home, started with flute lesson for a while too, but it wasn’t really my thing, started early with piano lession through most of my childhood, but I never really got into notes, so my piano teacher tried a new approach, building on what’s already there, musicality and a good hearing, she played, I watched, and that worked fine even on more advanced stuff like Chopin etc, so I actually dont read notes, in return ive developed an incredible good hearing..

Tell us something about that moment you realized you could make songs yourself!
That was early, I remember playing the piano at the school in front of my class, playing those boring pieces ive learned from my teacher, when no one responded I started improvise, and messing around playing random things right there and then, and it sounded a whole lot better and I could se people responded and was moved. My piano teacher also used to write down some of my compositions, I was maybe around 8-10years old…

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? 
No not really, I dont like playing same pieces to much. Sometimes I just close my eyes, hit the record button and play for an hour with no intention, no ideas, just random stuff from what I feel that day. Sometimes it can come some fantastic stuff out of that, witch I can then build on, and hopfully end up as a finished song. I rarely play my own songs, after its finished I need a long break from that song listening to it over and over. I belive many independent artist must have it same way…

What rules (in making music) needs to be broken?
There is no rules, if it sound good it is good.

How do you record your music? Yourself? In a big studio? etc.
I record in my home studio, but have plans of moving and expand my studio.

Whats your take on sampled instruments?
Many sampled instrument sounds great, but not always easy finding the right one.

Anything else you want to share? 
If you’re making music, try not to force creativity, dont dwell on things to long, if it doesnt work put it aside start on something else and then pick it up later. Ive used countless hours on pieces that doesnt work. Dont try to make thing to perfect, that one note coming in slightly later, can lift a song, make it more human, and some really great stuff can come from a wrong played note, at least give it a chance, take regular breaks, listening with rested ears gives you perspective, is it to slow, to fast, parts not working, ive learned to trust my instinkt from that first listening with fresh ears. It usually is right.

The last question is asked by my 6 year old son:
Where do all your songs come from? 
From a lived life. In many people eyes I dont live that normal life that is expected from me, Ive always done my own things, and always felt like a bit of an outsider, I dont have my own family, so I can develop al my time on my art, also find a lot of inspiration in nature, forest mountain, sea. I love nature, and has a huge respect for it, and it makes me sad to se people destroying it. And for all those who listen to me, Thank you very much.

Well, thank you!

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