Photo Credit: Dylan M. Austin
Khyaam Haque is a pianist and composer based out of Chicago, Illinois. He primarily composes classical, new age, and electronic music. In 2016, Khyaam released his first album ‘Sonorous Laments For A Future Past‘, an album with minimalist arrangements and elegance. In conversation with Khyaam we talk about his musical background, influences and what music means to him.
Hi Khyaam, we hope you’re well. Could you tell us about yourself please, what’s your musical background?
I am an artist and composer based out of Chicago, who primarily composes classical, new age, and electronic music. I started off in music at age 11, originally taking classical guitar lessons while growing up in Guadalajara, Mexico during most of my childhood. When I moved to Chicago, that later transitioned into playing electric guitar; Playing in a couple metal and post-rock bands during high school. It wasn’t until I went to Columbia College Chicago for audio production & design where I started experimenting more with producing electronic music, recording, and shaping my skills as a pianist and composer.
What are you up to, in terms of your music, at the moment?
I’m currently writing and recording my next full-length album entitled “Minutiae Of An Iridescent Mind” – a concept album that follows the passing thoughts of a character whose unconscious mind and conscious mind is split into two halves. Throughout the album, the character is on a journey of self discovery, with plenty of obstacles to overcome. Towards the end of the album, the character discovers how to make the two minds converge into one. Feeling wholeness and happiness, the character then passes into the afterlife. The album’s content has a little bit of everything really – a mixture of piano, classical guitar, electronic/synthesized sounds, field recording, and even some vocals.
Stream Khyaam’s albums here –
Do you have any musical influences? If so, who and why?
During my childhood, my father was always listening to different styles of music in the morning as I would wake up. He was a big fan of ECM Records, including New Age musicians like Stephan Micus, Deuter, and Yanni. Growing up with those types of musicians, I found that it really played a major part in how I approach the music I write today. I’m also very influenced by a lot of film music composers such as Ennio Morricone, Gustavo Santaolalla, and Ryuichi Sakamoto. Alternatively, if you’re in a car with me you will probably hear a lot of rap, electronic music, and Queen. These types of artists influence me because they are like the soundtrack to my life – their music adds depth to my personal life. It has the ability to make moments of my own life experiences incredibly cinematic and memorable. Somewhere in that space is where the inspiration lives.
Photo Credit: Dylan M. Austin
What artists or albums are you really enjoying at the moment?
I’m currently really enjoying the soundtrack to the film “The Shape Of Water” by Alexandre Desplat, GoGo Penguin’s most recent album “A Humdrum Star”, and the “Musas” Volumes I and II by Natalia Lafourcade.
What do you find about your work that has meaning?
One of my favorite things is when people listen to my music and it makes them recall a time, place, or period in their life that they find personally significant. I’ve always been a big fan of storytelling, so when people come to me and tell me these moments in their life, its rewarding to know that my music can bring them back to that place and help them relive those memories, yet also place my imagination somewhere I can’t bring myself. Alternatively, I find a lot of meaning in the fact that I discover a lot about myself during the process of creating music.
Do you have a studio set up or composing set up? Could you tell us a little bit about it please.
Yes! My studio setup is essentially the bedroom in my condo, which I have converted into a creative space. I seem to resonate with the minimalist, “less is more” approach. Whenever I begin a new project, I like to put myself in a boundary of what instruments and gear I will use for it, as it helps make a project more cohesive. There are so many ways to make music now, so I find that this method makes the whole process less overwhelming. At the moment, if you walked in my space you would find a 1970 Kawai upright piano, a Yamaha MX88 synthesizer, a small collection of condenser microphones, a Cordoba classical guitar, AKAI midi controllers, and a studio desk with monitors. I also use a lot of plug-ins from Native Instruments, iZotope, Heavyocity, and others.
Have you got any new music coming out soon?
My goal is to release a couple singles during the holidays from my next full-length I’m currently recording. The full-length album release will follow shortly after that!