• Spotted!

    Spotted: Umeå Bodø – Dragonfly Dance

    Today it’s time to introduce you to another track by the Udo Mechels and his project Umeå Bodø. Udo is a professional singer and songwriter since 2006, and started out by playing the piano and clarinet as a kid. At the age of 30 he started his professional musical career.

    The track Dragonfly Dance is featured on the EP Pianimals which was released on Friday the 13th of march of 2020.

    Tell us something about your track Dragonfly Dance!
    Originally, I wrote Dragonfly Dance to very dark lyrics of a professional lyricist with hits in Belgium and Holland. She wrote those lyrics in the seventies, when being gay was not that easy. I guess she often felt alone and carried this burden with her for a long time. Like dragonflies, dancing in the dark, looking forward to turning on their light and being able to be themselves.

    Thanks for sharing this track with us Udo!

    For more information, please check out these following links:
    Facebook / Instagram / Twitter / Spotify

  • Behind the piano

    Behind the piano: Matt Koranda

    A while back I posted about Farewell pt I and today it’s time to get to know the person behind the track a bit better!

    Where are you from? And where do you live?
    I am from South Germany and live nearby the Lake of Constance, the deep water connection between Germany, Austria and Switzerland and by the way: My zodiac sign is Aquarius. I don’t know, is it coincidence?

    How long have you been playing the piano, and do you play other instruments as well?
    I started with classic piano lessons when I was 10 years old. An older woman teached me to play Beethoven, Chopin and Mozart Sonatas in an old, small dark attic room, a little spooky 😉 I love to play all instruments with keys, but I’m a monkey in playing other instruments. My most impressive event was playing a big church organ. It’s like sitting on a cloud.

    Tell us about how you started playing music.
    When I was a child, my parents sent me to classic recorder. But I think it is a poor expressive instrument, hm but I also remember an impressive live concert someone blowed it like a traverse flute, and wooph, it sounded incredible.

    So my early experience is that the way you play an instrument can ruin the performance or make it extraordinary beautiful. While I heavily used different synthesizers, sampler and organs in my live band projects, I found at home the grand piano the most suitable instrument for my means of expression and where I feel merged with.  

    How long have you been making piano music?
    Playing the piano was always my side issue but also my source of creativity. As band musician it took many years to focus on making pure piano music.

    I started about 4 years ago to record some first improvisations. Then I set my focus on producing pure piano music. You know only 2020 I released my piano debut album. 

    Tell us something about that moment you realized you could make songs yourself!
    That is hard to remember. You know, my head was always full of own ideas, but I mostly missed to record it. I started with about 14 years playing with other musicians in bands. Then the songs got more and more structured.

    I remember one big moment was when I played the solo acoustic piano alone at a school party. Therefore I wrote an accord chord progression that was burnt in my head and I even revived it some years ago by releasing a single just for fun. But I decided to cancel it for later purposes. So be fast, if you wanna still listen to it, haha.

    What are your favorite artists in this “piano genre”?
    Oh that changes. I think my first impressive piano player for me was Keith Jarrett playing the Cologne Concerts. You know my inspiration comes mostly from live performing musicians. Later I discovered Ludovico Einaudi (maybe because he looks like my father in profile 😉 and Max Richter as my favorites. But I think when you ask me later, I will give you another answer, haha.

    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?
    Hm, yes but that is an unreleased song yet. It was related to a computer game about a historic middle age scenario I wanted to give a main theme. But I got not enough time to finalize it.

    Sure the chord progression of “Soft Touches” I mentioned before, is also a good base for some free style improvisations I really like to play on.

    What rules (in making music) needs to be broken?
    That’s a very philosophical question to discuss. I think I never made music with a set of written rules in my mind. It’s all about what feels good in music.

    When you feel angry or destructive, why not crashing all old rules and create something new? Isn’t it the meaning of art of searching for new ways? Probably you will automatically fall back to old rules when you search for harmony.

    You know my current concern in making music is the confrontation with deep emotional experiences from moments in humans life. And I think the rules for that is hard to describe.

    How do you record your music?
    I recorded the pieces of my piano music debut album at home in my small studio. The most tracks started with a piano improvisation I recorded on different digital pianos. Partially I recorded only the MIDI-signals and filled the tracks with virtual grand piano sounds and even orchestral tones.

    My big dream is to have my own Steinway grand piano at home for future recordings.

    Whats your take on sampled instruments?
    I use them, but I really would wish they could be played like acoustic instruments. I think the biggest problem is not the sampling, the problem is the keyboard or let’s say the human-to-device interaction.

    Again I really would wish to have my own Steinway grand piano to lift me to a new sound dimension 😉 

    Anything else you want to share?
    First of all I want to thank you and all of your readers for giving me and all other newcomer pianists your attention. 

    Maybe my art of playing the piano is a little bit impetuous and not always perfect sounded, you know my background is live music and I don’t like to create relaxing-only music to which many other pianists tend.

    I wanna say my music comes direct from my heart&soul and when I can reach someones heart or soul, then my work is done and I am happy.

    The last question is asked by my 5 year old son:
    Where do all your songs come from? 

    My dear, they come all from my deep heart and because I’m an Aquarius also from the endless deep water 😊

    Thank you Matt for you participation in my Behind the piano series!

    For more information, please check out the following links:
    Facebook / Instagram / Twitter / Website / Spotify

  • Spotted!

    Spotted: Dissolve in Sepia – Between Violet and Green

    Today I’m introducing you to Ramon Fassina and his project Dissolve in Sepia and the latest track Between Violet and Green. Ramon is an Brazilian composer and producer who uses synthesizer, tape loops and field recordings as main components in his music. .

    Beyond Violet and Green is the closing track on Mystery Circles Compilation Vol. 1, a vinyl + digital release featuring 10 unique experimental / ambient / synth composers.

    Tell us something about your track Between Violet and Green!
    The track came from an improvisation I did in August 2018 – I have a lot of unfinished music sitting on my hard drive. Things that ended up not seeing the light of day for whatever reason – I stumbled on it a few days after you invited me to join in the compilation project. It was a happy accident that made me realize how important is to revisit previous ideas and put those on new perspectives. The final result is very different compared to the original track. It’s like I could see the emotional place I was at that time and rebalance those feelings to fit in this place I am now, if that makes sense. For me this track is all about life changes and vulnerability, accepting that not everything is in our control. It’s like a farewell note that reminds you that your heart is in the right place and you need to keep looking things on the bright side and everything will be fine.

    Thank you Ramon for sharing this with us!

    For more information, please check out the following links:
    Facebook / Instagram / Spotify

  • Spotted!

    Spotted: Moonsoul – To Dust

    Today I’m introducing you to the Indian composer Cyrus. Cyrus is currently located in Dubai! When Cyrus grew up he was watching Chris Martin from Coldplay play the piano which inspired him to start playing himself.

    The track To Dust was released as a single in mid march of 2020.

    Tell us something about your track To Dust!
    I was working on another track when this (To Dust) came through (from wherever music comes through) one night. I wanted the track to sound and feel melancholic, but yet hopeful at the same time. Much like how life is. Up and down. Writing this piece was a cathartic experience for me and I hope whoever listens to it can resonate with it on some level.

    Thank you for sharing this with us Cyrus!

    For more information please check out the following links:
    Instagram / Spotify

  • Stories

    Spotted: Methyl Lily – Purple Ghost

    Today I’m introducing you to the American multi-instrumentalist and producer Tyler Wells Lynch from Maine. Tyler makes music under the stage name Methyl Lily and has made music for a couple of years.

    The track is released on the album Rhododendron which came out late February of 2020.

    Tell us something about the track Purple ghost!
    This track is off of my latest album, “Rhododendron,” which was released in late February. It emerged from a bout of depression I suffered last year, something I’ve often tried to work through in my music. The initial ambient sound was produced by slamming a string synth with layers and layers of harmonic distortion, tape saturation, and reverb. 

    Thank you Tyler!

    For more information, please check out these links;
    Twitter / Spotify

  • Spotted!

    Spotted: Philippe Paquet – Révérence: III

    Today I’m introducing you to the Canadian composer Philippe Paquet from Québec. Philippe started out playing guitar at the age of 13, and music became his “main thing”. After playing jazz guitar for many years, Philippe took a bachelors degree in Classical music.

    The song Révérence: III is released on the EP with the same name, and came out in February of 2020.

    Tell us something about your track Révérence: III!
    This piece is a reverence to my grandfather. The three movements are for me a way to describe my relationship with him in a way words can’t.

    Thank you Philippe!

  • Spotted!

    Spotted: Khyaam Haque – Most Things Are Beautiful

    Today I’m introducing you to the latest track Most things are beautiful by the Chicago based artist, multi-instrumentalist, composer and audio engineer Khyaam Haque. Khyaam is originally an guitarist since the age of eleven, but has made ambient piano music for the past five years.

    The track Most things are beautiful is taken from the album with the same name which was released on the first of march 2020.

    “Most Things Are Beautiful” is the title track and last track on the album “Most Things Are Beautiful” which was just released on March 1st.

    Tell us something about your track Most things are beautiful!
    Most Things Are Beautiful started out as a poem written by a dear friend, Thom Bernasol. It was created on a summer day, while sitting on a porch and talking about how our twenties were nearing it’s end. I wanted to create an album where the track list read as a poem, and reflected moments and experiences I went through during that decade.

    Thank you for sending this my way Khyaam!

    For more information about Khyaam, check out the following links:
    Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Spotify / Website

  • Behind the piano

    Behind the piano: John Hayes

    I have previously posted about the release Eight for a wish by the American composer John Hayes. And he is also mentioned in as one of the favorite piano artists by both Philip Daniel and Philip G Anderson. That would make anyone curious, right?! So now it’s time to get to know John a bit better!

    Where are you from? And where do you live?
    I am from Lakeville, Minnesota, just outside of Minneapolis. Now I live and work in Minneapolis. 

    How long have you been playing the piano, and do you play other instruments as well?
    I have been playing the piano since I was 8 or 9 years old. I don’t remember the exact age but it has been quite some time! I play a number of different synthesizers as well.I also play the saxophone,  however, that has not made it into any recordings…yet 🙂

    Tell us about how you started playing music. 
    My parents made me play haha! It seemed to be just a part of everyday life growing up, come home from school, homework, then the piano. Surprisingly, I was not fond of playing the piano around this  time. I would have much rather been outside playing baseball or running around with friends.

    How long have you been making piano music?
    I have been writing my own little tunes and melodies since I was about 11 or 12, however, it wasn’t until about a year ago I released anything. I think it took a good amount of time and a certain amount of courage to finally be ready to share my music. 

    Tell us something about that moment you realized you could make songs yourself!
    I don’t know if it was one specific moment. As my lessons growing up intensified and teachers became more and more strict, I became less interested in traditional training. During practice time, I would  be trying to come up with my own tunes or trying to recreate a melody I had heard from a movie I had seen the night before. I eventually dropped out of formal lessons and really spent some time away  from the piano for a couple years. It wasn’t until I picked things back up, about 7-8 years ago that I really started to enjoy the piano and realizing I could write songs for myself. 

    What are your favorite artists in this “piano genre”?
    It really changes quite frequently! Right now I have been listening to a lot Francois Couturier and Valentin Silvestrov. 

    Is there one song which you play over and over again as soon as you sit down by a piano?
    Nothing specific. It is usually my own music nowadays. If I am writing, I usually start with a melody that I have been working on. Things begin to develop over time and if I am still excited about it, that is  how I usually know I am on to something.

    What rules (in making music) needs to be broken?
    In order to make something great, all the rules need to be broken. (I’m not taking credit for that quote, it sounds like something someone else has said before by some snooty painter haha) But really, I  think knowing the rules is the first important thing and something that gets overlooked. From there you can begin to experiment and consciously step outside them. This is usually when you find  your best work. 

    How do you record your music?
    I have my own studio, “Emerson Studio” that I record out of. 

    Whats your take on sampled instruments?
    Instrument libraries can be great. Before I was able to buy my own piano that was all I used. The thing with samples and libraries though is that there are an INFINITE number of them. So many  choices can lead to decision paralysis. One day you like the sound of this library, the next day a new one comes out and you have to try that one. There is no real commitment since everything can just  be changed with one click. I like the idea of really committing to your sound and then developing it which is hard to do with a sample. Real instruments have their own personalities as well that sample  libraries just don’t have. Trying to learn how to capture those personalities in recordings or bring them to life in performances is something that I really connect with. 

    The last question is asked by my 5 year old son:
    Where do all your songs come from? 
    That is a great question! It is hard to know where they come from really. Some days music just comes out of you and you feel like a genius, some days you feel like you need someone to explain to you  where middle C is. I have a quote next to my piano from Rick Rubin that reads: “Being a great artist means practicing being in touch with the information already inside you.” That really sums it up for  me. I think my songs come from when I am able to identify that I am connecting with something I am playing and being able to work with those emotions that are coming out on the piano. 

    Anything else you want to share? 
    I hope you are staying warm up there in Sweden! 

    Thanks John! Winter never really came to my part of Sweden this time, so I am grateful!

    For more information and updates by John, please check out these links:
    Facebook / Instagram / Twitter / Website / Spotify

  • Spotted!

    Spotted: Pitch Accurate – Luminosity

    Today I’m introducing you to the composer Markus Lootsman and the project Pitch Accurate and the track Luminosity. Markus started writing music when he was only 8 years old:

    or rather, preferred to play what came to mind rather that listening to my teacher

    Markus worked on the financial market up until a couple of years ago when he finally decided to focus all his working hours into making music.

    The track Luminosity was released as a single early march of 2020.

    Tell us something about your track Luminosity!
    The broad outline of this composition was originally written on my daughters toy keyboard and seemed to work well as a lullaby for her. I always had a sense of something haunting or mildly bizarre, something like an odd circus or similar in mind when writing the main elements of the track. After initial ambitious plans for the arrangement I settled for the most simple piano arrangement to allow the melody and the sound of the piano to speak for itself. 

    Thank you Markus!

    For more information, you should check out these following links:
    Instagram / Website / Spotify

  • Spotted!

    Spotted: Leonardo Cupelli – Liminal

    Today I’m introducing you to the Italian composer and piano player Leonardo Cupelli and his latest track Liminal. Leonardo has played the piano since the age of ten, and is classical schooled. After playing music by others for a while he started making his own music!

    The track Liminal was released as a single in early march, but will also be featured on an upcoming EP.

    Tell us something about your track Liminal!
    Liminal is the first track of an upcoming EP, this EP is mostly piano based with the addition of a string quartet and synths. I recorded all the tracks on my felt piano. I passed the lasts 6 month composing and searching for the perfect balance between mechanical noises and pure string sound.

    Thank you Leonardo for sending me this track!

    For more information and updates, please check out these following links:
    Instagram / Spotify