INTERVIEW: Frans Bak

Hi Frans, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?

Thanks a lot – pretty good actually – a lot of concerts got cancelled but I had a film to work on – and have enjoyed that.

Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Parting”?

Well actually it was a song I wrote for the Royal Danish Theater some years ago – it was a funeral song in a play. I played it recently a couple of times with the great Norwegian cello player Live Johansson and I decided to arrange it for her string quartet and include this on the album.

Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?

The play of course. It was sung by a big choir. But playing it with Live gave new inspiration – and the first part on the recording is created specially for this.

Any plans to release any sort of video for the track?

Not at the moment – we made a video for the the first single “Danish Brook” and then a teaser video for “Parting.”

The single comes off your new album Piano – what’s the story behind the title?

As a child I spent a lot of time behind the piano – and inherited it when I grew up. When my children grew up we had no room for it so I sold it. When they left home I saw an ad in a newspaper for this same piano – stating it had been my piano once. I had to buy it back – and got so inspired playing it again. So I wrote a lot of piano pieces. All pretty soft sounding – the musical term for soft sounding is “piano” – and since it was all written for piano – we went for that for the album title.

How was the recording and writing process?

The writing process was a lot of reminiscing of my childhood – following melodies – and moods. My close collaborator Keld Haaning Ibsen has been a very active producer on this – so the tracks have gone back and forth many times in the process. And then we added the string quartet as the cherry on the top – love that😊

What role does Denmark play in your music?

It think it plays a big role. I grew up with a lot of melodies, singing in churches etc. We are not so flamboyant as in Southern Europe – we are more subtle – in a country with small, but very important, changes of colors. Right now I am in my summerhouse at the countryside – it is, for me, very inspiring being in the middle of nature, and watching everything grow.

How has Nils Frahm and Ludovico Einaudi influenced your writing?

I am a big fan of both of them. I have seen Nils Frahm several times. I am inspired by his searching for new music – and his ability of keeping focus. I actually first discovered Ludovico Einaudi when they chose his  track for the Doctor Foster Main title. A month later I worked on a documentary film – and the same track was chosen for a special place. So I have listened to his music and understand why it connects so well with picture. Both composers are of course important but I wouldn’t say they have influenced my writing more than other music I hear.

What aspect of love and salvation did you get to explore on this record?

I have felt the love of “coming home” to my roots – playing the simple melodies – focusing on the piano – and follow the flow of the music. 

Where else did you find the inspiration for the songs and lyrics?

Working with the producer Keld on this was also inspiring since he sometimes heard the music differently and pushed me into new ways of approaching the music.

Any plans to hit the road?

A lot of shows got cancelled unfortunately – or postponed to next year – it is all a bit unclear right now.

What else is happening next in Frans Bak’s world?

Just about to finish a German movie – and have started working on new projects.

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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