Interviste | Pubblicato il 25 gennaio 2015
[Interviste]: The Greatest Hoax
A cura di: Nicola Orlandino
The Greates Hoax è un pianista proveniente da Washington. Il suo vero nome è Taylor Jordan. Vi avevamo fatto ascoltare ”Opus No. 21” e “Opus No. 24” che mettevano in evidenza la suggestiva fusione fra trama neoclassica e linee ambientali. Lo abbiamo contattato tramite email per un approfondimento sulla sua musica.
Your music starts from classical roots and your last tracks (Opus no. 21 and Opus no. 24) had also ambient features. What is the importance of the concept of contamination in your music now and for evolution of your music?
I am a classical pianist. So from a very early age, I was exposed to the rigors and rules of classical music theory and song structure. These methods have been so ingrained in my head that it is often difficult to deviate from the patterns of what is theoretically correct. More recently, I have incorporated more alternative approaches to compositional structure, and I now embrace ambient sounds that add their own texture, structure, and provide a place to mix in classical methodology.
As for evolution, there exists and increasingly popular subgenre of classical music that incorporates synthetic textures, those besides piano, that are used to add richness and character to pieces. My latest pieces, Opus no. 21 and no. 24, incorporate abnormal and ambient sounds that take the place of some of the more classical timbres, such as piano. I think this style makes a piece more dynamic instead of the traditional static nature of piano solos. It is more colorful for the ears.
What are your classical and non-classical reference points for inspiration of your music?
My classical reference points stem from my love of classical music. Chopin, Beethoven, Debussy, Rachmaninov, these composers stretch various points in classical music eras. In more modern terms within classical music, composers such as Yann Tiersen, or even Dustin O’Halloran have a place in my writing and inspiration. Within the non-classical reference, artists such as early Sigur Ros and early Godspeed! You Black Emperor were groundbreaking in terms of incorporating ambient sounds and non-traditional song structures, yet still involving classical elements. These types of artists opened my eyes to structure beyond what I learned in my classical training.
On your facebook page, I found this line “Pianist and Scientist“. What about the role of science is relative to your way to conceive music?
What I appreciate about science is that it is pure. It is not weighed down with unnecessary clutter, things that distract from its meaning and conclusions. For instance, the name, The Greatest Hoax, is a reference to the climate change debate. The issue of climate change has become increasingly politicized over time, yet it will always remain an issue of science first.
I hold music in a similar light. At least in most forms. Music is something that is pure, and regardless of what meaning is inferred or placed upon it, it always remains a pure form of art. For instance, piano solos are transparent and reveal only what is present. There are no hidden messages or meanings, you are free to think what you want, until somebody tells you what they feel, which immediately changes your perspective. So in this way, music and science are similar things in my mind.
Also, the simple phrase you are referring to depicts who I am. I am a pianist, and I am a scientist. These two things are my life and comprise basically all of my time.
“ Opus no. 21” and “Opus no. 24” will be part of a full album? Is there any idea about a full-lenght?
Yes, I am currently completing a set of songs to be released as an EP. The EP is entitled ensō. This will be coming out in 2015. These tracks are much more refined and expansive than the original two volumes of piano solos I released in 2014.
I get anxious sitting on completed tracks for an extended period of time. That is why I appreciate smaller length albums that are able to be published at a quicker pace than longer records. So if everything works out, I would like to put out a few EPs in 2015.
What about live shows? What places do you prefer to play and what is the difference compared to composition phase? Do You like improvisation?
I have yet to play a live set of my original music. I am currently tinkering with how to best present a live show since my new material is more involved than just piano solo. I am looking forward to figuring this out and am excited to start playing shows soon in 2015.
I have always played piano in many settings, from parties, to weddings, receptions, and concerts. To be honest, I almost appreciate being the background noise instead of the focal point. It allows me to feel more comfortable with the flow of the music and not pressure me hurry up with song movements.
I am not a huge fan of improvisation, though there is a place for it even in post-classical music. This type of improvisation is different than what is used in jazz. You can take your section of chords, and slightly change the melody on top, but its not like completely rewriting chords that work on top of your original chords, or modulating. Its perhaps a more simplistic form of improvisation that is more gentle on the ears, still conveying the emotion you want. Nils Frahm has done some great work with using improvisation in this genre over the years throughout his live sets. I think he has successfully utilized basic improvisation methods and opened up the genre to move beyond rigid classical structure.
What about soundtracks composition? It can be a field of interest for your project? How the visual aspects had influence on your music?
I am very interested in providing soundtrack compositions. Visual aspects can provide greater context for the emotion the artist wishes to convey. At this moment, I have no plans to provide compositions to soundtracks, but am very much open to composing for visual projects. Tell your friends!
Last Question. Can you suggest, to our readers, 2014 albums that you appreciated?
There were a number of albums I spent some time with last year that were really really good. Here are a few that I specifically admire:
1. A Winged Victory for the Sullen – Atomos
2. Kyle Bobby Dunn – Kyle Bobby Dunn and the Infinite Sadness
3. Andy Stott – Faith In Strangers
4. Otto a Totland – Pinф
5. Saåad – Deep/Float