Ok, so lets do something a little bit different for a change! a while back I introduced you to the track She waits for morning by the duo Life as a moon. So now we’re gonna go double and get to know both Paul and Anthony from the duo a bit better!
How long have you been playing Piano and do you play other instruments as well?
PAUL: I did take some piano lessons as a child but it didn’t stick and I remember being frustrated I was not learning as quickly as I had wanted. I then studied voice, guitar and theory with local teachers and grew up writing singer-songwriter styled tunes. It was later when I circled back around to piano. I tend to view most instruments as tools in service to the overall composition and I’m always willing to learn something new.
ANTHONY: Learning and playing piano actually came pretty late to me. I spent my youth playing drums/percussion and started focusing on piano well into adulthood. I have a cello sitting in the home studio that needs more love so I am hoping to tackle that someday.
Tell us about how you started playing music?
PAUL: Anthony was a drummer so I just informed him one day that he was now in a band with me. I’d never written a song before so we enlisted our best friend also. From that point on we were all obsessed with music and songwriting.
ANTHONY: Paul did indeed unceremoniously draft me to play drums in his band. I had been playing since I was a kid but always in school programs. We must have been in our early teenage years when we started really playing and creating in earnest.
How long have you been making piano music?
PAUL: I’m not certain I would classify our music as strictly piano music since we are also very interested in bringing other instruments into the mix. I would say it’s been the better part of ten years there has been an interest in piano/ambient music.
Tell us something about the moment you realized you could make songs yourself?
PAUL: I really believe music touches and reflects the truest part of who we are and I think there is tremendous potential for connection. I remember creating a song in our band and being kind of stunned that once you open yourself up the melodies sort of take over. The first song was terrible but it was like simultaneously being both an observer and a participant. Once the song was finished I think we played it for seven hours straight! There is something incredibly powerful in being able to drag our inner emotional world out into the daylight.
ANTHONY: There is magic in the moments right after a new song or idea is born. We were lucky that occurred early on for us. Those moments were even more powerful as the first really creative moments were a shared experience.
What are your favorite artists in this “piano genre”?
PAUL AND ANTHONY: We both love Luke Howard, Olafur Arnalds, Nils Frahm (of course) and Dustin O’Halloran.
Is there a song you can play over and over again as soon as you sit down by a piano? Your own or someone else’s?
PAUL: There really isn’t. I have a habit of sitting down with every intention to practice and then discover 10 minutes later that I’m working on a new idea without quite realizing that I even started. I’m kind of in love with creation.
ANTHONY: Opus 23 by Dustin O’Halloran. I simply adore it.
What rules (in making music) needs to be broken?
PAUL/ANTHONY: That songs in any musical genre need to confirm to predefined structures. Songs can have intention without necessarily conforming to standardized arrangements. If the music evokes a feeling or takes the listener on a journey then you have been successful, regardless of the path you’ve taken to get there. Let choices serve the music.
How do you record your music?
PAUL/ANTHONY: We’re fortunate to have a well equipped home studio with almost everything we need. It’s nice having the freedom to tinker with both the songs and the mix whenever time allows.
What is your take on sampled instruments?
PAUL/ANTHONY: We absolutely love organic (real) instruments; however, we have no issues with sampled instruments. Ease of use and the ability to jump right into a project without having to mic everything up is great. They are really valuable for sketching out ideas and for creating interesting textures or effects. Having said that, we find there really is not a good substitute for string players when it comes time to record. Samples can work but it’s just not a matter of having a real instrument-its the musician playing it. Those small inconsistencies in timing and tone are what breathe life into recordings.
Bonus question from my son:
Where do all your songs come from?
PAUL/ANTHONY: That’s a fantastic question. We think they come from the parts of ourselves that are mostly hidden in daily life. Maybe they are the closest representation of who we really are.
Thank you Paul and Anthony for your participation!
Today I’m introducing you to the Canadian piano player and composer David King, living in Toronto. David has a classical background and he also works as a piano teacher.
The track Old Forest is the second single taken from an upcoming album. This song was released on the 5th of august.
Tell us something about your track Old Forest!
‘Old Forest’ begins with a few mysterious chords which immediately reminded me of peaceful forest walks; listening to the sounds of nature under the shade of graceful trees much older than I am. Ancient trees have always fascinated me and I have been fortunate enough to see the Major Oak in England, giant conifers in Stanley Park, Vancouver and the vast forests of northern Ontario. I wanted this piece to reflect the calm of a forest walk, the nostalgia of the days when these trees were young as well as a hint of sadness due to our continual destruction of forests around the world.
Thank you for the music David!
Today I’m presenting you to the latest track Sea View by the American composer and piano player Rob Murdock; living in Nashville, TN. When Rob isn’t on tour, playing piano, with different Nashville bands, he composes solo piano music; which we are presented to here!
My main focus when it comes to my own compositions is the melody. That might sound like an obvious approach, but I find that a lot of the recent solo piano music being released by some artists lack poignant and concrete melodies. My goal is to always have the melody create the atmosphere, not the other way around.
The track Sea View was released on the album, with the very same name, on the 9th of august, 2020.
Tell us something about your track Sea View!
I grew up on the Connecticut shoreline, and Sea View was the name of the street. There were beautiful views of the ocean from the cottage, which inspired me to write a song that felt bold, yet cozy at the same time. I wanted the melody to express the view of the sea, but have a sense of relaxed contentment. I wrote this song a few years ago back in CT, and it feels amazing, and relieving to finally have it out there.
Thank you very much for this Rob!
Today it’s time for yet another track by the British composer Thomas Hewitt Jones, this time featuring his brother Simon who plays the violin. You can read all about Thomas and his music by clicking on his name above.
This track was released as a single on the 30th of July, 2020.
Tell us something about your track Above and Beyond!
This track is one of a set of singles I am releasing currently alongside my commercial writing. I am enjoying collaborating with some of my musical friends and colleagues, and in the case of this track, my brother who is a violinist who performs all over the world and once played with a hip-hop band in Glastonbury!
‘Above and Beyond’ is written for my brother, Simon Hewitt Jones, who performs it at soloist alongside myself on piano and cello. Because of COVID19 lockdown, the track was recorded and assembled remotely to make it possible during these times.
Thanks again Thomas for sending me your wonderful songs!
The story about Barnens värld is a pretty great one! Since the day I started working at my current workplace (I work as a pre-scool teacher) my boss/principal have been talking about making a song out of a poem of his called Barnens Värld (the version named “dikt” is a version where he reads the the poem over my piano version). After almost two years me and my buddies Anton Jakobsson and Sebastian Nygren decided to finally write a song based on the poem; so we spent an afternoon reworking the lyrics and writing a melody. The original track can be heard here:
After writing the song, recording it went kind of fast. Later we decided to ask all of the people at the same workplace (about 80 people) to sing along to the chorus (which can be heard on the recording above). It was a fun day for everyone but be, since I hade record the same thing over and over again about 20 times (five people at the time). But the end result is great and I’m proud to be one of the writers of the song!
My boss also wanted to have a version with the poem so I offered to make a solo piano recording of the song which he could read the poem to.
And by the way. Barnens Värld means The world of the kids, or The kids world. And the reason why I decided to release it today is because the schools in Sweden reopens today after summer break! And to double that up; my oldest son starts school today!
Today I’m introducing you to the track Ruminations by the American rock and blues guitarist (!) Joe Cilento. After a couple of years with playing in different constellations his taste started to change and he wanted to explore classical, world and jazz music. This made him change his focus from having an “instrumentalist mindset” to a more “musicians mindset”. His piano compositions comes from there.
The track Ruminations was released as a single back in July but is also part of the EP Anywhere with you which came out on the 7th of august, 2020.
Tell us something about your track Ruminations!
I started writing this music to break out of the music people told me I ‘should’ be writing based on my background. This music came from a very anxious & tumultuous time in my life. I kept having “two sides of the same coin” battles in my head & those cycles of thought became very overwhelming. Writing music gave me some solace & the idea of “ruminations”- patterns of deeeply thinking over and over about something, really helped clarify the nature of the piece. Ruminations was the last song written for the EP and it was written kind of by accident when I was alone testing out an old beat up out of tune piano at a local studio. I still have the (very rough!) demo of it on my phone and that “found music” quality is what I was going for when I finally recorded the piece in the studio.
Thank you very much for this Joe!
Where are you from?
I was born and raised in a small rural village in the north-west of England. There wasn’t really much to do around here as a kid, so we usually passed the time by exploring the moorlands surrounding us, or in my case playing music. It was a great upbringing. When I was 23 I moved to Australia with my girlfriend for a year to work before coming back home.
How long have you been playing piano, and do you play other instruments?
I’ve played the piano for around 18 years now. The first instrument I learned to play was the trumpet but I wasn’t very good at it (I never really gave it much of a chance). I was also classically trained as a singer for 12 years but never felt as comfortable as I did at the piano.
Tell us about how you started playing music.
My family aren’t musically orientated at all so growing up I was sort of left to my own devices musically. My dad always had Elton John records and the sort hanging around that I grew up listening to but nobody played an instrument. I was headhunted at school to be a Cathedral chorister when I was around 7 and it was there that my passion kickstarted. The first piece I learned to play on the piano was “Walking in the Air”. I couldn’t read music so well at that point so I had to study and learn it by ear. Looking back now, I’m so grateful for this time in my life because it taught me about the fundamentals of music – it should always be fun and you should always challenge yourself. I was given a scholarship to do my piano studies, working my way up the grades. I was never a fan of the graded system because I never enjoyed any of the pieces. I wanted to be creative and write my own music. The was one piece I liked playing though, “The Buccaneer” by Malcolm Arnold.
How long have you been making piano music?
I’ve been making solely piano music on and off for about 10 years. I write predominantly music for film and tv so I’m usually working with all kinds of different instruments and an array of sample libraries. All of my music starts at the piano though.
Tell us something about that moment you realised you could make songs yourself!
To be honest, from the first moment I could play a full song at the piano I realised that I could and wanted to write my own music. I used to try and write some choral music when I was younger, experimenting with some unusual harmonies. It was now just about gaining the musical tools needed to do this indefinitely. I’ve spent my life doing so, from studying recording and production at University to accumulating recording gear and software. We’re all learning about ourselves every day and it’s important to always move forward.
What are your favourite artists in this “piano genre”?
Although he doesn’t fall into the traditional “piano genre” category, I really really love the work of composer Thomas Newman. The way he uses delicate harmony in his music is just beyond beautiful and the little intricate piano moments you do hear in his music are just alluring. So inspirational! Of course, there’s modern piano artists who I love like Olafur Arnalds, Nils Frahm, Keith Jarrett, Bill Evans, Jon Hopkins, the list goes on! But composers like Brahms and Debussy have left a pretty much infinite legacy that inspires me every day. Did I mention Rachmaninoff?
Is there a song you play over and over again as soon as you sit down by a piano? Your own or someone else’s?
I actually have a piece coming out in the next couple of months that’s based on an idea I always have to play. It’s somewhat my ‘piano tester’ piece – when you sit down at a different piano for the first time and want to hear how it sounds in comparison. I think we all have ‘that’ musical piece. I’ve had it in the back of my mind for about 8 years now but never really knew what to do with it, until now.
What rules in making music need to be broken?
I think that if you do personally have any rules in writing music then you need to get rid of them. For me personally, I keep my music linear and refrain from a generic structure. Obviously there are rules when it comes to production that should be adhered to, like not boosting certain frequencies that will ruin your mix, but generally music should be a freeform of expression where anything and everything goes.
How do you record your music?
I record all of my music in a studio within my house. I’ve spent the best part of 7 years accumulating lots of gear and software that enables me to do the job I need to. It’s a small box room where I can just lock myself away in for hours (sometimes days) on end and get lost in the creative process. I try to do what I can with what I have but if I’m in need of something I’ll usually try and source a musician elsewhere, send it off to somebody I know or problem solve till I find a solution. It’s all part of the creative process.
What’s your take on sampled instruments?
Sampled instruments are great! Obviously you want to try and be as organic as possible when it comes to writing but for someone like myself, I don’t personally have the budget to hire out a full orchestra and book them into a studio and so sample libraries help me with that. It’s a skill in itself making these sorts of libraries sound realistic and it’s also a lot of fun.
Anything else you want to share?
I just want to thank you for letting me be a part of this blog. If anyone would like to listen to my music I’d love for you to give me a follow on Spotify and Facebook and I’ll return the favour back. It’s always nice to network and share music with like-minded people. I also have a website and blog where I have some useful information for artists at all different stages of their journey (stuff like helping with writer’s block, learning the basics of music etc.). I also have some free music up there for film makers too so it’s a hub of information and resources!
And the questions from my oldest son:
Where do all your songs come from?
I think all of my songs come from a moment in my life that evoked a certain feeling or emotion, whether that’s past or present. Each song is some form of nostalgic way to revert myself back to a moment, even if I don’t consciously know it!
Thank you very much for this Barry!
Today I’m introducing you to The Quiet One, or Amber Wilson as her real name is, and the track PM. Amber comes from Aberdeen, Scotland and started singing and writing song at the age of seven. She studied sound production at the college in Aberdeen, and later moved to London to become a session vocalist. She is also part of the band OK Button.
The track PM was released as a single on the 29th of July, 2020. The debut album will be released next year.
Tell us something about your track PM!
While releasing music with OK Button is a lot of fun – our songs are very produced and the process between writing and releasing has typically been long and complicated. ‘The Quiet One’ is the opposite – it’s raw and low-fi, I can express myself freely and authentically which is liberating.
My journey with piano began in 2012 – I lost my voice after a traumatic incident and turned to piano during my recovery. It’s such a beautiful, cathartic instrument to play, I found it very healing. PM is the first piece I wrote during this time. I had a loose concept, but it was mainly stream of consciousness. I wanted to capture something organic and real. The piece channels a lot I couldn’t express with words – including the unexpected passing of a dear friend, but the resolve at the end makes peace with the sadness. “Goodbye, I love you.”
Thank you very much for this lovely piece Amber!
Today I’m presenting you to the latest track by the Dutch/Brittain born but Canada based composer and piano player Edward Delsing. His fascination of music started with his parents record collection, and at the age of two he started to play with the piano. He began giving small concerts at home for friends and family in his early high school years, and by the age of 16 he was performing on stage for larger audiences. He also started improvising and composing his own original music around this time.
The track Long forgotten dream was released as a single but will also be featured on an upcoming album with an undecided release date.
Tell us something about your track Long Forgotten Dream!
During quarantine, the time I normally spend teaching music dropped drastically. This gave me a lot more time and energy to focus on composing. Almost nothing brings me more joy than sitting down at the piano and allowing musical ideas to flow until something emerges that is worth building upon and sharing with the world. The one thing that is more gratifying is when listeners say that they appreciate the music I created – then I truly know the whole thing was worthwhile. I composed this piece, “Long Forgotten Dream,” as part of my quarantine composing journey, along with about 20 other tracks, many of which will be released on the upcoming album.
Thank you for this Edward!
Today I have a new track out! It’s a double single with a solo piano version of the song Barnens värld which were written by me and my buddies Anton and Sebastian and also with our boss at work Gezim Isufi!