Ryan David Dwyer is an instrumental pianist and lyrical song writer crossing many genres. He goes by the moniker of Harpazio from a Greek word that means, “Rapture”. His desire is to elevate people through the music/lyrics. Recently, I had an interview with this interesting artist who has also invented an original music learning curriculum. Learn everything below!!!
1 – Did your parents or the city you were raised in, heavily influence your decision to write music?
My parents never chose to learn an instrument. I grew up in a small suburb of Portland, Oregon and although Portland has an amazing music scene, I was more influenced by specific people in my religious network, than from a city. I’d say that my grandparents played a huge indirect role because one set on my dad’s set providing us with an organ, then my grandparents on my mother’s side provided us with an old saloon piano. Getting that 1890 saloon piano really inspired me to want to make music!
2 – Upon listening to your songs on SoundCloud, I noticed you are an artist with different skills. How did you develop your talents as a pianist, singer, and lyricist?
When I was 8 my family inherited an organ. A family friend of ours who plays by ear mesmerized me with his impressive abilities to play any song. I didn’t desire to play by ear as much as I desired to play really impressively. But the first approach I learned from him was through a number system, and eventually recognizing Chords written upon musical Staff. Note reading had zero appeal. Growing up in a religious environment, I’d get inspired to play songs I really liked. I’d practice the chords. Eventually, at the age of 12 I decided to write my own lyrics based on spiritual ideas and enjoyed trying to create fresh ways to play chords. At the age of 14 my parents signed me up for piano lessons with a teacher who plays multiple instruments. I brought in a song I wrote and it impressed him greatly. As the weeks progressed he noticed that I would not work on the note reading lessons. So he focused on Chord patterns and encouraged me to write more songs. Surprisingly though, I ended up practicing scales a lot. What I noticed is that putting forth the effort to learn scales opened up a huge door of possibilities for me that allowed me to “flow” between chord changes. Regarding my current lyrics vs those of my teenage years, I do my best to invest a lot of thought into deep meanings that can be said as simple as possible. Matching the feel of lyrics to the way the music is played has always been a priority for my compositions. A year ago I decided it’d be ok for me to develop my voice better. It has been challenging for me to compete against myself since my piano playing musicianship is much better than my singing. So I will be trying my best to improve my voice over time to be more prepared for singing my own songs publically.
3 – What’s the music style of your latest song? What is it about?
My latest lyrical song is about 2 months fresh. It was inspired through an album concept and a book I began writing called, “Romance Myths” which will go into great detail about all the various different definitions and expectations of relationships in society. The style is ironic because it is a rare song (for me to write) through which I use the same chord pattern throughout. Often I advise people to never use the same chord pattern repeated. What I do is repeat D Minor, B Flat, F Major, and C Major over and over again. I wanted to write the song to demonstrate that through creativity you can take something which is common and make it sound uncommon. I add color throughout by playing variations of the chords with very contrasting melodies. I also use octave playing a lot, for the intro and final scene of the song. Octaves give a unique power to a melody line. Also, I sneak a lot of 6th chords, suspended chords, and chords over chords – such as C Major over E in the bass line. The actual title is called, “Missing You Now”. It describes many various feelings of missing someone and the longing to resolve the feelings by moving on.
4 – In your book, ‘You’ve Had The Keys All Along’ you write that people learn to play piano and write their own songs. How does this book differ from others?
I’ve never seen a music curriculum designed with songwriting as the main emphasis. There are hundreds of courses that teach how to write songs but they are normally tailored and based from the assumption that the student already knows how to play an instrument. Yet learning to play an instrument does not guarantee that the learner is prepared to write their own music. Being trained to read notes means that one is trained to regurgitate knowledge, not innovate. In the book, I point out the irony that all Classical Era musicians were songwriters. But if you were to interview piano teachers who are members of official music teacher associations and inquire if they write their own songs, you’d likely be surprised out how few actually do. And then you could ask them how many students they teach to write, and you may end up with a similar small statistic. So there is a great question to ask, “When in history did the excitement to teach songwriting die?” But with my music curriculum Key Identity AccessTM, we approach learning piano from an entirely different viewpoint than even that of historical note reading. We assert that the best way to learn to play music is naturally, that is, similar to how we all learned a language. First, we learned to speak, then we embraced reading and writing. Therefore, we encourage non-judgmental “speaking” of music, which leads to natural song composition. Babies experiment with words; therefore, why not encourage experimenting with sounds while learning all the necessary basics of music?
5 – What inspired you to write this book?
Since note reading teaches you to play other people’s creativity then it is automatically not favorable toward helping someone express their own originality. Writing the book is a wake-up call to shed unnecessary obstacles that prevent being oneself. This approach is radical and the book was written in order to make an impact on society by encouraging people to use their musical learning as a tool to be and become who they are, instead of the opposite. About a year before writing the book I had signed up for email lists online to be trained on how to write a book fast and also identifying one’s motive for writing one. I’ve always enjoyed writing since elementary school but I was always under the impression that a book takes a very long time to finish. What I learned recently was that if you have a topic you know you’re an expert on, then you already have all the necessary content to write a book. The next step is to organize how you want the content to be explained and revealed. I wanted to clearly set my company apart by giving the background behind the meaning of our name, “Key Identity Access”. We are access to all the keys of the piano. With a note reading approach all the keys of the piano are not accessible equally. What this means is that you have to learn the differences between sharps and flats by recognizing those symbols on a page. We get rid of all abstract symbols and form a bridge between abstract and concrete learning. Our bridge is the use of the 12 colors in the color wheel, consistently associated with the same keys. Also, the diagrams are very vivid and often show the recommended fingers to play. I have been told by many adults that they quit piano but wish they had not. In the book I pointed out that you don’t easily quit something that represents yourself.
6 – How useful is this book for electronic music producers? Does it contain the key to create a number one hit?
I know there are various approaches that determine a hit song. Sometimes I think hit songs don’t deserve to be at the top of the charts. Every company has different criteria to decide popularity. Nevertheless I often hear electronic music sound exactly like other songs. Miles Davis, the famous Jazz Trumpeter, said that, “First you imitate, then you innovate”. There is nothing wrong with imitating in order to gain fresh ideas and to become a better musician by practicing other people’s expression. Yet imitation does not belong in the final production of a song. If you are really wanting to set yourself distinguished from every other musician out there, then you should make it a priority to shed yourself of all regurgitation, and try to hone in on your original melodies, harmonies, and chord patterns. In this regard, my book delves into my philosophy of music making. I make distinction between Music Theory, Musicality, and Musicianship. I define Musicianship as the ability to express the same sounds that you imagine in your mind. Playing by ear is not the same thing as Musicianship. Playing by ear can be another form of regurgitation. Being able to expand yourself to imagine totally unique ways of making sound and rhythm collaborate, is what truly makes a person a musician. Therefore, since my book provides ideas to be able to philosophically acknowledge the differences between Music Theory, Musicality, and Musicianship, then it truly possesses the foundational Key to create a number 1 hit. In order to make a hit one has also to consider how they will transform their song in a way that the masses will appreciate, so that it is not just pleasing to yourself to listen to. Yet the problem I witness often is what I call, “songwriting laziness”. Basically, if you make an electronic song that sounds like every other out there then you are a lazy songwriter. You probably thought it would become a hit because it has scientifically been proven that certain “hooks” are popular. While that is true, why not come up with a hook that is even better? Use popular hooks as a source of inspiration to innovate, but don’t blatantly copy someone else’s hook.
7 – Have you ever written songs for other artists? Do you sell your lyrics online?
As of yet I haven’t written for any other artists and I don’t sell lyrics either. I’d be willing to do both under the right set of contracts and compensation.
8 – Would you like to collaborate with mainstream or underground singers? Why?
This would depend on how personable the individual is. If they are open to constructive feedback, that is the most important thing. But I also am open to constructive criticism, so it is a fair situation. On first thought though, underground singer collaboration is a more favorable idea because my feeling is that they are more open to creative expression, rather than a “popular package” that might stifle innovation.
9 – In your opinion, are music schools admitting too many students for the number of employment opportunities available?
If I am to understand your question correct, you are asking me if there are too many graduates with degrees that never end up teaching? If that is the case, I’d say, “Yes”. There are plenty of music teachers available therefore it is very tough to compete for obtaining students. What there are not plenty of are music teachers who invent their own methods.
10 – What are your future plans for the rest of the year?
It is hard to believe it is May already. My plans are to do my best to get their word out regarding the Key Identity AccessTM music curriculum and also do a lot of advertising experiments for my music career through Facebook. I’m just beginning to learn how to test Facebook ads. I’m amazed at their targeting features but there is so much to understand, and so many ways to formulate an ad. Some people claim that building an email list is vitally important, and then offering sales promotions after delivering a lot of valuable content. Other people claim that you can formulate an ad to do direct sales. I’ll be discovering what works best for me. I’m putting together some strategies for targeting high end clients that will pay thousands for a very valuable offering. Ben Sword with Music Marketing Classroom (London) says that the most important thing to do first is to build trust, then sell. I’m making that a priority.
Exclusive Interview: Jenna x On Debut Single “When The Party’s Over..”
Jenna x emerges in 2021 with “When The Party’s Over..” which is an incredible debut single that plays equally as well at the party, at the afterparty, or the next morning. Definitely, the best asset is her melodious singing voice. Scroll down and learn more in this exclusive interview.
1 — First of all, how would you describe your sound?
My sound is constantly evolving within Pop, but it’s more cinematic. I envision each of my songs as a scene from a film and try to capture everything that would be there—the temperature of the sunlight, the scent in the air, the city sounds, and the words that are being spoken.
2 — Why did you pick “When The Party’s Over..” as your debut single?
It was the exact type of sound and message that I wanted to release as my debut single. I also think that it’s a good representation of me as an artist because it’s a song that I really tried to be honest with myself about, as well as the other parts of myself that I am revealing, like my inner thoughts, emotions, and philosophies.
3 — Is this song based on a personal experience?
Yes! The party in my song is both literal and figurative—I, like anyone else, have gone to a party or a large gathering just to fill the emptiness I was feeling inside, only to leave with a greater sense of loneliness. I’ve also felt like I have nowhere to go emotionally, which is the figurative part of the song.
4 — What’s your favorite line from it? Why?
The entire chorus is my favorite part, especially the “will there be anyone to watch me die / someone just shows me how to cry” part. I think they really capture the essence of the song and are the parts where I am the most direct with what I want to say. The second half of the chorus is almost like a cry for help you can’t ever let out.
For me, they usually come together but for this song, the lyrics came first. I had a clear idea of what I wanted the song to be about lyrically and then used the melody to fill in the blanks.
6 — Given the situation the world is in at the moment, do you miss partying?
I’m not the type to usually enjoy large parties, but I do really miss gatherings with my closest friends. But who knows—by the time this is all over I might be dying to go to a huge party.
7 — What makes you different from other singers?
I like to think of my music as very visual—I always try to paint a picture with my music and focus on what the music is painting. Each sound is like a color I use to paint the song, and the way they are delivered are the brushstrokes.
I think I had a lot of phases where I was into different types of music and different artists. I grew up listening to singer-songwriters like Stevie Wonder and The Beatles. I was always fascinated with how brilliant and revolutionary their melodies and lyrics were. Later in my teens, I had A Great Big World’s albums on repeat. A part of me is also in love with classical composers, like Elgar and Rachmaninoff. The second movement of Elgar’s Serenade for Strings is one of the most beautiful pieces of music I’ve ever heard.
9 — When you’re not at the studio, how do you usually spend your time?
Usually prepping for studio time! But if I’m not working on music, I’ll watch movies or binge a show. Right now I’m on season 4 of Criminal Minds, and it’s been sucking me in. I’ve also been really busy these days with my new release and everything that goes along with it, but I’ll still find time to video chat with my friends and listen to my favorite albums on repeat.
10 — What are your plans for the upcoming months?
Working! I have an EP coming out in February, so I’m prepping for the release and other music that I’ll release during this year. The upcoming EP is part two of the story of loneliness I started telling with “When The Party’s Over..” and the more colorful, visual part of the story, so I’ll be working a lot on perfecting that. I also hope to be wherever I can be with my music, doing whatever I can to express myself through it.
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Dar.Ra Talks Latest Single And Confirms New Album In 2021 — Interview
Following the release of his latest single “Rise Like The Sun” along with its proper EP, Dar.Ra also plans to drop a new album in 2021. ‘Ballads For The Down-Trodden’ has been confirmed to be out by the end of January. In this exclusive interview, the British artist talks about the recent single, the most important details on the upcoming album, but also his various side projects, which include his own radio show.
1 – Can you reveal to us the name of your upcoming album?
I have two new projects out, a single called “Rise Like The Sun” with 6 killer remixes. One from Columbia and one from Sri Lanka from a killer Producer called Vidula who did the “Lights” remix from the new kinda normal album.
I did the other mixes which have a tribal House feel and an Ambient 6 am Chill Out mix. All mixes have a Sunshine title, from UK Sunshine mix, Indian Sun mix to Australian, Indonesian, USA, and Columbian mix. It’s all about not being dictated too in your time here and “Rising Like The Sun” every day of your life.
The other project is more of an alias back vibe and is a compilation of slower more Ballad type songs that I have had released over the years. I am doing a radio show called The Kusha Deep Radio show which is going out around the world through various Radio outlets and I did this show which featured some of the laid-back tracks I’ve done and I thought it would make a great album of torchlight songs. The album is 12 tracks long and is titled ‘Ballads For The Down-Trodden’ and is out later this month.
I am also working on a new album of songs for the spring with a new single planned for the first quarter of the year release.
2 – Were there specific things that helped you get creative?
I’m always inspired by life, it’s hard not to be unless you shut off from what’s going on around you. Even in the middle of a global pandemic, I had two singles out “Stand Up For The Heroes”, “Rise Like The Sun” and the ‘Whisky n Honey’ EP plus two remixes out. I also started doing a new project which is now syndicated around the world called The Kusha Deep Radio Show, which started off playing tracks that I had out over the past 25 years.
I also started doing a TV show with a Washington DC-based journalist MJ Godfrey which is a cultural review show looking at things happening in the UK and the USA. I’ve also written the next album to follow up on 2019’s ‘New Kinda Normal’. If you stay open to ideas and let them flow it’s a natural vibe for staying creative.
3 – Are you discovering new sounds on this new record?
I explore different sounds all the time, I’m getting known for merging styles and creating new hybrids like Rock Step a vibe that featured on the ‘New Kinda Normal’ album which mixed the elements of Rock and EDM together which you can feel on tracks like “Nightstepper,” “The Beat” and “Heart Shape Pill.” There’s also a genre called Gothic Soul which you can hear on tracks like “The Lights” and “Whisky n Honey.” I was feeling the Latin vibe on “Rise Like The Sun.”
I wanted something uplifting that holds no allegiance to what’s happening in the charts but has a classic Santana vibe mixed with that Gothic style vocal.
The actual record itself is truly global, the mixes and mastering were done all over the world, the drums recorded in Italy, the Horns in Portugal, the rest in the UK. I love that about the technology vibe that you can work with people everywhere now.
4 – How many tracks will there be on the album?
The album ‘Ballads For The Down-Trodden’ has 12 tracks and “Rise Like The Sun” single has 6 mixes on it. The new album will have around 12 tracks on it as well, value for money I say!
5 – What themes will the new album explore?
The new album has some wide themes such as loyalty on a track called “No Time For Tears” which has a cool Rock vibe about it. There’s a track about power struggles with relationships on “Don’t Make Me Beg.” There’s a track about migrants looking for a safe place to call home on “Renegade Serenade.” At the moment, it’s looking very love-oriented in one way or another.
6 – Did you collaborate with other artists?
I do work with other artists when the vibe is right. I’m doing a track with a producer called KDX in the UK, a Deep House kinda groove.
7 – What makes your latest single “Rise Like The Sun” special to listeners?
It’s honest, it’s real and it’s played with passion.
8 – What exciting projects can we expect from your label Kusha Deep Records?
All the above and more.
9 – Can you tell us more about your 2021 tour?
We were supposed to be doing a US tour last year, not sure how things will pan out this year but would be good to get out on the road again for a bit.
10 – The global pandemic forced the music industry to try innovative things. What do you think about private live zoom concerts?
I played Rock the Lockdown back in May and we had a few thousand people all rocking out to the set. I also did a US online tour in the summer which broadcast shows into the venues from my studio. I’ve been doing lots of interviews from Brazil to America, Australia, and the UK online which is ace as you don’t have to drive anywhere. Less hit on the climate and you can hit so many more people with a live stream if it’s set up properly.
Nothing will take the place of a jam in front of people, but I think the live stream is here to say alongside the live gig. I love technology though so it’s all good in my book. Be safe out there and looking forward to partying with you all soon!
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Quickfire Interview With: SOUNDQ
Hailing from Krakow, the cultural capital of Poland, Kuba Kubica aka SOUNDQ carries the flag of innovation when it comes to producing electronic music. The interview below is very clear and gives you a deep insight into his art. Scroll down to read his answers.
1 – You’ve been composing songs since…
Year 2000. The year when computer records got screwed by the two 0s was the year when I started programming a dodgy Korg workstation.
2 – You got involved in the music realm because…
I found it liberating not to have to depict anything. To be able to express what I feel without saying or drawing what it was.
3 – Your sound is…
As incomplete as I am. There’s always at least one element causing some imbalance. You’re never quite sure if it all won’t fall apart.
4 – Your biggest inspiration is…
I am most creative when I’m deadbeat and stressed out. So, in a way, pressure inspires me – or rather makes my creative juices flow faster.
5 – People should listen to your new track “Bad Lot” because…
It offers a glimpse into a complete world – fatalistic, sexy, and dangerous.
6 – If you want to know who SOUNDQ is, listen to the track…
“Bad Lot.” And if you’ve heard it already, give “This Heart” a spin.
7 –Your most memorable career moment so far has been…
Crossing the Ural Mountains in -30 degrees Celsius to play a death metal gig in Jekaterynburg.
8 – Your dream is…
Long forgotten the moment I wake up.
9 – Your next release is called…
“Disco Turista Antifascista.”
That’s a tough one. I’ll go with “My Kingdom” by Future Sound of London.
11 – Your favourite place to write songs is…
I love coming up with ideas when I’m traveling. Not a lot of occasions for that in 2020 though.
12 – If you weren’t an artist, you’d probably be…
An Instagram influencer pretending he’s a XIXth Century French flaneur. All dressed in epoch clothes doing product placement for travel gear and shit.
13 – You’ll only stop making music if…
I don’t think I have it in me to stop.
14 – In a few years, you want to be…
Able to go out without a mask, play gigs, laugh together with large groups of people. Travel to big cities and get lost wandering through them.
15 – What are you doing for the rest of the day?
It’s evening already, so I’m going to be busy writing music till late.
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