In conversation with Hauschka, we discuss his ‘A Different Forest’ album, scoring for film, upcoming soundtracks, his studio & more..

Interview Questions by Matt Emery


Hi Volker, thanks for taking time out of your busy schedule to speak to us. Congrats on you new album ‘A Different Forest’. I’ve found it one of those albums that can really take you off to a different more beautiful place or mind space. Can you tell us some more about the album and did you envisage a forrest or natural elements when composing the album? 

I actually did not think concrete about the forrest but I had a feeling while I was in the studio, that the record somehow represents an inner feeling of being a part of nature and I think it is also an homage to the time that we live on this earth which is a microscopical part of the history of our planet but it seems like we sometimes loose the relation to this small part.

Do you have a clear vision of what you would like an album or new project to sound like before starting or does the vision and sound find you?

I think you need something that pushes you forward but on the other side you need to stay relaxed and open for new things to happen. To find the balance in a creative process depends on many little details like the surrounding in where you record or the day time when you record.

So when I make a plan for a record I am actually ready to always throw the plan in the bin and follow a new road that is just starting to unfold that and might go in the total opposite direction.

This album see’s you putting your known prepared piano sound to one side and really concentrating on the natural piano sound. Was there any reason behind this? Or was it influenced by recent film and tv scores also without prepared piano playing a part?

No my very first record substantial has not much of a prepared piano and I also did a record as a small additional release called „I close my eyes“. So my idea was to actually be more flexible with sound.

I think when you are connected to a speciality and you have success with it there are two ways of planning the next steps. You either stick to the successful concept as usual, which can be a little bit boring, or you can do a sell out or you start exploring new approaches and which can be risky, but much more fun.

I believe in inner growth and the purpose for being on earth is for me to learn and grow and use the time to explore.

The album is released with Sony Classical. You’ve worked with some great labels over the years like Fat Cat and City Slang, but how did you come by working with Sony?

I was always leveling out if there is a chance of releasing a pure piano record on an indie label and I had the feeling it is difficult to get the same attention as for the experimental records.

I also wanted to find a home for my compositions for quartett and orchestra. So the logical consequence was to see if a classical label might be interested.

You’ve certainly made quite a mark within the Film and TV industry for your soundtracks being nominated for an Academy Award,  Golden Globe and Bafta. Is this an area you’ve always seen your music moving in to?

It was already a wish to compose music for film when I was a teenager but I never had the option ….. cause I had no connection at all to people who worked in film business so it was hard for me to explore.

It took me nearly 30 years to get into a territory in which I felt that I could work more on film and now I am inhaling it. I also see a chance to work more from home instead of always being in the need to go on tour.

I think a mix of both territories are healthy ….. I can also have a break in the record releases and think a little longer about new ideas.

I know your in the midst of several high profile film scores at the moment, can you tell us bit more about what your currently working on?

I just completed an american film called „The Art of Racing in the Rain“ by Simon Curtis, which I did with my colleague and friend Dustin O’Halloran and I just finished an 8 episode series called „The Name of the Rose“.

At the moment I work on a BBC series „Dublin Murders“ and a beautiful english film called „Summerland“.

Can you tell us a bit more about your studio setup? How does it feel to be able to get up and make music everyday for a living?

It feels definitely awesome but that was a long time also possible without a studio.

But having a grand piano and all the mics and technical requirements you need for making good piano recordings is very helpful and it feels like I was always dreaming of recording music in an adequate quality that it can go straight on a record.

And finally what advice would you give to any other aspiring or upcoming composers?

I would say: Continue to make experiences, find people you can learn from and who are, in your eyes, the best in a certain category and see if you can learn from them.

Keep in mind that you have to wait until the time and your plans are aligning.