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Interview with Serge Kozlovsky
   
 
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This interview was published in 2001 under the title "BEAUTY OF AN ENCHANTED HEART"
 

Serge : When I was listening to your albums, I was surprised: your music is incredibly beautiful and harmonic. It is full of aesthetics and intelligence! These are simply divine melodies, which help to relax and calm the soul. Also, the use of nature sounds in your music is masterful. What inspires you to create this music?

Kevin : Well, firstly, thank you for your kind words! I am very inspired by Nature and the landscapes of the English countryside, and I try to convey what I feel when I see a marvellous sunset or a beautiful cloud formation in music. Living close to the countryside, I can easily record the natural sounds of birdsong or rivers and streams on DAT (usually very early in the morning!) to blend in with the music if I feel it will complement the album.

Serge : Tell me a little about your background. Where are you from? When did you begin studying music? Has your musical style varied over the years?

Kevin : I was born in Perivale, West London, England in 1966. The house we lived in, (and where my parents still live), backs on to a golf course with many trees and a church spire in the distance, so it felt much more like being in the countryside than being in London! The view was different in every season. In the Autumn, ethereal mists would rise and hang at waist height, obscuring the view below, but leaving the view above very clear. I would walk to school through these mists, and those strange landscapes have been very inspiring in the music I write today. You can hear what I describe as "misty" sound textures throughout my work.

Another very early influence for me, (and although this might sound like a terrible cliché, it's perfectly true!), was a recurring dream in which I heard beautiful hypnotic, repeating musical figures which I now know to be similar to the music of Steve Reich, Philip Glass and the minimalist school of composers. I could only have been about 3 or 4 years old at the time, but I remember it clearly. Again, you can hear this influence in my work.

According to my parents, I showed an aptitude for music in my early years, singing along to songs on the radio and singing harmonies to nursery rhymes! Consequently my parents sent me along to piano lessons when I was 8 years old. At that point in time I did not have much interest in practising scales and learning the simple pieces that my teacher gave me. I would rather have been outside playing with my friends! In fact, after learning piano for about three years, I was on the point of giving up when a very forward-thinking music teacher at my school played Mike Oldfield's "Tubular Bells" in the school assembly for a couple of weeks. I was captivated by this music, which was the nearest thing I had heard to the hypnotic music in my early dreams. This marked a turning point for me. I was fired with enthusiasm and began writing my own compositions for piano. By the end of that school term, I had given the first public performance of my own composition in that same school assembly!

Another turning point was when I discovered synthesizers. I heard this wonderful music on a BBC documentary programme about Ginger Baker, the drummer from the band Cream. It was playing behind a scene of Ginger Baker riding a horse, and I wrote to the BBC asking what the music was. It turned out to be "3 + 3" from the album "Spiral" by Vangelis. I had a great deal of trouble finding the album in the shops at the time, and after about three months of looking, I discovered it in a record shop in a section of albums entitled "Moog Symthesizer". Again, the repeating, hypnotic lines were there, and a whole host of sounds that I'd never heard before - I had discovered the synthesizer! From there there was no turning back for me.

In addition to piano, I learnt to play oboe, classical guitar and church organ at school, only to an intermediate level, but I have found that experience of playing wind instruments and guitar has given me an invaluable insight into how those instruments are played, which helps greatly in adapting my playing technique today to make a synthesizer sound like the real instrument. For example, if you play a flute sound on a synthesizer like you would play a piano, it will not sound like a flute. But express yourself in the same way as a flute player might phrase the notes, and the sound is transformed. I am a great believer in this idea.

Whilst at school, I was listening to Mike Oldfield, Vangelis and also discovered (amongst others) Tangerine Dream, Brian Eno, Tomita and Iasos, all of which have greatly influenced my musical style today. Interestingly, Iasos is now a great friend via the Internet, which is just amazing for me! I was also formally studying classical music at the time ...

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