Behind the piano: Lonely Lighthouse

Behind the piano: Lonely Lighthouse

A while back I wrote about the track Memory Lane by the Icelandic artist Lonely Light house, and today we learn a bit about the person behind the project!

What’s your real name? 
My name is Birgir Þórisson

How did you come up with your artist name?
It is actually a borrowed name from a friend. We were gonna make a band together, but never got further than finding the name – Lonely Lighthouse. When I was trying to find a name for my solo project it popped up again in my mind and felt kind of fitting.

Where are you from? And where do you live?
I’m originally from a small town in Iceland called Borgarnes. Currently I’m living in the slightly bigger (but still small) town of Akranes, just 40 minutes out of the Capital.

How long have you been playing the piano, and do you play other instruments as well?
I’ve been playing the piano since I was 7 years old.. I’d rather not think too much how long that’s been… I also play the guitar, trumpet, Bodhran and Whistle.

Tell us about how you started playing music. 
It was kind of typical, my parents sent me to music school and I chose the piano and it just stuck with me..

How long have you been making piano music?
It was maybe two-three years ago that I started making piano music – aimed solely for my hard drive… It was only this last year during Covid that I started making music for release.

Tell us something about that moment you realized you could make songs yourself!
It was through a conversation with a friend actually. We we’re talking about music production and writing music. I told him I had a couple of tunes that were wondering aimelessly around my hard drive. He encouraged me to finish them – it was only a matter of practise and kind of do it attitude. So I just kind of did what he said… 

What are your favorite artists in this “piano genre”?
I would have to say Ólafur Arnalds is my favorite at the moment.

Is there one song which you play over and over again as soon as you sit down by a piano?
I’m actually very bad at that… I’m at my worst for example when I sit down by the piano in a music store… I usually just improvise some chord progressions.

What rules (in making music) needs to be broken?
That music has to be one way or the other. We tend to box things up into definitions that sometimes just make us scared of letting the music flow in the direction it wants to. 

How do you record your music?
My last couple of songs I recorded in my basement home studio.

Whats your take on sampled instruments?
I love them! I just love how convenient they are, and how you can aquire a broad pallet of sound and colors. They also make it possible for more people to create and record their music. Though many of them are really good, few can beat a real, grand piano or upright, miked up by a pro engineer in a good room.. but they’re always getting better and closer to that goal.

Anything else you want to share? 
Thanks to you Johan for this great site, i’ve had a blast reading other composers experiences and thoughts and getting to know their music. To all of you out there who want to make music – just start 🙂 It takes practise and practise is doing… the rest followes. 

The last question is asked by my 6 year old son:
Where do all your songs come from? 
What a great question! My music comes from my feelings.

Thank you very much Birgir for your participation!