It was interesting the other day over on Song by Toad to read people discussing the new Eluvium record, which I, like others on that site, am really looking forward to getting my hands on. Modern classical music has become a major part of my world in the last 3 or 4 years. It’s funny, when you start up the piano you are forced into the world of classical music, whether you like it or not. Most piano teachers will make you play classical pieces. Most exams are based on classical compositions. One way or another you have to learn to play classical. It’s understandable really given the technical skills that such pieces of music teach you. However, it was something I grew tired of. I got bored of playing this music that I didn’t listen to in my spare time. I wanted to play things that I loved, not things that the person teaching me loved. Obviously, they were not teaching me these pieces for this reason, they were teaching me the skills involved in playing such pieces, but I didn’t see this, nor want to see this, at the time. So I rebelled, and I gave up. By 16 I’d given up piano lessons and the piano remained untouched for some time as I focused on learning the bass guitar. It was only later, when I started to want to write songs that I ventured back to the piano. We’re talking years. Maybe 3 or 4 that my mum and dad’s piano was a stranger to me. I didn’t want to know it. Then things changed. My musical tastes changed and I started to add piano parts to early Kays tunes. I started to try and write songs too. Slowly I stopped playing bass and focused solely on piano and here we are today.
Another massive changing point in the world of the Kays though would, without doubt, be when I let classical music back into my life. I started listening to Ludovico Einaudi having heard ‘Le Onde’ on Classic FM. I was hooked. Simple, minimalist piano and strings. It was beautiful. Slowly but surely I started to discover other musicians like this. Olafur Arnalds, as people who read this site will know, is one of my favourites. But then you have Johann Johannsson, Max Richter, Eluvium and more. And now, having spent the day with Fraser recording the solo EP yesterday, I have much, much more. So this week is going to be all about immersing myself in a whole batch of artists I’ve never heard before and reporting back to you about my finds. It’s very exciting. And it’s going to put me in the right mind set for starting work on new Kays tunes. The debut record is finished, so it’s time to get my head back into the process of building a collection of songs for the future. Nothing prepares me for this better than listening to classical music. It’s funny how I’ve come full circle but I find myself listening to this stuff more and more. It just inspires me more than anything else. So yes, prepare yourself for a week of bleak, minimalist and classical tunes here at The Steinberg Principle.