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Interview with Matias Baconsky, December 2021
Interview with Matias Baconsky, image 1
Over the many years I've been writing music reviews and interviews, I've had the opportunity to work with quite a number of artists at the beginning of their careers and watch them evolve. I first heard Argentinian composer/pianist Matias Baconsky's music when he sent me his 2016 album, Life and Death, to review. He was 21 years old at the time. He has released three more albums since then, and the last two, When the World Ends and Epochal, tell a story that will continue with his next release. This seemed like a good time to get to know Matias better, and we did this interview via email in early December 2021. Enjoy!

KP: Hi Matias! As far as I can remember, you are the first composer/musician from Argentina that I've interviewed. How are you?

MB: Hi Kathy! Thanks for having me, I appreciate it! And I am honored to be your first Argentinian musician interviewed by you!

I'm fine, a little disappointed that it seems that COVID is resurfacing here in the country, and from what I hear it is much worse in other countries. It is very sad!

KP: I couldn't agree more! Two years ago, I never would have believed something like this could happen as a worldwide pandemic! I think music has helped a large portion of the world's population cope with the emotional roller coaster we've been on!

And speaking of music, earlier this year, you released Epochal, which has already won several awards. Tell us about that.

MB: Yes, I am so happy to see the amazing response that it has had so far! Some songs have been nominated for important music awards like Hollywood Music In Media Awards, Peace Songs Awards, Indie Music Channel Awards and luckily I have won these last two awards. The most important thing for me is the response of the people, but these kinds of awards are like extra motivation!

KP: Of course, acceptance and awards from peers is always the highest honor, and you and your music are very deserving of the awards! Epochal is the second album in a series that tells the story (without words) of the end of the world and what could be the only survivor's quest to find others who also survived. What inspired the series?
Interview with Matias Baconsky, image 7
Interview with Matias Baconsky, image 11
Interview with Matias Baconsky, image 10
Click on the album covers to
go to Kathy's reviews.

MB: I love to create themed albums in which every song tells a part of the story. I am a huge fan of sci-fi series/films and I think that I took inspiration from works like 2012, The Day After Tomorrow, The 100, The Shannara Chronicles, and more.

For Epochal, I wrote the story first so I tried to convey the feelings of this character into a piano melody and then, according to the mood of the song, we added the orchestrations. Ignacio Ramirez was the genius behind the orchestrations, and he understood the idea for the album from the beginning.

KP: Your first couple of albums were solo piano, but the last ones have been fully orchestrated along with piano. Do you plan to release more solo piano music?

MB: It's a possibility, but I don't plan to do a full solo piano album in the near future. I definitely love the sound of Epochal and I want to follow this path. But maybe I will add a sort of solo piano song into the next album for those who prefer some more calm music.

KP: That probably isn't necessary unless it fits the idea of the album. I was just curious to know if you have plans for more solo piano albums.

Your first "official" album was Life and Death, released in 2016. You were only twenty-one at the time, and yet the music is very, very dark. What inspired the music for that album?

MB: Time flies! Life and Death was actually my second album. I released my first demo album, Lonely Soul, in 2014 which I deleted from everywhere some years later. The reason was that I was not happy at all with the sound. I was 18/19 years old and didn't have the money or the equipment to get a decent sound. I didn't even have a piano to record, so those songs were performed by the computer. Then some years later, I started to work on Life and Death in which I tried to represent different stages of life in one album, and it was performed by me. That’s why I consider this album like the first official album. I think that it has a good sound overall, but it can be better!

And about that dark sound, I never said "I want to make sad/dark music" - it just flowed in that way. I just felt more attracted to a calmer type of music and that's what I wanted to achieve. And I'm very happy with how those compositions turned out!

KP: I think the compositions are great, too! Your second album, Straight From the Heart, was released in 2017 and is also very dark. What was the inspiration for that album?

MB: With this album I wanted to express the feelings of one person, like I did with Life and Death. In 2017, I still didn't have decent recording equipment, and that's one of the biggest failures in my point of view. I'm not satisfied at all with the sound of this album. It sounds very low, the piano sound is not good, and there are no dynamics, but I like the compositions. I think it needs a rework for the future. This is a task on my to-do list!

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KP: That would be really interesting! In 2018, you released When the World Ends, the predecessor to Epochal. Tell us about the inspiration for that music.

MB: With When the World Ends, I immersed myself in the world of science fiction 100%. This would be the first part of Epochal and it tells the story of a man who is living his daily life with his wife and children, and suddenly he is escaping from meteorites and cracks in the streets.

This was the first story that I have ever 'written' on the piano and I am very proud of it. It was inspired by sci-fi films/series, as I said before. In terms of the sound of the album, it's not the best, but I am happy with the result.

KP: When you created the music for that album, did you intend to do a series?

MB: Not really! I always try to give a unique sound to each album, but when I was thinking of ideas for the new album (Epochal), I thought "why not continue the story of the previous album?" And with this idea, the music came along almost immediately.

I really like to think that an album is like a TV series and each song is a chapter or an episode, and you are discovering the whole story with each chapter. That is the approach I took with Epochal and will use this idea again for the next album for sure!

KP: Have you started work on the next part of the series?

MB: Epochal took almost 3 years before it was fully finished, and I was thinking of taking a break after I started working on another album. But my muse didn't want that! Every time that I sat down at the piano to practice, I came up with a new melody. I have almost 30 new melodies in my cell phone. So, answering your question: YES! In the past few months, I started to work on all of these melodies. And I am proud to say that I am working on the song number 9 right now. If I release another 10-song album, we can say that the new album is almost done (at least the piano part).

I am so excited about it! It sounds completely different from what I did before (the earlier ‘dark’ style is still present in some parts) and I am super excited to record it at some point next year.

KP: I'll be looking forward to that!

You mentioned a while ago that you might re-do Life and Death for its tenth anniversary. Will that be orchestrated or are you going to re-do it as solo piano?

MB: Yes! I had this idea for a long time and I really want to do it. If I re-do this album, it will be fully orchestrated. Of course, I also plan to re-record the piano and maybe change the structure of the songs. I think that I have another point of view in terms of composition now, so it would be cool to change a little bit. It's still an idea, but it's a great possibility for 2026.

KP: Great!

Okay, let's back up and find out more about you. Were you born in Argentina?

MB: Yes, I was born in Argentina and am currently living here, too.

KP: When did you start playing the piano?

MB: I started to play the piano in 2012. I bought a keyboard at that time and I was immediately in love with this instrument. Some years later I had the possibility to buy a real piano and that was another experience!

KP: When did you write your first piece of music?

MB: The first track that I made was in 2014 and it was called 'Why Did You Leave Me.' This song was from my first demo EP called "Embracing the Dark," and it was released only on YouTube before Lonely Soul, the demo album that I mentioned earlier. I remember I composed it some days after losing a pet, so it wasn't a happy song (like all the other songs from that time! ha ha)

KP: Are you self-taught?

MB: I went to some classes to learn some musical theory, just to learn how to read sheet music, but not much more than that. I consider myself self-taught because I learned how to play the piano by ear and by watching videos on YouTube. I never studied anything related to composition, so I am very happy to be able to make songs without having a basic theory about how to do it.

KP: Who and what are some of the influences on your music?

MB: My big inspiration is Amy Lee from the rock band Evanescence. I would say that she was my piano teacher in some ways because I learned to play the piano while watching her performances. Another inspiration for me is movie composers like Hans Zimmer and Ramin Djawadi. And for the piano, I was inspired in the beginning by Yiruma and Jennifer Thomas. They still are in some way.

Interview with Matias Baconsky, image 8
Interview with Matias Baconsky, image 9
Interview with Matias Baconsky, image 5
Click on album covers
to go to Kathy's reviews.

And what inspires me are the sci-fi series and films; all this visual content really inspires me to create my own stories and the music as well.

KP: Do you come from a musical family?

MB: I think we all love music, but no one in my family had the possibility to play an instrument. My mother likes some instruments, especially the piano and the guitar, but she didn't have the chance to have her own instrument to play and maybe dedicate to make music.

KP: Are you able to be a full-time musician or do you have another career, too?

MB: I have another career. I am a software developer and that's my daily routine. Music is more like a hobby for now, but I would like to be a full-time musician someday.

KP: Has your music been successful in Argentina?

MB: Honestly, I never did any kind of promotion here. I think this kind of music is more accepted in other countries. I have a bit more than 100 listeners from Argentina, but it is very little compared to other countries. I should start promoting my music here!

KP: Do you play any other musical instruments?

MB: Not now. I have a particular interest in the cello, so I will give it a try someday!

KP: I love the cello - it's such an emotional instrument! It seems it would suit your music really well!

Has the Covid pandemic affected your music career?

MB: Not much. I work in my home studio for the piano, and for the orchestrations I work with Ignacio remotely, so I haven't had a big change caused by the pandemic.

KP: Do you normally do much live performing? concerts?

MB: No, I never did a live concert. I am too shy for that! I sometimes play in public spaces when there's a piano available, but that's already too much for me ha ha.

KP: I can relate!!!

What has been your most exciting musical moment or experience so far?

Interview with Matias Baconsky, image 12

MB: I think all the award nominations were the most exciting moment for me. Also, for Epochal, I had the chance to work with two of my favorite singers in the metal scene: Zuberoa Aznarez from the symphonic metal band Diabulus In Musica and Marina La Torraca from Phantom Elite. This was a dream come true! I am a big fan of metal music and being able to work with two singers that I hear in my daily playlists was amazing!

KP: Who are some of your favorite composers and performers?

MB: My favorite musicians are from the rock/metal scene: Amy Lee from Evanescence, Simone Simons/Mark Jansen from Epica, Maria Brink from In This Moment, just to name a few. And from the classical scene I love Two Steps From Hell, Thomas Bergersen, Jennifer Thomas, Ludovico Einaudi and more.

KP: If you could have any three wishes, what would they be?

MB: I wish for health for the world and I really hope the COVID pandemic ends soon, so we can go back to our normal lives in full. More music opportunities for small musicians like me. And being able to travel the world and play some concerts with no hesitation.

KP: Is there anything else you'd like to talk about?

MB: I think we covered a good number of topics! I just want to thank you for all you do for independent musicians. You have been supporting my music since the beginning and that means a lot to me! Thank you so much! I hope we can meet in person one day! I wish a merry Christmas and a very happy (and healthy) new year to everyone in this beautiful community! Stay safe!
For more information about Matias Baconsky and his music, be sure to visit his website and his Artist Page here on MainlyPiano.com.
Kathy Parsons
December 2021