Behind the piano: Klinger

Behind the piano: Klinger

I have previously posted about the German composer Klinger, and now it’s time to get to know the person behind the name a bit better!

What’s your real name? 
My full name is Christoph Klinger.

How did you come up with your artist name?
It´s obviously my last name. In German language ‘klingen’ means ‘to sound’. So if you are a musician and you´ve been born with a name that means something like ‘the one who sounds’ it´s a pretty obvious choice, isn´t it? 🙂

Where are you from? And where do you live?
I´m from Bavaria in the south of Germany, near Austria. Now I live in Hamburg, in the very north. 

How long have you been playing the piano, and do you play other instruments as well?
I play everything I get my hands on, but not very well. In my work as a pop music producer and arranger it´s very helpful to have a basic understanding of many instruments. But the piano has always been my main instrument.

Tell us about how you started playing music. 
When I was about six my parents got a piano. I think we borrowed it from relatives. I was hooked from the first moment, so I took lessons. But soon I realized that playing sheet music was nothing for me. Luckily my teacher was very open and supported me with playing by ear, improvising and making up my own stuff.

How long have you been making piano music?
I play the piano for a very long time but I began only recently to release my own piano compositions. In 2018 I started to post little microcompositions on Instagram. They are just one minute long (because that´s the limit for videos on instagram) and recorded with nothing but my mobile phone. The idea is to make something quick and easy without going through a complex recording process. Just focus on the plain composition and keep it very short and basic. Also it´s a good practice to create something on a regular basis. Then in the beginning of 2019 I released my first full length song on Spotify and everywhere else.

Tell us something about that moment you realized you could make songs yourself!
That was very early. From the moment I discovered the piano I made my own little pieces. As a child I recorded them on tape. I would love to find those old casettes again someday. That could be a hell of a flashback. 🙂

What are your favorite artists in this “piano genre”?
I really like ‘Lambert’. His pieces sound very easy, just like pop music. But beneath the surface you find extremely well crafted compositions. Not just the purely diatonic monotony you often find these days. 

Is there one song which you play over and over again as soon as you sit down by a piano?
Actually yes. It´s ‘Death With Dignity’ by Sufjan Stevens. The original doesn’t even feature a piano. But somehow I weirdly love to play this song on the piano. Once I even recorded my own version.

What rules (in making music) needs to be broken?
As far as I´m concerned there are no hard rules in music. Every rule can be broken if it makes sense for your composition.

How do you record your music?
In my own studio.

Whats your take on sampled instruments?
Depends on the instrument. There are some incredibly well sampled pianos on the market. I use them a lot when I make layouts and later I decide if I exchange them with a real piano. In many cases the sampled pianos are already perfectly doing the job and I don´t need to change anything. But still nothing inspires me like sitting on a real piano. Especially very old old ones that already have a story to tell. And when it comes to pure piano music I will of course use a real piano.

Anything else you want to share? 
No more words. But two years ago I made music for a little film about the refugees stuck in Idomeni at that time. I´d like to share that because its message is still relevent today. Idomeni is closed but there are many other camps like this at the European border. We should think carefully if this is something we want to be responsible for as European citizens.

The last question is asked by my 5 year old son:
Where do all your songs come from? 
That´s an excellent question. The true answer is that i have no clue. They just pop up somewhere in my head. In a way it´s a complete mystery. But my best attempt to explain it would be this: A composer is in fact something like a ‘mixer’. You throw a lot of stuff in – all the music you listen to, but also other things, everything you see or hear. Then you push the button, everything gets ripped apart in tiny pieces and then somehow all those little fragments get mixed up and combined to something new and eventually beautiful. So we don´t create something from nothing. We just rearrange things we´ve experienced before . Of course that does not mean that the composer doesn´t have an influence on his work. Each ‘mixer’ has his very own algorithm by which he tends to combine the bits and pieces in his mind. And very specific ingredients for his mixture. There is a good reason that Beethoven sounds like Beethoven and Steve Reich like Steve Reich. And that Klinger sounds like Klinger.

Thank you for participating Klinger!

For more information about Klinger and his music; check out these links:
Facebook / Instagram / Spotify