This week’s interview is in conversation with artists from Diary Reworks – a reworking of various tracks from the album Diary by Michael Price out on 1631 Recordings this Friday (27 July). We are very excited to share this collaborative interview with all of the artists on Diary Reworks answering the following questions …

 

What was your approach to reworking your track from Diary?

Do you take as much pleasure in reworking music compared to composing it yourself?

What is the meaning of music for you?

 

The artists are as follows; Michael A. Muller, Library Tapes, Dmitry Evgrafov, Sophie Hutchings, Madeleine Cocolas, Julia Kent, Akira Kosemura and Marco Caricola. We hope you enjoy this interview as much as we have putting it together.

 

What was your approach to reworking your track from Diary?

 

Library Tapes: Since I run the label that released Diary as well as these reworks I had been listening quite a bit to those tracks, and very early on when I was trying to figure out what track I wanted to rework. I felt that the pieces “When Rivers Run” and “I see” would work well together, so I took parts from both of these tracks and mixed them into one new piece – “When rivers run I see”.

 

 

Dmitry Evgrafov: When I was invited to participate I knew that a few other very talented pianists would contribute their pieces, also seeing that Diary is a solo piano album I had a strong feeling that the most common approach for the rework album would be making some sort of piano-based pieces, so I wanted to make something different. I previously associated and knew Michael Price mainly as a film composer, therefore I decided to make something that could make sense as a score for a non-existing movie with it’s lush orchestral vibe and subtle electronic melodies.

 

 

Sophie Hutchings: I love the organic beauty of these graceful pieces of Michaels.. They also feel very bare and raw.  I really wanted to keep that element the same yet infuse my musical persona into it so that the melody was Michaels’ but the signature my own.  It was a matter of working out the piece and then naturally allowing the ‘you’ element of it to take over, then press record….

 

 

Julia Kent: Michael Price’s “True Is,” from “Diary,” is such a beautiful piece: at once fragile and strong, perfectly balanced between melody and atmosphere. I chose to deconstruct it in a minimal way, processing the original piano and adding just a few cello notes that breathe along with it. I was trying to create something that was almost like a memory of the music: distant and dreamlike.

 

                                                                                                                                                                                                               

Marco Caricola: I loved the original “A Birthday” for its tenderness and warmth. There is a bittersweet feeling in revisiting old memories that has always fascinated me, so I wanted to explore that for the occasion. My overall thematic idea for the rework was to move in contrasting waves until a peaceful, final resolution. Naturally, this drew me towards a string ensemble, which can produce those dynamics so well. I went on and learned the original piece until I could improvise on its lines comfortably. That allowed me to isolate melodic shapes and phrases which then became the building blocks of my new arrangement – there’s a lot of cool stuff you can pick apart from a tune once you get a hold of it structurally! Obviously, I make it sound super smooth, but it all came to be through heaps of trials and errors.

 

 

Akira Kosemura: I’m always doing the same approach to reworking project. That’s to find the core of the song very carefully and make it to be better by my own way. In this time, I used many Michael’s piano to edit but the main codes are left as it is. I contrasted the beautiful codes with the abstract textures by my own way.

 

 

Michael A. Muller: Two things that can easily entangle and eventually delay any creative process I’ve been a part of is 1 – having too many options and 2 – the tendency to overthink one’s instincts. I initially chose the track that spoke the loudest to me upon my first listen through the original material. From there, I pressed an intentional goal to follow through with the first feeling that arose without stopping for any analyzing during the process. Holding fast to those few limitations seemed truest and most pure as an honest reaction and recapitulation of the original work.

 

                                               

 

Madeleine Cocolas: I loved Michael’s original track, “Song for A”, and wanted to keep his original recording in my rework, rather than completely reinterpret or re-record the piece.  After experimenting with a few different options and trying some things out, I sped up the original track and edited it to create the structure I wanted. I then injected some of my own elements by adding a chord progression and melody to underpin the existing solo piano. I played around with different textures by using synthesizers and my vocals to create a layered, dreamy and ethereal take on Michael’s original solo piano piece.

 

 

 

Do you take as much pleasure in reworking music compared to composing it yourself?

 

Michael A. Muller: This is the first rework I’ve ever composed, though I have commissioned many reworks and remixes from other artists of my own music over the years. Original composition and reworking an existing piece of music are seemingly two totally distinct pleasures. Reworking material has a lovely and quiet energy from the visceral restructuring of the known form of a piece. But that deep bond to an original composition from inception through to full growth as an artist is quite empowering and difficult to surmount.

                                                                                                                                         Michael A. Muller                                                                                                                   Dmitry Evgrafov

Julia Kent: I really enjoy having the opportunity to do reworks and remixes: It’s always so inspiring to approach the music of other people and try to enter their creative world.

Library Tapes: When I make my own music it’s because I feel a need to do so, and when I do a remix it would most of the time be because I was asked to do it, so it’s a lot different. But remixing/reworking can be lots of fun, and my aim is to end up with a piece that feels like my own work in a way.

Dmitry Evgrafov: Certainly! Like any other composer or generally any other artist I subconsciously cling to the same workflow paths which lie within my comfort zone: I use chords that I have already used, I use instruments that I know will work for me and that will sit in a mix perfectly, I place my fingers on the keyboard the same way I have hundreds of times before. All that is happening because of the natural desire to minimise the risk and time, but also because the imminent fear of the unknown that never got away even after a decade of composing music myself. When an opportunity to break down and recompose a piece of music by someone else comes it is like gaining access to a new set of tools that I never used before, it definitely brings a special kind of inspiration and curiosity:  “Why did he use this chord here?”, “how can I use that?”, “that’s something new for me, I wonder what the thinking was behind that?”.                                                                                                                               

Sophie Hutchings: Composing my own music is more instinctive and comes more naturally… With a re-work the origination starts  differently because you’re not creating something from scratch, I find it’s an interesting creative passageway from taking something that’s not yours and producing a flavour of your own.

 

Sophie Hutchings

 

Madeleine Cocolas: Reworking music feels different to composing something from scratch, yet is still very satisfying to me. It’s an interesting experience to have the starting point of a composition pre-determined, and it’s sometimes nice not to be faced with a blank manuscript. I really enjoy the process of playing around with an original track that is not something I would ordinarily write myself, and turning it into something completely different.

Akira Kosemura: These are very different things for me. I cannot compare them but both are always very interesting. And actually, reworking music is mostly fun for exploring but the composing music is more complex, sometimes it’s tough and painful. Like a life is.

Marco Caricola: Absolutely, yes! Honestly, I believe that all we do is a constant subconscious rework. So being commissioned one does not feel restrictive to me. It just limits the pool of source material you can draw from, making the process a bit more conscious. I love to express my feelings towards the original piece when recomposing. Usually, however, that leads me to something sounding very different. I guess I romanticise things to an extreme? I am not sure if it makes me good or bad at the process.

 

Akira Kosemura

What is the meaning of music for you?

 

Sophie Hutchings: Music is another gateway of expression…. It has an incredibly powerful essence that draws a responsiveness from deep within. There’s a sensibility to music that you really can’t compare with anything else..  The unique thing to me about music is it changes the way we feel and experience so many things in life.. From watching a movie, to driving on a scenic road, to drinking a glass of wine & more.. It’s an asset to feeding our imagination.. When there’s music beside anything in life it changes the way we perceive things…

Michael A. Muller: Music is the never-silent, invisible thread that courses through all life. It breathes and speaks what words and gestures cannot. It is a wholly central aspect spanning the entire spectrum of human emotion.

Madeleine Cocolas: Music is absolutely integral to me.  I understand that music means different things to different people. To me, what I love most about composing music is the ability to capture a feeling and revisit it at a later point in time. Music can have a very strong feeling of nostalgia and can have such a strong ability to trigger memories. I find the process of composing music to be truly cathartic and satisfying.

Julia Kent: For me, music is communication. Whether directly, in front of an audience, or indirectly, through this sort of creative collaboration, it’s a way to transmit emotion and the things that can’t be expressed with words.

Dmitry Evgrafov: Ohh, that’s a tough question. Coincidentally, I find myself being completely lost at this point in my musical path. All I can say for now is that for me music is sort of a language that my thoughts and heart speak. Sometimes.

Marco Caricola: I can’t really say. Personally, it feels like a place. Often a lonely one, for sure. Being able to access it is an invaluable privilege, but you must learn to live with it. It’s easy to get drowned in the stream of thoughts, detaching from what’s happening around you. I mostly write to channel feelings towards specific things affecting my life. An encounter, a memory, a break-up. I compose to impress, remember or exorcise them. Either way, music is the space that I reach to converse with these thoughts.

Library Tapes: Just as there’s no easy answer to the question “What’s the meaning of life”, there’s no easy answer to this, however, with the risk of sounding corny, I’d argue that one of the meanings of life would be music. In one way or another I’ve worked with music for almost 20 years now, and it has always been a major part of my life for as long as I can remember, and I can’t imagine what life would be like without it.

 

Library Tapes
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Pictured above: Marco Caricola, Madeleine Cocolas, Julia Kent
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Tracklist
  1. Ink On Paper (Michael A. Muller Rework)
  2. When Rivers Run I See (Library Tapes Rework)
  3. Ink On Paper (Dmitry Evgrafov Rework)
  4. I Will, For You (Sophie Hutchings Rework)
  5. Song for A (Madeleine Cococlas Rework)
  6. True Is (Julia Kent Rework)
  7. To Begin (Akira Kosemura Rework)
  8. A Birthday (Recomposed by Marco Caricola)

 

Stream Michael Price’s Diary here –

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If you’re interested further in the question ‘What is the meaning of music for you?‘, watch this video by Adam Neely recommended to us by Dmitry. It’s a very interesting watch and is entertaining and educational.
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