Today I’m presenting you to the Lebanese piano player and composer Jean Paul Zoghbi and his Project Kronos. Jean Paul started playing the piano at the age of four. His parents used to take him to church on Sundays, and when he got back home he usually started playing the hymns he had heard by ear.
The track Late in the afternoon was released as a single on the 16th of October, 2020.
Tell us something about the track Late in the afternoon!
The track ‘Late in the Afternoon’, was actually composed one late summer afternoon, sitting on my porch, surrounded by tall pine trees and an endless wilderness. It was serene, quiet and calm. I was trying to empty my mind, and the tune just came to me. I ran to my piano, and it just flowed naturally. The whole composition took 5 minutes to create.
Thank you Jean Paul!
A few days ago, I released the EP Birds with my uncle Per Gustavsson. So today I give the blog to him to talk a bit of the process of making the EP!
I think it’s interesting to compare the creative process between creating music and my other profession. I’m a picture book maker. When it comes to making a book it always starts with an idea. I don’t know where it comes from. It may be something I think is interesting and would like to know more about. It can be a question about how to deal with the big changes in life. Loss of a loved person or something like that.
When it comes to music it is completely different. Usually it starts with me just fooling around on the piano or guitar. I would like to quote David Lynch.”Getting ideas is like fishing. You don’t make the fish, you catch it. It may be a small fish in the beginning but once a fish is caught it will attract bigger fish to bite”.To me it’s like that at the piano. I’m throwing out hooks and suddenly some ideas take form. Suddenly there is a pattern or something that sticks. I play that part over and over again and wait för a bigger fish to bite. I have no clear idea what the music is about. And I don’t need to know. When I make a book I use words and illustrations to tell a story. When I’m making music I don’t need to explain anything. Music is music. If it makes you feel anything it’s great. If it doesn’t. Well, bad luck. Try again.
Today I’m presenting you to the actor, composer and piano player Bartosz Szpak from Poland. He is a composer of music for films, theater performances, radio plays and fashion shows.
Since 2016 he has been producing his own sound super-productions, in which he is responsible for the script, directing and music: „Czarne Źródło” with Anna Dereszowska and Andrzej Chyra, “Sherlock Holmes: Odcienie Czerni” with Robert Więckiewicz and Jacek Braciak, and „Kim jest Max Winckler?” with Piotr Fronczewski and Marian Dziędziel in the leading roles.
The track Heim was released as a single on the 21st of October, 2020. It will also be part of an album later this year.
Tell us something about your track Heim!
This is the third in a series of singles teasing my new solo album. This time, the search for new sounds led me through felt-muted piano, dissonance strings and vibrating, modulated synthesizers. The brilliant multi-instrumentalist Marta Zalewska participated in the recording sessions. She is responsible for violin and viola da gamba parts. I try to look for interesting style combinations, juxtapose distant moods and create a narrative vibe. Moving between electronics, film music and the raw tones of classical instruments, I intend to create engaging, intuitive structures.
Thank you for this track Bartosz!
Today it’s release day of my collaboration EP which is made with my uncle Per Gustavsson. Enjoy it on Spotify here!
A couple of months back I wrote about the track Sky Divine by the Norwegian composer Jan Ove Fjeld, and since it’s Thursday today we’ll get to know him a bit better!
How long have you been playing the piano, and do you play other instruments as well?
Been playing most of my life since I was about 5-6 year old, grow up with a upright piano in my parents house, I used to play a bit guitar as well, but last 20 years ive been focusing on the piano, and be good at one instrument, always loved the sound of a piano too.
Tell us about how you started playing music.
Always played on the piano at home, started with flute lesson for a while too, but it wasn’t really my thing, started early with piano lession through most of my childhood, but I never really got into notes, so my piano teacher tried a new approach, building on what’s already there, musicality and a good hearing, she played, I watched, and that worked fine even on more advanced stuff like Chopin etc, so I actually dont read notes, in return ive developed an incredible good hearing..
Tell us something about that moment you realized you could make songs yourself!
That was early, I remember playing the piano at the school in front of my class, playing those boring pieces ive learned from my teacher, when no one responded I started improvise, and messing around playing random things right there and then, and it sounded a whole lot better and I could se people responded and was moved. My piano teacher also used to write down some of my compositions, I was maybe around 8-10years old…
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?
No not really, I dont like playing same pieces to much. Sometimes I just close my eyes, hit the record button and play for an hour with no intention, no ideas, just random stuff from what I feel that day. Sometimes it can come some fantastic stuff out of that, witch I can then build on, and hopfully end up as a finished song. I rarely play my own songs, after its finished I need a long break from that song listening to it over and over. I belive many independent artist must have it same way…
What rules (in making music) needs to be broken?
There is no rules, if it sound good it is good.
How do you record your music? Yourself? In a big studio? etc.
I record in my home studio, but have plans of moving and expand my studio.
Whats your take on sampled instruments?
Many sampled instrument sounds great, but not always easy finding the right one.
Anything else you want to share?
If you’re making music, try not to force creativity, dont dwell on things to long, if it doesnt work put it aside start on something else and then pick it up later. Ive used countless hours on pieces that doesnt work. Dont try to make thing to perfect, that one note coming in slightly later, can lift a song, make it more human, and some really great stuff can come from a wrong played note, at least give it a chance, take regular breaks, listening with rested ears gives you perspective, is it to slow, to fast, parts not working, ive learned to trust my instinkt from that first listening with fresh ears. It usually is right.
The last question is asked by my 6 year old son:
Where do all your songs come from?
From a lived life. In many people eyes I dont live that normal life that is expected from me, Ive always done my own things, and always felt like a bit of an outsider, I dont have my own family, so I can develop al my time on my art, also find a lot of inspiration in nature, forest mountain, sea. I love nature, and has a huge respect for it, and it makes me sad to se people destroying it. And for all those who listen to me, Thank you very much.
Well, thank you!
Today I’m presenting you to the latest track by the composer Igor Longhi. Igor started his classical training at the age of five, and explored multiple genres before returning back to releasing piano music. In 2015 he started writing soundtracks for documentaries, commercials and video clips.
This track is a released as a single, and came out 9th of October, 2020.
Tell us something about your track Rapsodia!
Rapsodia is based upon a melancholic and elegant melody, a tender waltz that takes the mind back to ancient times, when it was enough to listen to a carillon playing in a room, to let fantasy and imagination flow.
It’s a track I composed during the lockdown that tries to make listener’s imagination fly towards the moments when you could still dance a waltz, so as not to forget the beauty of human contact.
Thank you for the music Igor!
Today I’m presenting you to the track Moonstruck by the Swedish composer Marcus Moon, now located in Canada. Marcus is a self-taught composer and gave up his career as as research scientist to perser his artistic ambitions.
The track Moonstruck was released as a single on the 1st of October, 2020 and will also be featured on the album Letters from the Moon, which will be out in December.
Tell us something about the track Moonstruck!
I consider myself a storyteller first and foremost. My music has no words, but instead I try to paint heartfelt imagery using simple harmonies and very direct melodies. Moonstruck is an excellent example of that. It tells the familiar story of finding love, only to lose it again. The harder you try to hold on, the more it seems to slip through your fingers. After a dramatic piano part that expresses the frustration of someone slipping away, the story comes to a close with final acceptance, and reflections on the sweet memories. It is sad, but at the core of it there is resilience and determination to move on.
Thank you for sharing this with us Marcus!
For the first time I have tried to create something Christmas-y! It will be released on the 27th of November, but you can pre-save it by following this link:
Today I’m presenting you with the track Time Passenger by the composer and piano player Johan Famaey from Belgium. Johan was tough to play the accordion by his father at the age of 4 and at the age of ten he started learning to play the piano and also started working on his first compositions.
In 2005 I moved to Qingdao, China and spent 4 years there teaching, composing and working together with Chinese musicians. Those Chinese elements in music have been since then a part of my music. When you listen carefully, you’ll hear those Chinese elements.
The track Time Passenger was released as a single on the 14th of October, 2020.
Tell us something about your track Time Passenger!
It may come as a surprise, but the melody of Time Passenger came to me one day after Ennio Morricone passed away. I have very vivid childhood memories about his music, more specifically ‘the secret of the sahara’ and the spaghetti westerns. When he passed away, I couldn’t help to think about his music which featured a tune of a watch: it’s very moving and so symbolic of the concept of time. I have used this element in the introduction and at the end, because it feels like a personal deep connection with Morricone’s music, which I heard when I was a child. The music of Time Passenger gives away a lot of autobiographic elements. When I let María listen to Time Passenger for the first time, she had this picture of a witch in mind, who would reflect, go back in time, to be in control of fire instead of being consumed by it. Her video is a perfect match for the music, and it sets the mood in such way that both of us feel very deeply connected with it. The video is a tribute to the victims of the witch hunts. We hope that what we feel, can be passed upon our listeners and viewers.
Thank you Johan for this!
Today I’m presenting you to the track Wreckage bý the composer and piano player Frank Iva. Frank grew up in Kampala, Uganda and was the only kid in an adult church choir. Singing is what got him interested in playing the keys. In 2006 he moved to San Diego to pursue a degree in music.
The track Wreckage is taken from the EP Piano Tape which was released on October 24th, 2020.
Tell us something about your track Wreckage!
All songs on the EP were recorded in one improvised take. I just sat on the piano and tried to portray six moods that I was feeling through the pandemic. My wife and I named the tunes after listening back to each of them.
Thank you very much for this Frank!