Composer, percussionist and pianist Julian Loida stops by on Close-Up Culture to talk about his new album, Giverny.
What was the starting point for your new album , Giverny?
For me the creative process is more often some kind of archeological dig than a creation process. I more often feel like I’m digging through my thoughts, my muse, myself to find what has been lying dormant for who knows how long. I try to figure out where the piece wants to go and just follow and uncover rather than building and creating. Most of my pieces go that way and that’s how the album came together as well. As the pieces came together, they all felt they came from my memories of a feeling, a place, an experience or something I’d learned.
What themes do you explore in Giverny?
There are a few themes in Giverny depending on how you listen. One theme is memories and an idea that I spent a lot of time thinking about which is that many times memories come to us before we even remember. Another theme is to explore the piano as a percussion instrument. As a percussionist I often try to play the piano like a percussion instrument and play percussion like a pianist. Another theme is another statement I make and think about a lot which is that music is a visual art.
I hope the music evokes dance, films, colors, shapes, and movement for people as it does for me. Lastly, there is an undertone of healing and serenity throughout the album. There are wordless chants, moments to celebrate the beautiful around you, empowering and powerful moments and deeply tender and vulnerable moments. The album is a journey.
What type of experience can audiences expect from the album?
This is an album that is energizing and calming at the same time. I think they will find something new with every listen. I think the album will give them time to daydream, to reflect, restore and revive themselves from whatever is going on in their life.
Can you tell us about your abstract approach to both piano and percussion?
I love abstract art of all kinds, I love to think and here others think. I love to play, get lost in time and place, and let my mind rest. I love abstract art because it is a space and key to go inward. The music I make, I originally just made for myself as a place to go inward, to slow down, to relax, to play, explore and get lost in musical color.
In many ways the music I make is a form of healing and meditation for myself. I just happen to play piano and percussion. I think both instruments have a long history of being meditative. I think music, prayer, listening, and thought are all one of the same family and I’m just engaging and accessing what percussion and piano already offer. To be honest, I think keyboards and percussion being “not abstract” or “concrete” is a much more modern approach to the instruments and music and one that doesn’t often touch my soul.
What are your hopes for the album and the impact it has?
I hope the album reaches an audience that will love and nurture the music. I hope the album release will continue to allow me to travel farther and wider to play for people on all continents and in all kinds of spaces from folk and jazz venues to concert halls and universities to yoga studios, hospitals, recovery centers, dance studios, elementary schools, beaches, parks, and city centers.
Listen to Giverny – Julian Loida – Giverny (ffm.to)
Check out Julian’s website – www.julianloida.com