• Behind the piano

    Behind the piano: Shawn Kerr

    A couple of weeks back, I wrote about the track Fluke by the Canadian composer Shawn Kerr. And this weeks it’s time to step into the mind of Shawn!

    Where are you from? And where do you live?
    I’m from a small town in Canada called Parry Sound. I moved to Toronto to dive into the vibrant music scene and have been loving it. Although Parry Sound will always be my home.

    How long have you been playing the piano, and do you play other instruments as well?
    Piano is something I’ve been picking back up pretty recently. It was the first instrument I learned when I was about 7, but it never really stuck. Drumset was my first love when I was about 13, I joined some bands in highschool and played all throughout University as well. I’ve been playing guitar since I was about 18 and after going through phases of one instrument or the other, it feels like now I find joy in playing piano, guitar and drums whenever I can.

    Tell us about how you started playing music. 
    Growing up I followed most things my older brother did. Music was definitely one of them. My brother bought a drum set and I would make frequent visits to his room to smash away on them. It became a nightly habit that stuck for a while. 

    How long have you been making piano music?
    I’ve been writing piano music for a couple years now but my new track “Fluke” was the first piano composition I made that fit into my EP “Blue Light” I was working towards. Right now the piano seems to fit quite well sonically in everything I’m working on so it’s here to stay for the time being.

    Tell us something about that moment you realized you could make songs yourself!
    I can’t say I remember a particular moment, but it’s more of a feeling I chase after. I remember in the early days how stoked I would get when you finally get that lyric or that riff you’ve been hunting for. Most of the time it feels so out of my control. Wait for that wave to come and catch what you can when it comes your way.

    What are your favorite artists in this “piano genre”?
    A few of my biggest inspirations I would say are Olafur Arnalds, Nils Frahm and Niklas Paschburg.

    Is there one song which you play over and over again as soon as you sit down by a piano?
    I love reworking some of my older songs, transposing them from guitar to piano. There’s this song I used to have called,” Waves” and I’m really enjoying the arrangement on piano.

    What rules (in making music) needs to be broken?
    I think you should break whatever “rules” you want if those rules are holding you back from fully realizing your vision. I think “rules” in music are only useful if you know how they serve a purpose and knowing when that purpose may not be beneficial to your idea.

    How do you record your music?
    I have a small studio set up in my bedroom in Toronto. It’s pretty DIY and I love it that way. If I ever need to record drumset, I’ll rent some studio time for the space. I also only have midi keyboards in my room but for writing and recording piano, but there’s a café down the street that has a beautiful upright piano. The owner has been kind enough to let me in after hours and do some writing and recording. 

    Whats your take on sampled instruments?
    Whatever can get your idea from out of your brain and into the computer fastest is extremely valuable. For writing, sampled instruments are such a practical solution for trying out ideas when you are a solo artist or you don’t have the means to have the real thing at your disposal. I do feel differently towards releasing something with heavy sampled instruments. It’s completely personal though. If you love the way your sampled strings or sampled drums sound, go for it! There’s far too many reasons people don’t release music they are working on and only having access to sampled instruments shouldn’t be one of them.

    The last question is asked by my 6 year old son:
    Where do all your songs come from? 
    That’s a great question! One I ask myself most of the time haha. Whenever I get back from a trip or some kind of grand experience, the juices are flowing and I’m just trying to grab whatever I can that flows out.  

    Thank you Shawn!

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

  • Spotted!

    Spotted: Michael Logozar – Fragments

    I have recently introduced you to Kendra Logozar and her music, and today I will introduce you to a track by Michel Logozar, who is Kendras husband. Michael is a Canadian born composer, producer and piano player. He lives outside Nashville creating music and gardening with his wife and fellow composer Kendra.

    Michael has been nominated for numerous awards and his multi-instrumental work has been featured in film and television networks such as TLC, Discovery, National Geographic, the History Channel and in shows such as the X-Factor and America’s Got Talent.

    Fragments is released as a single but will also be part of an upcoming album . The full album is planned for release in August. 

    Tell us about your track Fragments!
    Fragments is a short musical vignette composed on our felted upright piano. The songs on the upcoming album usually start from improvisations and then are further developed when coming back to the piano after listening to them for a while. I’ve added production elements on this song to be subtle enough that a casual listen won’t find them noticeable but enhance the emotional impact of the song.

    Thank you for sharing your music with us Michael!

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

  • Spotted!

    Spotted: Karl Thesing – Naiv

    Today I’m introducing you to the latest track by the German composer Karl Thesing. I have previously posted about Karl and his Helicon project, which can be found here.

    The track Naiv was released as a single on the first of may.

    Tell us something about your track Naiv!
    This track is part of an album called „Kino“. The album should have been released in august, combined with a tour through Europe. Unfortunately touring is not possible at the moment, so I will release the album piece by piece. It is completely finished and I am really happy to share it with everyone. For the artwork, I took photos in several different countries and combined the idea of Herman Rorschachs ink drop along with the feelings and pictures, people see when they listen to the songs. The song itself is played on a specially designed Piano (together with Schimmel).

    Thank you for the music Karl!

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

  • Spotted!

    Spotted: Kendra Logozar – Enchantment

    Today I’ introducing you to the American composer and piano player Kendra Logozar and the track Enchantment. Kendra lives in Nashville, Tennessee and is a self taught pianist, starting out at the age of. 12.

    The track Enchantment was released as a single in April 2020, but will also be featured on an upcoming album.

    Tell us something about your track Enchantment!
    This track is inspired by the tension of embracing joy in a world that experiences much pain. In the right hand melody of this track you can hear the wistful rocking movement mirroring that tension. There is so much beauty and goodness that enchants and delights our souls but so often we find the darkness trying to tear that away from us. This song was written early on a misty morning with my husband, composer Michael Logozar.

    Thank you for the music Kendra!

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

  • Stories

    About the EP: Sinclair

    On Friday I released another EP called “Sinclair”. The name was taken from the road where my sisters house is located in my home town of Arvika.

    This is the first time I have recorded something on an acoustic piano, so it was pretty special for me. I usually compose, record and mix the song at the same time, so this time I had to really prepare and do each part of the process completely separate! I recorded it live, using my Townsend Sphere microphone with my laptop, and then took it back to Malmö to mix and master.

    The recording was made during the Christmas season of 2019 and the first single, Meadow, was releases some time in January, and this was the fastest ever from recording to release I have ever made. I had some other things I wanted to release first so that’s why the full EP had to wait until now.

    So. This is me trying to play the piano for real (well, not that I cheat on my other tracks, but this is very live for once).

    I hope you like it!

  • Behind the piano

    Behind the piano: Matt Stewart-Evans

    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!

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

  • Spotted!

    Spotted: Marian Nicola – Beautiful Love

    Today I’m introducing you to Romanian artist Bogdan Marian Nicola from Bucharest, but now located in Copenhagen since a few years back. Marian has played the piano since the age of seven, and wrote the first original piece at the age of 14.

    The track Beautiful Love is released as a single but will also be featured on an upcoming album.

    Tell us something about your track Beautiful Love!
    The story of this piece is rather simple. I was falling for a beautiful girl and when I start to practice my piano repertoire I couldn’t because I had her in my mind. And then when I start to improvise and the first melody that came out it was this beautiful piece. I had no idea back then that this beautiful feeling for her will create such a wonderful musical piece. She was my muse! 

    Thanks for sharing this with us!

    For more information, check out these links:
    Spotify

  • Spotted!

    Spotted: Alstad – When We Lost it All

    Today I’m introducing you to the Canadian composer and piano player Cory Alstad, or just Alstad. Cory lives in Vancouver and has released music now and then in the past. About eight months or so (which would be late 2019) he started to release instrumental neo classical music.

    The track When We Lost it All was released as a single on April 17th.

    Tell us something about your track When We Lost it All!
    “When We Lost it All” is an instrumental piece that features the piano. It’s a very reflective and gentle piece that was written after a conversation with a friend who had recently gone through a number of devastating experiences that involved the loss of relationship, livelihood and finances. I wrote this piece as a response to the deep sadness that he was going through, almost as an act of musical empathy. It’s interesting that the Coronavirus hit our world, soon after I wrote this song. Even though the song is not specifically about this pandemic, it certainly evokes many of the same feelings that a lot of us are experiencing. This song has a sense of lament and deep sadness to it, and I think that it’s timely for what we’re going through right now together.

    Thanks Cory for sharing this tune with us!

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

  • Spotted!

    Spotted: Shai-li Paldi – Off We Go

    Today I’m introducing you to the latest track by the Israeli composer and piano player Shai-li Paldi. I have previously posted about Shai-li’s song We will last here! Shai-li started playing piano at the age of five and later graduated from LIPA in Liverpool with a bachelor degree in composition and music production.

    The track Off we go is taken from the EP Night Walk which was released on the 17th of April, 2020.

    Tell us something about your track Off we go!
    This track was written a few months ago, started as a little improvisation on the piano. I accidentally played a wrong note, and this mistake ended up being the harmony change in the piece. In my opinion this harmony brings some edge to this track that’s starts very comfortable harmonically but continues as more mysterious while it goes.

    I’ve lived at my parents’s home since Covid-19 hit Israel, where I decided to release a concept EP about my experiences during these weird times. Recording, mixing and editing was made quickly and efficiently because I wanted to release the EP while the world was still on pause so the concept can come through clearer. I’ve edited the improved version of ‘Off We Go’ to what it is now, and worked on four other tracks to accompany it. ‘Off We Go’ is the third track, right in the middle of the EP.

    Thank you very much for sharing this with us Shai-li!

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