Interview: Jon Schmidt (The Piano Guys) – May 2017
Írta: Németh Zsófia | 2017. 05. 18.
This is your second time playing in Budapest. What is your fondest memory about the Hungarian capital?
The architecture, the food, the water, but more than anything, the people were absolutely incredible.
On your last gig here in Budapest you played the Vidéki Sanzon from the band Magna Cum Laude, and surprised the audience very much. How did you end up choosing this song? Why this song?
We picked this song because my cousins married a gal from Hungary. She immigrated to the United States and she gave me some great advice and information about the people of Hungary and we wanted to play a song that would really resonate with them.
You started this journey on YouTube, and now here you are with several records and sold out arena concerts behind you. What are your plans for the future? What is the next goal you would like to achieve?
One of our goals is to film a video at each of the Seven Wonders of the World. We`ve done four so far, and three to go! Another goal we always strive to achieve is to continue to stay inspired, to keep writing authentic music that touches our hearts and touches the hearts of others.
The way in which you put together classical music with recent big hits is absolutely stunning and also really natural. How do you get inspired to compose songs like these?
We get inspiration from modern music from our kids. Between four Piano Guys we have 16 kids. We like to keep tabs on the current trends in music. Our background in classical music. Both Steve and I studied classical music and have a deep love for it. We see classical music as a wonderful "spice" to use in our composition.
What is the composing process like? How long does it take to complete one song from start to finish?
We feel very lucky, very blessed to use a studio owned by one of our very own Piano Guys, Al Van Der Beek. We use it heavily as a compositional tool. It`s nice to be able to compose and capture the ideas pop into our heads right there in the studio. It gives us freedom and peace of mind to work in our own studio as well. If we were renting space we would think about the financial aspect too much and it might get in the way of the creative process. In regards to how long it takes to complete a song, it`s hard to say. Each song is different. Some have come together in one day, others have taken us months. We try to gauge if the song feels inspired. Before we compose we always pray for inspiration. We feel like this helps us a lot. When we run into problems we pray for solutions.
Who is your favourite musician or band that you love listening to in your free time?
For all of us it`s different. I personally love anything that can inspire me. I don`t care about the name, I just love listening to something that is inspirational. Whether it be Coldplay, The King Singers, choral music or even the music my children listen to.
You`ve brought classical music closer to many many people. You must get a lot of feedback and comments about this. Do you have any favourite story or memory related to this topic?
When we use classical music in our arranging we like to put a link to the original piece in the comments section of the YouTube video. It`s so gratifying to see the responses to that link and we see how many people who comment "The Piano Guys brought me here!" We really feel like we`ve shared something special with them.
What is the best thing in being and playing in The Piano Guys?
All the feedback we get from our fans. If it`s concert reviews, comments on a video, or when they send us emails. There are so many that are overwhelming when we read that our music has had a significant impact on their life either helping them through a hard time or inspiring their kids to learn to play an instrument or develop their gifts. Just being a comfort for them. I lot of people have gone through some trying times and we feel it`s a comforting thing to be able to lean on our music. It`s very gratifying for all of us.
What is your advice for youngsters who would like to make and play music at this level?
You can kind of tell if you have a gift for music it doesn`t have to be a MAJOR gift. But you can tell if you have natural ability. Our advice would be to get obsessed with it! You have to expect that it will be very tough at first, there will be a period of time where you have to just push through the difficult part. Sometimes it can take up to a few years but once you get good at it, it`ll be worth it. You get to the point where playing music makes you feel like you`re flying, literally.
Photo from https://thepianoguys.com/.