Behind the piano: Mats Dernánd

Behind the piano: Mats Dernánd

A while back I wrote about the track by the Swedish composer Mats Dernánd. Today, we go behind the piano to find out more about the person/composer/musician!

How did you come up with your artist name?
I’m just Mats Dernánd. But my last name is actually a combination of my old surname “Andersson” and my wifes Dernuld.

Where are you from? And where do you live?
I’m from Örebro, Sweden. And that’s where I still live.

How long have you been playing the piano, and do you play other instruments as well?
My sister started taking piano lessons when I was 7. I guess it started then, but slowly. I’m self-taught on piano. I also play harmonica and trumpet.

Tell us about how you started playing music. 
I remember a small piano in a corner at kindergarten that had magnetic attraction on me.  The next step was our family bought a piano when my sister started to play. It took to my teens to say that I actually play the piano quite well.

How long have you been making piano music?
Homeward Bound is the first piano song that I have released. Most of my songs have been alternative pop songs. I have now released two songs with a cinematic/ambient/neoclassical vibe. So when it comes to piano music I am really a beginner.

Tell us something about that moment you realized you could make songs yourself!
I wrote my first song in my early teens. After starting different bands with friends where I wrote most of the music. I think it was about then a started to see myself as a songwriter.

What are your favorite artists in this “piano genre”?
The true but boring answer is that I haven’t a developed a real test of my own. Not yet. I think I’m still on journey of discovery.

Is there one song which you play over and over again as soon as you sit down by a piano? Your own or someone else’s? 
There have been many different songs over the year. What comes to mind is Fragile by Sting or Racing in the Street by Bruce Springsteen. If I should mention one of my own, it’s “She’s Called Grace”.

What rules (in making music) needs to be broken?
A very good question. Some people I know seems to think “the harder something is to perform, the better”. As a songwriter I’m looking for the simple (but hopefully not banal) things. Writing a new wonderful song with only three chords that you haven’t heard before, is the hardest thing you can do.

How do you record your music? Yourself? In a big studio? etc.
I record everything myself, mostly at home. I play everything accept the guitars.

Whats your take on sampled instruments?
Sample instruments is fast and easy, but acoustic instrument often bring extra feeling and intimacy. I’m very pragmatic. What sounds good is good. Whatever serves the song.

The last question is asked by my 6 year old son:
Where do all your songs come from? 
We all build that wonderful world of music. All songs consist mostly of stones others have used before. In very lucky that we have the grace to add a stone that is our own.

Thank you for sharing with us Mats!

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