An interview with Nils Frahm

German multi-instrumentalist and composer Nils Frahm has been garnering fantastic review for his latest Album ‘Felt’ which is an exploration of microscopic and delicate sounds.  His live show is best described as unflinchingly terrific. Nils is in town on the 22nd November and I caught up with him to ask him  a few questions.
 You’ve been playing piano from a very early age. What first drew you the instrument?

i had a piano sitting at my parents house. my mum used to play it. i was fascinated by how “easy” it was to get some decent sounds out of it. it just “talked” to me.

but i loved the drums even more.

For the uninitiated how would you describe your musical style?

heartfelt instrumental music maybe? i am not sure. i usually say that i am playing the piano and i am NOT singing. there is improvisation involved.

You’ve collaborated with a variety of artists from Efterklang to Peter Broderick. How do you view the process of making music with different artists and do you feel its a rewarding experience?
yes, it is a very good experience. when you meet with people you have more fun than being alone. that is in the nature of being social. i read somewhere the you laugh 60 times more in company. when you laugh out loud by yourself then you are usually on the edge of loosing your mind, right? no seriously, the fastest way to learn things about music is to work with other musicians.

You’ve founded Durton studios, do you find the creative freedom this gives you liberating?

it totally gives me liberty. the fact that i can engineer myself and get the sounds i want is important to me, since i dont make a difference between song and sound. or composition and sound. it is all one for me and all equally important.

i always knew that i need my own laboratory to work in the way i want to. my studio is like an instrument, maybe similar as kind tubby would have described it.
Congratulations on “Felt”, its in my opinion a magnificent album. Its oft remarked how different the recording process was, would you like to tell us a little about how that came about?

first of all i wanted to work on the record at home and the only piano i have is my kawai. not a very special instrument, but mine sounds surprisngly amazing and bass heavy. especially when you use the moderator felt between hammers and strings to dampen the sound. i felt inspired by that sound in the first place and therefore started to compose just for that sound. on the other hand it is not ok to play loud piano music at night in my apartment, so the only way to work in late hours, the time i am usually most productive, is to use the damper.

 Lastly, what can your Irish audience expect from the upcoming live shows?

me giving all i got!


Nils plays the Half Moon Theatre Cork on the 22nd November, tickets are 20 euro

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