• Behind the piano

    Behind the piano: Khyaam Haque

    Where are you from? And where do you live?
    I originally grew up in Northbrook, Illinois. However, I spent most of my childhood in Guadalajara, Mexico. I moved back to Illinois when I was fourteen years old and then moved to Chicago for college. Now I own a condo about a half-hour away from the city. 

    How long have you been playing the piano?
    Realistically, about 5 years now – I always had some type of keyboard around when I was growing up but never had great coordination to play classical piano. When I started to feel more inspired by piano music, and started listening a lot of film music, I wanted to become a better pianist and it became my main instrument.

    Do you play other instruments as well? 
    Yes, I originally was and am a guitar player. I have played guitar since I was 11 years old. When I was in high school and the early years of college, I was involved in a lot of metal bands and post-rock bands. During college I started to broaden my horizons to other styles of music. I started to make music with synthesizers, midi controllers, samples and beats. When that began, I was less interested in guitar and more interested in learning how to write music in different ways. There are so many tools to create music now, why not use them?

    Tell us about how you started playing music. 
    I heard the song “We Will Rock You” by Queen. Simultaneously, I bought Daft Punk’s album “Discovery” at a local music store in Guadalajara. Queen and Daft Punk were the main reasons I wanted to start playing music. I asked my mom if I could start taking guitar lessons. Truth be told, I didn’t like taking lessons much and became self-taught later. I managed to stick with it after all these years.

    How long have you been making piano music?
    I released my first piano album in 2016 called “Sonorous Laments for a Future Past” – I wrote most of the material for that in 2015. I wouldn’t say that anything I wrote prior to that would be considered piano music. It was the first time I ever wanted to create an album with piano as the main instrument.

    Tell us something about that moment you realized you could make songs yourself!
    I don’t recall a specific moment, but some of the first moments I realized I could make songs was when I got my first electric guitar. It was one of those off-brand, Stratocaster starter packs. In my old house in Guadalajara, we had a small building attached to our front gate that my sister and I called “the band room”. My sister started playing drums when I started playing guitar, and we wrote a few songs together and had our own band with a couple friends from private school. Looking back, I would consider them pop-punk songs or something along the lines of Blink-182 or AFI. We also covered “Seven Nation Army” by the White Stripes. With practice, I got better at writing songs from that point on. 

    What are your favorite artists in this “piano genre”?
    The more you get into this piano genre, the more you realize that there are so many talented artists and composers out there. The fact they’ve gotten great exposure or not means absolutely nothing – the music is still just as good. It’s very hard to choose favorites after discovering that. 

    It definitely started with artists like Ryuichi Sakamoto. I loved the music I heard in the film “Babel” and always wondered, “Who wrote that?” After I figured out who he was, he became one of my favorite artists. 

    When I wanted to become a better pianist and write my own piano music, artists like Philip Glass, Nils Frahm, and Ólafur Arnalds were the first artists I gravitated toward, and will always be favorites. Jean-Michel Blais has been a favorite recently, too.

    I’ve also always been a huge fan of the music for video game series like Final Fantasy, Kingdom Hearts, and Silent Hill. Those games always had such beautiful piano music in them – I even went as far as buying the soundtracks for them when I was younger. To this day, I find a lot of inspiration in Nobuo Uematsu, Yoko Shimomura, and Akira Yamaoka’s compositions. 

    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? 
    Not necessarily, but I do have a lot of ideas that never become songs. Those ideas ended up turning into warm-ups or things I play over and over again whenever I sit at a piano. I have a feeling someday they will become actual songs, every year a little bit more gets added to them. One would rarely, if ever, catch me playing someone else’s song, simply due to the fact I don’t know how to read sheet music. 

    How long is your shortest song? 
    My track “Hand in Hand” off my first album “Sonorous Laments for a Future Past” is only 58 seconds long. It’s actually the same melody as the track “We Were Infinite”, but more simple, shorter, and played an octave higher. I didn’t have the heart to take it off the album for some reason. 

    What rules (in making music) needs to be broken?
    I wouldn’t say that I’ve found a specific rule that needs to be broken when making music. It truly depends on the song and if the rule being broken actually draws the listener’s attention to that moment in the song for the better. The best reason to break a rule in a track is that the song won’t be as good if you don’t break it. If any artist finds themselves in a position where breaking the rules is their best bet, embrace it.

    Where do all your songs come from?
    I believe it’s a mixture of music I’m inspired by, life experiences, and things I see in the world, art, and films. All these facets have some way of adding depth to my personal life. I could be doing anything, and the music I’m listening has the ability to make moments of my own life experiences more cinematic and memorable. Somewhere in that space is where the inspiration lives, and somewhere in that space is where a song is created. 

    Thank your the the talk Khyaam! Please check out these social links for more information:
    Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Spotify / Website

  • Behind the piano

    Behind the piano: Jon Winterstein

    Where are you from? And where do you live?
    I am from Germany, and I currently live in the far southwest of the country in a town called Freiburg.

    How long have you been playing the piano?
    I played my first notes at the age of ten or so, but never really got into it at that time and chose the guitar instead. Two years ago, I gave the piano another chance and realized how much I actually enjoyed playing it.

    Do you play other instruments as well?
    I have been playing guitar for close to fifteen years now, and occasionally I do some singing as well. 

    Tell us about how you started playing music.
    I don’t really remember, to be honest. It just happened. I recall being part of a school band, as a lead guitarist, and we covered Green Day, The Offspring and suchlike. I guess, once you succumb to the fascination of making music, there is no going back. 

    How long have you been making piano music?
    I started composing my own piano pieces as soon as I was able to play some chords.

    Tell us something about that moment you realized you could make songs yourself!
    I must have been fifteen or sixteen then. It was a feeling beyond description, refreshing, liberating and redeeming. The songs were horrible, of course, but it makes you incredibly proud to know you have created something that just hadn’t existed before.

    What are your favorite artists in this “piano genre”?
    Well, obviously there’s no way I cannot mention the classical masters, particularly Grieg, Debussy and also Erik Satie. Aside from them, I enjoy listening to a lot of modern artists, for example Jon Hopkins, Ólafur Arnalds and Nils Frahm. Just recently, I discovered a guy called Elliot Ziegler, who writes amazing piano music.

    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 love playing the piano part of “Bohemian Rhapsody”. Timeless classic.

    What rules (in making music) needs to be broken?Anything else you want to share? 
    There is only one rule: If it sounds good, it’s good. Everything else can be ignored.

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

    If I could answer this question, I would likely be able to write tons of songs every day – which is not the case. I feel like one half of the song is in the artist and the other half is in the instrument, and it takes the right time, the right attitude and maybe the right person to combine both halves and complete a song.

    Thank you for sharing Jon! Please check out these links to learn more about Jon and the music!
    Instagram / Spotify


  • Behind the piano

    Behind the piano: Judson Hurd

    Another name that came up over and over again when I was starting out with my playlist hunting was Judson Hurd. So of course I wanted to talk a bit with him as well! Please introduce yourself, Mr. Hurd!

    Where are you from? And where do you live?
    I was born in North Georgia but when I was a year old my family moved to Paraguay South America and I lived there until I was 15. I currently live in Wilmington, NC with my wife, son, two dogs, and two cats. We are a big family! Wilmington is a vibrant beach town with a great arts community in the South. 

    How long have you been playing the piano?
    I’ve been playing piano since I was 4 years old. I was self taught until I turned 13 where I started attending a music conservatory in South America.


    I’ve been playing piano since I was 4 years old. I was self taught until I turned 13 where I started attending a music conservatory in South America.

    Do you play other instruments as well?
    Piano is my first instrument but I do play some guitar, bass, organ, and I sing. You can hear some of my guitar parts on the track The First Step is the Hardest.

    Tell us about how you started playing music.
    When I was around four years old I encountered a cassette that had the Windham Hill Piano Sampler. I fell in love with the piano and started playing on my mother’s old upright. 

    How long have you been making piano music?
    I have been making music over thirty years since the age of four. 

     Tell us something about that moment you realized you could make songs yourself!
    I realized at a young age that I could improvise and create new music. In my spare time I really enjoyed playing the Bach inventions and creating new melodies over the pieces. I began seriously composing in my teen years when I began playing for different groups and projects.  

    Have you made music in other genres before?
    I have created music in many different genres that include Ambient, Film, and Neo-classical. I’ve also collaborated with musicians and songwriters in Urban, Rock, and other styles. I am always looking for new projects and interesting challenges to push boundaries in my art.

    What are your favorite artists in this “piano genre”? 
    My biggest inspiration would be Montana composer Philip Aaberg. I remember hearing his music when I was a child and falling in love with music. Over the years I’ve started to listen to more free jazz and experimental music. Some big inspirations are Jóhann Jóhannsson, Thelonious Monk, Olafur Arnalds to name a few.  

     Is there one song which you play over and over again as soon as you sit down by a piano?
    I really enjoy playing the music of Chopin on piano. His Nocturnes and Preludes are some of my favorite pieces to play.  

     What song inspires you the most when you’re making music? Can you name just ONE song/composition?
    This is a really hard question. I truly try not to listen to other music that is in the similar genre to avoid getting in the way of my creativity. I would say to get my creative juices going I listen to experimental composers like John Cage, Arnold Schoenberg, or Steve Reich. 

    Tell us something about you latest release.
    My latest release is the original film soundtrack for the film Trouble Will Cause. The soundtrack is available on Amazon, iTunes, Bandcamp, and other digital stores. The film is about the Lawson family murders in North Carolina in 1929.

    What’s happening next? New releases etc.
    I am releasing a new single with the very talented Kyle McEvoy on the Sonderhouse label. I also plan on a full length release this year of new ambient, electronic, piano driven music. It’s amazing to see my music listened to all over the world and I really appreciate your support in streaming and downloading my music. 

    Thank you Judson! Please check out these social links to learn more about Judson Hurd and his music.
    Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Spotify

  • Behind the piano

    Behind the piano: Bhaveek N. Makan

    Where are you from? And where do you live?
    I was born in Durban, South Africa. I later immigrated to Canada, and I currently live in Vancouver.

    How long have you been playing the piano?
    Been playing for a few months, and only recently started to really get into it.

    Do you play other instruments as well? 
    I do not, but I’ve always wanted to take drumming up.

    Tell us about how you started playing music.
    I started back in 2009, but only started to seriously get into it in 2014. I have a background in hip hop, but always wanted to try out classical music. It all started with me wanting to make songs for short films I would produce.

    How long have you been making piano music?
    Around 5 months.

    Tell us something about that moment you realized you could make songs yourself!
    Probably back in 2014, I realized it was a possibility, and it felt amazing. Music to me is therapy, and I usually get a lot of anxiety sharing my music, just because its so personal to me, and I have a fear of my music being heavily judged. I’ve composed many tracks that have never seen the light of day….but it will come out eventually!

    What are your favorite artists in this “piano genre”?
    Olafur Arnalds, August WIlhelmsson and Allan Ellis are simply amazing. Their music got me through some dark times, and showed me that I can find peace in solitude.  

    Is there one song which you play over and over again as soon as you sit down by a piano?
    Not really, I sort of just improv, and try playing 90’s Bollywood vocal melodies on the keys. That always gets me in the zone!

    How long is your shortest song? 
    Around 1 minute!

    What rules (in making music) needs to be broken?
    The idea that you need to know music theory to be a musician. I never understood sheet music, especially in school. I thought I can never be a musician. I just loved listening to so many music genres, and realized so much of it is just feeling.

    Thank you for these wonderful answers. Pretty impressive knowing you’ve only played piano for a couple of months. Wow!

    Check out these links for more information:
    Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Spotify

  • Behind the piano

    Behind the piano: Elijah Bisbee

    Today I’ll be introducing you to American artist Elijah Bisbee. Here we go!

    Where are you from? And where do you live?
    I grew up in a small town in Central Illinois and moved to Los Angeles for a few years. I currently live in Cleveland, OH.

    How long have you been playing the piano?
    I took piano lessons when I was very young, but didn’t stick with it. At different points in my life I’ve messed around on piano, but only over the last 1.5-2 years have I taken it more seriously.

    Do you play other instruments as well?
    I do! I consider myself first and foremost a guitar player. I’ve been playing guitar for about 15 or so years. I play/tinker with a lot of other instruments, too, but guitar and piano are my main focuses.

    Tell us about how you started playing music.
    My family has always been really musical. My dad owned a music store in our hometown up until he passed away in 2001. I had been playing guitar for a few years when that happened, but it was really the inciting event for translating emotion into music.

    How long have you been making piano music?
    I’ve only been making piano-centric music for about a year. I’ve always admired and enjoyed musicians and composers who can convey such strong emotion with one (or very few) instruments.

    Tell us something about that moment you realized you could make songs yourself!
    This was fairly early on for me – but on guitar. I can’t say I remember the moment of realization, but I do remember having tremendous pride when playing songs I’d written for other people.

    What are your favorite artists in this “piano genre”?
    Probably all the neoclassical standards… I am a long time fan of Nils Frahm – his piano music and his other outlets. Olafur Arnalds, of course. Some recent finds that I’m enjoying quite a bit are Blurstem (Chris Bartels is a ridiculously talented, all-around musician), Klangriket, and Kyle McEvoy (I’m releasing a single with his label, Sonder House, in February).

    What song inspires you the most when you’re making music? Can you name just ONE song/composition?
    Impossible. Right now, though, “Sunson” by Nils Frahm always gets me in the headspace to work.

    What rules (in making music) needs to be broken?
    Such a hard question to answer concisely! Everyone has their own rules and barriers that constrict them from being their truest self – as a musician and otherwise. I think, then, that the rule that needs to be broken is that there’s not time to explore a sound and that you have to release your best music all the time. Create, iterate, release, learn, repeat. I think that’s a pretty good model. And don’t take yourself too seriously and don’t hold your work too preciously. That is, if you want people to hear the music. I know plenty of people that create for themselves and get plenty of enjoyment and fulfillment from that. This feels more like advice than breaking rules, sorry!

    The last question is asked by my 5 year old son:
    Where do all your songs come from?
    To put it shortly – from within. 🙂

    Thank you Elijah for these answers! Please check out these social links for more information!
    Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Spotify


  • Behind the piano

    Behind the piano: Richard LaBrooy

    Where are you from? And where do you live?
    I’m currently based in Melbourne, Australia.

    How long have you been playing the piano?
    I come from a fairly musical family, so my Dad being a jazz drummer got me started on the piano when I was five. To him, that was the instrument that he believed would give me the most range as a musician. I think he made the right call. Although, I’m constantly seeing more piano based and neoclassical acts, that have backgrounds coming from everywhere. From the bass to audio engineering. With the implementation of computer technology, I don’t think it matters what your musical background is anymore.

    Do you play other instruments as well?
    I can play a little guitar, but nothing to write home about. I’ve also dabled with the drums. Once I began to take music seriously though, I transitioned more towards learning the electronic side of things. Synthesis always fascinated me, as well as the intricate detail required in audio engineering. That said, learning multiple instruments, even to the most basic degree can have a profound effect on the way that you write. For me, guitar taught me different tunings and voicings. The drums taught me odd time signatures. It depends on what you want to get out of music, and how far you want to push yourself creatively.

    Tell us about how you started playing music.
    Like many kids, I took lessons until I was in my late teens, all the while joining and starting a few bands. As you can imagine, nothing came of them, but they did teach me how to collaborate, as opposed to sitting in the studio by myself. The more you collaborate, the more you realize how little you know. So it helps to learn from as many sources as possible, and never be guarded about your own shortcomings.

    How long have you been making piano music?
    On and off since I was around eleven. I remember writing a short waltz on manuscript paper and showing my teacher. He was actually the one who encouraged me to begin composing and eventually led to me applying for music school. At the time, I never expected to actually get into music professionally, but after writing music for a few short films, I was approached by my manager, and things snowballed from there. I think regardless of your industry, you should always follow whatever opportunities are offered to you.

    Tell us something about that moment you realized you could make songs yourself!
    I’m still not sure I’ve had that particular moment… I mean, listening to my own pieces is about as fun as listening to paint dry. But I think that goes for most artists. But to your question, I think I gained a bit more confidence once I learnt how to actually produce a track myself. How to mix and master it. I mean, that’s a superpower right there. Because you’re no longer reliant on others. You can do everything inside your own self absorbed little box. And while I would encourage musicians to collaborate as much as possible — how else do you learn? I think it’s important in the beginning to be able to release as much as possible, without waiting for others. Do it on your own terms.  It’s a productivity thing.

    What are your favourite artists in this “piano genre”?
    Where to start? I admire artists that blend and experiment with different ideas and sonic landscapes, and then they use the piano as an emotional hook. What Johann Johannsson was doing really epitomizes that in my opinion. His writing was incredibly melodic and delicate with his use of piano work and orchestra. But he always had another foot firmly planted in sound design, with these incredibly evocative landscapes.

    Another composer that is rooted more in my upbringing is Ryuchi Sakamoto, for his use of jazz harmony. And of course; I don’t think any artist in this genre could avoid noting the fact that Max Richter and Olafur Arnalds have both moved mountains for the genre, reintroducing classical music to audiences that would otherwise have forgotten it. Also, while they’re not strictly piano, bands like Stars of the Lid, and A Winged Victory for the Sullen (both of which involve Adam Wiltzie) have really pushed the ambient and neoclassical genres. I’m also a huge fan of what Jeremy Soule is doing in the gaming world, with his blend of ambience and orchestra.

    Is there one song which you play over and over again as soon as you sit down by a piano?
    Johannsson’s ‘Flight From the City’ was an instant hit for me. I had to immediately sit down and figure it out. So it’s definitely a go-to these days. Also anything off of Richter’s ‘The Blue Notebooks’ which I listened to religiously while in music school. I’ve also got a soft spot for playing Zimmer’s ‘Where We’re Going’ from Interstellar.

    What’s happening next? New releases etc. (remember this is gonna be posted the 28th of March).
    I’ll be pushing out a fair few new releases out during 2019. I can say for certain that I haven’t written this much before, or so quickly. My music professors always told me I was a prolific composer, so I guess I’m now trying to live up to that.

    I’d also like to attempt my first album later on down the line. Although that sounds like a much larger task. I’d only commit to it if it had a strong and grounded concept behind it. I do have a few ideas… But we’ll need to see which of those comes out on top. I think the hardest part of being an artist is choosing which of the endless stream of ideas should actually be pursued.

    What rules (in making music) needs to be broken?
    I think the only rules that should be broken are those restricting innovation. Especially towards purists who put up their nose at artists who root their ‘classical’ music in electronic genres. And I do think it’s grown a lot better in the last few years, but there’s always room. Many people still discount computer technology as a musical instrument. But if you look at a piano or a violin, aren’t they still technology, just of another time?

    Anything else you want to share?
    I’m amazed by the new resurgence of classical music, which we’re now calling neoclassical. It’s giving way to some amazingly talented artists blending ambient, cinematic and electronic genres, and I think it’s thanks to bloggers, and promoters like you, that it’s happening. I believe there’s going to be a significant shift in music as a whole over the next ten to twenty years. The ambient, chill and atmospheric waves are giving music a chance to breathe. And I think the neoclassical niche is a part of that.

    Thank you so much for sharing Richard! I’m glad that someone else mention Flight from the city as a big inspiration. That was the first song I heard by Johann Johannsson as well, and it really got me going too!

    Please check out these links for more information about Richard and his musical projects!
    Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Website / Spotify

  • Behind the piano

    Behind the piano: Klangriket

    Sometimes you get intrigued by an artist just by reading a name. This is definitely the case with Klangriket for me. I think I first came across Klangriket’s music on some playlists by New Nordic Indie, and I fell in love with both the music as well as the artist name. It’s one of those artists/band names that sticks! Like “The Soundtrack of our lives” which must be the best band name of all times.

    I wanted to know more, so eventually I wrote to Klangriket and asked if I we could talk!

    And we could.

    What’s your real name, and how did you come up with your artist name?
    My real name is Fabian Rosenberg.
    I keep notes in an app on my phone of wordplays, quotes or phrases. Anything that capture my interests. They often make it into lyrics or song titles. At one point I was on plane to Paris. As I was trying to pass time I were coming up with wordplays. Anyway I needed a psynonym to put a few things up on SoundCloud and kind of randomly settled for klangriket. And then it stuck. Had no idea back then that it be so central in my life haha!

    I, as a swede, of course understand the meaning of the word “klangriket”, but how would you translate it so it makes sense for the readers?
    I would probably translate it to land of sound
    Forgotten Fields said this to me a while ago:“Speaking of power, I have devised a Fabianese etymology for Klangriket: “klang” (sound or music) + “riket” (power) together signifying “the effect of music (upon the listener)”. Haha.”
    Which is a pretty interesting way to look at it. 

    Where are you from? And where do you live?
    I’m from Stockholm and I currently live there!

    Tell us about how you started playing music.
    When I was a kid there was a trumpet in the basement of my parents place. My dad still had it from practising the trumpet as a kid. I played it and seemed to love it. Then by accident my dad met his old teacher and I naturally started taking lessons from him.

    How long have you been playing the piano?
    Hahaha, well that is a good question. I’m orginially a trumpet player and never really started playing piano. It sort of just happened from practising music in general.

    But you never took piano lessons?
    Not really no. I’ve had a couple of lessons in the past but they’ve been in the context of using the piano as a tool for practising trumpet or as a tool in music education.

    How long have you been making piano music?
    To be fair I don’t usually think of it as piano music. I often think of it in terms of ambient or electronic music. However, there’s definitely been a few pieces of music that strongly emphasis the piano. It has a beautiful sound.

    Have you made music in other genres before?
    Yes! I’ve done a few jazz tunes and been making pop and electronic music. Definitely something I still like to do and hope to explore more in the future. I’m secretly very confused in what genre I belong!

    What are your favorite artists in this “piano genre”?
    Well for solo piano I keep coming back to Otto Totland and Analogue dear. If we allow ourself to look a little broader I really enjoy Ben Lukas Boysen, Olafur Arnalds. They’ve manage figure out the most difficult part of this genre. (Or perhaps any genre). They’ve made their music larger than life!

    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 mostly improvise actually. I usually tend to play ideas I’ve had recently or haven’t fully developed. I think the piano most of the time is a compositional tool for me.

    What songs inspires you the most when you’re making music? Can you name just ONE song/composition?
    Not really. I listen a lot to music in general. Like to move freely between genres and I probably listen to at least two or three albums a day. Sometimes it’s Coldplay, sometimes it’s Jon Hopkins and sometimes its swedish folk music. That’s inspiration to me!

    Tell us something about you latest release.
    My latest release is actually a pre-quel to Amsterdam Sessions. It’s a selection of pieces out of many that I picked out. They were all made when I started exploring my voice as an artist. I had been a session trumpet player and never really embraced making my own music. When I was recovering from an injury I took the time to explore production and composition. So it’s really a documentation of the expolration I had to do at the very beginning!

    You recently had an internship with a composer recently; can you tell me something about that?
    My internship is with Uno Helmerson. He’s a media composer. The things I’ve learned from is something that will be useful in the future for sure! 
    Since I’m into photography writing to picture is something that really resonates with me.I’ve been asked to do a few things with music to picture recently and would love to do more. 

    What’s happening next? New releases etc.
    I’ve got a few things cooking. An album is coming out for sure. And I’m working on a smaller release and a concept for a longer release. An album maybe? We’ll see!
    I’m really love exploring these concepts that I’m working. It might by best work so far, I hope that you’d agree with me.

    The last question is asked by my 5 year old son: Where do all your songs come from?
    I wish I knew the answer to that. Your son is definitely onto something here. It’s kind of otherwordly isn’t it? …has to be some kind of magic right?
    This is something I’d gladly elaborate on in a different format. Maybe a podcast.

    Thank you for talking to me Fabian!

    Please check out these links for more information about Klangriket!
    Facebook / Twitter / Website / Spotify

  • Behind the piano

    Behind the piano: Brad Couture

    Where are you from? And where do you live?
    I’m from New Hampshire, and while I’ve lived in different parts of New England, I’m currently back living in New Hampshire!

    How long have you been playing the piano?
    I’ve been playing since I was 6 years old – I started out taking piano lessons for a couple of years, and absolutely hated it! I stopped playing piano for many years until I picked it back up when I was a teenager.

    Do you play other instruments as well? 
    Aside from the piano (which I consider my main instrument), I also play guitar and bass, cello, saxophone and trombone. 

    How long have you been making piano music?
    I started writing music in early 2007, but this wasn’t specifically piano oriented music to start – I’ve bounced around a few semi-related genres over the years!

    Tell us something about that moment you realized you could make songs yourself!
    I’m not exactly sure there was a specific moment I could pinpoint – the process of realizing I could complete songs myself from start to finish was somewhat of a gradual process with working to get better at it. I didn’t go to school for music, so most everything has been self -taught. If I had to choose however, it would be when I released my first ever album and discovering people actually wanted to listen and download it!

    What song inspires you the most when you’re making music? Can you name just ONE song/composition?
    Wow, that’s tough to pinpoint a specific song. I typically don’t listen much to music when I’m in the process of writing, but as far as inspiration goes, I would say “Losing You to You” by the band Hammock. That song has so many complex emotions tied up with it based on the time period of my life I first listened to it. Definitely one of my favorite songs of all time. 

    How long is your shortest song? 
    I believe my shortest song clocks in around 1:36 – although I also write music for sync, and sometimes I’ll need to create pieces that are 0:30 in length for advertisements. 

    What rules (in making music) needs to be broken?
    All of them! I think that it’s important to know and understand these “rules”, and then methodically learn how to break them. I believe it’s one of the most important ways to get better as a musician. 

    Anything else you want to share? 
    Throughout 2019, I’ll be semi-methodically releasing additional piano-based singles – keep an ear out!

    The last question is asked by my 5 year old son:
    Where do all your songs come from?
     
    I wish I knew! I like to believe they come from the combination of every life experience I’ve had. They certainly don’t end up the way they started – my songs take many twists and turns until they’re shaped into the end result. 

    Thanks for all of this Brad! And good luck with your 2019 releases! I’m sure we all hear more from you soon!

    Make sure to check out the following links for more information about Brad and his music: Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Website / Spotify

  • Behind the piano

    Behind the piano: Aleandro Spiteri Monsigneur

    Where are you from? And where do you live?
    I’m from the small, sunny, Mediterranean island of Malta, just below Italy! 

    How long have you been playing the piano?
    I started playing piano when I was around 10 years old, and today I’m 19 years old (it feels like it’s been so much longer!)

    Do you play other instruments as well? 
    I’ve picked up on a couple of other instruments, mainly the bass guitar. In fact I was the bassist for a band a few years back, but nowadays I’m exclusively focused on piano playing.

    Tell us about how you started playing music. 
    It’s quite a funny story actually! It was my brother who started piano lessons before me, and I once was with him for a lesson just sitting quietly at the side and watching in awe. His piano teacher jokingly asked if I was interested in starting I immediately said yes! So a few weeks later I started and ever since I’ve never looked back.

    How long have you been making piano music?
    I’ve been writing my own solo music for quite a while now, but only got to actually producing and releasing it as of recently. Back in 2015 I wrote some piano music for a feature film and had a lot of leftover ideas which I never used, and since then I’ve been sort of trying to compile them into finished tracks. My first official release was ‘a song about loss (en sang om at miste)’, in December 2018. 

    Tell us something about that moment you realized you could make songs yourself!
    It’s quite a moment of epiphany, honestly. It’s a much bigger responsibility than it sounds to be able to write music and influence other people by it. You technically have the power of making (or ruining) someone’s day with your music, and that’s a big power which I try my best to use well. I strive to create music in which the listener can see a reflection of himself or his life, and that’s always been my philosophy. 

    What are your favorite artists in this “piano genre”?
    There are so many great artists, but to mention a few: Peter Broderick, Olafur Arnalds, Nils Frahm, Frieder Nagel, Tigran Hamasyan, Philip Glass etc. 

    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’m an avid Bill Evans fan, so I always start with some of his jazz tunes when I sit at the piano.

    How long is your shortest song? 
    Haha love this question! I’ve written a few interludes for my upcoming album which are no longer than a minute, but I’m not sure if they’ll make it into the album or not yet.

    What rules (in making music) needs to be broken?
    I think good music escapes rules, categories and other sort of linguistic definitions. As long as the artist isn’t lining up behind what’s cool and current but writing what’s honest, there’s a lot of value to a piece of music. Stray away and start your own line if need be. 

    And, as usual. The question from my 5 year old son:
    Where do all your songs come from? 

    Great question! Honestly, I’m not sure where they come from myself! I just sit back and let it happen. 

    And twelve points from Swedes goes to… MALTA! Thank you Aleandro for these wonderful answers!

    For mote information, please check out these links:
    Instagram / Spotify /

  • Behind the piano

    Behind the piano: Jacco Wynia

    Where are you from? And where do you live?
    I am from the Netherlands, Den Bosch. I have lived in several places throughout the years; London (UK), Tilburg (NL), Barneveld (NL) which all had their influence on my way of making music.

    How long have you been playing the piano?
    Since I was a kid and we ended up having a keyboard at home: That was at age 8 or so (+-1997, so that’s quite a few years). I played keyboard with a piano sound quite long, and around age 15 we got an acoustic piano.

    Do you play other instruments as well? 
    Yes, I also play the bass, guitar, saxophone, I sing, and have tried a lot of instruments throughout the years: music is such a wonderful thing, it makes me enjoy playing nearly every instrument 

    Tell us about how you started playing music. 
    Just simply the sounds were so interesting to me, that I was playing around as soon as we had musical instruments laying around. And I guess that never stopped. 

    My parents helped in the sense that they sent me to a music school at some point, to get lessons. And at school some teachers really motivated to play more, write music, and so on. The thing that really got me started was playing in bands / groups together with friends.

    How long have you been making piano music?
    I have made my first songs at age 15, but seriously writing music for the piano has started around 2012. In the last couple of years I am putting in more time and effort to grow, because it is so much fun! 

    Tell us something about that moment you realized you could make songs yourself!
    Well, it sort of just happened. That is the thing: I enjoyed this ‘game’ so much, just trying stuff without someone telling what to do, and I just loved it. The only thing that changed in the last couple of years is that I reserve time to explore and try out new things: That really helps in growing as a composer and musician. 

    Have you made music in other genres before?
    Yes. From rock,  to pop, to folk, to metal, funk to world and to religious music. Well, much more, basically I like to try the diversity in Music, and lend ideas from different styles.

    What are your favorite artists in this “piano genre”?
    Goldmund is one of the composers that has a wonderful sound and feel to it. But also definitely the more known Olafur Arnalds, Yann Tiersen, Nils Frahm, Joep Beving, Ludovico Einaudi, Johann Johannson and many more.

    What rules (in making music) needs to be broken?
    Basically, there are no rules. Stay true to what the feeling of a composition wants to tell, so that everything fits together. That makes the best experience for the listener: That the different elements are telling the same story. When this is lacking, it might sound impressive or ‘good’, but it will not really blow you away as listener. 

    Anything else you want to share? 
    I want to share the love for music! For here, I guess that means: Stop reading, start listening. And for me it also means that I love to write together with others, share music, learn from eachother in the process, and enjoy all of that.

    Thank you for sharing this with us Jacco! Make sure to check out these links for more information about Jacco and his music: Facebook / Website / Spotify