Tuesday 26 April 2011

Dustin O'Halloran Interview‏

"A self-taught pianist from the age of 7, Dustin O’Halloran’s personal histories give us some clue to the thickly-woven tapestries of his music: he has lived in LA (where he studied art at Santa Monica College and formed the much-adored Devics with Sara Lov), Italy (in the depths of rural Emilia Romagna) and Berlin. His arresting, heartbreaking music is as much an elegant exercise in nuance and grace as it is a pure, intuitive, personal expression – and here is where we see some explanation into Dustin’s quiet rise to notoriety and his continued ascension."

"Lumiere is a superb addition to O’Halloran’s growing catalogue and reputation. This release sits neatly alongside some great career highs already ticked off, including writing music for Sofia Coppola’s film Marie Antoinette (2006), William Olsen’s An American Affair (2010) and Drake Doremus' 2011 Sundance winner Like Crazy and performing at New York’s Guggenheim Museum’s Kandinsky’s retrospective for their 50th anniversary gala, and of course the two Piano Solos albums released by Bella Union in 2004 and 2006 respectively."

Listen | Dustin O'Halloran - Lumiere 2011 / Buy

Witch of these styles is Dustin O'Halloran, Neo Classic, Modern Classic, Classic and why ?

well I think its difficult to say some people call it Neo Classic but I prefer to call it contemporary music. I think its hard to define what classic means so I prefer to stay away from that term. But I guess people can call it what ever they want its the music that matters.

When did you started playing the piano ? was by influence of someone close or you just felt naturally attracted to it ?

I started with just a few years of piano lessons from the church organist when i was young. There always was an attraction to the instrument when I first heard someone play Chopin, that was the moment i think I knew I wanted to play and even compose. I started writing simple pieces pretty early on and even performed one at a recital when I was your. didn't play the piano much during my teenage years as I was moving around and didn't have access to a piano. I came back to it much later when I started my band Devics with singer Sara Lov. This is what brought me back to music and the piano.

What were the dreams of a childhood playing piano ? Did you had fantasies of becoming so famous and playing in big theaters ?

No not really Maybe my mother did, hehe? but I was very interested in playing when I was young actually I was pretty petrified to perform the piano live, its so different than being up there with a band, I felt completely naked and its not until just a few years ago I really felt comfortable to perform piano live.

Who were your heroes ? Name someone that had a deep impact in your live and why ?

I think I have always been wary about having heroes they can always disappoint you in some way. But I do have tremendous respect for some artists who I think influenced me by their singular visions. People like Stanley Kubrick, Brian Eno, Mark Rothko to name a few..

How you would describe your style if you would compare it with other composers like Sylvain Chauveau and Max Richter ?

I think what we all share in common is our sense of space and minimalism. But other than that I think we are quite different. But I do have a lot of respect for them both.

Would you say that "Lumiere" is on the borderline between Modern Classic and Classic and why ? Who are your major influences from the classic world ?

Perhaps this record is the closest I have come to the classical world. I had a really amazing and accomplished quartet that recorded with me ACME, and also its the most composed pieces I have done to date.
Some composers that have been an influence have could be Arvo Part, Gavin Bryars, Debussy, Messiaen, Bach, Erik Satie..

How far did your moving to Europe affected your compositions ?

I dont think I could ever have written this music with out my move to Europe. It effected it in so many ways. First because I had the time to focus on the piano compositions and also I found people that were inspiring around me, fellow collaborators. I think Europe is a better place for composers there is more support here for new music and you have so many amazing players and places to perform. The US is still really dominated by folk and rock music ( which I also love) but it makes it difficult for anything else to exist and thrive. I feel very at home in Europe.

You have collaborated with many musician and composers all over the years, witch one would say has influenced you the most ?

I have been lucky to work with some amazing artists working with Johann Johanssonn really made a strong impression on me and I truly think he is one of the great composers of our time. I also really enjoyed working with Mark Lanagen and Soulsavers on the last record his voice has this amazing lived in quality and to be able to create music with such a soulful singer is such a rare thing. I also had the chance to do a double piano concert with Hauschka in Berlin last year. We wrote some pieces for 2 pianos and performed it together. I think he is really wonderful and important artist right now he is never afraid to experiment and try new things.

For the simple fact that "Lumiere" is released in a record label like Fat Cat will always make "Lumiere" an outsider from the classical spectrum ?

I don't think so actually as this record is the first record that HAS been recognized by the classical press. So maybe there are some barriers starting to fall and more experimental labels are becoming important to the classical world. I think in general the classical world does not recognize composers until much later in their career even Philip Glass is still a bit of an outsider. But I think the most important thing is to just compose and let time decide.

"Like Crazy" the movie you have composed the OST has recently won a prize in the Sundance Film Festival, what are the main creative differences on composition between "Lumiere" and "Like Crazy" ?

Yes this was a big surprise for me to win this award as its a small independent film. Its very different writing for yourself than film. Perhaps the main difference is time. I really take my time with my own compositions and with film you usually only have a couple months to finish so much music. Also with my own work its a blank canvas everything you must start from scratch and really find something deep in yourself. Film work can also bring out things you would never do, which I like a lot as well. Its more of a collaboration so its just a really different way to work.

” A Winged Victory For The Sullen” with Adam Wiltzie from ” Stars of The Lid” is one of your most recent collaborations, What can we expect ?

Yes I am very proud of this record. We recorded in some amazing places Italy , Brussels, Berlin. The record will come out in late August on Kranky in the US and Erased Tapes in Europe. I would describe it as a mix of what we both do...and a study in minimalism. We recorded strings in the old DDR radio studios in Berlin, and piano in the west berlin at an old church. We really wanted to try to capture some real beautiful large acoustics its one of my favorite pianos I have ever recorded and Adam has this really amazing way of working with guitar. I think we compliment each other a lot musically and we both have a love of fine food and whiskey so a collaboration was inevitable!