In conversation with Jan-Dirk Platek
Interview with the talented german pianist and composer. His music takes inspiration from synths, modern-classical and the 80s. We can hear this influence in his latest EP "On/Off".
A passionate musician who produces music in various genres and styles. Although for him it is more like a hobby than a career.
I’m really a music addict. I’m addicted to music and sounds. I can`t stop composing.
Hi, you are an active and recognized composer. How did this become a career for you? What’s your musical background?
Hi, I would never speak of a career - it’s just me composing and releasing music. It’s more like a hobby than a career. In my childhood I started to play piano. My grandfather was a music teacher so I was able to play on an old Schimmel upright piano. Later I started to play drums. In the early 90`s I played in a couple of local bands. Back in the days we had no internet so the only way to get some fans was to play live concerts. In the early 2000 I started a postrock project called WE DESERVE THIS which is still active. So you see that I’m really a music addict. I’m addicted to music and sounds. I can`t stop composing.
Were you interested in composing before then? Do you remember the first piece you composed?
Yes, in my childhood my father gave me a little Casio keyboard with a couple of different sounds and a few drum beats on it. I was 11 years old when Terence Trent D`Arby released the song „Sign Your Name“. I liked that song very much and I wanted to play the song on my keyboard. I started to program the drumbeat on my little keyboard and I was so proud that I created something like a cover version of „Sign Your Name“. Later I started to compose my own songs. I remember that I recorded some of the songs on cassette tape. Very bad stuff but I somehow felt like a composer. My first piece was a three chord 80`s pop song with drums from a Casio Keyboard. Anyway, I knew that I will love music for the rest of my life. And here I am now.
Jan-Dirk reveals us...
Bands like Depeche Mode, Erasure and artists like Terence Trent D`Arby really had an impact on me. I know that it sounds strange but I think I’m an 80`s pop fan.
What - or who influenced you the most?
I guess the early 80`s influenced me the most. Bands like Depeche Mode, Erasure and artists like Terence Trent D`Arby really had an impact on me. I know that it sounds strange but I think I’m an 80`s pop fan.
What’s your process like? Where and how do you start?
Nearly all of my songs are created in my head. I have so many melodies, chords and sounds floating around in my head - it’s really strange. There are complete arrangements - all I have to do is to record them. I cannot read or write notes so it’s important that I record my ideas as soon as possible. Otherwise I would forget them. My process is to listen to my head - there is always some music in it.
I love the sound of a synthesizer combined with piano music. I’m a huge Nils Frahm fanboy and I guess some will hear that fact.
You recently released your new EP “On/Off”- How important are the synths for your work?
Synths are not important but I think that „On/Off“ really needed some synths. I also record music without synthesizers - I will release an album with piano solo tracks called „Schwarz“ on this year’s piano day (March 29, 2021). There are no synths on the album - just me and the piano. But I love the sound of a synthesizer combined with piano music. I’m a huge Nils Frahm fanboy and I guess some will hear that fact. Listen to Nils`s latest album „All Melody“ and you will know what I mean. It’s perfection.
Your music is very cinematic. Would you like to compose soundtracks for films?
I really would love to compose soundtracks for films… That would be like a dream come true. I guess it’s not easy to compose music for a film but I would love to try it out. But sadly no one asked me until now.
And any projects in the pipeline you can tell us about?
Like I said above, I will release a piano solo album on Piano Day 2021. Also, I’m currently producing music for my project WE DESERVE THIS. I also would love to play live when the pandemic is over. Thank you for your interest in my music and for asking me these questions. I really appreciate that.
Born in Velbert/Germany, Jan-Dirk Platek has been playing music since childhood. His first instrument was the drums, but other instruments such as guitar, bass and piano soon followed. His keen interest in various instruments grew from year to year. Over the years he developed into a multi-instrumentalist and songwriter. In the late 90s Jan-Dirk Platek was active in various local bands in Germany. Today he is also the head of the instrumental rock project WE DESERVE THIS and has released several albums on the US record label Fluttery Records. But his real passion is the piano and the calm sounds of modern classical music. Under his own name, he composed numerous pieces that included into the broadcast SOUNDSCAPES on BBC Radio. His songs have also been heard on the well-known US radio station KEXP on the program "Pacific Notions". For Jan-Dirk Platek, instrumental piano music serves as a deceleration, as a way out of hectic everyday life. Music and sound are an important part of his life.