I usually think of solo piano music as (neo) classical music. That was until I started talking to Erik Slättberg about his album Growth (2018). It then became clear to me that there’s an entire world of solo piano jazz to be found if you just bother to look for it. That’s how I found German composer and pianist Tom Blankenberg from Düsseldorf.
This is one of the songs from Tom’s album Atermus. He describes the album himself as “It’s very me”, and if he is anything like his track London Fields, I’d gladly get to know him better!
Tell us something about the London Fields!
London fields was written after spending a weekend in London. It evolved out of the first improvisation I did after that weekend.(A very long tine after writing, i found out that there would be a movie out with the same title… crashed totally last autumn.)
I tried to form a complete song around this first chord. This sould be the backbone of the track I planned. On the day in the studio recording it, months after the writing process and after having performed it live a few times, I changed it in three bars… Plan vs. Reality.
Thank you for sharing with us Tom!
New music you say?
Yeah, I got that coming too fairly soon.
But last week a friend of mine sent me his own version of, what he thinks, is the best song I’ve ever made. The song is called Väntan (Wait) and is taken from my very first album Först ska vi äta, sen sova och sen kommer pappa.
I have told you before about that album, and how I made it so the kids at the pre school I worked at at the time would have some nice music to fall asleep to (hence Sleepy Songs btw.).
Anyway. He sent me this song.
At first I wasn’t sure what he changed with it, because it was basically my track for the first minute. And then it came. The vocals!
He had written lyrics for my song! And it was wonderful!
That made me think of two things
- Too bad I didn’t know him when I recorded my album 48:50 – because that was pretty much the deal with that album. I write the backgrounds – you write the lyrics and sing the song.
- I really need to freshen up that old album of mine and make a re-release.
So, thats what I’m working on at the moment.
It was interesting to go through my old projects. I think I read (or watched) Olafur Arnalds talking about the re-release of his first album and how strange it was to go through the old project. What was I thinking here?
I have changed a couple of things, and I also found a forgotten unreleased song that I will include as a bonus track. I will also skip one of the tracks because it’s not good enough… And of course, I will try to include the vocal version of my song Väntan with dear Anders Wikings’ vocal on it.
That’s all for now!
Just like my previous post, about the song Arvika, this song is about one of my favorite places in the world. My wife has had this house in Falsterbo in her family for a very long time, and it’s now owned by her aunt.
One of my favorite things about this house is that it has a piano in it. It’s not in tune and it’s not a fancy piano. But like the piano in my parents house; that doesn’t matter. It is located in one of the places where I enjoy being.
Early in the summer of 2018 I sat down by the piano and started to play a couple of chord over and over again. I sat there for maybe an hour just listening to the chords and trying to figure out what kind of melody would fit over those chords. Then something interrupted me. And then we had to go back to our apartment in Malmö again.
During the vacation in Arvika, like I told you in the post about the song Arvika, I only brought with me my Maschine from Native instruments with the goal to learn how it worked. The song Arvika was the first one I produced that summer, and Falsterbo was the second one. And like Arvika, the main track on this two-track single is an electronic version of the song, and the second track is a solo piano version.
It ended up with just those four chords. Simple as that!
On the cover art you can see my youngest son walking on the bridge over the golf course heading down to the ocean.
Enjoy the song!
If the playlist doesn’t work, please use this link instead!
I have always been the drummer. If you needed a drummer for your band; I was the guy you would turn to! Everyone else played guitar, so I was kind of original.
It has been a very sentimental evening, and I’ve been going through some old recordings. So I wanted to share a bit of Johan history with you all! This was the band closest to being successful.
I present to you Vienna Heat!
A while back I wrote about the confusion regarding my artist name, and the reson why both Sleepy Songs and Johan Eckman is written as performing artists on most of my recent releases. On Spotify that is…
Well. The confusion seems to never stop.
On my latest single Arvika; there’s only one artist.
Why is that then? I can see the reson why the first track only has Sleepy Songs since that one is another genre. But the second track, the piano solo, must be in the same genre as everything else I have released recently, right?
Not according to Spotify.
Since one of the tracks of the release is not in the classical genre; the others can’t be in the classical genre either.
So, that’s the short explanation why my single Arvika, as well as my upcoming single Falsterbo won’t be listed under the artist Johan Eckman.
My 5 year old son just asked me a pretty interesting question.
Where do all your songs come from?
Well. I haven’t thought so much about that.
My answer, however, was that they come from my fingers; and also from my brain.
It didn’t turn into a deeper conversation than that this time, since we were playing a board game at the time.
He won two times out of two by the way.
But he gave me something to think about…
The summer of 2018 was a hot one here in Sweden. Probably one of the hottest ever, and definitely the hottest one I’ve ever experienced. I spent the four-week summer vacation in my parents’ house, which is located in my hometown Arvika.
The summer before I had brought my keyboard with me so I could record piano and other things for an album with Rimstad Rockerz. This year, however, I wanted to challenge myself a bit. About seven years ago I bought myself a Maschine from Native instruments. I have used it a lot since then when making dance songs or hiphop-beats, but I haven’t really used all of its potential. So before the summer I decided that I was only going to bring my laptop, my Maschine and a really tiny two octave keyboard.
The songs was written on the piano in my parents’ house, but was interlay recorded only using my Maschine and that tiny keyboard. The basement of the house was pretty much the only place where the temperature wasn’t unbearably hot, so I spent a lot of time there.
And this song was the first one that came out.
The picture on the cover was taken a couple of years ago. It’s the night view over my hometown taken from Viksholmen; which is a place where I always end up after a night out in Arvika. It has this amazing view over the entire city. The picture is actually upside down; so the sky on the picture is actually the reflections in the lake (if that’s not obvious?).
Back in Malmö after the vacation I decided to make a solo piano recording of the song as well, which is the second track on the single.
I hope you enjoy it! I surely loved making it; and now I know better how to use my Maschine!
If the playlist doesn’t work, you can use this link instead!
The last song I want to talk about from the latest EP is 0334.
I don’t have much to say, even though it’s my personal favorite from the EP.
I wrote it late one night, feeling a bit sentimental and very grateful for having the best kids in the world. 0334 stands for the time my first son was born. 7th of march 03:34.
A while ago I made a little video for the song. Nothing fancy, just me playing around with the time lapse function on my GoPro camera.
You can watch it here!
If you just want to listen to the song. Well, here it is!
So, here’s the next two songs from the latest EP.
These two songs were written I may when my band Rimstad Rockerz had an entire week with shows at Nydala theater in Malmö. Before every show we do there I usually have some of my piano music in the background before the show while people are taking their seats. When we did the same thing in February I played my song Years to come through the speakers, but you get pretty tired of hearing the same song over and over again for five days straight.
So, I decided to challenge myself (as I tend to do).
How about I write a new song every day, and play it in the backgrund the day after?
Sounds good right?
It was a pretty hectic week, so I only managed to write two new songs. Day one, and Day two. I repeated them for the next couple of days.
So, here they are!
There has been some confusion regarding my “artist name” recently, so here’s a small explanation.
On my latest two releases (at least on Spotify) both my artist name (Sleepy songs) and my real name (Johan Eckman) is written as “artist” on every song. NOT on the releases though, only the songs.
I asked Spotify about this, and their very simple reply was that because it’s release under the classical genre, both the performing artist and the composer is written as “artist”. Simple as that! Makes sense, at least if you think of classical music as in Mozart. His work is probably on Spotify but not with him as the performing artist 😀
Another really confusing thing is that I’m apparently not the only one in the world with the name Johan Eckman. There is another guy. I think he lives in America and makes dance music. Pretty far from the kind of music I make.
I have tried to make Spotify separate my releases from his which worked for my Piano pt6 EP. I have contacted them again regarding the latest releases, and hopefully they will be moved to the right profile on Spotify soon.
I hope this clarifies things.
I am sleepy songs.