Behind the piano

Behind the piano: Luis Paul

A while back I posted about the track Loneliness by the German composer and piano player Luis Paul. Today we go Behind the piano to get to know him a bit better!

What’s your real name? 
My real name is Ludwig Paul Karsch – I‘m named after my two grandfathers Ludwig and Paul. 

How did you come up with your artist name? 
I‘ve always liked the name „Luis“ and it is the spanish version of my real name Ludwig. The french version „Louis“ can also be translated with „Ludwig“. And Paul is simply my second name and I liked the sound of the combination of both. 

Where are you from? And where do you live? 
I was born in Bayreuth and grew up in a small city named Kulmbach in the southern part of Germany. After Highschool and a few stays in other cities I moved to Berlin to study music production and I‘m living here since 10 years now and I really love the city. 

How long have you been playing the piano, and do you play other instruments as well? 
I started playing the piano when I was around 6 years old and I played the violin for a few years when I was a teenager but I think for my environment it‘s better that I stopped with that one 😀 But maybe I‘ll try it again sometime. In a soundproof chamber.
Besides the violin I‘m sometimes singing for projects but not very often and there are also some instruments which I‘m about to learn like Guitar and drums because these are often useful too. 

Tell us about how you started playing music. 
My parents noticed early that I had a very good hearing and that I didn‘t just hit random keys like most of the other children at that age. I was lucky enough to have parents who supported me and my dreams and who could afford to buy a piano. I‘m very thankful and don‘t take that for granted. 

How long have you been making piano music? 
I making piano music since I first touched a piano, so maybe it started when I was around 5 or 6 years old. But I‘m not only making piano music, although most of my songs are piano led. But my big love is actually film music. I love to get lost in stories and feelings to create what I call the „soundtrack of life“ and that also includes orchestral instruments and synthetic sounds. But of course this opportunity was added at a later stage. 

Tell us something about that moment you realized you could make songs yourself! 
Actually I realized that before I ever played a song by somebody else. The first song I ever played on the piano was my own. I tried to combine the keys that I liked and which sounded nice to me. I remember my mother coming through the door to see, who is playing the piano and if we had a visitor. At first she couldn‘t believe that it was me. 

I remember a feeling of „getting lost in the moment“ and pure excitement and happiness as I played. 

What are your favorite artists in this “piano genre”? 
Of course I like the music from artists most people know like Ólafur Arnalds, Nils Frahm and Max Richter but also from composers from the romantic era like Chopin. And I absolutely love filmmusic of any kind. 

Is there one song which you play over and over again as soon as you sit down by a piano?
Not really, I‘d rather let my feelings and mood hit the keys. 

What rules (in making music) needs to be broken? 
Every single one. I think there is only one rule that needs to be followed which is: As long as it sounds great and gets you where you want to be, everything is allowed. Of course there are always harmonic patterns or structures you subconsciusly compose by but I would call them guidelines, not rules. They can help but sometimes they don‘t. And if it helps always break the rules. 

How do you record your music?
I opened up my own studio in Berlin-Schöneberg with 2 friends some years ago and thats also where I compose and produce my songs. I do everything myself but I studied music production and it is my main job therefore the recordings should meet professional standards. 

Whats your take on sampled instruments? 
There are very good programs with natural sounds and the quality at the moment is stunnigly high, so why not. But it depends on how you want your music to sound. My music is often a mixture between well sampled Instruments and real recordings. 

Anything else you want to share? 
I believe music is there to connect people and it can strengthen empathy since it doesn‘t just describe feelings but can let other people feel what you feel. But of course how we perceive music depends on many factors like our listening habits and the culture we grow up in. These factors form your taste and what your own music will sound like. Therefore your „own“ music is never really just your own since it is always also a collective expression of the world you grew up in. 

The last question is asked by my 6 year old son:
Where do all your songs come from? 
They come from my life, the people I met, the people I love, the ones that have left and the stories I shared with all of them. They come from my imagination, my fantasy, my dreams and my heart. 

Thank you very much for this!

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