I love food, I love music… If I have both at the same time, I become the happiest person on the planet. Strongroom is one of those amazing (and few) places where you can eat the most delicious food, record music (with the latest equipment at your disposal) and have a good time! It’s my little haven in Shoreditch.
Last week I was there to record my upcoming Piazzolla album for piano, strings and – a DJ. A grand Kawai piano, a great engineer (Jon Bailey) and the most helpful assistants were all waiting for me to start the recording session… I began playing in the room with colorful tie-dye style painted walls that reminded me of the end of 1960s. That just has to put you in a good mood!
Astor Piazzolla is one of my favorite composers. I first performed his tangos with a fellow pianist and friend of mine on two pianos. We had a terrific time rehearsing, and since then I always wanted to create a new concept based on his music. So, I took the piano parts, re-arranged them, and then worked with a young composer to prepare the string parts and the electronic beats. It took us almost two years, because we both had our main projects that were keeping us busy: Mine was to finish my masters at the Royal Academy of Music, which I did recently. Once I graduated I felt ready to break away from the traditional classical atmosphere and try something new. With this project, I wanted to fuse the virtuoso instrumental playing of classical music with the fun, vibrant style of pop/dance music, and the romantic passion of Tango Nuevo. It is my second project since I graduated and for both I have tried to bring together different genres. The first one was my Pink Floyd ‘Lisztified’ EP, which is released on the 28th September. I used three Pink Floyd tracks and arranged them to Franz Liszt’s classical compositions.
But back to the Piazzolla recording session! On my lunch break I ordered from the bar: a beef stew with herbs, vegetables and coconut sauce. It was amazingly delicious! Honestly, nothing beats the food there as it’s affordable, healthy and rich in flavor. The kitchen must be run by a magician.
Once I got the energy I needed, we kept recording until the English String Quartet arrived to play the string parts. Said parts were, of course, very challenging but the Quartet did a great job: they were sight-reading virtuoso string parts on the spot and excelled. As an “energy break”, we had our British style “white teas” and then finished the rest of the recording. I was out of the studio around 9:30pm, ready to edit and mix the tracks.
I think my experience summarizes the life in Shoreditch: good food and good music. There are so many quirky shops, studios, clubs, bars and restaurants there, I cannot even remember their names! It’s Shoreditch that makes London artsy. And I love it here!
AyseDeniz Gokcin http://www.aysedeniz.org/Pianist.html – http://
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Sonata Quasi Fantasia: Pink Floyd “Lisztified” will be available from
iTunes, Amazon and Spotify from 28th September.