premier New Age music record label in the world today, Real Music
continues releasing music masterpieces on CD. Advocates for sonic
works of art as opposed to mere music, Real Music has another winner
on their hands with the Autumn 2013 release of Day Of Life from
Bernward Koch. Drawing on the essence of classical inspired
European romanticism, the 13 track, 61 minute CD features Bernwards
piano and synth keyboards merging together for a dreamlike, relaxing
hour of music. At the center of Real Music is their music as a form
of healing therapy and theres a lot to be said for that effect
on Bernwards latest music masterpiece. Commenting on the making
of Day Of Life, Bernward adds, The music made me think
of memorable days in my life, wonderful memories, from childhood or
a few years ago, a sunny and warm day, feeling
free and happy. While playing and recording I was in a state of complete
concentration - really lost in another world. In addition to
the piano and synth keyboards on Day Of Life, Bernward also
performs guitar, bass, melodica, glockenspiel, cymbals and gong, all
fitting together like a complex painting on a sonic canvas. Several
musicians assist including Bernwards wife Christiane Böhm,
who adds in flute and piccolo. Fans of Bernwards other Real
Music CD titles will thoroughly enjoy Day Of Life. If New Age
music is the source you're seeking for stress relief and meditative
relaxation, then Day Of Life by Bernward Koch CD is a worthy
sonic remedy for sure. www.RealMusic.com
presents an interview with
Where are you from originally and where do you live now and what do
you like most about where you live now?
Bernward Koch: I was born in Siegen, NRW, Germany, the birthplace
of the painter Peter Paul Rubens, and I grew up in a small village
nearby. Today I still live in that area, a smaller village in the
countryside. I very much appreciate the silence and nature of the
countryside and need it for me and my work.
mwe3: What was growing up like in Germany in the late 1950s
and early 1960s? Was W.W.II still on the minds of the people there
or by that time were the German people caught up in the postwar economic
Bernward Koch: Yes, the W.W.II was still on the minds of the
people. Today my mother, who is 89, still tells me some stories about
those awful times. And the economic boom was came more slowly to the
countryside, but step by step we got a kind of economic miracle here
mwe3: What was your first exposure to music like? Did you have
a musical family and what sort of music were you inspired by as a
younger person and what role did music have on your decision to learn
to play music? What was your music education like and do you still
practice music to keep in shape?
Koch: When I was twelve years old I start playing the bugle and
trumpet in the local brass band. Later I began playing drums, guitar
and bass, as an autodidact. At fifteen I got piano lessons. My father
played the accordion and he loved many kinds of music. Later, I attended
music seminars for improvising, jazz and rock and started studies
at the academy of music in Cologne. But the most important thing,
e.g. my very own musical handwriting, I have taught myself. I think
you cannot learn the most important signature in art by a school.
Its good for craft, but you have discover the essence, sometime
in yourself. Today I do not very often practice. As a professional
musician you have always a lot of office work, unfortunately. I enjoy
playing live on stage and during rehearsals with my bands and for
mwe3: Your music is clearly inspired by European romanticism
and Neoclassical music. How do you counter balance between the different
styles in your music? Would you say your music is more Neoclassical,
New Age or electronic space music inspired at its core and what instrumental
music artists were you most influenced by?
Bernward Koch: I think my music is a combination of different
music styles, inspired by many. I dont have a description, not
really, but normally I need a strong melody in a harmonious structure.
I like a mixture of nature and electronic sounds, and the music always
needs a breathing space.
My influences in instrumental music are Jerry Garcia and the Grateful
Dead, David Gilmour and Pink Floyd, Joe Zawinul and Weather Report,
John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Stan Getz & Astrid Gilberto, Oregon,
The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and so many other bands and musicians,
like Ravel, Debussy, Bach, Beethoven, Mozart...
Where was your recent album Day Of Life written and recorded
and can you say something about how you made the recording? I heard
that you really concentrated hard to get the right sound and atmosphere.
Is there a cool story on how the album took the path from conception
to completion and how do you feel Day Of Life fits in with
your other albums?
Bernward Koch: I wrote and recorded Day of Life in my
own studio in the house, an old school building, where I live. Its
actually always hard work to create a new album and I try to improve
my work from record to record. While recording the tracks, while completing
the tunes, I had sudden memories, wonderful childhood memories and
wonderful memories of a few years ago, only just short moments. Well,
we live in a hard world, but its good and important to find
some sunbeams in your life. So I think that are all the tunes and
melodies are prior innerly... Day of Life is, for me a logical
advancement. Working on that album was in some cases like a rush.
mwe3: How did you become involved with Real Music and what
do you think of the labels musical philosophy? Theres
a strong connection there between New Age instrumental music and healing
music. Have you always been involved in musical therapy as your sound
is so attuned to that stress reduction lifestyle and what Real Music
artists do you enjoy listening to?
Koch: My first record Flowing from 1989, was released by
the Erdenklang label in Hamburg. They had good connections in the
USA but I did not know that at that time. Anyway, a few years after,
while my second album Laguna De La Vera was on the Billboard
New Age charts in 1993, it happened that Flowing, with a new
blue cover artwork, was rereleased through the Real Music label. It
entered the Billboard New Age charts, according to Nielsen SoundScan,
and after that Real Music offered me a record deal. I very much like
the philosophy of the label. The focus is on the music, very important,
so you can feel free as an artist. All the other things
are a kind of coincidence, it has to be a fit automatically. I dont
think in terms like New Age or healing, but its so good to hear
from fans around the world that my music helped they in different
situations in life. I often need it for myself every day of life.
I enjoy some of Real Music artists, especially Mike Howe and Kevin
Kern. I put my soul in music, honest and real, and I think the people
realize that its true.
mwe3: Can you tell us something about your musical equipment
that you use on the Day Of Life album? And how about guitars?
You play guitar but your primary instrument is still considered keyboards.
I imagine you must have a range of pianos and electronic synth keyboards
and guitars to draw upon. Do you follow all the latest advances in
musical equipment technology?
Koch: For many years in my home studio Ive used a Mackie
8bus mixing console (32.8), an old Lexicon PCM70 reverb that is still
very important, a TC Electronic M350 reverb/efx, a Behringer MDC2100
composer/compressor and more. I very much like to work with digital
pianos, although once I recorded a solo piano album called Montagnola
only using a Yamaha grand piano. I use a Yamaha CP-50 stage piano
and Im looking forward to the new CP-4 and CP-40 and a Korg
SG-1D, a Yamaha DX7II and a MOX6 keyboard, in addition to a microKorg,
Roland D-50 and alphaJuno2, a Korg Trinity plus and EX-8000. As sequencer
I enjoy working with Steinberg Cubase 7 (PC) with a few VST plugins
like Padshop, Halion Symphony Orchestra, Retroloque, Omnisphere, efx
and so on... Yamaha acoustic guitars and a Music Man Stingray Bass
(20th Annivisary), Sonor percussion and drums, they are my neighbors,
and exotic percussion instruments from around the world. Yes, I follow
the latest advances in musical instruments, always very interesting.
mwe3: What role does mixing and mastering have in the final
product and can you name some of the other people involved in the
making of the Day Of Life CD?
Bernward Koch: Very important process. Sometimes I work with
other people together, but for Day Of Life I did the whole
work, composing, arranging and recording all my instruments. Important
and suitable flutes were played by my wife Christiane, and mixed all
together for the right feel. This time it was a special process to
create the whole album, like a rush, so I think it has a real flow.
The final mastering was made by Bay Records, Lafayette, California.
mwe3: When are you at your most relaxed and natural? What else
do you like to do outside of music and do you have other special hobbies
or is it all music all the time?
Bernward Koch: When I walk through a wide and silence landscape
I feel relaxed, and when I hear the right music, playing live, too.
I like airplanes, art and literature, Strength lies in calmness...
What have you planned for the rest of 2013 and moving into 2014. Are
you planning to write and record music for a new album or perhaps
you have some new project in mind? What are your next musical mountains
Bernward Koch: I have a few gigs in the next month and a project
with literature & music, too. From time to time I have musical
ideas in mind. I always collect new songs for a new record. I hope
I will climb the musical mountains higher and higher, for me and the
audience. I'm promoting, as effectively as possible, the new album
mainly here in Germany. I just got a request from Switzerland for
using the Irish Sun track from the album in a film score
for healing and so on. So I hope Day of Life will continue
go ones way.
Thanks to Bernward Koch @ www.BernwardKoch.com