• Spotted!

    Spotted: Anders Wiking – Skvader

    Another instrumental guitar single by my friend Anders! Do a search on the site for Anders Wiking to read more about him and his music!

    Tell us something about your song Skvader!
    I tried to get the “old Swedish feel” but combine it with some wired ideas. Kind of Ronja the robbers daughter with a twist. It was a mess recording this one due to my terrible logic x skills, I did some every questionable edits, but also because the song is in 6/4 with emphasis on the one. 

    The whole thing was very awkward to play but came out pretty good in the end. 

    For more information about Anders, check out these links:
    Instagram / Spotify

  • Behind the piano

    Behind the piano: Cormac Parle

    A while back I had a chat with Cormac Parle about his track A magic spell and today it’s time to learn more about Cormac and hit music!

    Where are you from? And where do you live?
    I’m from Ireland, and I live on a crossroads in the Irish countryside surrounded by farmland

    How long have you been playing the piano, and do you play other instruments as well?
    I’ve been playing piano since I was 6, so 41 years now. I also did clarinet and double bass lessons when I was school – my clarinet has been in the attic for 15 years, but I play bass in bands. Can also knock a tune out of a guitar or ukulele, but that’s hardly remarkable.

    Tell us about how you started playing music.
    My family is fairly musical – my Dad is very into traditional Irish music, he plays fiddle and when I was a kid he played accordion and banjo for a while. He’d be the first to admit that he’s not a very accomplished musician, but he sure enjoys himself when playing. His dad in turn was fairly well-known locally as a singer, and used to appear on the national radio occasionally. 

    So I was surrounded by music as a child, though I suspect I probably started lessons simply because I had a school friend whose mother taught piano. In secondary school music became more and more an integral part of my life – lessons in 3 instruments, playing in a youth orchestra in my home town, playing bass in a rock band

    How long have you been making piano music?
    For most of my adult life I’ve had a piano piece or two in-progress inside my head, though most of them never got finished. Hard to say when I really started – when I was maybe 8 or 9 I remember my piano teacher being irritated that I was wasting my time playing variations on tunes from the TV rather than practising my scales. I also have memories from my teens of composing wistful pieces for girls I liked. It didn’t, alas, turn out to be a successful way of getting their attention

    Tell us something about that moment you realized you could make songs yourself!
    I think I always made songs for myself without thinking about it. I remember singing a song about holidays inspired by a line from The Famous Five (an English series of kids books) to all my friends when I couldn’t have been more than 8. 

    I do remember the moment I decided to get a bit more serious about composition though – sitting on my parents’ couch listening to the Dire Straits album Brothers in Arms which I had gotten for my 13th birthday. The music was making my hair stand on end, and I thought “this is what I want to do” 

    What are your favorite artists in this “piano genre”?
    I’ve a real soft spot for Yann Tiersen, and I love some of Keith Jarrett’s improv stuff (particularly the Köln concert). Over the last while I’ve been listening a lot to Michele Nobler and Juan María Solare, and I’ve had Merrill Crissey’s track  “Summerfield” on repeat since the beginning of summer.

    Is there one song which you play over and over again as soon as you sit down by apiano? Your own or someone else’s?
    Someone else’s! My default piano tunes are Mozart’s Rondo Alla Turca and Maple Leaf Rag

    What rules (in making music) needs to be broken?
    It’s kind of an unspoken rule, but most composers/acts are pretty consistent stylistically, and typically I’m not. I just follow my nose and see where it leads, with no real plan at all. Sometimes I try to be more consistent, and come up with a few things in a row that make sense together, but then I get excited about some new idea I’ve had and that goes straight out the window

    How do you record your music?
    I had access to a big studio with a Baldwin grand for a while, so I’ve done some stuff there. Mostly I record at home though, just because it’s easier

    Whats your take on sampled instruments?
    I love them! I’ve done tonnes of home recording and sampled instruments sound better than my home recordings three out of four times. I don’t care how a sound is made, I care about the impact the music has on me

    The last question is asked by my 5 year old son:
    Where do all your songs come from?
    My songs are adventures inside my own head

    Thank you very much for sharing this with us Cormac!

    For more information and updates, check out the following links:
    Twitter / Spotify

  • Spotted!

    Spotted: Firas Matar – Sunrise Sunset Blend

    Today I’m introducing you to Israeli composer and piano player Firas Matar and the latest release Sunrise Sunset Blend! Firas is born and raised in Nazareth in Israel and has been playing piano since the age of five and started composing own music around the age of 16.

    In my first few years I played mainly classic music, over the years I got more and more interested in playing modern music like pop and rock, so I moved to playing “nowadays” music, where you can see lots of that on my YouTube channel.

    The track Sunrise Sunset Blend was released on November 10th of 2019.

    Tell us something about your track Sunrise Sunset Blend!
    In this song I tried to mix tunes from the east and the west together in a perfect harmony. Blending the two together, creating an awesome musical smoothie.
    It was created live, on the spot, simply sitting and playing whatever comes to mind, letting the fingers play whatever they like to, and this time it was a sunrise sunset blend.

    Thank you for sharing with us Firas!

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

  • Spotted!

    Spotted: Logan Nelson – Lost In Translation

    Today I’m introducing you to American composer and piano player Logan Nelson. Logan grew up in Kansas where he studied piano and viola and played in orchestras. He’s parents had a big collection of movie soundtracks which also became an interest of his; so much that writing music for movies became his job!

    The track Lost in translation is released as a single, but will also be featured on the album Lavender Echoes in January of 2020.

    Tell us something about your track Lost In Translation!
    When I was in the studio working on Lost in Translation, a lot of the string writing had already been deliberately composed in advance for the musicians, but a lot of the tracks elements came unintentionally though collaboration and experimentation. When working to produce out the track, I discovered a tiny toy piano in the corner of the studio (Lucy’s Meat Market). We dusted it off and mic’d it up – eventually improvising a lot of the plucky toy piano stuff that starts and ends the piece. Another unintentional moment of the process was the very end. I was originally hearing a sort of fade out at the piece’s conclusion, but mixer Nick Taylor ended up running with that and pulling the track deep into these nebulous reverbs that consumed the entire existence of the piece. That became one of my favorite moments on the track.

    Thank you for sharing this with us Logan!

  • Spotted!

    Spotted: Eamonn Watt – Sailing by the Stars

    Today it’s time again to introduce you to another great tune by Eamon Watt. For starters I think congratulations are in order since Eamon had managed to accomplish what most of us piano music makers want to accomplish; getting on those Spotify editorial playlists! Congratulations Eamon!

    Short about Eamon then. Eamon lives on the Shetland Islands and makes a living as a drum instructor. He sometimes uses his moniker The Virtual Conductor.

    The song Sailing by the Starts was released as a single early November of 2019, but will also be featured on an album with lullabies in 2020.

    Tell us something about your track Sailing by the Stars!
    Sailing by the Stars is a peaceful piano tune inspired by an image of a boat, sailing on a bright and starry night, in a flat and calm sea. The Northern Lights gleam above while shooting stars fly across the sky. The song is very calm ma and tranquil to fit in with this image in my mind.

    Thank you for sharing your music with us again Eamon!

    For more information, please check out these links!
    Facebook / Website / Spotify

  • Stories

    About the song: Lundellsgärdet

    This song was written and recorded during my Christmas vacation in Arvika 2018. I sat by my piano in my old room in the basement of my parents house, looking out over my old neighborhood. The neighborhood is called Lundellsgärdet, so this is my theme for my old neighborhood in Arvika where I grew up. 

    Right befor Christmas, I was listening a lot to Erik Slättbergs album Growth, and especially the song Tybblelund, so I guess you can say that the song is very inspired by that particular song with the time signature changing between 4/4 and 3/4, and has a rather jazzy feeling to it. 

    Enjoy!

  • Spotted!

    Spotted: Merrill Crissey – Arashiyama

    New music from Merrill Crissey who need no introduction no more!

    The song Arashiyama is released as a single but will also be featured on the upcoming EP Japonica.

    Tell us something about your song Arashiyama!
    One of the most popular tourist spots in Kyoto, Japan is Arashiyama. It means “storm mountain” in Japanese, but whenever I’ve gone there it has always been a placid and idyllic place. One of the most beautiful and intriguing parts of the area is the famous bamboo forest. I decided to write a piece about this place for my upcoming EP Japonica.
    For this piece of music I included solo violin in addition to piano. The original intent of this piece was to be very minimalistic as you can hear in the opening chords. But I find that the music I am drawn to the most is usually melodic, so the song quickly turned into a thematic piece with a clear melody. 

    This is my first piece using solo violin, and it was exciting for me to hear it played on the real instrument after I had mocked it up with plug-ins. There’s no substitute for the real thing. This experience has me looking forward to writing more for string ensembles. 

    Thank you Merrill!

    Check out these following links for more information!
    Facebook / Instagram / Twitter / Website / Spotify

  • Behind the piano

    Behind the piano: Gianluca Piacenza

    A while back, I introduced you to the song Sometimes by Gianluca Piacenza. Today it’s time to learn more about Gianluca!

    Where are you from? And where do you live?
    I’m from Italy, and I live in Piacenza, a small city just 70km away from Milano.

    How long have you been playing the piano, and do you play other instruments as well?
    I started playing the piano when I was 4 or 5 years old, I also played a little bit of electric guitar in my teenage years but I have always been captured by electronic music and synthesizers, samplers and drum machines!

    Tell us about how you started playing music. 
    I think I’ve always been playing something! When I was maybe 3 years old I received as a gift a little toy snare drum with two sticks and began hitting it! Then I had a little “Bontempi” keyboard and a Casio mini-synth. Then my family rented an upright piano, a beautiful Petrof which I have now in my studio and then I started taking formal piano lessons.

    How long have you been making piano music?
    Being academically trained in both piano and composition, I only started writing piano music when I was a student at the local conservatory, but at that time I was more of an contemporary-experimental composer. Than I understood that my emotions need a minimal and simple language to transfer to the listeners, and my modern-classical piano journey began.

    Tell us something about that moment you realized you could make songs yourself!
    When I was a student I had the fortune to have one of the first prosumer Tascam 4 track tape recorders: I could layer piano and synths, drum machines, vocals together and then I started experimenting and adding more gear. Then listening to the results I said to myself: good, you must improve but maybe you could become a composer and a producer! I have so much raw material, piano tracks, songs, orchestral compositions in my hard drives, but I try only to release what in my opinion add something unique and special or has a really deep connection with my soul.

    What are your favorite artists in this “piano genre”?
    I have so many, but probably I must say Nils Frahm, Olafur Arnalds, Max Richter.

    Is there one song which you play over and over again as soon as you sit down by a piano?
    I don’t have a specific song I play when I sit at the piano, but I always start improvising something and get in touch with the instrument (especially if its a piano I never played before): I explore the timbre, melodic capability, dynamic and then try to make it sing….

    What rules (in making music) needs to be broken?
    In my opinion there are simply no rules: as we speak of art, everything become subjective and everyone could potentially have something to say. The problem is that only a minimal fraction of what an artist produce today is really a masterpiece (this is the reason why classical composers like Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Chopin etc. will always stay in another league).

    How do you record your music?
    I’ve always been interested in recording gear and now I’m very proud of my “Red Couch Studio”, a perfect space for my music in which I have an treated piano room for clean recordings (and a beautiful Yamaha grand) but also a control room with my upright Petrof and a bunch of analog synths and effects. So I learned to record myself properly but at the same time I always like exploring new techniques.

    Whats your take on sampled instruments?
    I use them and I like them very much, it’s fantastic to see what awesome tools we have now as modern composers… But I firmly believe that a real instrument and a real performance are on another level of depth and emotion.

    Anything else you want to share? 
    Being an indie artist could be very demanding and demotivating at times: I’m trying to develop a real audience for my music, and I really think indie artists are the most interesting these days and I’m always discovering new unexpected talents… Sad thing is that almost nobody else know them… So if you like an artist, please support him and above all spread the word with all your friends!

    And as always, the question my 5-year old son once asked me:
    Where do all your songs come from?

    The inspiration for my music come from everywhere: it could be an emotion, a travel, a book or a picture, a natural sound… But at the end of the day I hope all my songs come from my heart and my soul and are a path to know me as a real person also.

    Thank you very much Gianluca!

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

  • Spotted!

    Spotted: Creendo – Those who cry wolf

    Today I’m introducing you to Tobias Ambühl, from Davos; a small town in Switzerland. Now Tobias lives in Zurich. Tobias first relationship with a piano came from kindergarten where they had a piano where he spend most of his kindergarten time. When he started school he also started taking piano lessons and have played ever since.

    Two years ago he started this solo project of his, which he calls Creendo.

    The track Those who cry wolf was released as a single early November of 2019.

    Tell us something about your track Those who cry wolf!
    What inspired me for the song “Those who cry wolf”: I was looking for a new storybook for my little son, when I stumbled across the story  “The boy who cried wolf”. I found that story quite dark and scary and it inspired me for this new song. The song actually reflects the story: The piano with the “echo-like” motive in the beginning would correspond to the boy crying wolf all the time. And when the strings start to play, that would be the part where the wolf really shows up 🙂 But this is merely a coincident, it just happened like this. 

    Thank you for sharing your music with us Tobias!

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