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In conversation with pianist and composer Frerick den Haan

Interview with a piano talent. His music between minimal and jazz. Bill Evans, Thelonious Monk, Satie and Debussy among his artistic influences.


A talented and inspired artist.

I remember growing up with different musical influences. My dad introduced me to Al Jarreau and Ramses Shaffy, a Dutch chansonnier. I remember spending hours with headphones on listening to records of these completely different artists, though both liking them very much.

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?

I remember growing up with different musical influences. My dad introduced me to Al Jarreau and Ramses Shaffy, a Dutch chansonnier. I remember spending hours with headphones on listening to records of these completely different artists, though both liking them very much. Each in their own way. My grandparents were both much into classical and jazz music. Listening to records when staying at my old folks opened up a whole new world to me. Furthermore, my uncle, a fabulous piano player himself liked to play Oscar Peterson tunes which drew my attention even more. I wanted to play jazz more than ever.In college, I formed a jazz trio with two friends of mine. Over a decade we played everywhere in The Netherlands and toured through France twice. From that moment I knew that I wanted to indulge, inspire and enjoy people with my music. After a brief moment spending at the conservatory I recorded my first jazz album RED, a homage to Red Garland. The best pianist of the great early Miles Davis Quintet. At least, in my opinion. While performing I realised that I wanted to do more with my own compositions for solo piano. Little tunes that I wrote over the years. From that moment I focused myself on composing more own material, started to listen more to great classical composers and ended up with releasing NOIR, my first album for solo piano.

Was it an easy choice? Well, there was no choice, It was just meant to be.



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?

Of course, I must admit that being a musician can sometimes be a complex matter. Whether it is the continuous battle of being financially independent or the crave to constantly compose new material and challenging myself. Being a full-time musician is often romanticised. Therefore decided to balance my life out with a career in marketing and composing at night in order to profit from the best of both worlds. I realise that being a musician is not only about performing for others but in the first place to make yourself happy.



Frerick reveals us...


The biggest surprise so far is the recognition I got from my family, friends and musical colleagues. They gave me trust to release my music. Without them I wouldn't have come this far.

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

The biggest surprise so far is the recognition I got from my family, friends and musical colleagues. They gave me trust to release my music. Without them I wouldn't have come this far.



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?

Sketches of Tomorrow is a homage to my grandparents who shortly past away after each other. These four pieces are a way to remind them and look forward to the future. All the compositions tell a little story about their lives. Thus, a personal record to me. A the moment I am preparing myself to record more music. During the lockdown I have intensely studied the music of Erik Satie, of which I will release new music in 2021.




To be honest, my social media accounts are not that up to date. Of course, I should focus on that part of my music career as well, but I simply don't have the time to frequently update them. My favourite way to connect with people is though Bandcamp and Instagram.

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?

To be honest, my social media accounts are not that up to date. Of course, I should focus on that part of my music career as well, but I simply don't have the time to frequently update them. My favourite way to connect with people is though Bandcamp and Instagram.




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?

We could probably talk about this all day long. I do have many artists whom I admire in different genres and I think I take inspiration of all these different genres with me in my own music. As for jazz music, I really like Red Garland, Bill Evans and Thelonious Monk amongst others. As for classical music, I gain a lot of inspiration from Chopin, Satie, Debussy. As for whom to work with... One day I would love to work with artists like Michiel Borstlap, Alan Silvestri, Jordane Tumarinson, Alexandre Desplat, Craig Armstrong and many others. Haha, we must keep dreaming of course.




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

I hope they like it, build their story of my music and furthermore I hope that my audience can really connect to the compositions that I've made and are still to come.




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

As the year is almost over, I believe that I've already obtained my goals. This is my second record in one year and I have planned ahead for future records. Also, I am pretty happy with my life right now.




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