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In conversation with Michiel van Poelgeest

Interview with the dutch pianist and composer who has recently released his latest album "The Seven Sirens". Max Richter, Johann Johansson and Yann Tierssen among his artistic influences.


An original artist who soon began studying and producing music in various genres and styles.


Music has always been a large part of my life. I grew up listening to whatever music my parents would play in the living room. Vinyl, later on cassettes and then cd’s. The Beatles, the Eagles, but also lots of weird Dutch stuff you’ve probably never heard of.

Hi Michiel, Growing up, how important was music in your life? Can you recall the moment when you decided that you wanted to be a musician? Was it an easy or difficult choice to make

Music has always been a large part of my life. I grew up listening to whatever music my parents would play in the living room. Vinyl, later on cassettes and then cd’s. The Beatles, the Eagles, but also lots of weird Dutch stuff you’ve probably never heard of. I never really thought about being a musician, even when I started piano lessons. When I was in bands in high school I discovered I liked performing in front of an audience. Then, at age 20 or so, I remember being at a festival and seeing these amazing artists, like Arcade Fire and Arctic Monkeys mesmerize the crowds with mind blowing performances. That’s when I knew I wanted that as well.


Was there ever a time when you thought about doing something else? If you weren’t a musician today, what else could you see yourself doing? Would you be as fulfilled in life?

I have done something else, and I still do something else, actually :). It’s difficult making a living as a musician, especially when you have a family to support. So I have had lots of jobs and have done many projects as a freelancer that have nothing to do with music. Whatever it takes. So yeah, I could see myself doing lots of jobs and be happy. But preferably not in an office.


Michiel reveals us ...


So far so good, I’d say, but not a lot of surprises to be honest. Maybe that’s because I prefer not to leave things up for chance.

What has been the biggest surprise so far about making music in your career? What has been an unexpected or welcome challenge to it all?

So far so good, I’d say, but not a lot of surprises to be honest. Maybe that’s because I prefer not to leave things up for chance. The biggest challenge has been combining my ambition - being at the top of my game in writing and producing music - with being a good father. I try to make that - being a dad - my number one priority in life.


Let’s talk about your brand new project. What was the inspiration for this album? How do you think it prepares listeners for more music from you?

I had been in talks with several film directors for quite some time. Each of them, at one point or another, asked me to send them my music. And I never had anything to send them! I was always too busy going from one project onto the next. Finally I made a plan and started writing and producing. The inspiration I needed for The Seven Sirens, I found in Greek Mythology. The universal, primal narrative strength that lies within these myths is something that is very appealing to me, as a musical storyteller.


I love Max Richter, Johann Johansson, Yann Tierssen, and the list goes on. Yet, I tend to get my inspiration from someplace else: indie, rock and pop music.

What has it been like keeping up with your social media accounts and all of the different platforms? Is it hard to stay up to date on it all? What would you say is your favorite way to connect with your fans now? What has social media done for your career?

I focus on one platform, and one platform only. For me that’s Instagram. I figured it was better to try and do one thing right. Make it real. Rather than try and manage four or five different accounts. But honestly, social media can be a pain in the but, especially when you feel like you have to do ‘something’ but you don’t know what it is. That’s why I hired a professional to help me figure out a strategy and show me the ropes. That really paid off. Where before I had no idea what I was doing, I now feel comfortable posting stuff regularly and I’ve gotten in touch with amazing people because of that.


Who are some of your favorite artists or rather, what musicians have continued to inspire you and your music? Who would you absolutely love to work with in the future?

I love Max Richter, Johann Johansson, Yann Tierssen, and the list goes on. Yet, I tend to get my inspiration from someplace else: indie, rock and pop music. It’s what I enjoy listening to the most. Whether it’s Katy Perry or Radiohead, if it’s a good song I’ll like it. So at some point in the future I would love to do a hybrid production, with a talented singer, perhaps similar to what M83 did for the movie Oblivion. That would be amazing.


At the end of the day, what do you hope people take away from your music?

I just hope people enjoy listening to it. And that it evokes some kind of emotion within them.


What are some goals that you have for yourself this year? How close are you to reaching them?

I would like to find the time, and the peace of mind, to write some more music, just for me. And I’m hoping to score my first feature film! Let’s just say both goals are attainable :).



ARTIST BIO

Michiel van Poelgeest (1982) is a Dutch music composer. His output is very diverse: ranging from electro-acoustic piano scores to dystopic hybrid synthesizer soundscapes. Van Poelgeest’s musical education started when he was seven years old and took up piano les-sons. His classical education went on for ten years, after which his interests shifted towards elec-tronic music and songwriting. In 2010 he produced and released a modern pop album under the pseudonym Villeneuf. A se-cond album would later follow. The band toured the Netherlands, played countless venues, and performed on live television during prime time. The albums were very well-received. He then went on to write music for film and television and has been doing that ever since.





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