• Behind the piano

    Behind the piano: Pascal Lengagne

    A while back, I introduced you yo the track Brume by the French composer Pascal Lengagne. And now the time has come to get to know the composer behind the track a bit better!

    Where are you from? And where do you live?
    I am from France and I leave in Pézenas, beautiful small city in the south of France, near Montpellier.

    How long have you been playing the piano, and do you play other instruments as well?
    I am 53 years old and I’ve started playing piano at 5. I ‘ve tried to play saxophone one month, but I didn’t like the feeling of the vibration on the lips.

    Tell us about how you started playing music. 
    My first teacher said to my parents that music was not for me, because I didn’t want to go to her lessons. But she was a little bit scary for me. Now since 2003 my only job is music, composing for films, commercials and shows.

    How long have you been making piano music? And tell us something about when you figured out how to make music yourself!
    I’ve started when I was 16. It was at the cinema that I wanted to compose, I love film music, and also thanks to songs that I liked on the radio.

    What are your favorite artists in this “piano genre”?
    My first hero is Ryuichi Sakamoto, and I like Olafur Arnalds, Max Richter, Nils Frahm too.

    Is there one song which you play over and over again as soon as you sit down by a piano?
    I’ve played very often « Someday my prince will come » or Ryuichi Sakamoto’music, now I am improvising most of the time

    What rules (in making music) needs to be broken?
    Trying to be the best, want to prove something, seek virtuosity before musicality.

    How do you record your music?
    Most of the time at home on my lovely Bechstein upright piano (1925) , sometimes in a big Studio in Paris when I compose for films

    Whats your take on sampled instruments?
    Very useful to learn composition, we can try our ideas and ear the result easily now. Some piano library are very cool (like Noire piano, Native instruments)

    The last question is asked by my 5 year old son:
    Where do all your songs come from? 

    Not only from the brain, inspiration is kind of magic. We need some technique first obviously, but when we have it it’s necessary to connect to our best part (soul ?), and let it flow. But sometimes it’s beautiful, sometimes it still gives shit music :). But I think that we need to find some evidence in the music.

    Thank you for this wonderful interview Pascal!

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

  • Spotted!

    Spotted: Gregory Paul Mineeff and Zero Cult – Catatonia Live Improvisation

    Today I’m introducing you to Australian composer and multi-instrumentalist Gregory Paul Mineeff from Wollongong. Gregory started out with playing the piano in a young age, when moved on to guitar and later came back to the piano.

    I enjoy simplicity and emotion in music and the dynamics these can bring. I began composing simple minimal piano pieces as a means to this end, collecting many over the years.

    The track Catatonia Live Improvisation is released as a single early February of 2020.

    Tell us something about the track Catatonia Live Improvisation!
    The track is my response to the track Catatonia, a beautiful track from my Cosmic Leaf label mate, Zero Cult. My interpretation is a simple piano piece with repetitive motion and melody. I enjoyed recording the track acoustically using my CP70 Electric Grand piano to create a unique atmosphere, recording the shuffling mechanics of the piano to add a new and different life to the track it is based on.

    Thank you for sending me this tune!

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

  • Spotted!

    Spotted: Julia Andersson – Tilia Cordata

    Today I’m introducing you to the Finnish composer and musician Julia Andersson. Julia has been fascinated by music in general, and piano especially, since she was a kid and has been playing the piano since the age of nine. As many others she started out with classical music, but in her late teens she moved on to play jazz and improvised music.

    The track Tilia Cordata is featured on the EP Within, without which was released on 7th February 2020.

    Tell us something about your track Tilia Cordata!
    This is an emotional solo piano piece with a lot of expression that aims to tell a story. “Tilia Cordata” means littleleaf linden – the track is essentially about a tree going through the four seasons, constantly changing and growing. Nature (mostly the forest) has always inspired me when I’m writing music. The recording was done on a small Schimmel upright, with microphones close to both the piano strings and also the piano keys, to get an intimate and intriguing sound, which also captures all the details in the surrounding sounds of the piano.

    Thank you so much Julia for sending me this track!

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

  • Spotted!

    Spotted: Wide Waters – Tundra

    Today I’m introducing you to the instrumental two man band Wide Waters from Westchester, New York. The band consists of the members Justin Krass and Sam Stauss who are also members of the post-rock band, Wess Meets West.

    Sam and I began this project a little over a year ago and we have both been playing/writing music for a number of years now. Justin plays piano in the band and Sam plays guitar.

    The track “Tides” is part of a the EP A Cabin In The Woods, Pt.1 which was release in februari of 2020.

    Tell us something about your track Tundra!
    All of these songs for the new EP were actually written in a cabin in upstate NY hence the album title. Justin originally composed “Tides” as a solo piano piece but later Sam added some ambient guitar and it turned into the song it is today. These songs were meant to have the listener go on journey of self-exploration which we hope comes across because that is what we experienced writing them it was very meditative.

    Thank you Sam and Justin for sending me this!

    For more information about Wide Waters, check out these links:
    Facebook / Instagram / Website / Spotify

  • Spotted!

    Spotted: Sylvain Chauveau – e

    Today I’m introducing you to the track e by the French artist Sylvain Chauveau based in Brussels, Belgium. Sylvain mainly makes instrumental music but sometimes includes vocals.

    In my music, I try to stay as close as possible to silence.

    The song e was released as a single early February of 2020, but will also be featured on the album Life Without Machines in April of 2020.

    Tell us something about your track e!
    I’ve started composing this album in 2016. After 2 days, I had 3 or 4 pieces done. I thought the compositions would be finished within less than a week. But it slowed down. Finally, it took me 3 years to finish it up…
    On the recording, all the tracks are played by a wonderful pianist named Melaine Dalibert. And some discrete, ghostly electronic sounds are provided by composer Pierre-Yves Macé.
    I’ve chosen “e” as a first excerpt from the album because it showcases how minimal and simple I wanted this music to be.

    Thank you very much for sharing this with us Sylvain!

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

  • Spotted!

    Spotted: Mirek Coutigny – The Stairs

    Today I’m introducing you to the track The Stairs by the Belgian composer and piano player Mirek Coutigny living in Ghent. Mirek has studied classical piano and composition but turned more towards electronic music in the last couple of years. 

    The track The Stairs is taken from the album The Further We Ventured which was released mid February of 2020.

    Tell us something about your track The Stairs!
    “The Stairs” was originally written for a contemporary dance performance, and was set to accompany a very poetic descent from a staircase by the dancers. I imagined it as a staircase in an apartment building, where every door looks the same, but has a different story behind it. 

    Thank you Mirek!

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

  • Behind the piano

    Behind the piano: Omar Raafat

    A while back I introduced you all to the track The portrait by the composer Omar Rafaar, and now it’s time to get to know the person behind the song a bit better.

    What are your thoughts on artist names?
    I thought about this for a while but I wanted to use my real name at the end instead of using a generic artist name, just made more sense since the music I am writing is truly from within. 

    Where are you from? And where do you live?
    I am from Cairo, Egypt and live in Victoria, BC in Canada. I moved around a lot when I was younger from Europe to Egypt to the US and then finally to Canada.

    How long have you been playing the piano, and do you play other instruments as well?
    I started out playing guitar at the age of 10 and then at around 13 I switched over to playing drums. I also starting recording and playing around with recording equipment and using a midi keyboard very early on. That allowed me to use the piano a little more and learned how to play because of my writing. I only really started to play piano 5-6 years ago but for me it is more a composing tool than an instrument I am good at. I can play a little bit of guitar, piano and drums just enough for me to be able to express myself with them. 

    Tell us about how you started playing music. 
    I started at a young age and was motivated by watching my father play the guitar. He would always come back from work and play and sing so I naturally followed. I became highly passionate about music and played in a lot of different bands growing up.

    How long have you been making piano music?
    Piano music is a recent thing for me, I have always been putting music together and playing around and composing. I write a lot of different types of music but only recently decided I wanted to make a minimalistic album that has only real organic instruments. I also love the sound of a muted piano with the felt on it. It gives it a very intimate sound that really inspired me to write the album with it as its focus. 

    Tell us something about that moment you realized you could make songs yourself!
    I started out playing around with recording software and just putting things together. I always had the difficulty of finishing pieces that I wrote and then slowly I got over that and started to really push myself to finish any track I started. I also love hearing tracks in different and new genres that challenge me and inspire me to try and write and learn to make it. That is why I love film music as it is very versatile and brings in a new challenge always. 

    What are your favorite artists in this “piano genre”?
    These days I am listening to a lot of Olafur Arnalds. His music is a huge inspiration on me and the album I just wrote. He has taught me that you don’t need to over complicate music for it to be impactful. He really knows how to connect and move an audience. 

    Is there one song which you play over and over again as soon as you sit down by a piano?
    I would have to say the track “Time is Lost’ from my album. I actually don’t know a lot of peoples songs on the piano and usually just use the piano as a composing and inspirational tool. I always sit and play “Time is Lost” whenever I sit at the piano for some reason.

    What rules (in making music) needs to be broken?
    I think people are doing a good job of breaking rules in music these days. I also think we are seeing the listeners not really caring about rules which allows a lot more innovation.  Instruments are tools and fuel inspiration even if they are not used in a conventional way. The music that stands out the most is the ones that are doing something really different.

    How do you record your music?
    I record everything at my home studio. I come from the studio background, working at different studios in my career so I have a decent setup where I can record and do everything at my own place.

    Whats your take on sampled instruments?
    I like sampled instruments for what they are. I am always impressed with them and use them when writing tv/film work. I do think they have huge limitations and we should be careful using them. They are great for sketching and coming up with ideas. The album “A Way Home” that I just finished was fuelled by me being tired of writing with virtual instruments all the time. I wanted to go the complete opposite and write an album that used zero sampled  instruments. I think it is really important to use real musicians and sampled instruments don’t have the realism and life that real players do. 

    Anything else you want to share? 
    I am really excited to put out my first solo album “A Way Home” on February 7th. It was inspired by the nature in the area where I live in the pacific north west.  The album is a concept album and is really meant to be heard in order as if it is one long piece. 

    And the usual question my five year old son once asked me:
    Where do all your songs come from?
    That is a great question. For myself, I am inspired by sounds and instruments. I can pick up an instrument and just use it for some sounds that really inspire a piece of music. Different instruments will get me to write very differently and they will fuel the inspiration. Being outdoors with wide open spaces and beautiful surroundings make it easy for me to write as well. I definitely value nature and our surroundings and need to go out often. 

    Thank you for participating in my Behind the piano series Omar!

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

  • Spotted!

    Spotted: Jacaszek – The Zone

    Today I’m introducing you to the Polish composer Jacaszek based in Gdańsk. Jacaszek has been dealing with music and sound art for past 15 years. An important side of Jacaszek’s art activity is composing film scores. 

    The field of “electro-acoustica” is the main point of my interest as a composer. My work is generally a digital processing of acoustic sources. I am also deeply interested in sounds of nature. 3 of my albums are based on field recordings.

    The track The Zone is released as a single, but will also be featured on the album Music for Film out March 27th via Ghostly International.

    Tell us something about your track The zone!
    The Zone was originally composed for the Estonian film “November” by Rainer Sarnet. The original arrangement contained harp and hammer dulcimer only, the cue was not used it did not function in the scene it was intended for.

    But I loved the piece so much (it is one of my favourites) so I decided to transcript it for piano and include it into the album. No better opportunity to share it with people.

    Thank you very much for sending me this song!

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

  • Spotted!

    Spotted: Matt Koranda – Farewell, Pt. I

    Today I’m introducing you to the German composer and piano player Matt Koranda;

    I live nearby the Lake of Constance, the deep water connection between Germany, Austria and Switzerland.  My zodiac sign is Aquarius. I don’t know, if this is coincidence.

    Matt’s greatest inspirations comes from classical composers like Chopin, Mozart and Beethoven but he also likes to listen to New Age, Rock and mainstream Pop Music.

    The track Farewell, Pt. I is the opening track from the album Desperation which was released late January of 2020.

    Tell us something about your track Farewell Part I!
    This track is a spontaneous recording of a piano improvisation I performed to the dead of a friends pet named Hunter, a cute hamster. Farewell Part I and the much deeper elaborated Part II work like an embracing to the album “Desperation” with its narrative character about someones sorrow and desperate moments in life.

    Thank you Matt for sending me this tune!

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

  • Spotted!

    Spotted: Umeå Bodø – Lonesome Kingfisher

    Today I’m introducing you to Umeå Bodø and the track Lonesome Kingfisher.

    To me, it is not important who is writing the songs, as long as I and other listeners are touched by them, and as long as melodies soothe our souls.

    So thats the introduction you’ll get to the composer!

    Tell us something about your track Lonesome Kingfisher!
    I chose the project name Umeå Bodø because of the beauty of the Nordic countries, which inspires me endlessly. I wrote most of the Umeå Bodø songs a few years ago, but now I invested some time and money to record and release them. When writing Lonesome Kingfisher, in my mind I was flying over the sea, waking up to the beauty of the fjords, seeing the sun come up. That’s all there is to it.

    Thank you for sharing this track with us!

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