I have written about multiple songs by the British composer Matt Stewart-Evans before, and now it’s time to get to know the person behind the name a bit better!
Where are you from? And where do you live?
I’m originally from Nottingham in the UK, but I’ve been based in London for the past 15 years.
How long have you been playing the piano, and do you play other instruments as well?
I’ve been playing for the last twelve years, having decided after University to teach myself and complete all the exams up to Diploma level.
Tell us about how you started playing music.
I had two or three years of piano lessons as a child which taught me the basics and was hugely valuable in picking the instrument back up years later. At 15 I got my first pair of turntables and mixer and that was my main musical outlet for the next ten years, but piano slowly took up more time and become more serious once I’d set the goal of completing all the exams up to Diploma level by the time I was 30 (I was a couple of months late, but managed it!).
How long have you been making piano music?
I’ve been improvising since I first took the piano back up, and decided to start recording the pieces around ten years ago and putting them on Soundcloud. That early feedback was a nice encouragement to keep going.
Tell us something about that moment you realized you could make songs yourself!
I’ve always loved improvising and creating music of my own, but in the early days I was frustrated that my lack of technical ability meant I couldn’t make anywhere near what I was practising from real composers. I therefore made improvising and creating my own pieces my “reward” after getting through piano exam practise each day. I found that made my ‘noodling’ a lot more effective.
What are your favorite artists in this “piano genre”?
I’ll name current top 5 as there’s way too many to mention. Nils Frahm (of course), Lambert, Chilly Gonzales, Hania Rani, Poppy Ackroyd
Is there one song which you play over and over again as soon as you sit down by a piano?
I try not to get to stuck into playing one particular piece, although the latest album is fresh in the mind – ‘Glow’ is my favourite to play of the release. Greig’s Ballad in G minor has also been haunting me for a while as it’s 20 minutes long and a beast to learn.
What rules (in making music) needs to be broken?
I think every individual will have their own rules and habits as part of their music-making process, and breaking those ones that are hindering creativity is all important.
How do you record your music?
All recorded myself in my home studio. Sadly it’s not practical at the moment to have an upright and/or grand in the studio, but it’s a future goal.
Whats your take on sampled instruments?
As much as I prefer the sound and feel of real pianos, I’d be nowhere without sampled instruments. Long may they continue.
Anything else you want to share?
My latest album COLOUR / SHADES is out now on 1631 Recordings and you can take a listen here.
The last question is asked by my 6 year old son:
Where do all your songs come from?
Head, heart and fingers.
Thank you Matt!