proud to present an interview with one of the finest artists in
new age music: Paul Heinerman. He has just released the
album Oases, which you can read our review of
interview was done by BT Fasmer.
Seven years have gone since the release of Private Sun.
Please describe the process behind your new album, Oases.
Has your approach to music changed over these last seven years?
The similitude in
approach in composing the albums Private Sun and Oases,
is intuition. For me, composing a song or an album is not a
systematical process. Most songs arise by intuition and associations
on themes I discover in the process of composing a song.
The difference between the two albums is that Private Sun
is more or like a compilation of songs I composed over a certain
period and Oasis has a special theme. From the album
Private Sun, I was touched most by the atmosphere created in
African Forest and Spirits of India and decided to compose an album
with tracks like these. Intuition is not only inspiration from
within, but also a result from external influences and possibilities.
In the seven years between Private Sun and Oases I
started working with new studio equipment. The new possibilities
andhigh quality samples have inspired me a lot.
You chose to release a
single from Oases, Chimengu, long before the
release of the album – and it became a massive hit on web radios.
This must have been an inspiration when finishing the album? How do
you feel about it now?
The first result, of these new
technical possibilities and inspiration from the ‘world songs’ on
Private sun, was Chimengu. A combination of modern
western beat, synths and Chinese (sample) vocals. It is a quite
different song, compared to my work up to then. I was curious how
this style would be appreciated by listeners and therefore I sent
the song to several web stations, as an introduction / teaser for a
new album in this style. The great success on the internet radio
stations surprised and cheered me. It also convinced me that the
musical integrative path I chose was not only the right one for me
but listeners approved of it as well.
Oases is like a musical journey to many parts of the world,
from the Far East to the West and back again. Please tell us about
your inspiration for using so different cultural expressions?
During the ‘70 and ‘80 I
made several journeys, to India, Thailand, Turkey, Tunisia etc. I
was touched by the atmosphere and local music in these countries.
All this has influenced my feelings and thoughts and through that,
my music. Music is a way to express yourself as an individual and
besides that, musical traditions give expression to culture. I found
that music, by itself finds a way and cross borders to touch people.
The synths and samples gave me tools to compose musical journeys and
bring cultures harmonious together.
BT: On Oases
there are voice samples on the first eight tracks, while the
three last are without samples and more like your “old” style. How
have you worked with samples?
I presume ‘my old style’ will always be
present. It is like my basic musical language. It will be there as a
base line in every song even if specific styles are more prominent,
like the more up-tempo beats and voice samples in Oases.
These samples are from special sampling CD’s. I selected these
because they pleased me and they were suitable for the ethnic
concept and atmosphere of the album. I composed the music around the
BT: One cannot
avoid thinking of Enigma when one hears Gregorian chants and synths.
Please tell us about your inspirations for Oases. Do you
listen to new age music – or other genres as well?
Associations of my music with Enigma
feel like a compliment, I like this music very much.My first steps
on piano keys are the result of deep appreciation of the music of
Elton John. As I am told, people regularly recognize his style in my
play, especially in my first album Ancient World.
My musical interests are wide. I like various types and styles of
Major examples in past and present are: Peter Gabriel, Genesis,
Vangelis, Steve Winwood, Deep Forrest, the Beatles, Kate Bush and
lots of others. But I do value classical music as well, with
Sjostakovitch undoubtedly as my favorite composer. And of course I
listen to New Age music and appreciate in this genre Yanni and
A musician that inspired me specifically in respect to Oases, is
Harry Gregson-Williams. Several years ago I heard his ‘All hell
breaks loose’, the soundtrack for the film Spy Games. This and the
other songs in the movie affected me. The western synth with world
vocals were the combination I was working on as well and he created
the atmosphere sphere I was looking for.
Most songs arise by intuition and
associations on themes I discover in the process of composing a
BT: Your first
two albums had much of that analogue synth sound. Will there be more
of that in the future?
I am quite sure this sound will stay
present in my work. Personally I am very fond of songs like
Across The Ocean. Of course I like to develop as a musician and
enter different musical pathways, but I expect this will continue to
be alternated and interlaced with basic analogue synth sound.
BT: Your music
has been used in many different settings, from boardprograms on
airlines, to TV shows. Do you plan to do more of this kind of work –
or will there be more albums like Oases? Or both?
As for me, both kinds of work will
continue. For this specific moment I am busy to make library music
again (for film, documentaries and commercials). One moment you are
engaged in a lounge music song and some time later you compose a
pop- or Latin song. This is very fun to do and it guarantees that
you will not keep on composing in a fixed style or routine. While
composing these library tracks I am concentrating on and exploring
specific styles in music. In these pursuits I often find inspiration
and possible combinations with my own basic musical style for new
songs. So probably in the future a new album can be expected.
BT: Thank you so
much, Paul, for giving us this interview. I know I speak on behalf
of many new age music fans out there; keep creating great music. We
love your work!