of the legendary artists on the California-based Real Music label,
Bernward Koch is back in 2016 with a compilation album called
Touched by Love. One of the Euro legends of the
New Age music scene, Bernward has over the years, released seven albums
on Real Music and his eighth, Touched by Love compiles some
of his favorite tracks with the kicker being that the CD features
two newly recorded tracks called Memories of A Cherry Tree
and Hope. Thanks to the expertise of Real Musics
mastering, the music effortlessly flows from one track to the next,
regardless of what year the music is from. Speaking with mwe3.com
about his 2016 Real Music CD, Bernward says, "Touched
by Love is my very first Best of record and I was actually
surprised how good that workswith
so many tracks we might produce another Best of album
on another topic. First I thought it would not be easy to put Ever
Returning from the 1989 Flowing album together with the two
new tracks from 2016 on one record, but it works fantastically!"
gifted multi-instrumentalists and composer, Bernward
plays a number of instruments on the CD including piano, synths and
electronic keys, guitar, bass guitar and all manner of percussion
while receiving some support from his brother Christoph Koch (12
string guitar, drums) and his wife Christiane Böhm (flute).
Perfect for meditation or sonic relaxation, Touched by Love is
a splendid introduction to the timeless New Age instrumental sound
of Bernward Koch. www.RealMusic.com
mwe3.com presents an interview with
The Touched by Love interview
Whats new in Germany? Summer is over and Fall 2016 is here again.
Are you looking forward to the season changes? What have you been
up to recently and whats new musically?
Bernward Koch: Well, we have the same problems as other countries
in the world, although on different topics, but all in all its
okay. I hope well have a few sunny days in the fall because
the colors of nature are splendid at that time, always very good for
music inspirations. At the moment Im supporting the new album
Touched by Love, and I have several new tunes for a new
album in 2017.
mwe3: Tell us about Touched by Love. How did you come
up with the idea and what are some of the connecting aspects to the
tracks? When discussing your instrumental music, I think were
also talking about universal love, which encompasses love
of the Earth or mankind.
Bernward Koch: Up to now I released seven albums on the Real
Music label, 11 records altogether without the new Touched by Love
CD, and I thought it would be a good idea to put a few tracks from
all seven of the US records. I tested it here and the effect was really
great, a great new view of the virtue of the music. Then I discussed
it with Terence Yallop and he was keen about that. Of course you can
hear the album as a love album, as a wedding album or what you want,
but the track Touched by Love (from Walking through
Clouds ) is the hook, and this track is very popular, too. Im
sure our world might not exist without love, even though it is sometimes
mwe3: The back of the Touched by Love cover art mentions
that the CD was compiled from over one hundred tracks that you have
recorded for Real Music. How challenging was choosing the final track
selections and tell us about the two unreleased tracks, Memories
of A Cherry Tree and the track Hope. The liner notes
say that those two were recently recorded. Is this the case, or do
you have a number of unreleased tracks to draw from?
Koch: The music sequence must fit, the circle has to close in
a very suitable and pleasant way. Actually I always compose and collect
new ideas and tunes. So the two unreleased tracks, Memories
of A Cherry Tree and Hope are brand-new, composed
and produced early this year with a real background from my childhood
in the 1960s. There stood a big and wonderful cherry tree nearby.
It was amazing to climb that impressive tree, the tree was a quiet
friend, and the cherries tasted wonderful. And hope is always indispensable
in so many difficult situations in our world.
mwe3: What was involved in compiling the tracks taken from
various albums you recorded? Was there some EQ work done to make the
sound levels and volume the same so there is a seamless sound between
them all? After going back and choosing from the seven albums, were
you amazed at your progress in the studio and what are the years that
span the Touched by Love collection? How do you feel your sound
has changed over time or do you find there were more similarities
in your recording and compositional techniques over the course of
Bernward Koch: Touched by Love is my very first Best
of record and I was actually surprised how good that works,
with so many tracks we might produce another Best of album
on another topic. First I thought it would not be easy to put Ever
Returning from the 1989 Flowing album together with the
two new tracks from 2016 on one record, but it works fantastically!
CD mastering was done by Ken Lee in Oakland, California and I think
he did a good job. Of course today we have many more possibilities
in the studio, for example, using the abundance of VST plugins in
but it all fits together. And my own rule is, and
will remain always to find a strong melody, a good song, telling stories
with my own handwriting
thats what is important for me.
mwe3: I often say that New Age music, such as your music, is
really the classical music of the modern times. I dont mean
to discredit Bach or Mozart but why do you think classical music radio
and press have been slow to acknowledge New Age music? I am interested
in your opinions on the current state of New Age instrumental music
and also how is the situation in Germany and in Europe regarding your
brand of New Age instrumental music?
Koch: A long time ago in San Francisco, I bought a book about
music and business that was called Running Your Rock Band,
and one of the first lines was: Think in quality and not only
in your personal music taste. I like that very much. New
Age is a term originally from the 1980s but I think the
important thing is to produce really good music in quality in every
respect. Maybe there are many cheap productions on the market in Germany
and Europe for sure, and thats not good for the reputation,
not only in New Age, but in other styles, as well. Okay, I know the
music industry needs terms for sure, but I guess most of the customers
first buy the artist that they know and like his or her music, and
later, the musical style if they enjoy it.
How many different keyboards and other instruments are you playing
on Touched by Love ? How has your sound progressed as far as
what keyboards, both pianos and synths, you have featured over the
course of the seven studio albums featured here? What else is capturing
your attention as far as new gear and studio equipment goes?
Bernward Koch: Many, like the Yamaha DX7, Roland D50, alpha
Juno, Mini Moog, Korg SG1D Piano are from the Flowing days
in 1989, and I use those keyboards to this day. Other included analog
keys like a few Rhodes and Wurlitzer pianos, Hohner Clavinet D6, different
Yamaha digital pianos (today I use a CP4), Korg Trinity, Nord Electro4,
up to a new Yamaha Reface DX. And there are many VST plugins within
my sequencer Steinberg Cubase like Padshop, Retroloque and many more.
I still work with an old Lexicon PCM 70 reverb as well as a Lexicon
PCM 91 and other studio gear. I will never sell them. And I use real
instruments like different guitars: 12 string, bass guitar, glockenspiel,
exotic and Sonor percussion are important. I like to produce an unicum,
e.g. a flute that is not a flute, every player has their own sound
and vibrato. But I need only a sound that fits the compositions, and
Im lucky to have a wife, Christiane, who is a classically trained
flutist, especially for baroque and classical music, (but it sounds
great in my music, too), and a brother who understands the special
vibes in my music. All in all I mix the analog and modern digital
productions together to reach an emotional and honestly timeless music.
Now that youve had a chance to pick and choose from the best
of your Real Music albums, do you have a favorite period or album
that really stands out in your music or do you consider all your albums
to be like your children, and you dont choose favorites? You
have some early albums that have not been released by Real Music right?
Bernward Koch: My releases are indeed a little like my children,
I cant really choose favorites. Every album has significant
tracks, and although I know many people like Walking Through Clouds
very much, which included the successful track Touched by Love,
the last record, Remembering and Touched by Love is
always the best you know.
My first two records, Flowing and Laguna de la Vera,
were produced originally for the German Erdenklang label. Then I released
Still Magic and Picante, both for BSC Music in Germany.
Later there was another record for Erdenklang/DA-Music, Montagnola
dedicated to Hermann Hesse and recorded only on a grand piano.
Now, and for many years Ive released my music on the Real Music
mwe3: Now that Touched by Love is out, what are you
planning for 2017? I cant believe its almost the end of
2016. As an artist, how important is it to have goals and plans for
ideas on composing and recording as it relates to future releases?
Koch: Yes Robert, time flies! So we all have to produce something
valuable in music, in art, in words
to cherish a little in the
fast stream of time. I think I have enough new ideas for a new album
in 2017. Over the last few years Ive collected about 40 new
concepts for the next record, but you know quality is more important
than quantity, so I can choose only the best tunes and start working.
I think for every serious artist, one of the important things is always
to try to improve his or her work.