Interview with award-winning composer and pianist Steve Barakatt

  • Describe your sound in 3 words

As I don’t consider myself as a “sound producer”, I would prefer describing my music in 3 words. I would say melodic, multidimensional and “storytelling oriented”.

  • Who is your favourite pianist?

Bill Evans

  • You have performed in iconic venues. What would you describe the best moment until now? Can you share something funny that happened during one of your concerts?

So many things happened during all those years. I would say that in general the funny side is that I can memorize hours of music without needing a sheet music but I always forget the order of the compositions to be performed during a concert. So I definitely need a set list. It is probably a proof that the human memory has different layers.

  • Neo Classical music has a wide audience nowadays. Do you think there is a compromise in the quality standards in order for this genre to become more accessible and popular?

Well, the meaning of quality is a hard concept to materialize and in fact, it is mostly based on specific standards and references. I have been around enough in the music world to realize that tags or music genres are simply terminologies aimed at explaining states of mind that some listeners are looking for. I remember having composed a #1 hit in Asia in the “New Age” category while I did not even know what this category of music meant. I also topped the charts in some “Smooth Jazz” and “Pop” genres in some radio stations without knowing the reason. Today it seems that Neo Classical is a new term and as an artist who is always open to connect with new audiences, I prefer to focus on understanding the feelings of today’s listeners and propose something new to them. The big “trap” is the “sound aesthetic” in music production that is way overrated and actually not always sustainable. A good music, in my opinion, remains on the quality of a great melody, a rich harmony and so much more aspects. A good piece of music should be also transposable in other music styles played by other musical instruments. In this way, I am probably more traditional. I actually hear a lot of piano productions nowadays that are relying mostly on the aesthetic of the sound, the effect or ambiance. As I perform my compositions in great concert halls with top quality grand pianos, the compositions must sound rich in acoustic environments without needing a rack of effects or sound filters to make them “interesting”.

  • What moment in your career are you proudest of?

As I see the role of a musician as a communicator in our society, I am proud of the creation of “Lullaby, The UNICEF Anthem”. A meaningful project who reached the world for a meaningful cause.

  • If you could change anything about the music industry, what would it be?

I am not a type of person who believes in changing eco-systems that are the result of millions of factors & influences. So my answer is deal with the new reality and adapt to it. If you are not happy about this new reality, do something else in life.

  • What was the best film you have watched during the quarantine?

I watched the entire “Money Heist” series. I enjoyed it. Especially the first one…

  • Something that we do not already know about you?

I have more fun in a kitchen than in a recording studio ☺ I have Lebanese origins so it probably explains all. Good food and wine first. Then we can talk about something else…

  • Thank you!

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