The Creative Process #11 Dominique Charpentier

When did you start making music and what was the contributor factor that made you to do so?

I started playing piano at 8. I already loved listening to music since a young age and then my parents offered to pay for music lessons. They let me choose the instrument I wanted and since my sister already played the piano I already became familiar with this instrument. I was fascinated by the sound of it: beautiful, deep, cinematic. I used to listen to my sister when she was playing at night, when we, younger brothers, were already in bed. I always imagined pictures, scenes of an imaginary movie taking place in front of my eyes.

 

How hard was it for you to create, record and release your first material?

It wasn’t that hard actually but I didn’t do all this steps at the same time. I began composing my music at 15, then first recorded piano pieces at 16 (with a shitty mp3 player) and finally released my first compositions at 21.

But actually my first “real” release was only in 2016, with my first piano solo album “Passages”, because before I composed a lot for video-games and movies so I wasn’t focused on my solo artist career. Now I try to do both.

 

What is the main art form that influenced you in creating? Was it only music or did movies and other forms of art influenced your creative process?

Actually it was both: movies and music. The thing is that my main inspiration comes from movie soundtracks, so the music that I loved and listened the most was the one I heard in films. That is why my two main musical influences are Yann Tiersen and Ludovico Einaudi. I first heard their music in movies.

 

What are the steps that an idea takes before becoming a fully fledge song? And how does that idea affects the way you build an album from the ground up?

I usually start composing a new piece by improvising on the piano. When I find an interesting harmony progression I decide to stay with it and begin to look for a melody that fits. Then I conceptualize the form of the composition and I repeat the same process for the different parts. When I feel that “it works” I decide that is it, and the piece is finished.

However, when I compose an orchestral piece it can be a bit different, as sometimes I conceptualize a lot more the creative process.

About the album: for the first one I didn’t even think how I would “build” it. I just composed piano pieces and then chose the ones I thought were great together.

But for my new album I started with a basic creative idea before even composing anything: to create tracks inspired by cities or places I have visited. And also to compose each piano piece in less than two hours. And about the piano sound I bought a new piano on purpose for the album, as I was looking for a soft piano sound that could be great while playing with the damper pedal. That explains why my new album is much more consistent and I hope, more mature.

 

What do you consider the most important traits that a song and an album must have before you consider it to be completed?

Coherence and unity, even if some of the parts are really different.

 

What are the actual steps that you take when you are creating? Do you need to enter or go to a certain setting in order to get creative?

I don’t take any particular steps, as I said earlier, I just sit at the piano and improvise something. Some days I have great ideas, some days I have shitty ideas, and some days I don’t have any ideas.

Strangely, when I had a bad night and feel like shit, sometimes the day after in the morning I have wonderful ideas. I don’t know why. And I also get very creative when I don’t have a lot of time, for example when I have just 20 min on the piano before going somewhere I often come with very good ideas. That’s why I record a lot of stuffs on my smartphone. You can never know when “the inspiration” comes.

 

Except art are there any other external or internal factors that influence you when you create, if so what are they?

The ones I have just mentioned. And I also get a lot of inspiration from nature especially if it is wild, and with the sea, like in Normandy (North-West France).

 

What is your main motivation to create and be creative?

To escape from reality.

 

How long does it take to go from a song to an album from scratch to the fully recorded version?

It depends, I would say and average of six months, but it can be a bit more or a bit less.

 

Do you take multiple takes of the songs before settling on the final version or do you go with the flow and just do one take?

I take multiple takes unless I feel the first one is perfect.

 

During live shows what do you like to do more, experiment and improvise on the basis of the existing album and songs or you are more likely to recreate the recorded material as faithfully as possible?

I tend to recreate the material exactly as it is on the album, but in the future I would like to improvise a lot more. I just need to practice more live concert situation.

 

What are the main ingredients that makes a live show special for you?

The audience.

 

Do new ideas appear during live performances? If so how to do you proceed in order to materialize them?

No, no new ideas during live performance, but I hope in the future yes!

 

What is the perfect time of day and weather that makes you creative?

Early in the morning, or during early afternoon, with a nice cup of tea, or late at night.

 

What are your future plans and what advice do you have for people that want to get into creating music?

My future plans are a lot: I started working on a new album, I also want to do more movie soundtracks and I plan on creating my own record label and recording studio to support young modern classical artists like me.

I only have on advice, which I actually stole from Jean-Pierre Jeunet, one of my favorite film directors, but his advice apply to all arts I think. You want to get into creating music? Then just create music!

dominique04

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s