For the CASIO Notes, we booked the most promising gigmit acts on the piano – in this case, the Celviano Grand Hybrid GP-510 – and talked to them about the art of composition, good piano sound, and personal details of their creative work. We are very pleased to present ROMAN ROFALSKI and SASHA BARKOVSKAYA!
If her music has the same effect on the brain as defragmentation has on a computer, Sasha Barkovskaya has achieved her goal. The film composer and musician with a classical background likes to explore different possibilities of an instrument by experimenting with extended techniques or modifying acoustic sounds into electronic-like soundscapes or rhythmic patterns.
gigmit: Sasha, at what point are you a composer?
SASHA BARKOVSKAYA: I started playing the piano at the age of seven and wrote my first composition at the age of eight. It was a short piano piece called ‘A song about mom’. I still remember it and the extended vocal version of this song will be on one of my future albums.
Structure plays a big role in your music.
When I have an idea for a new composition I often first see the music, as a kind of architectural draft, before I hear it. Since my childhood, I’ve been playing around with these structures in my mind while playing, composing, or listening to music. Structures in music are very similar to structures and patterns in a language. And of course, music is a language too. Communication, expression are some important purposes of any language, but another very important one is that our brain uses language for structuring the world/the information we perceive. I pay a lot of attention to structures in my music, and the balance or interplay between chaos and order, so I hope sometimes my music can affect the brain in a similar way defragmentation affects computers.
What do you want for artists and the music industry?
My wish both for artists and the industry is to support diversity. The task for an artist, in this case, is to stay true to their own voice or intuition – no matter whether it goes with the current trends, against them, or is outside of any trend. The task for the industry, in this case, is to take some risks, not only try to replicate the same successfully working model but support the authenticity, the individuality of artists. I feel there is a need for more variety in all niches, genres in the music industry nowadays.
Berlin-based pianist Roman Rofalski is one of the few musicians who are just as devoted to playing classical music as making modern jazz. You can hear the need for change in the compositions of this curious musician.
gigmit: Roman, in which genre are you at home?
ROMAN ROFALSKI: Since my earliest youth, I have ventured into almost all musical fields and tried out everything. Since then I have been searching and always curious to try myself out in new musical fields. I think you can hear this need to change in my music.
What hurdles do creatives like you face in the process?
Finding your own musical language was a long process – a path with many curves. When you grow up and don’t have any role models from the artistic field in your immediate environment, it’s very difficult to find your way around and establish yourself in it. You have to find your way, persevere. When I was 20 years old, I would never have thought it possible that I would one day be on stage with my own music and earn my money with it.
The music market has changed massively in recent years…
Yes, in this universal availability and consumption of music, a way must be found to pay artists adequately for their work. Art is not free! I can only recommend musicians: Be willing to experiment! Dare to do new things and don’t repeat yourself! Keep going!