Frans Bak, composer

Who or what inspired you to take up composing, and pursue a career in music?Actually since I was a kid I wanted to do things my own may – sometimes it caused me a lot of troublesJ but in terms of music I have been composing somehow since I could reach the piano. I knew since I was 15 – that I had to work with music all my life.

Who or what were the most significant influences on your musical life and career as a composer?

I grew up with The Beatles and then jazz took over – classic bebop, Charlie Parker etc – then came fusion – Weather Report, Chick Corea etc – then the Nordic Sound, Keith Jarrett – Belonging album Jan Garbareck – Jon Balke etc. Right now I like the new sound of Johann Johannsson, Olafur Arnalds and Nils Frahm to name a few

What have been the greatest challenges/frustrations of your career so far?

It is always a challenge to start on a new project. Since I work in different countries I think it is a challenge to “read” the different cultures, what you say in one country doesn’t necessarily mean the same in another. That is sometimes a challenge,

What are the special challenges/pleasures of working on a commissioned piece?

When you work on a commissioned piece you have to “read” the performer/artist – if it is a concert piece. And make a piece that can present your best work – but also can give the artist a possibility to shine somehow.

What are the special challenges/pleasures of working with particular musicians, singers, ensembles and orchestras?

As before – find out where they are – what do they like to pursue, and find a way where you can use your talent and make great music that also makes them shine somehow.

Of which works are you most proud?

Ha ha – always the last – I just delivered a piece for Mari and Hakon Samuelsson, I really like that piece, “The Mist” – and I am looking so much forward to that release.

How would you characterise your compositional language?

I try to capture the Nordic feel on my music – and follow the natural melody. As a film composer I can get challenges in many different ways – then I set my ego aside – and follow the story and see where it takes me.

How do you work?

Each project has a different workflow and I like to challenge myself. In film or TV-series I prefer to attend the shoot and start very early in the project. That is sometimes demanding for the editor – but when it works you get so much from the first demoes I find.

Who are your favourite musicians/composers?

I don’t think I have any. I get inspired from all kinds of small ideas I hear – and that can be from anybody

What is your most memorable concert experience?

I recently started a new project – “Sound Of North” – we made a big concert at the Spot Festival in Denmark last year with lights and visuals – that was pretty amazing! I am holding on to this at the moment – played in New York recently – and will play in China this March

What do you consider to be the most important ideas and concepts to impart to aspiring musicians?

Learn to master you instrument – rehearse and study hard and then try to find your own sound – instead of copying others.

 

Frans  Bak is acomposer, conductor, instrumentalist (piano/saxophone) and a graduate of the Royal Danish Academy of Music. Following graduation, Frans formed a number of bands experimenting with music, fusing together his classical training background with different genres, sounds and modern technologies. Today Frans’ compositions are ambient and atmospheric, creating a dreamy and intense soundscape, for a truly immersive listening experience.

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