/ composer Eamonn Karran made a lot of instrumental music listeners
very happy with his 2013 CD Distant Sun and in 2015, Eamonn
returns for his best album yet with his CD Forgotten Road.
Evolving from the musical path of Distant Sun, Eamonns
twelve track, hour long Forgotten Road album conjures a dreamlike
atmosphere filled with memorable melodies that creates a sense of
deja-vu with half remembered dreams that are more evocative then lamenting.
Eamonn has cited artists such as synth master Jean Michel Jarre and
from the pop world, pop singer Bruce Hornsby as big influences but
clearly, on Forgotten Road, the sound is very ethereal in the
best spirit of the Celtic-inspired instrumental music of Mike Oldfield
and soundtrack composer Mark Knopfler. On Forgotten Road, Eamonn
combines his tasteful synth work with his superb sounding piano and
the results are both haunting and celestial. Speaking to mwe3.com
about Forgotten Road, Eamonn explains, "As
a follow up album to Distant Sun, Forgotten Road is much more of a
piano based album, my primary instrument. When I first started developing
ideas for Forgotten Road my aim was to go back to my roots and create
something that was a piano album without being too cliché.
I didnt want it to sound like any other artist, it had to have
my own sound and include my passion for ambient synth soundscapes
mixed with traditional Celtic instruments. In some ways it is a natural
follow up to Distant Sun but in others it is a completely independent
album that I believe stands on its own and has a more mature sound
in both performance and production."
no denying the healing New Age aspects of Eamonns compositions
as those elements have remained part of his music since his surviving
a near fatal car accident in 2011. Theres an air of reflection
on Forgotten Road, especially with Eamonn losing his mother
during the recording sessions. Lifes rich tapestry of dreams
and memories are brought to light on the haunting sonic palate of
Eamonn Karrans Forgotten Road. www.RealMusic.com/
mwe3.com presents an interview with
Why do you call your new CD Forgotten Road and how do you feel
it follows up from your approach first solo album Distant Sun?
Is there a concept on Forgotten Sun or a different approach
Eamonn Karran: Forgotten Road for me personally is the
perfect title as it relates to so much that has happened over the
past few years. The track itself was conceived after my mother passed
away in October 2013. Whilst sorting out many of her and my late aunt
Jeans possessions I came across sentimental items that I never
knew existed, cards, photos and written accounts of their youth. This
forgotten journey was upsetting but also wonderful to read and experience,
almost like I was there in their shoes and led to me creating this
slightly melancholic piece.
As a follow up album to Distant Sun, Forgotten Road is much
more of a piano based album, my primary instrument. When I first started
developing ideas for Forgotten Road my aim was to go back to
my roots and create something that was a piano album without
being too cliché, I didnt want it to sound like any other
artist, it had to have my own sound and include my passion for ambient
synth soundscapes mixed with traditional Celtic instruments.
In some ways it is a natural follow up to Distant Sun but in
others it is a completely independent album that I believe stands
on its own and has a more mature sound in both performance and production.
mwe3: Describe the song writing process. Do you pull ideas
out of the air or do you have a specific intent when you compose?
Does your frame of mind often decide if its gonna be a sad or
stately or a celestial kind of melody?
Eamonn Karran: I compose entirely from feelings and emotion
so as the moment happens I usually dive for the piano or if Im
out Ill hum the melody into my phone!!. I always find myself
hearing a certain chord or note progression and thats where
most tracks start. My frame of mind has a big influence on how the
track flows and I have been told by listeners that they pick up on
a certain emotion whilst listening to tracks; its a wonderful
compliment as I like to convey to the listener what I was feeling
at the time the song was conceived.
Is there something new in the gear world for you? Tell us about some
of the musical equipment you used on Forgotten Road. Have you
found that perfect piano yet? Steinway could use a good man like you!
Eamonn Karran: Steinway! Yes they can approach me any day!,
I wish I could represent them on a world scale, unfortunately Ive
never had the pleasure of playing one of their pianos but you never
know what the future holds, please call around anytime! I am more
or less using the same equipment used on Distant Sun; Yamaha
P105 piano, Yamaha MO6 workstation, Focusrite Audio interface, Reaper
DAW, I have dabbled with a few VSTs over the last 2 years namely
Pianoteq 5, Celtic Instruments Uileann pipes, Alchemy, which is fantastic,
Orange Tree flutes, Miroslav Philharmonik, Sampletank and a selection
of samples and loops to try and boost my sound but find myself drifting
back to my trusty keyboards for inspiration.
Ive learned a lot since Distant Sun, especially regarding
quality of production and placement of instruments in the mix and
applied these lessons when producing Forgotten Road. I have
always been a little old fashioned being a big fan of recording all
my parts live audio but I do agree there is an argument for using
midi instruments. It certainly speeds up the recording process but
I do think the tracks lose their natural feel. I have yet to find
a VST piano that would come close to playing an acoustic or good quality
digital piano; they all seem to be deficient in too many areas. Im
happy with the sound the P105 is producing, its received some
amazing compliments about how natural it sounds but I would love,
if possible, to be able to record future albums acoustically, maybe
Steinway could look after this for me
mwe3: The first track Fairy Dance sets an intriguing
opening tone. Just the first three notes set the sound. How do you
feel Fairy Dance evokes the Forgotten Road spirit?
Karran: Fairy Dance was inspired by stories I was told as
a kid about Fairy Rings or Fairy Trees. Irish folklore is steeped
in tales of these mysterious trees that must never be cut down or
harmed as they bring untold bad luck and I was always fascinated by
the stories. This particular track was intended to create a mystical
Celt sound that evokes thoughts and memories of times gone by, of
sitting and listening to my peers as tales are told. This is all part
of the Forgotten Road spirit of looking back at my past
and the past of others so that I can pass this on to my own children.
mwe3: When did you write the music on Forgotten Road
and where and when was the album recorded?
Eamonn Karran: March 2013 I began working on Forgotten Road.
By this stage Distant Sun was complete and I had quite a few
ideas for this album. I didnt want another Distant Sun,
mainly because I wanted to show that I am equally competent at solo
piano pieces as producing bigger ambient tracks. After toying with
a few VSTs and getting nowhere I decided to go back and completely
start the album from scratch using the P105/MO6. As I cant read
music and nothing is actually scripted, I was putting down chord progressions
and melody ideas day by day and gradually building the tracks. I had
about 7 fixed melodies that I knew I had to use so it was a matter
of combining my ideas and creating full pieces. I record everything
at home, nothing too extravagant at the moment. I am working on opening
a permanent studio so I am kind of in between studios at the moment
but still able to work efficiently at home and create the sound I
mwe3: The title track Forgotten Road offers a good
indication of the album mood. Its both upbeat and also reflective
too. Is that the nature of Celtic music in general? Theres something
deep and yet lighthearted at the same time? Tell us something about
the Celtic influence and other Irish music on your music and what
it means to you.
Eamonn Karran: I do enjoy listening to skilled Irish traditional
musicians as there is a real soul in their playing; its not
something that can be taught. Their use of chord progressions and
the timings and harmonics of each instrument complimenting each other
is incredibly emotional and has had a big influence on certain parts
of my music.
the 1980s I enjoyed listening to Clannad and was astounded at
how they managed to turn traditional music into something so magical
and appealing to a much wider audience. Their use of rich synth pads,
layered vocals blended with tribal beats and beautiful harmonics but
still maintaining that Celtic sound made me think about what is possible
and how you can take a certain genre of music and make it your own.
With Forgotten Road I wanted to follow a similar path, not by copying
any particular artist but to create an album that remains true to
my Celtic roots but will add my love for both the piano and electronic
ambient music. Strangely, I have actually had a few people who love
heavy rock music say they love my deep reflective style!
mwe3: Track 3 Angel Of Tullagh Strand is haunting.
Is that other side of your music, the more ethereal, otherworldly
side? Its really cool and much more electronic in scope than
the albums more piano based tracks.
Eamonn Karran: Yes it certainly is my alter ego!. If I was
to throw together a mix of influences such as Phil Coulter, Yiruma,
Clannad, Jean Michel Jarre and Mike Oldfield, then you will get an
idea of how I came to compose this style of music. In the past I have
created quite a few heavier electronic tracks along the lines of Jean
Michel Jarre mainly to experiment with new sounds and samples and
then combine these with my solo piano pieces.
Angel Of Tullagh Strand is meant to convey the haunting
beauty of Tullagh Bay, a beautiful beach in Donegal Ireland where
I spent many happy childhood holidays. I decided to let my electronic
side run free here and use a number of deep ambient sounds and samples
to create something otherworldly. I love throwing tracks like this
into the mix to show off the other side of my production skills and
to give the listener something fresh and interesting to enjoy.
mwe3: Track 4 Beyond The Vale is a return to the
piano sound but theres a very substantial melody at work here.
Is the Vale somewhere really or in the mind?
Karran: The Vale is actually the veil of life, that
fine curtain that separates us from our physical existence and our
spiritual afterlife. Over the past few years I have begun to explore
what I believe lies beyond our veil, what may happen to our souls
once we pass on. I know this is quite deep but it is part of a journey
that I am taking and has had a profound impact on my compositions.
This track conveys the beauty of life through the piano melody and
the mystery of the afterlife through the textures and pads accompanying
the piano. I have had a few people ask what this track is about, it
has generated a lot of positive interest in my music.
mwe3: You lost your mother during the making of this new album.
How much did that factor into the making of Forgotten Road
and tell us something about your mom and what role she had on your
music and life in general. Is making music a way to cope from these
Eamonn Karran: Yes she passed quite suddenly in October 2013
and everything changed overnight. She was an incredible lady who loved
what I am doing, she actively encouraged us all to take up music from
a young age and I am forever grateful for that. Over the years she
supported my every move and was so proud when I told her of my recording
deal crying when she first heard the title track Distant Sun
and its Uilleann pipes. I am happy she lived to see this happen. As
a person she was your stereotypical Irish mom, kind with a heart as
big as her personality, extremely proud of her family. She brought
us up after my father passed away in 1986, so times were quite tough
but we all grew up in a wonderful loving home and our different skills
and talents were openly encouraged to flourish, I could never have
asked for more.
As for Forgotten Road, a number of tracks were quickly discarded
and I began composing new versions of pieces such as Hold My
Hand, Beyond The Vale, Forgotten Road
and The Last Dance, so in many ways this album is a testament
to our mom and her life and how her passing has so greatly affected
Crest Of Life is kind of upbeat. It almost has a rock
or pop melody. Im glad its an instrumental but I could
almost imagine someone singing words to it. Does Crest Of Life
conjure a kind of pop melody in your mind?
Eamonn Karran: This is certainly a livelier piece. Crest
Of Life is about reaching that point in my life were Im
finally doing what I love most. Its a happier more upbeat track
than most of the others on the album to lift the mood slightly. Its
also interesting that you say this has a pop feel to it as it is heavily
influenced by the work of Yiruma who has composed some amazing melodic
tracks that sound like they could be part of a bigger song or even
have vocals accompany them. I would love to hear somebodys interpretation
of this track by adding lyrics and vocals.
mwe3: Kindred Souls is another deep track. Kind
of sad but in a positive way. Any story on that track? It does also
feature some nice orchestral synth work too to offer some variety.
Eamonn Karran: Kindred Souls is about realizing
that youve met your soul mate. It is quite a deep track but
that stems from the loss of my father at just 14. I simply sat down
one day and during a moment of deep reflection I played this improvised
piano part in one take. My mother always said there would never be
another person like him and for me they are the true definition of
I am blessed to have met my soul mate in my wife and this feeling
of being so lucky to have met such an incredible lady had a positive
impact on the performance. So this is dedicated to those wonderful
souls who have surrounded me in the past and continue to do so today.
Its the only piece performed using VSTs. I wanted to get
a brighter more heavenly piano sound and this wasnt possible
on my piano so I used Pianoteq 5 for the solo and Alchemy for the
Track 7 Hold My Hand offers a kind of deja vu moment on
Forgotten Road. Is that kind of the half way point of the albums
journey? I hear some echoes of Mark Knopfler and "Going Home"
in the melody but clearly it must be a kind of classic Irish folk
melody that is timeless. Is that track, even more than the others,
a very Irish flavored kind of melody?
Eamonn Karran: Going Home is a beautiful piece
and yes I suppose Hold My Hand has that similar vibe but
in actual fact this was influenced by a song called Bygone Days
by violinist Eileen Ivers. Whilst my mother was seriously ill in hospital
and was about to be operated on she asked my wife to walk beside her
and hold her hand. This was a very poignant moment and these words
stuck in my mind as she never regained consciousness after the operation.
I was sitting listening to music a few weeks later and the melody
for Hold My Hand was running through my mind and I knew
I had to get this recorded, I wanted to record a piece that I knew
she would love, she had a passion for Irish music and so Hold
My Hand was born. It is a very important piece and is definitely
a half way point as after she passed I decided to rewrite a lot of
tracks prepared for Forgotten Road.
mwe3: Track 8, The Last Dance has a unique kind
of circular melody. Is that song a kind of change of direction on
the Forgotten Road album? A more kind of jazzy track with just
a slight touch of Irish melodic etchings.
Eamonn Karran: I suppose this does stand out amongst the other
tracks on the album. The Last Dance is more of a swinging
track. My intention was to create a sound almost like a ghostly waltz
melody that one might hear playing in a deserted dance hall bringing
back happy memories of the past. This is the reason I felt it fitted
with the Forgotten Road spirit. I tried to keep a certain Irish
vibe going through this piece as we have a long history of generations
celebrating their culture and music in dance halls throughout Ireland.
Unfortunately most of these are now long gone and The Last Dance
is a celebration of that love and passion for our music that has been
passed down though many generations.
mwe3: An Grainan has a cool title. Is there an
English name or translation? I love the combination of the piano and
synth background. Is that a new kind of sound for you and how does
it fit into the Forgotten Road CD? Its almost neoclassical
in its scope. Are those real voices at the end? How did you create
the pipes sound near the end of the piece? Heavenly stuff. Wow factor
Karran: Grainan of Aileach to give it its full title
is a beautiful ancient ring fort situated on a hill top not far from
my home. Its a mysterious place with an incredible history.
It has been used throughout the centuries as a base for Irish clans
and has been something that has fascinated me since childhood. When
standing in the center of the fort you can almost hear its past shouting
from the stones. This piece was composed to convey the sheer power
of the people that passed through this place; it was a place of battle,
a place of celebration, a seat of power that shaped part of Irelands
The voices are samples that I edited layered and reversed to give
that haunting feel. The pipes/whistle are also samples but played
live using Celtic Instruments VST. Like the instruments I would love
to use live vocals for future albums, if space and equipment allows!
I would love some day to perform this piece and others live at the
fort using traditional musicians as it would make the most incredible
backdrop for my music.
mwe3: Track 10, As The Foyle Gently Flows is another
heart tugging track with kind of a pop melody. Who plays the acoustic
guitar on the track? Whats the Foyle? Another kind of deja vu
moment but I cant recall where the melody came from. Very original
Eamonn Karran: The Foyle is a river that flows through my home
town Derry in Northern Ireland. Its a beautiful place where
I spent many happy childhood days and continue to take my family today.
I am blessed to live so close to the ocean with some wonderful beaches
on the banks of the Foyle only a few miles from home, so this piece
is dedicated to this river which has played such a huge role in the
lives of myself and many others.
The guitar piece is from sampletank but is performed live over the
track, I like to keep any virtual instruments feeling as natural as
possible. I deliberately decided to build up the orchestration gradually
throughout the track to keep the listeners attention, adding more
layers of synth pads, Uilleann pipes and guitar . If studio space
changes I hope to feature some acoustic instruments on future albums
as Im a huge fan of using real musicians and real instruments,
Im surrounded by some incredible players and it would be a blessing
to get them into the studio.
Ease My Mind has a kind of folklore melody. Is it kind
of neoclassical in its scope? Is that one of the more folkloristic
tracks on the Forgotten Road CD? Did something trigger the
melody for Ease My Mind? A great example of your combining
piano and synth.
Eamonn Karran: Ease My Mind is actually an older
piece and one of the first I created when I started recording. After
a serious car accident 4 years ago I decided to dedicate my life to
producing music that I loved, never realizing I would end up releasing
my music! I was going through a tough time being out of work and not
knowing what the future holds. I created a number of pieces during
this time but my favorite is Ease My Mind, which is about
a cry for help to ease the panic I felt about the future.
Last year I made contact with a wonderful guy called Stephen Cairns
from Piano Heaven. He loved my work but in particular he singled out
Ease My Mind and asked why it hadnt been released.
Just around this time Real Music asked for an extra track for Forgotten
Road and I decided on his advice to pitch this track. The original
version wasnt good enough quality for this album so I re-recorded
everything and they immediately accepted it, so in actual fact this
almost never made the grade! But Im delighted it has.
mwe3: Fascination closes the CD out on an air of
hope in a way. Its not sad or happy but kind of an invitation
to enter the ether world so to speak. Although instrumental in scope,
in your mind does it speak of better times to come?
Eamonn Karran: Fascination represents my absolute
love for all things paranormal, Ive been this way since I was
a kid and things havent changed! So its great you picked
up on the ether world vibe. Im fascinated by the existence of
life beyond what we see. I deeply believe that we are not alone in
this universe and this has had an impact on the sounds and textures
that I use when composing. Some of my early music was classified as
space music my many listeners and to me thats a
compliment and I continue to try and add that space feel to my piano
tracks today. Fascination is the child in me, my imaginary
journey into the deep recesses of our universe, a kind of floating
piece thats designed to take the listeners mind away to a more
mwe3: Speaking of the future, are you hopeful or is that world
too much to bear sometimes. Forgotten Road is a great way to
lighten the hardships of the world, in that respect youve succeeded
in making a great album.
Eamonn Karran: Thank you so much. Im extremely hopeful
of the future. Working with an incredible label like Real Music has
brought out the best in my music, their guidance and belief in what
I do has been inspirational to say the least. Long before I was signed
I listened to quite a few of their artists and its an honor
to be working directly with them today.
believe that as a society we are becoming more and more aware of the
spiritual benefits of music and its healing properties. I will continue
to produce music for as long as others continue to enjoy it, thats
what I love most about this journey. Forgotten Road is a turning
point for me as a pianist/composer and I look forward to future albums
and exploring the use of different world instruments to compliment
my solo pieces. Album three hasnt yet begun and its completion
will be a bit further down the line as I havent decided on its
musical direction but it will be an exciting project to follow Forgotten
Karran and Real