Some time ago I introduced you to Kyle Prestons album Paper Piano. A fantastic album where Kyle tried out a new damping technique by using different kinds of paper between the hammer and the strings of his piano. Today it’t time to get to know Kyle a bit better!
Where Are You From and Where Do You Live?
I was born in Virginia Beach, Virginia and moved around a lot as a kid. Eventually ending up in the beautiful Pacific Northwest, in Seattle, WA.
How Long Have You Been Playing the Piano and Do You Play Other Instruments As Well?
My mother was a piano teacher and I started learning how to play around 4 – 5 years old. I continued to take lessons until I was 13. Around that time, my brothers bought me an acoustic guitar for my birthday and I played that thing all the time. I also joined all the music groups I could in school playing trumpet in symphonic band, jazz band, marching band, etc…
Tell Us About How You Started Playing Music.
I remember my Mom teaching me how to play some of the great classical works as I learned piano; Bach, Brahms and others. As I got older, I started learning how to play the rock music I enjoyed listening to, Nirvana, Silverchair and bands like that.
How Long Have You Been Making Piano Music?
For as long as I’ve been reading and writing words.
Tell Us Something About That Moment You Realized You Could Make Songs Yourself!
After learning a few basic chords on guitar, I immediately started writing my own songs. They were terrible and boring but for some reason, learning the guitar became a deeper form of expression for me. And that changed my thinking of other instruments as well. I started thinking of the piano more as an instrument of emotional expression as opposed to a device used to perform other people’s songs. It was therapeutic to sit there and just play without any regard for the rules.
Who Are Your Favorite Artists in This “Piano Genre”?
I really enjoy the work Dustin O’Halloran has released, his piano records are so lovely. Max Richter as well, both his piano and orchestral music.
Is There One Song Which You Play Over and Over Again As Soon As You Sit Down By the Piano?
I don’t play my songs much after I finish recording them. To be honest, I don’t enjoy listening to them once they’re finished and released. But, the past few years, I always find myself playing this cue from the Benjamin Button soundtrack, by Alexandre Desplat. I think it’s called Meeting Daisy. There’s something about that piece that’s simultaneously optimistic and melancholy, I never get tired of playing it.
How Long Is Your Shortest Song?
I wrote a piano piece called First Principles that is 1:07. Real petite!
What Rules (In Making Music) Need To Be Broken?
There are a lot! I think some composers (myself included) tend to get in our own way far too often. It’s easy to obsess over the technology you’re using to create your work. A lot of people will tell you the “correct” way to do things but you have to remember that for thousands of years, we passed down music orally and through live performance. Most listeners don’t shut down their emotions if they find out you recorded your work with this microphone instead that microphone. If your work moves them, it moves them. Start from there and expand your tech, not the other way around.
How Do You Record Your Music?
I record and perform nearly everything myself. Although, I’m going to hire mix engineers for my work in the future – it gets hard to maintain objectivity after listening to the same songs for several months.
What’s Your Take On Sampled Instruments?
Sampled instruments have provided a window for several artists to discover how to write for the orchestra. I think that is a tremendously good thing. In a lot of ways, it’s helped some of us convince film and game studios to hire real players. But writing for sampled instruments is so different than writing for live instruments. They are very different disciplines. But I genuinely love the way sampled instruments allow us to break the rules of convention in such profound ways.
The Last Question Is Asked By My 5 Year Old Son:
Where Do All Your Songs Come From?
What a great question. For me personally, my songs come from a need to express my emotions. It’s an emotional labor of love that I never get tired of. It helps me make sense of the world and share empathy with others.
Thank you for all of this Kyle!