• Behind the piano

    Behind the piano: Björn Gottschall

    A while back I posted about the track Sonnig Schwarz by the composer Björn Gottschall, and today it’s time to get to know Björn a bit better!

    Where are you from? And where do you live?
    I was born in germany and after living in quite a few countries, I am living in France now, which I really love – for cheese, wine and women… HAHA. Yes I kind of like the french lifestyle and also the diversity of nature in this country.

    How long have you been playing the piano, and do you play other instruments as well? 
    I play the piano since I am a child. But always when I saw an instrument, I wanted to play it and if there is something like talent – I was always able to play after a little while the melodies I had in mind on any instrument. But mainly I’ve played the piano. 

    Tell us about how you started playing music. 
    I can’t really find a beginning since for me even babies are musicians, everybody expresses himself with more or less organised sound in a way. Learning techniques and instruments are just largening the musical horizon. But I think there is no real end and beginning of playing music, it is just a part of life. 

    Tell us something about that moment you realized you could make songs yourself! 
    I think the first moment when I felt I have to express myself in my own musical language was when I had to digest the death of a close family member. I kind of used this melody as a retreat for my thoughts. 

    What are your favorite artists in this “piano genre”? 
    There are several people that I admire, for example Philip Glass, but also Thelonious Monk, Bill Evans and Chopin – I like a big range of piano music. 

    Is there one song which you play over and over again as soon as you sit down by a piano?
    Often there is one song like this, which I play always during one week. But this can change very fast, it is like having different love affairs. 

    What rules (in making music) needs to be broken? 
    Maybe not to many. I like rules in music and in life they provide us with orientation. I think the challenge is getting most out of a piece within your rules. Finding new ways, which are not forbidden, but still super surprising. 

    How do you record your music? Yourself? In a big studio?
    It depends, I did both. Not really in a “big” studio, but in a studio. My latest works were recorded at home. I have a wonderful piano, which I know very well and I don’t like this lost of control while recording on a studio piano which I don’t know at all. 

    Anything else you want to share? 
    Since last year I have a 6 octaves Kemble acoustic piano which I am using to play outside. The piano is always in the back of my car. And I can play it on the most beautiful places of this planet! Contrary to what people say, a piano is a very robust instrument and should not only be alone at home 🙂 

    The last question is asked by my 6 year old son:
    Where do all your songs come from?
    In my opinion I just tell stories, which everybody knows by using my own words. 

    Thank you Björn for this lovely talk!

    For more information, please check out any of these following pages:
    Facebook / Instagram / Website / Spotify

  • Spotted!

    Spotted: Life as a Moon – She Waits for Morning

    Today I’m introducing you to the track She waits for Morning by the American (twin brother) duo Life as a Moon. The duo has been playing different instruments together since they were teenagers, with a main focus on the piano.

    We gravitate toward arrangements that blur the lines between sorrow, hope and beauty. 

    The track She waits for Morning was released as a single on June the 12th.

    Tell us something about your track She waits for Morning!
    She Waits for Morning was inspired by the transition from the known to the unknown.  The idea of waiting on small changes that can lead to an entirely different and potentially much larger path. We liked the simplicity in the theme and that it has a bittersweet texture to it.

    Thank you very much for sending me this song!

    And for more information, check out these links:
    Instagram / Spotify

  • Spotted!

    Spotted: David King – Rushing Water

    Today I’m introducing you to the Canadian composer and piano player David King from Toronto. He was taught how to play the piano by his mother at a young age, and then went on to study classical piano for many years.

    Along the way I have always enjoyed composing; putting the knowledge gained from my piano lessons into practice, but with the freedom to combine that knowledge with ideas of my own. 

    Rushing Water will appear on the upcoming album Solitude but is so far released as a single.

    Tell us something about your track Rushing Water!
    I began writing Rushing Water about 8 years ago. It was a challenging period of my life following the death of my mum and I struggled to compose anything I was satisfied with. I came up with a melody in B flat minor but had no idea how to finish the piece so I shelved it. Last year I finally returned to this melody before I began writing any of the other music for my new album. As I developed some new ideas I had a picture in my mind of a river where the water is always moving.

    Thank you David for this track!

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

  • Spotted!

    Spotted: Barry Hudson-Taylor – Blossoms

    Today I’m introducing you to the track Blossoms by the British composer Barry Hudson-Taylor. Barry writes music for film and television but occasionally releases his own music as well. He started his musical journey at the age of seven, and is inspired by composers like Brahms & William Byrd.

    The track Blossoms is released as a single but will also be featured on an upcoming album, which will be out late 2020.

    Tell us something about your track Blossoms!
    It’s a short prelude about the essence of Spring. ‘Blossoms’ is my depiction of what these past few months during lockdown have felt like for me. It’s allowed time for lots of walks out in nature and here in UK the weather has been hot. It’s a piece to remind us all to slow down & live in the moment and really enjoy life for what it is.

    Thank you Barry!

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

  • Spotted!

    Spotted: Benjamin Fitzgerald – Ode To John

    Today I’m introducing you to the track Ode to John by the Brittish composer and piano player Benjamin Fitzgerald from Newcastle upon Tyne. Ben has been composing for over 16 years but is originally a drummer (like myself!). As he says himself “I pay my bills playing percussion in nightclubs“.

    The track Ode to John is released as a single, but will also be featured on the debut EP titled ‘Ambedo’ which will be out on the 1st of august.

    Tell us something about your track Ode to John!
    As aforementioned, ‘Ode to John’ is part of my commission looking into representing three areas of mental health, depicting the symptoms and social stigma surrounding them. ‘Ode to John’ is the most personal of the three as it looks into my own journey with dementia. I saw it within my own grandfather, so this track is kind of a personal account of seeing it within him. Albeit rather melancholic, I find a lot of joy through this track and it means a lot to me, it was the ethos behind it that started my love for piano – so it makes sense to have it as my debut.

    Thank you for sharing Ben!

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

  • Behind the piano

    Behind the piano: Felix Reuter

    A while back I posted about the track Petite Sonate Pathétique – Part II by the German composer, pianist and music comedian Felix Reuter. And today we’ll get to know the man behind the piano!

    Where are you from? And where do you live?
    I live in the middle of Germany, in the federal state of Thuringia (Thüringen). I grew up in Jena and today I live in Weimar which is just nearby. 

    How long have you been playing the piano, and do you play other instruments as well?
    I’ve been playing the piano since I was seven years old. Before, I learned to play the recorder – with a strict teacher: my mother! During my studies at the “Franz Liszt Academy of Music” in Weimar I got acquainted with jazz harmonics which inspired me a lot. For several years I played in different bands: jazz, rock ‘n’ roll and pop music. I needed to keep this a secret in front of my professor: She was quite severe and argued that this music would ruin my touch for playing classical music. Later I studied playing the church organ which I also enjoyed pretty much.

    Tell us about how you started playing music. 
    When I was a kid, my father, an organist, would have us listen to the radio and ask over and over: “So, who do you think composed this piece?” We were many children and would guess together, so we learned to distinguish between different musical eras by ear. Our father stimulated my curiosity so much that I was eager to learn to play the piano.

    Tell us something about that moment you realized you could make songs yourself!
    I grew up with music and composing. I invented melodies early and got composition lessons at the age of 9, so it was rather a flowing development than linked to some certain “turning point”. Today, as a pianist, I have been giving cabaret piano concerts for several years. It has become my true specialty to improvise over classical music, playing with a variety of musical genres. E. g. I perform Mozart’s “A Little Night Music” in a rock’n’roll way, or Beethoven’s famous piano sonata “Pathétique” in the style of modern pop music. In this way, I interact both with the old masters and with my audience. That is a lot of fun to me. 

    What are your favorite artists in this “piano genre”?
    My favourite composers are certain romantic ones: Edvard Grieg, Sergej Rachmaninov, Franz Liszt and Richard Wagner

    Is there one song which you play over and over again as soon as you sit down by a piano?
    Not precisely. When I sit down at the piano, I usually improvise and play just the way I feel: sometimes excited or temperamental, but sometimes also very calm and quietly. Rarely, I play compositions by others.

    What rules (in making music) needs to be broken?
    I think there are hardly any rules these days. Many compose as well as their computer software allows them to, and some still master the feeling and the actual technique of composing – and this, you can hear and tell either.

    How do you record your music?
    For the recordings I have been to different studios, all of them featuring a grand piano, a lot of microphones and someone able to operate all of this perfectly. Some of the productions also included a camera team and were documented. Lately, I have been recording in a studio in Hamburg – also for my latest EP “Petite Sonate Pathétique”.

    Whats your take on sampled instruments?
    Well, there are many stunning sounds I really like. But you need to be careful – just the same you find very coarse samples that I would not recommend using. You can hear the differences between a good and a bad sample particularly well when it comes to wind instruments.

    Anything else you want to share? 
    I am happy that you are interested and curious about my music. This year, music lovers celebrate Beethoven’s 250th anniversary and I reckon some more artists are going to release fresh reinterpretations of the composer’s pieces or music inspired by Beethoven. Sadly, now during the restrictions against the spread of Covid-19, artists all around the globe cannot perform normally, but I strongly hope that this will be possible again soon.

    The last question is asked by my 6 year old son:
    Where do all your songs come from? 

    The pieces and songs on which I am working have often come to my mind already some time ago. I have played them on stages in the same or in a similar way and eventually I have written them down so that I do not forget them. But sometimes it also happens that I think of something when I’m out for a walk, taking a shower or driving in my car. Then I need to write my idea down quickly and only later I decide whether I really like the idea – if not, the note goes straight to the recycle bin. 

    Thank you Felix for your participation!

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

  • Spotted!

    Spotted: Daniel Paterok – Sonderbar Drei

    Today I’m introducing you to the track Sonderbar Drei by the German composer Daniel Paterok (which you can read more about here!). Daniel usually plays around 90 live shows a years, and teaches the piano at the university (due to the corona virus there are no live shows at the moment though).

    The track Sonderbar Drei was released as a single on may the 29th of 2020.

    Tell us something about your track Sonderbar Drei!
    The piece “Sonderbar Drei” is part of a trilogy that I wrote in these truly sonderbar (ie. strange) times and the most quiet of the three.

    Thanks for this track Daniel!

    Please check out these links for more information about Daniel:
    Instagram / Spotify

  • Spotted!

    Spotted: Domenico Quaceci – Frame

    Today I’m introducing you to the track Frame by the Italian composer Domenico Quaceci. Domenico has been playing the piano since he was ten years old studying studying Bach, Mozart, Beethoven and Chopin since then.

    The track Frame was released as a single on the 22nd of may, 2020.

    Tell us something about your track Frame!
    A friend of mine told me about a trip by showing me his photos and so I realized how these can describe and let persist a series of events in time. This led me to think about how the present time (instant by instant) is like a single shot and therefore a set of photos will tell back us, in future, about this past journey again: frame by frame we are shooting our lives.

    Thanks for this!

    Here’s some links for the ones who would like to know more!
    Facebook / Instagram / Twitter / Spotify

  • Spotted!

    Spotted: Giuseppe Califano – Mirrors

    Today I’m introducing you to the track Mirrors by the Italian composer and conductor Giuseppe Califano, living in Milan. Giuseppe have been studying the piano since the age of five, and found his interest in music from a walkman he got as a gift. The gifter forgot to take out the cassette with Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake and thats when it all started!

    The track Mirrors is released as a single but will also be featured on the upcoming album That tree that I don’t forget.

    Tell us something about your track Mirrors!
    Each song on the album is dedicated to him: Mirrors is written with the image of the tree reflected in the puddles after the rain. His image reflected together with the clouds and the patches of blue sky. It is a very poetic image, but initially the idea came to me for other reason: after seeing a small ant swimming in the puddle … In addition to the mirror, in this piece there is the idea of swimming through this mirror, through things, through memories.

    Thanks for sending me this track Giuseppe!

    For more information, please check out any of these links:
    Facebook / Instagram / Website / Spotify

  • Spotted!

    Spotted: Gregory Paul Mineeff – Dreaming About The Lions

    I have previously posted about the Australian composer, producer and multi-instrumentalist Gregory Paul Mineeff, which I have posted about here!

    The track Dreaming about the lions was released as a single on the 21st of may, 2020.

    Tell us something about your track Dreaming About The Lions!
    The track Dreaming About The lions is the first of four solo piano releases coming out over the next few months on Cosmicleaf records. Each piece was chosen from hours of recorded compositions and improvisations for their emotional depth and feeling. 

    The title, Dreaming About The Lions is a reference to Ernest Hemingway’s, The Old Man And The Sea, which is one of my favourite books. I think it perfectly captures the poetically dreamy, emotional flow of the piece.

    Thank you for sending me this tune!

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