Could you take us through a day in your life, from a possible morning routine through to your work? Do you have a fixed schedule? How do music and other aspects of your life feed back into each other - do you separate them or instead try to make them blend seamlessly?
In the morning my kids wake me up. I try Managing to feed them and bring one of them to the kindergarten. Then I go to my studio. When I get there I make a coffee while listening to a record. Mostly I don’t have much time so listen only to one side. Then, I check and repl to emails and work on some other things that can be done only in the studio. Things that can be done later at home get put later. I do some stretch and warm-up and practice basics on vibraphone for about half an hour. Having short breaks in between, I practice for a concert or work on new songs etc. Have a lunch in the studio and back to work again. Around 16:00, I pick up a kid from kindergarten and take care of the kids and play with them and do household things and feed them. After the kids have gone to bed (around 9 pm) I work on remaining emails and some other paper work and take a shower. Around 0:00 have a glass of wine or beer and go to bed.
I try to separate music and my daily life as much as possible. There is a street on the way to my studio where I cycle through only when I go to the studio. Every time I come there I try to switch my brain to music mode. Trying to get things from daily life off my head, some stress and small problems etc, and try to think about what to do and set up a brief schedule for the studio today (which is not always successful).
I have three kids and can’t use all of my time for music. So I have to be efficient (which often fails).
Could you describe your creative process on the basis of a piece or album that's particularly dear to you, please? Where did the ideas come from, how were they transformed in your mind, what did you start with and how do you refine these beginnings into the finished work of art?
The title track of my new album ‘Book of Life’ (which will be released on the 27th July) is kind of special for me. All of my songs have a story behind them and they are mostly about nature or animals. But this song is about humans. Also other songs are composed and fixed but this song is half improvised and I play freely. I wanted to make a song using faint sounds with texture, or noises that the vibraphone makes which give texture to the sound. In the process of searching sounds I scratched a vibraphone bar with the end of a cello bow like writing something and it gave me an image of writing a book. Around the same time a dear friend couple of mine got married and those things connected to each other and gave me the image of ‘two people were born, met and lived together and write a book of life together’. And it became the story of the song. The song evolved from that image too. Music and story interacted with each other.
There are many descriptions of the ideal state of mind for being creative. What is it like for you? What supports this ideal state of mind and what are distractions? Are there strategies to enter into this state more easily?
Getting into the creative state of mind doesn’t have to happen only in the studio. I often listen back to sketch recordings of ideas in different places and at different times. For instance, in a bus or train, while I walk, sitting on a bench in a park drinking a beer in the evening, or in bed before I sleep. A good idea often comes at those moments and I take notes. I can listen to the song more clearly or objectively with fresh ears and mind. Sometimes I even go out just for that purpose, too.
In the studio there are moments from time to time where you feel creative and come up with an interesting idea or find a good sound. It flows and sometimes forms into a song. I try to capture those sounds in good quality and if possible try to finish a rough version of the piece right away.
Anxiety, anger or stress disturb the creative mind so I try not to have those or if I have it I try to forget about it at least in the studio. It’s not easy, though. So I try to solve problems as soon as possible.
How is playing live and writing music in the studio connected? What do you achieve and draw from each experience personally? How do you see the relationship between improvisation and composition in this regard?
The time of composing in studio is the time to go deep into the song and yourself, to deepen and enrich the song by taking a lot of time. Playing live is the time where you can deliver your music directly to the audience and have them experience your music and world. It’s a one of the biggest destinations of my music activity.
Besides concerts, releasing albums to have listeners listen to my music alone, and having other people play my music by themselves are the other important goals of my music. These are the different ways of delivering my music and letting them feel it.
The other aspect of concerts is that you can get a direct reaction from the audience and meet people face to face and talk to them. You can really feel that there are people who appreciate your music and it gives you self-confidence. That experience really helps you especially when you are not sure about what you do and if you've lost confidence. Also it makes you more honest about your art.
Talking about my music-making process improvisation is the beginning of making a song and composition is the process after that, until I finish the song. Sometimes I develop a song with improvising, too. I want to have both the spark of the first improvisation and the richness that can be achieved through the brushing up process of composition.
How do you see the relationship between the 'sound' aspects of music and the 'composition' aspects? How do you work with sound and timbre to meet certain production ideas and in which way can certain sounds already take on compositional qualities?
Sound is a part of composition. This applies more to harmony than to melody, I think. In that context a music written on a certain instrument can not be reproduced on other instrument as beautifully and meaningfully as the original because every instrument has its own overtones, timbre and sound. For instance a song written on a vibraphone doesn’t make sense or sound as good on the piano. Maybe it sounds nice sometimes. But it’s not as good.
Our sense of hearing shares intriguing connections to other senses. From your experience, what are some of the most inspiring overlaps between different senses - and what do they tell us about the way our senses work? What happens to sound at its outermost borders?
I think our senses of seeing and hearing have a lot of connections both in good and bad ways. Sometimes visuals interrupt our perception of sound while listening to music. Maybe it's just because the visuals affect the perception of sound and when they fit together well, it amplifies both of their beauty. But when they don’t fit, it bothers the music.
You can’t really think about each sense separately. All the senses are deeply connected to each other, I think.
Art can be a purpose in its own right, but it can also directly feed back into everyday life, take on a social and political role and lead to more engagement. Can you describe your approach to art and being an artist?
I want to give some effect to people’s way of thinking and way of seeing things with my music. Concretely, humans should recognise themselves as a part of nature and return to nature. It may sound silly to address that I want to do it with music, but that’s how I actually feel. Otherwise it feels boring just to make another nice song while there thousands of great songs have been written for hundreds of years. I don’t feel this way if others are doing it but for myself and my music I feel that way. I would like to make a song that will remain and be listened to after I die. Meaningful music. I know I think too much.
It is remarkable, in a way, that we have arrived in the 21st century with the basic concept of music still intact. Do you have a vision of music, an idea of what music could be beyond its current form?
Music is a very primitive thing and as long as the music exists for humans, this basic concept of music will stay the same, I think. Of course it may change and adapt its form along new technologies, new ways of life and style. But eventually, people’s needs for music will not change that much unless humans change drastically.