Good morning. We’re off on Monday.
It’s Friday so we’re listening to something more upbeat. Today we’re listening to Grandbrothers, a German duo from Düsseldorf. Grandbrothers consists of Erol Sarp, a German-Turkish pianist, and Lukas Vogel, a Swiss engineer. The two source all of their music from the piano, Sarp mainly playing and Vogel mainly processing the sound emitted. They use the whole animal: drum tracks are really thumps upon the exterior; synth pads are really heavily reverbed chords. We’re first playing the pair’s latest record, Late Reflections, which just came out this past April. It’s upbeat yet refined, a high-definition exploration of the piano’s sonic range. We’re also playing Open from 2017, an earlier effort that augered well of their immense talents. An interview with Erol of Grandbrothers follows the streaming links, and the group is currently on tour.
What is the first piano you remember?
I was six years old. That’s when I had my first lesson. I was a very small and shy boy entering the room, and there was this enormously large instrument. I was immediately attracted to it and fascinated by its volume. Until then I was only familiar with small toy kind of instruments.
What is a musical use of piano that is underrated?
This is now very common among more experimental pianists, but muting the strings with one’s palm or tape or patafix is something that’s really fun to play around with. Since a lot of people never open their piano lids, they don’t know about that possibility. You can play very cool, rhythmically complex staccato patterns. Once you have that, you can send it through effects like distortion and make it sound almost like a guitar.
What do you think of John Cage?
Pioneer and genius. He’s been a huge inspiration for us when we’re looking for new ways to play around with a piano. We learned a lot from his prepared piano stuff.
What musician has inspired you recently?
Lately I have taken some time to listen to more classical music. I’m trying to maintain a routine of listening to classical music for at least half an hour at the end of the day. So each day I try to familiarize myself with the work of one specific composer. Right now I’m hooked on Tchaikovsky’s 5th symphony.
When you're working on non-music stuff like emails or something, do you listen to music? If so, what would you recommend as good work music?
Most of the times I put on NTS radio or shows by Gilles Peterson. You never know what you’ll get, but that’s what makes it interesting and helps me discover new artists and music. Of course there’s always a risk of getting distracted and not finishing that email that you should have been answered long ago…
What musician from the past 50 years is underrated?
Jeff Waters – the mastermind behind Canadian thrash metal band Annihilator!
What non-musical artist has inspired you recently?
I’ve been reading all of Louise Penny’s books the last few last months. They’re about an inspector called Gamache who solves crimes in Montreal and its suburbs. It’s sparked an inner wish to one day go to Canada and explore all the beautiful landscapes that are described there so lovingly.
What are you working on next?
We just started working on our next album! It always takes some time to get the whole process rolling, but right now we have some ideas that we really like and that we’ll be continuing to develop once this tour is finished and we’re back home.