Behind the piano: Matthias Gusset

Behind the piano: Matthias Gusset

I have written about several songs by the composer and piano player Matthias Gusset before, and you can find them all here! Today, we go Behind the piano and gets to know the person behind all those songs a bit better!

Where are you from? And where do you live?
I was born and bred in Basel and still live here since I really love the city and all my music-projects are based here.

How long have you been playing the piano, and do you play other instruments as well?
I’ve been playing the piano for 26 years now. As a teenager i wanted to be able to play all the band instruments. So I started to learn bass, guitar and drums. Don’t Kill The Beast, Moonpools, Slow Soak, Sheila She Loves You, The Night Is Still Young, Mastergrief and of course Kappa Mountain are musical projects in which I perform on different Instruments.

Tell us about how you started playing music. 
My parents are heavily into music so I had to get in touch with it. I don’t really remember how I started with piano lessons, but my parents tell me it was out of my own free will.

How long have you been making piano music?
I’ve been writing my own songs for 14 years now. A lot of them were never released.

Tell us something about that moment you realized you could make songs yourself!
I always tried to play songs I liked on the piano as a kid, kind of pianocovers. At some point I started to change the melodies and harmonies of these songs. That was the moment I started creating new music. Also my best friends are all the middle child like me, so we were desperate for attention in our late teenage years. Writing songs and showing them to people gets you that. 

What are your favorite artists in this “piano genre”?
I really love Arvo Pärt and his transcendet style of writing music. Also Max Richter and his feeling for heavy-hearted melodies and harmonies is a big inspiration for me. There are a lot of other artists I like in this genre. 

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? 
Not really, I always try to concentrate on new things.

What rules (in making music) needs to be broken?
I don’t know many rules, so I can’t say which ones I break. Something I’m learning more and more is that the magic while playing the piano lies in letting go of thoughts like:‘What will people think of my music’‘What do I think of my music’‘Is the oven still on?’Basicly any thoughts.

How do you record your music?
I recorded my album ‘3’ on a grandpiano in the auditorium of the school where i work as a primary teacher. The album ‘Inbetween Birdsongs’ which will be released soon was recorded on a Yamaha upright piano in a room used by theater groups. I prefer places which inspire me more than big studios. Both productions were made with Alain Meyer as sound engineer, producer, mixer and friend. 

Whats your take on sampled instruments?
I especially love the concept of the mellotron instruments. Other sampled instruments like pianos or strings are interesting and very authentic nowadays but I prefer working the analogue way.

Anything else you want to share? 
I just hope my music can inspire someone or help them in any way.

The last question is asked by my 6 year old son:
Where do all your songs come from?
I don’t know the place where they come from. Maybe in a hidden forest where it is not relevant who one is. Maybe there’s an ancient being who writes all the songs. So we can just be silent, listen and replay them.

Thank you very much for this, Matthias!

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