Ok, so lets do something a little bit different for a change! a while back I introduced you to the track She waits for morning by the duo Life as a moon. So now we’re gonna go double and get to know both Paul and Anthony from the duo a bit better!
How long have you been playing Piano and do you play other instruments as well?
PAUL: I did take some piano lessons as a child but it didn’t stick and I remember being frustrated I was not learning as quickly as I had wanted. I then studied voice, guitar and theory with local teachers and grew up writing singer-songwriter styled tunes. It was later when I circled back around to piano. I tend to view most instruments as tools in service to the overall composition and I’m always willing to learn something new.
ANTHONY: Learning and playing piano actually came pretty late to me. I spent my youth playing drums/percussion and started focusing on piano well into adulthood. I have a cello sitting in the home studio that needs more love so I am hoping to tackle that someday.
Tell us about how you started playing music?
PAUL: Anthony was a drummer so I just informed him one day that he was now in a band with me. I’d never written a song before so we enlisted our best friend also. From that point on we were all obsessed with music and songwriting.
ANTHONY: Paul did indeed unceremoniously draft me to play drums in his band. I had been playing since I was a kid but always in school programs. We must have been in our early teenage years when we started really playing and creating in earnest.
How long have you been making piano music?
PAUL: I’m not certain I would classify our music as strictly piano music since we are also very interested in bringing other instruments into the mix. I would say it’s been the better part of ten years there has been an interest in piano/ambient music.
Tell us something about the moment you realized you could make songs yourself?
PAUL: I really believe music touches and reflects the truest part of who we are and I think there is tremendous potential for connection. I remember creating a song in our band and being kind of stunned that once you open yourself up the melodies sort of take over. The first song was terrible but it was like simultaneously being both an observer and a participant. Once the song was finished I think we played it for seven hours straight! There is something incredibly powerful in being able to drag our inner emotional world out into the daylight.
ANTHONY: There is magic in the moments right after a new song or idea is born. We were lucky that occurred early on for us. Those moments were even more powerful as the first really creative moments were a shared experience.
What are your favorite artists in this “piano genre”?
PAUL AND ANTHONY: We both love Luke Howard, Olafur Arnalds, Nils Frahm (of course) and Dustin O’Halloran.
Is there a song you can play over and over again as soon as you sit down by a piano? Your own or someone else’s?
PAUL: There really isn’t. I have a habit of sitting down with every intention to practice and then discover 10 minutes later that I’m working on a new idea without quite realizing that I even started. I’m kind of in love with creation.
ANTHONY: Opus 23 by Dustin O’Halloran. I simply adore it.
What rules (in making music) needs to be broken?
PAUL/ANTHONY: That songs in any musical genre need to confirm to predefined structures. Songs can have intention without necessarily conforming to standardized arrangements. If the music evokes a feeling or takes the listener on a journey then you have been successful, regardless of the path you’ve taken to get there. Let choices serve the music.
How do you record your music?
PAUL/ANTHONY: We’re fortunate to have a well equipped home studio with almost everything we need. It’s nice having the freedom to tinker with both the songs and the mix whenever time allows.
What is your take on sampled instruments?
PAUL/ANTHONY: We absolutely love organic (real) instruments; however, we have no issues with sampled instruments. Ease of use and the ability to jump right into a project without having to mic everything up is great. They are really valuable for sketching out ideas and for creating interesting textures or effects. Having said that, we find there really is not a good substitute for string players when it comes time to record. Samples can work but it’s just not a matter of having a real instrument-its the musician playing it. Those small inconsistencies in timing and tone are what breathe life into recordings.
Bonus question from my son:
Where do all your songs come from?
PAUL/ANTHONY: That’s a fantastic question. We think they come from the parts of ourselves that are mostly hidden in daily life. Maybe they are the closest representation of who we really are.
Thank you Paul and Anthony for your participation!