• Behind the piano

    Behind the piano: Dino Bastiani

    What is your real name?
    My real name is Andrea.

    How did you come up with your artist name?
    I chose this name as an homage to the Italian artist and writer Dino Buzzati and to his novel “Il deserto dei Tartari” (The Tartar Steppe). The novel’s protagonist, Giovanni Drogo, is a young army officer,stationed inside the Fortress Bastiani, a military post in the middle of nowhere. Drogo spends his entireexistence waiting for “the great event” that will finally give sense to his life: The invasion of the Tartars. At the end (Spoiler) Drogo dies alone, in an anonymous tavern, without ever experiencing the glorious event which he waited for his entire life. I chose this artistic name as a reminder to me: not to let external events give sense to my life. To remember to give value to any present moment, using the time that is given to me to make something of significance.

    Where are you from? And where do you live?
    I live in Italy, Mesero, a small town in the province of Milano.

    How long have you been playing the piano?
    For about five years.

    Do you play other instruments as well?
    Yes, I play guitar, bass, and for some years I played drums.

    Tell us about how you started playing music.
    Since I was a child, I’ve been particularly fascinated with the music. I started playing and studying seriously when I was 14 years old, and so far I’ve never stopped.

    How long have you been making piano music?
    I started composing for the piano in 2016. I was going deep in my studies and I wanted to have a go at an instrument that was both versatile and relative “new” (I had just started playing it), so I could assumea different perspective on the music.

    Tell us something about that moment you realized you could make songs yourself!
    I think anybody can write music. The problem was writing something that I would like. I started to write since I started playing, with some deluding results. But it was this difficulty that was pushing me further.

    In this way now I write music everyday. The results are still hit and miss, the progress is slow but constant. I think that the best way to learn to compose is simply. To compose. Without influencingyourself with the expectations of the final result. I think that if I’ve obtained good results that’s becauseof daily practice. If you write 30 songs a month, sooner or later something good will come out, maybe also by accident.

    Have you made music in other genres before?
    Yes, I played for ten years in an Italian rock band “Orizzonte degli eventi”. I used to play the bass, and sometimes I handled the arrangements and the production. But the author of the tracks was the singer, Matteo Petracca.

    What are your favorite artists in this “piano genre”?
    There are many: for sure I will forget somebody. Philip Glass, Ludovico Einaudi, Olafur Arnalds, Nils Frahm, Yann Tiersen. I listen to a lot of artists, also from other genres. To mention some which have influenced me: Trent Reznor, Ramin Djawadi, Angelo Badalamenti, Darren Korb, Massive Attack.

    Is there one song which you play over and over again as soon as you sit down by a piano?
    There are some. The first that comes to my mind is the Theme of Laura Palmer by Angelo Badalamenti,from “Twin Peaks” soundtrack.

    What song inspires you the most when you’re making music? Can you name just ONE song/composition?
    The inspiration is something unpredictable and unexpected. It can come from one song but also from a book or a TV series. From a conversation with a friend or from a movie. From one single thing from the upper mentioned or more of them at the same time. I usually realize that I got inspired from somethingin particular long after I had finished writing a song. So, no. it’s impossible to identify a single song.

    Anything else you want to share?
    Schonberg in his “Theory of Harmony” wrote: “…the pupil learns most of all through the example shownhim by the masters in their masterworks. … if composer could have atelier as did painters, then it wouldbe clear how superfluous the music theorist is…” The painters had places where they could share thecreative process, but for the music the places never existed. Also, because with music is a bit moredifficult. I would like to share the creative process. I don’t know how to do it yet but I’m working on itand I think you will hear something about it next month.

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

    To be honest, I don’t know. Maybe as a composer, my job is to explore new places in search of songs.

    As if the songs themselves were hidden everywhere, I just need to find them and share them with the world. Or maybe is them finding me, and they’re using me to come into this world.

    Thank you for this Andrea!

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

  • Behind the piano

    Behind the piano: Voga

    What’s your real name? How did you come up with your artist name?
    My real name is Owen Vaga. I was brainstorming about what to call myself before my first release – a friend, knowing that I disliked coming up with titles and names, commented that I should just swap out a vowel from my last name and it ended up sticking.

    Where are you from? And where do you live?
    Born and raised in Toronto, where I’m currently living.

    How long have you been playing the piano, and do you play other instruments as well?
    I’ve been playing piano since I was five. For other instruments, I also play synthesizers on my tracks. Clarinet was my secondary instrument, and I’d love to start playing more guitar.

    Tell us about how you started playing music. 
    Growing up, we had a piano at home that many of my older siblings played. It quickly became a want for me to learn how to play as well. I mostly practiced classical music, as well as some pop songs and soundtrack transcriptions that I liked.

    How long have you been making piano music?
    I attempted to write piano music starting from when I was a teenager – I was too shy to let anyone to hear my pieces so I would always put down the felted pedal that some uprights have. I guess it’s funny now that felted pianos are something I use to record with today.

    Tell us something about that moment you realized you could make songs yourself!
    I don’t know if there was a specific moment, but taking the music away from manuscript paper and just starting to improvise really helped my writing process. Before that, I’d always jot down ideas on paper and try to perfect each bar before moving on. I found it difficult to complete anything this way.

    What are your favorite artists in this “piano genre”?
    Too many to choose! I find myself always returning to minimalist classics – things that have stood the test of time and influenced the next wave of artists. Arvo Pärt comes to mind. I also have to mention my frequent collaborator and friend Alaskan Tapes. He was one of my first introductions into the world of contemporary classical piano and ambient music, and I can always pick out his style when I hear it.

    Is there one song which you play over and over again as soon as you sit down by a piano?
    Anything by Chopin or Debussy.

    What rules (in making music) needs to be broken?
    Everything! Taking risks and experimentation should always be a part of any art form, even if the result isn’t always successful.

    How do you record your music?
    The recording locations range from studios to apartment bedrooms and everything in between. Sometimes I’m by myself, but I prefer someone else to record while I focus on the producing, composition/arrangement and performance. I often work with audio engineer Dennis Patterson from “Big Smoke Audio.”

    Whats your take on sampled instruments?
    They have a time and a place. It depends on what sound you’re going for, what genre, how you decide to manipulate them, etc. Personally, I’ve never used sampled pianos or strings for Voga releases.

    Anything else you want to share? 
    Thank you so much for all your questions! I’ve got many more projects planned for this year that I’m excited to share.

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

    I think my music just comes from ideas or moods I’m thinking at the time. Many themes I enjoy exploring, identity is a big one, things that are constantly shifting and I use music as a way to figure it out and articulate it. It’s an evolving process.

    Thank you for this Owen!

    Please check out these links for more information and updates:
    Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Spotify

  • Behind the piano

    Behind the piano: Javi Lobe

    What’s your name? 
    My name is Javier Lobe, but as an artist name I use Javi Lobe

    Where are you from? And where do you live?
    I am from Zaragoza, Spain. I have lived in the same place, Zaragoza, all my life.

    How long have you been playing the piano?
    I began to the play the piano about eight years old, so, for almost 30 years.

    Do you play other instruments as well?
    No, I don´t know play other instruments. I would also like to play the guitar, the drums, the saxophone…but I don´t have time to learn.

    Tell us about how you started playing music.
    When I was child my family had a piano because my elder sisters studied music. In the beginning I didn´t want to learn to play the piano but the insistence of my middle sister led me to start and take it seriously. They didn´t succeed until I was 12 years old!

    How long have you been making piano music?
    I made my first songs at age 16, but, seriously, writing music for the piano started around 2015.

    Tell us something about that moment you realized you could make songs yourself!
    At first it only started as a game. While listening to music I played the piano trying discover the chords that were being used. That’s how I learned to play without a score. Then I started to investigate and realized that I could compose my own songs

    Have you made music in other genres before?
    Yes, I have composed mostly music for dance. And also versions and arrangements for piano and strings, in which I blend NeoClassical/Ambient sound with modern Minimal Electronic music.

    What are your favorite artists in this “piano genre”?
    There are so many. In my youth I was inspired by composers such as Michael Nyman and Yann Tiersen, and nowadays I like composers such as Ludovico Einaudi, Johann Johannson, Olafur Arnalds  and many more.

    And, as always: the question from my five year old son!
    Where do all your songs come from?

    Well, the truth is that I would not know how to tell you. I only know that when I compose music for piano, this is my natural way of expressing myself, it is my own language. And we each have a way of composing that makes us unique and different.

    Thank you for this Javi!

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

  • Behind the piano

    Behind the piano: Thomas Klak

    Today it’s time to get to know the artist behind the Spotted song What’s here a bit better. I’ll give you – Thomas Klak!

    Where are you from? And where do you live?
    I’m from Marl, a mid-sized City of Ruhrgebiet in Germany. But I’m living and working in Essen, which is only 50 kilometers away from Marl. So I didn’t move that far away from hometown. I teach piano at Foklwang University of Arts in Essen. 

    How long have you been playing the piano, and do you play other instruments as well?
    I started to play piano when I was six years old. I played church organ some years ago and play keyboards and synthesizer in progmetal bands. 

    Ah, and I play „Olaf“ my hedonistic mocca-kitchen-organ, which is an electric Magnus chord-organ. 

    Tell us about how you started playing music. 
    Music was always in center of my family. The sound of the piano had a strong impact on me when I was a child. I remember being fascinated by the sound of our Bechstein C. 

    My grandfather bought his first piano when he was sixteen. That was in 1928. And it’s still in the family. He also played violin and other instruments in the era of silent movies. 

    How long have you been making piano music?
    As i wrote, I began to play piano at the age of six and I’m composing my own music since my teenage years. 

    Tell us something about that moment you realized you could make songs yourself!
    I remember it very well. The first songs evolved out of a band session during easter holidays in 1994. I good friend of mine rented a room in a fishermen clubhouse. We put all our stuff there and started our own power metal thing. We came every day to this place at least for a whole week and all we did was improvising while having good days and nights. 

    This was the environment, where all the ideas, that I had found during my (real) piano practicing (Bach, Chopin, Liszt) could come into other ears and other lights.

    What are your favorite artists in this “piano genre”?
    Brad Mehldau, Keith Jarrett, Pat Metheny, Nils Frahm

    Is there one song which you play over and over again as soon as you sit down by a piano?
    At the moment I’m improvising Boogie Woogie as soon as I sit down at the piano. I like the strong motorics and the feeling while improvising in the right hand. It makes my body happy. 

    What rules (in making music) needs to be broken?
    I guess, all musicians and composers are used in braking rules all the time. Their rules and the rules of others. 

    How do you record your music?
    All my songs of the last two albums where recorded with a low budget equipment that I own myself. My first album „slow acting“ was recorded in my bedroom on a day and a night. 

    Whats your take on sampled instruments?
    Use everything if you like it. 

    Anything else you want to share? 
    Love what you have and love what’s here

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

    I guess, my songs are from the 5 year old child in me, who wants to play, play, play. 

    Thank you for this Thomas!

    For more information about Thomas Klak and his music, please check out the following links:
    Facebook / Instagram / Website / Spotify

  • Behind the piano

    Behind the piano: Prof. Lacasse

    Hi there professor! I wrote about your song Lost and found a while back. Lets get to know you a bit better!

    What’s your real name? 
    Serge Lacasse

    How did you come up with your artist name?
    Well, I’m an “actual” university professor in music…:) 

    Where are you from? And where do you live?
    I’m from Canada and live in Levis, clos to Quebec City.

    How long have you been playing the piano, and do you play other instruments as well?
    That’s an interesting question. I started as a child, but was always playing by ear, by memory… I thus stopped taking lessons because sister Therese (who was teaching me) didn’t like the fact that I wasn’t able to properly read music… Then, when I got 16 I decided to try to get into the piano performance program in college (Quebec’s cegep). I started again my courses with Sister Therese and was actually admitted at the university level. However, I was feeling that I didn’t “deserve” this admission and I decided to study drums instead (which I’m plying since I was 8). But I’ve always played piano and composed for the instrument all these years.

    Tell us about how you started playing music. 
    The Beatles fault…  When I was 8 I discovered the Beatles and wanted to be Paul. But my best friend at the time, who was older, decided he was Paul and I ended up as Ringo… I started playing drums at 8 which became my main instrument (I’ve played jazz, pop, rock, in studio, on stage with major Canadian acts). 

    How long have you been making piano music?
    Well, as I mentioned, I’ve started composing music for the piano at 16-17. Actually, one of the pieces featuring on my album, “Debussy’, was written then. But I never played them in public nor recorded them. It is just a couple of years ago that I discovered that the tens of pieces I’ve composed through these years were very similar to the postclassical genre. I then discovered Max Richter, Olafur Arnalds, Joep Beving, but also more “romantic” ones such as South Korean Yiruma. Since then, not only did I started composing new music, but also dig  into my past (because, fortunately, I did record on on dictaphone a lot of these early compositions). What I also discovered was that these musicians had a very similar background that mine: age (I’m 56), but also their wide musical taste and competence: pop, jazz, classical, contemporary music, electronic, etc. As a musicologist, I strongly believe that this is linked to this new “cultural condition”, that is the cultural omnivores: people that distinguish themselves by being equally at ease in many musical traditions, as opposed to earlier generations where artistic quality, or cultural taste, were measured according to their knowledge of strictly classical 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? 
    Well, there are two; Lost and Found is probably my own favorite and i play it a lot. Bu I also love Max Richter’s Written on the Sky (based on his own On the Nature of Daylight, both featured in his 2014 album The Blue Notebooks).

    How long is your shortest song? 
    About 1:30… It’s called “Sunny Day”.

    What rules (in making music) needs to be broken?
    First and foremost: borders between genres. That said, and as I evoked earlier, many musicians are already working toward breading these rules. For me it’s very similar to what we are witnessing in LGBTQ communities. First, we start by grouping these communities together (as well illustrated by the acronym itself), but then by attempting to radically delete gender distinctions. For example, some researchers have just proposed an AI voice that can’t be characterized as female or male. I believe this is where we are also going in music and in arts in general.

    How do you record your music?
    I’ve been a record producer for like 30 years. The recording studio is truly my main instruments. I do record at home, but also in our University Laval recording facility, the Laboratoire audionumérique de recherche et de création (LARC). I’ve founded this recording studio and am still heading it.

    Whats your take on sampled instruments?
    I use both. My goal is to get the sound I want, no matter the means.

    Anything else you want to share? 
    Well, thanks for having invited me Johan, it is a honour!

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

    Contrary to many composers who state that they don’t know their style, or that their music doesn’t belong to a genre (as if they were unique), I am totally aware of all my influences. For example, I use popular music forms (verse-chorus for example) [I’m a popular music musicologist], but also use some film music harmonic textures, etc. So yes, all these songs come from a sort of inner “mixing machine” that assembles elements from different sources: “pure” art doesn’t exist in my opinion.

    Thank you for these answers Serge! It was a truly interesting read!

    For more information about Serge and his music; please check out these following links:
    Facebook / Instagram / Twitter / Spotify

  • Behind the piano

    Behind the piano: Tristan Eckerson

    A while back I Spotted Tristans song For Natalia and now it’s time to get to know the artist behind it a bit better!

    Where are you from? And where do you live?
    I’m from Cincinnati, Ohio. I was born and raised here although I moved around a lot- Charleston, SC, San Sebastian, Spain, San Francisco, CA, Seattle, WA, Asheville, NC, and then back to Cincinnati.

    How long have you been playing the piano, and do you play other instruments as well?
    I’ve been playing the piano since I was 6. I’ve had brief forays into trombone, drums, and guitar. My trombone skills are gone, but I’m still pretty passable on drums and can play a little bit of acoustic guitar still.

    Tell us about how you started playing music.
    I’m not exactly sure where I was at this point, but when I was about five I found a piano in someone’s house where I just happened to be, and I started messing around with it. Playing the really low keys and the really high keys. That’s my earliest memory of playing piano, and from there I just started taking classical lessons.

    How long have you been making piano music?
    I’ve been leading and playing in bands since I was in college, back in 2001. But as far as solo piano music, and the type of music that I’m currently producing, it’s been since 2016. I released a full length album with 1631 Recordings that summer and then did a tour through the U.S. and Canada to promote it.

    Tell us something about that moment you realized you could make songs yourself!
    The first songs I ever actually wrote were when I was in college in Charleston, SC and playing in a jazz fusion band called Doublestack. I wrote a few bluesy and fusion type songs on piano, and was also writing a lot of lyric based songs on acoustic guitar back then. At that point there was no plan or method, I was just writing anything and everything that popped into my head.

    What are your favorite artists in this “piano genre”?
    I’m not a huge fan of genres, and certainly when it comes to solo piano I think it really spans the map as far as what people are doing out there. If I had to pick one contemporary pianist right now, I’d say Tigran Hamasyan comes to mind. He might be categorized more as jazz, but I find what he does to defy genres and it is just really engaging to me. His album A Fable is pretty amazing.

    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 really, no. At this point I don’t even practice most of the songs I’ve written and produced. I mostly just move on to writing new music. But when I sit down at the piano I almost always just go to improvising. And that often leads me to coming up with an idea that I can then develop into a composition.

    What rules (in making music) need to be broken?
    I’m a big believer in knowing all the rules so then you can break them. I’m always trying to learn more about theory and compositional techniques. My goal is to have the knowledge and experience to then go beyond convention and create something that defies rules- something that people could analyze and categorize afterwards because it’s never been done before. That’s the idea anyway. But mostly I just try to make music that excites me and that I can be proud of.

    How do you record your music?
    For the past few years I’ve been doing everything in my home studio. I have an upright, and also I do a lot with Logic Pro and Sample libraries. I try to get samples and DAW productions to sound as real as possible. That’s my main goal. For my next album though I would like to get into a studio to record string parts and possibly some other instruments such as tuned percussion, brass, and woodwinds.

    What’s your take on sampled instruments?
    I like the saying “It’s not the software, it’s the user.” I went to grad school in San Francisco for Music Production and Sound Design, so I was completely immersed in that world. I kind of went in one end and came out the other, so to speak. I still use samples everyday, but I try to use them in the same way I would with real life instruments. I’m much more interested these days in writing compositions than tweaking settings. I have the utmost respect for people who really get into software and its capabilities, but for me at a point it was just overwhelming and really took away from playing an instrument and writing for humans. There was a point where I was producing so much “in the box” that I barely ever played my instrument. And that’s really the point where I decided to start writing solo piano music.

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

    Thank you for this Tristan!

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

  • Behind the piano

    Behind the piano: Tom Blankenberg

    Where are you from? And where do you live?
    I was born in Düsseldorf, Germany and I still live there.

    How long have you been playing the piano?
    Maybe started with 7 or 8? My piano teacher and and I had like an on/off releationship. It started with maybe 7 or 8 for a short time, continuing briefly with around 12 and then again with 19… but not a long time in total.

    Do you play other instruments as well? 
    I played saxophone for a short peroid of time as a teenager, but very unskilled… and I can play the most common guitar chords for campfire situations!

    Tell us about how you started playing music. 
    I went to music school at a very young age for a first introduction in music, playing a small c-major glockenspiel. Then as a child i had those piano lessions. The Teacher loved „The Beatles“, so I was more used to play non-classical stuff. As a teenager I was into synthpop. So I started at 13 or 14 with a synthpop band, having only a few rehearsals, maybe just one… ha ha, this was more about having the image of being in a synthpop-band. After that experience I tried a little Sade-like popjazz and funk as saxophone player and/or keyboarder. Nothing long or serious. But after that I start playing piano, Rhodes and synth in the guitar-indie band, i’m still in. We released 4 albums so far. No. 5 is in the making.

    How long have you been making piano music?
    I did only a few pieces when i was young (one of them ended up on my debut album 32 years later), but then I stopped somehow… and started working and having a family… I still did music in this guitar-indie band but I did not participate in the songwriting process. I fullfilled my demand for songwriting/composing doing soundtracks for a few short films. But 6 years ago I started doing solo piano music again more seriously.

    Tell us something about that moment you realized you could make songs yourself!
    It was always there. I made tiny tracks or musical experiments with my brother as a kid. Those felt songish already. For me Making music was always making compostions too.

    What are your favorite artists in this “piano genre”?
    I love the piano work of Ryuichi Sakamoto. A „piano genre“ artist I like very much is Hideyuki Hashimoto. And I regularly comming back to Matthew Bourne, Carles Viarnès 

    Is there one song which you play over and over again as soon as you sit down by a piano?
    There’s a song of mine I come back to more often that to other ones. It´s „tori“, the opening track of my latest release.

    How long is your shortest song? 
    I did many very short ones for an audiobook, from 4sec. to 45sec. But on the album the shortest is I guess 56sec.

    What rules (in making music) needs to be broken?
    It took me a long time to realize: ignore expectations and go out with your music! 

    Anything else you want to share?
    After stoping having piano lessions as a kid, my parents didn´t sell the piano. They hold it, it was always there. That was very important for my musical development. I was able to play it whenever I wanted to… Having access to a piano is very important for me now. My advice for everyone: don´t sell your instrument ever! Even the longest pause may end and then it´s like an old friend coming back. 

    The last question is asked by my 5 year old son:
    Where do all your songs come from? 
    I don´t know. It feels like that they´re already there. I have to dig a while to reveal them completely… Then the songs tell me their stories or allow my to tell them.

    Thank you for this Tom! And thank you for that lovely record of yours!

    Please check out these links for more information:
    Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Website / Spotify


  • Behind the piano

    Behind the piano: Joseph Nimoh

    Where are you from? And where do you live?
    I’m originally from Ghana. But I currently live in Kansas, US

    How long have you been playing the piano, and do you play other instruments as well? 
    I have been playing the piano for over 20 years now. I play a little drums and bass as well. 

    Tell us about how you started playing music. 
    I started playing at age 11 at my mom’s church. Initially, I wanted to play the drums but the church had two drummers already, so that was not going to work. It was around the same time that one of my brothers began playing guitar and showed my a few chords and how to play them on the keyboard. I was basically hooked after that. I started taking piano lessons later on. 

    How long have you been making piano music? 
    I have been making Piano music for about 18 years now. I spent a lot of years recording and producing other people’s music. But it wasn’t until recently that I started recording as a solo piano artist.

    Tell us something about that moment you realized you could make songs yourself! 
    I discovered this very early, as I was taking piano lessons. I realized that though I enjoyed playing all those piano etudes and what not, my true desire was to apply what I was learning and make my own music. I used to make my own songs out of the piano pieces I learnt while taking lessons.

    What are your favorite artists in this “piano genre”?  
    I enjoy the music of several artist including Jim Brickman, Kevin Kern, David Lanz, but to mention a few.
    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 really don’t have a song like that. Most  of the time when I sit behind the keyboard, I’m trying to compose or work out some  interesting  idea, chords or harmonies going on in my head. I tend to compose in the moment.

    What rules (in making music) needs to be broken? 
    I don’t let rules dictate my music. I go with what feels and sounds good. I learnt most of the rules so I can later break them to create something new. Being authentic is more important that trying to a cheap copy of something you’ll never be. We are all endowed with great talent already. All we need is to focus and polish that gift to where it can shine! 

    How do you record your music? 
    So far most of my recordings have been done at my home studio. 

    Whats your take on sampled instruments? 
    Well, sampled instruments have gotten quite good these days. But I guess it depends on the material you’re working on, budget, convenience and the likes. However, for an instrument like the piano, I think it’s going to be very hard to capture the sound in it’s totality in a sample, just because the piano has a wide range of dynamics, subtleties, and nuances that you just cannot capture. My advice is always to work with what you have and build up from there. If you can afford to record on a real piano then by all means go for it.

    Anything else you want to share? 
    Keep up the great work with the playlist! I encourage all who enjoy excellent piano music to give it a listen and be sure to follow! One of the reasons why I record is to inspire hope and healing through my music. We are all dealing with something, and so if I can be a source of hope or healing to anybody then I feel fulfilled. 

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

    My songs come from my daily experience in life. Although, a good number of them also come my conversations with my two little boys. 

    Thank you for sharing with us Joseph!

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

  • Behind the piano

    Behind the piano: Anna Yarbrough

    Where are you from? And where do you live?
    I’m originally from Belfast, Northern Ireland, but I now live in New York City.

    How long have you been playing the piano, and do you play other instruments as well?
    I’ve been playing piano for around 26 years. I also play violin and sing, and occasionally experiment on guitar (badly).

    Tell us about how you started playing music. 
    My father played piano a lot at home, and I grew up with books of Bach and Chopin lying around. I’d try to play them before I could even read notes. I took piano lessons early on, and was blessed with three incredible piano teachers in the time I was learning (Kathryn Bousfield, Michael Harrison, Michael McGuffin). 

    How long have you been making piano music?
    I’ve really only been writing seriously (for myself) for about a year and a half. I’ve played and studied all my life, but I was actually in the process of writing and recording songs when I stumbled into piano-composing. It’s something I never set out to do, but I absolutely love it. I’m still writing songs, but so glad I tripped into something I love just as much.

    Tell us something about that moment you realized you could make songs yourself!
    I’ve been creating and recording work for others for some time but never had any plans to become an ‘artist’ myself. Now that I have, I can’t imagine doing anything else. I love the process of mastery. The pursuit of perfection not just for the sake of it, but to touch on something sublime. It’s what drives me to write.

    What are your favorite artists in this “piano genre”?
    Too many to name! But Debussy is a hero of mine – he completely changed the way I heard music. Two current favorites are Johannes Motschmann – he wrote this beautiful piece called “Papillon”, and it’s perfect. I’ve been listening to it on repeat for some time. I’ve also been playing Susanne Geisler’s (aka Kaleidoscope of Colours) album “Music and Colours” a lot – again, really incredible work and her backstory as a synesthete is so interesting.

    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 really! I write every single day (for both myself and others) and I have to say that I rarely play the same thing over and over again. But I’m trying to get less “busy” and find time to simply play. 

    How long is your shortest song? 
    “Intro: Underwater” comes in at 01:38. I wrote it as a mood piece to open my debut album.

    What rules (in making music) needs to be broken?
    The notion that we need to do things a certain way. I think there are certain expectations – subconscious or otherwise – when it comes to composing in any genre. There are always going to be certain things that are in vogue for a season, but getting too stuck in writing for what’s expected really limits creativity and the possibility of something new.

    How do you record your music? Yourself? In a big studio? etc.
    I record both at home and in various studios around New York (or wherever else I happen to be traveling!). I’m looking forward to building out my own studio and performance space in the years to come – but I need a bit of patience on that one.

    Whats your take on sampled instruments?
    I’ll always be a purist in that I love the real thing – I love the experience, the tangible, the process. That being said, I think VIs can get a bad rap – they’re a handy tool when you need them, and they definitely open up some new possibilities. Best piece of advice I ever got was “use what’s in your hand”. If that’s a VI, use what you have. If that’s a broken down old acoustic, create a cool novelty project. I think we get bogged down on the “right” way to do things as artists – but just create. That’s the most important thing.

    Anything else you want to share? 
    I’ve got a fun project in the works for later this year – but you’ll have to check back with me on that one!

    The last question is asked by my 5 year old son:
    Where do all your songs come from? 
    What a great question. Kids are the best. I hear my songs in my head before I write them. I’m not sure how normal that is, but every note leads into the next for me – once I play something, I hear the rest of it before it has been written. From that point it’s just a matter of grabbing it before it escapes.

    Twitter / Instagram / Website / Spotify

  • Behind the piano

    Behind the piano: Heim

    Late februari Heim released the debut single called Motif, which is a beautiful ambient/piano track. I thought it was tome to learn more about Heim!

    What’s your real name? 
    Jonas Andersson 

    How did you come up with your artist name?
    It means Home in northern Sweden dialect 

    Where are you from? And where do you live?
    I’m originally from the north of Sweden and have lived there for the most part of my life but five years ago I moved south. Now I recide just north of Stockholm.

    How long have you been playing the piano, and do you play other instruments as well?
    Pianos has always been around I guess. I started playing the trumpet as a kid actually, but switched to piano when I was about 15.

    Tell us about how you started playing music. 
    I was brought up in a family where music was a big part. My father was a music teacher who later became principal of the local music school, so it was kind of expected of me to play something. 🙂 

    How long have you been making piano music?
    Well I have been making instrumental music for several years, but more on the electro side. Piano music is a quite recent path actually. I had all these musical ideas that I didn’t really know what to do with. I got inspiration from Icelandic hereos like Olafur Arnalds and Sigur Ros. Their music really shows the true emotional potential that piano music has.

    Tell us something about that moment you realized you could make songs yourself!
    I first got a music program called Notator, that could handle MIDI (yes, I was around in the eighties…) and I started making interpretations or covers if you will of famous songs. I learned about notation and harmonics and soon started making my own simple songs. 

    What are your favorite artists in this “piano genre”?
    As mentioned, Olafur Arnalds and Sigur Ros, but I have lately listened a lot to LUCHS.  

    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 rarely play my own songs actually. There are many other thoug. Ára Bátur by Sigur Ros to name one – simple but amazing!

    How long is your shortest song? 
    Haha, odd question. If you count my unfinished songs, just a few seconds! Other than that, I guess around 1:30-2 minutes. I want the listener to get something out of my music – a reward in the end of some sort. That’s why I often run the theme one last time in the end! 

    What rules (in making music) needs to be broken?
    Perfection! I like noises and other imperfections – if made with love of course, not out of laziness.

    How do you record your music? Yourself? In a big studio? etc.
    Just myself, some instruments and the computer. 

    Whats your take on sampled instruments?
    I blend in a lot of them, so it opens up a whole world of possibilites for us “home composers”. 

    Anything else you want to share? 
    Just keep playing, creating, consuming and enjoying good music! Music helps people to get by you know.

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

    Good question! Sometimes an idea just pops up in my head. Other times I sit by my piano and play something. Sometimes I even accidentally miss a note and find a really nice chord to base a whole new song around. You never know, and that’s what’s so fantastic with music.

    Thank you Jonas! Looking forward to hear new music from you soon!

    Please check out these links for more information:
    Instagram / Spotify