• Spotted!

    Spotted: Judson Hurd and Alex King – Prelude and Fugue in C Major, BWV 846: (With Rain)

    Today I’m introducing you to the latest track by the American composer and piano player Judson Hurd, which you can read all about in this Behind the piano article.

    Tell us something about Prelude and Fugue in C Major, BWV 846: (With Rain)!
    Our newest release is one to calm people down in this crazy world we are in right now. I deconstructed this Bach piece by using felt piano and Alex King recorded some rain sounds.

    More information about Judson Hurd here:
    Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Spotify

  • Spotted!

    Spotted: dopeman – What Remains

    Today I’m presenting to you the track What remains by the German composer dopeman. dopemans read name is Niklas, and he started playing the piano at the age of 11 in his hometown in northern Germany. He started taking it more seriously around 2009 when he came up with the moniker dopeman.

    This is the first time I’ve written a pure piano project, which was something I’ve wanted to do for a long time, but up until recently, couldn’t build up the courage to do so.

    The track What remains is taken from the album Unspeakable notes, which was released on June 26th of 2020.

    Tell us something about your track What remains!
    This particular song was the last song I wrote for this project, when I had already finished all the other tracks for quite a while.As the entire record is influenced by a time of turbulence in my private life, this one also carries a lot of emotional weight.When I was done writing all the other songs, I still felt that I had some things left to express, which I ultimately channeled in the last song of the album.As I usually also struggle to come up with song titles, I simply titled it “What Remains”, in reference to all the feelings that remained untapped until I wrote this final piece.

    Thank you Niklas for this wonderful tune!

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

  • Behind the piano

    Behind the piano: Benyamin Yahyavi

    It’s Thursday, which means we’ll dig deeper into the mind of another contemporary piano composer. This week we’ll get to know the Iranian composer Benyamin Yahyavi a bit better!

    Where are you from? And where do you live?
    Was born in Romania but my parents are Iranians and I currently live in Tehran.

    How long have you been playing the piano, and do you play other instruments as well?
    I’ve been playing the piano for about six years and yes, I also play Trumpet and Guitar as my second and third instrument. If we consider a computer as an instrument, i also play computer and digital instruments.

    Tell us about how you started playing music. 
    When I was 13-14 years old, I was very interested in music and listened to different music for hours a day. And finally, one day i accidentally realized that I was playing the piano, so i was very happy to choose music and composing as my first love, as well as my main job. Because i know nothing but writing and making music!

    How long have you been making piano music?
    About 3 years ago I start writing music. 

    Tell us something about that moment you realized you could make songs yourself!
    I was so happy because finally found a way to convey my feelings to others.

    What are your favorite artists in this “piano genre”?
    I think my favorites are guys like Ólafur Arnalds, Fabrizio Paterlini. I really like the sadness that is in their works and other favorites that I’ve discovered along the way are Nils Frahm, Max Richter, Dustin O’Halloran.

    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? 
    Maryam, my own song that I love it! It’s very special to me.

    What rules (in making music) needs to be broken?
    All rules! Because I think music is a way to break the rules, and that’s why it can’t be in prison of rules!

    How do you record your music? Yourself? In a big studio? Etc.
    I have a small home studio that I do all of my work there. But for my new project it’s possible that I record my strings in a big studio.

    Whats your take on sampled instruments?
    It’s very simple: VSTs are Good and helpful! The quality of the sound and feel just keeps getting better but live instruments still feel more powerful when playing than VST.

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

    Thanks for your participation Benyamin!

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

  • Spotted!

    Spotted: Selsom and Walker Combe – Jøkul

    Today I’m introducing you to the track Jøkul by the two artists Selsom and Walker Combe. Selsom comes from Norway and has played the piano since the age of six. Later he went on to study music production which brought him to the UK. Walter Combe has played the Cello since he was five years old. He gave up music in his early 20s but came back about nine years ago.

    The track Jøkul was released as a single on the 26th of June, 2020.

    Tell us something about what your plans going forward with your releases!
    For Selsom this is part of a yearly project where I compose, produce and release one track a month for a year. This year’s concept is based on the fact that Norway has 100 words related to snow. I will choose 12 of my favourite words. After the 12th release, the plan is to collate them into an album called SNØ meaning snow in Norwegian. It will most likely be released a year from when the concept started in the end of February.

    Tell us something about the track Jøkul!
    Selsom:

    When I started this year long concept album, I really wanted to do it on a real piano. I had saved up for an upright for over a year, and then COVID hit! So I released the 3 first tracks performed on a Nord Stage keyboard, where I recorded the stereo output, but placed a stereo pair of microphones above it to pick up the actual ambiance. 3 months into the pandemic I finally managed to get hold of a beautiful Yamaha U1! As soon as I composed this track, I knew I had to involve Simon. The track was screaming for a cello, and Simon is a fantastic cellist as well as a brilliant recording engineer. Basically, win! After getting the track back from Simon, I had a little moment where I almost cried out of excitement. When picking a snow related name for the track, it had to mirror the atmospheric vastness of the track as well as the slow melancholic pace. Jøkul is one of my favourite snow words. It is an arm or one strand of a glacier, which perfectly fits in with the fact that it’s a collaboration, like a little offshoot from the larger project.

    Walker Combe:
    When I got the piano track from Stian there was so much space to explore it. I just sat with it and started hearing these notes with overtones… I explored those and then this beautiful melody hit me in the middle of the piece and I loved it straight away and tracked it immediately without editing. I was recording during the heatwave in May and I had to track it late at night as the birds were making so much noise during the day it was impossible to get a clean take.

    Thank you very much for this lovely track!

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

    Walter Combe:
    Facebook / Instagram / Spotify

  • Spotted!

    Spotted: Sherwood Roberts – Us

    Today I’m introducing you to the latest track, Us, by the London based composer and piano player Sherwood Roberts. Sherwood started writing music when he was 13 years old after listening to ‘Bitter Sweet Symphony” by The Verve and “have never looked back”.

    The track Us was released as a single on the 19th of June, 2020.

    Tell us something about your track Us!
    This track ‘Us’ came about after a conversation with an intriguing woman at a mutual friends birthday party. I tried to capture that feeling of warmth and hope one gets when meeting someone romantically for the first time but also the acknowledgement that it might have just been exactly what is was and nothing more, a nice conversation. ‘Us’ is the third track of my debut ep ‘Beginnings’ which is a track a month release throughout 2020. 

    Thank you very much Sherwood!

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

  • Spotted!

    Spotted: Omar Raafat – In a Dream

    Today I’m presenting to you the track In a Dream by the Egyptian composer and piano player Omar Raafat, now located in Victoria Canada. Omar writes music for film and TV. Omar have been playing music since he was young and has played in various instruments in different bands.

    The track In a Dream was released as a single on the 13th of July, 2020.

    Tell us something about your track In a Dream!
    The song “In a Dream” was written while I was away on holiday. I took my computer and keyboard with me and had a nice view of the sky and a lagoon in front of me. Writing the song was very pleasant as I would always look up from my computer screen and find birds flying and dancing in the sky. Very different than my usual dark/basement room I am always used to working in. The song came together really naturally and quick in one sitting. I wanted to keep it short, organic and simple so I didn’t want to do to much to it. I always find those are the special pieces that just come out! 

    Thank you Omar for this piece of music!

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

  • Spotted!

    Spotted: Andrea Sertori – Minerva’s Owl

    Today I’m introducing you to the latest track Minerva’s Owl by Italian composer and piano player Andrea Sertori. Andrea started playing the piano at the age of 9 and has played in numerous rock bands while studying classical piano. Besides the piano he has always had big interest in analog synthesizers.

    The study of synthesizers allowed me to learn how to combine classical piano music with electronic music.

    The track Minerva´s Owl was released as a single on the 26th of June, 2020.

    Tell us something about your track Minerva’s Owl!
    Minerva’s Owl is a purely piano track with some elements of atmosphere in the background), intimate and reflective, composed in a very difficult moment for all of us, especially in northern Italy where I live. The owl’s eyes and beak follow the line of the letter φ (fi), Greek alphabetical symbol of philosophy and later of the golden section. A letter that therefore unites harmony, beauty and love for knowledge. I believe that the world is in great need of these elements. And we find these elements in wise people, in our grandparents and in all the elderly people we must protect.

    Thank you Andrea for this wonderful piece of music!

    For more information, please click on any of these following links:
    Facebook / Instagram / Spotify

  • Spotted!

    Spotted: Mattia Cupelli – Stay – Rework

    Today I’m presenting you to the latest track by the Italian composer Mattia Cupelli. I have previously written about another rework from Mattia, which can be found here, and here’s another one!

    The track Stay was released as a single on the 2nd of July, 2020.

    Tell us something about your track Stay!
    “Stay – Rework” is part of a new project named “Rework” with includes several old pieces recomposed in my actual style.This one is really really different from his original version from my old EP “Frammenti” that featured a string orchestra, differently from the rework, who inherit just a melody and creates new musical phrases around it.The main soft piano phrases embraces the concept melody, until lost and far remembrance piano sounds come in on the flow, as memories from the past. I might say that the mood is the opposite from his original version but maintaining the same melody.Positive and bright in the original “Stay” version, and reflective and meditating on this “Rework”This is the idea behind the track, have a main line and create around it, and lost it in the end.

    Thank you Mattia!

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

  • Spotted!

    Spotted: Diarmuid J Kennedy – I’ve been your baby so long

    Today Im introducing you to the Irish composer and piano player Diarmuid J Kennedy and his song I’ve been your baby so long. Diarmuid was first introduced to music as a kid by his aunt Sister Evelyn; who was a teacher and (as the name indicates) a nun!

    One day, she had my sisters, brothers and I singing like the Von Trapp family and literally, the next day, a piano appeared in the house.

    Tell us something about your track I’ve been your baby so long!
    The song “I’ve been your baby for so long” was originally written on guitar with lyrics. It is a love song with a different angle. Most songs are about love, boy meets girl…girl meets boy, they kiss… they fall in love and live happily ever after, the end!

    This song, however, is about what happens in the happily after. The excitement of first love soon becomes overtaken by the necessities of running a family, you know, bills and stuff, operational matters … not very romantic! You can take people for granted. So this song’s starting point is here when every so often, once in a while, usually with a glass of wine you have a moment where you go..wow!! This person means the world to me and no matter what happens I can wait, through the thick and thin, until I have those special moments of clarity, falling in love again with them. Funny story, when I first played it at my showcase gig in January this year, in Arthur’s Jazz And Blues Club in Dublin, I put the lyrics on a projector and to my surprise, instead of quietly reading the lyrics,  the audience actually began singing the words along. They clearly knew what I was talking about!  It was a very special moment. 

    Thank you very much for this Diarmuid!

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

  • Behind the piano

    Behind the piano: Florejan

    A while back I presented you with the song Watching clouds disappear by the composer Florejan. And today, it’s time for him to take over the blog and to be the next person Behind the piano!

    What’s your real name? 
    Florejan Verschueren.

    How did you come up with your artist name?
    My first name is already difficult enough 🙂

    Where are you from? And where do you live?
    I live in my little but beautiful hometown, in the north of Belgium.

    How long have you been playing the piano, and do you play other instruments as well?
    I play all kinds of keyboard-instruments, but piano really is my instrument of choice any day.

    Tell us about how you started playing music. 
    As a child I was very intrigued by the sounds my father made by pressing the keys of the grand piano. I guess I never stopped searching for those sounds.

    How long have you been making piano music?
    As long as I remember. I had some basic piano-lessons from my father at age 4 or 5, and understood rather quickly how to make notes ‘blend’. The first years I mainly improvised. Composing came a bit later.

    Tell us something about that moment you realized you could make songs yourself!
    The first song I was really proud of was made at holiday in the summer (I must have 6 years old?). My father took a small keyboard along, and I spent most of that vacation with my headphones on. It wasn’t a moment of epiphany, because my father also writes music. It was just a natural development.

    What are your favorite artists in this “piano genre”?
    That’s a though one! Nils Frahm, Yann Tiersen, Wim Mertens,… So many to choose from!

    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? 
    I actually don’t play it that much, but ‘Melodie’ op.47 nr.3 from Lyric Pieces by Grieg is very often in my head. I am classically trained and I love the repertoire of Bach (Das Wohltemperierte Klavier) and Chopin. Their music I do play over and over again.

    What rules (in making music) needs to be broken?
    Making music has no rules, nothing needs to be broken. There should be no boundaries, just let the music make itself. Don’t force it!

    How do you record your music?
    I record my own music, in my own music room. It’s not a real studio, but it was built with creating a nice sound in mind. A lot of wood to make it sound natural, a high ceiling so the sound can take flight,…

    Whats your take on sampled instruments?
    I used to look at it as cheating, but that has dramatically changed over the years. In the end it comes down to this: If you like the music and how it sounds, it’s not important how it is made. A real piano is a joy to play, but if the recording requires samples to sound good, then by all means: go right ahead. I absolutely love to play music for an audience, so I really need a nice sounding instrument, with strings and wood to inspire me.

    Anything else you want to share? 
    I prefer older instruments (with flaws and everything) because they already have a story. I love the discovery and where the instrument takes me. Making music, for me anyway, is combination of the one who plays it (the musician), the piece (composition) and the instrument it is played on. I play differently on each piano.

    The last question is asked by my 6 year old son:
    Where do all your songs come from? 
    I don’t really consider them MY songs. It’s just music that happens to pass through my fingers. I’m the lucky one to discover them!

    Thank you very much for participating in my Behind the piano series Florejan!

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