A Reflection: Hauschka Writes
When you consider that everyone of us has an average life expectation of around 75 years, we haven’t much time on this earth. And keeping in mind that the first 20 years are there to become an adult and learn all the skills to take care of your own life, we really only have 55 years to navigate through the jungle. I know that there are already many kids dealing with poverty and living an adult life without time to grow up.
I worry that a lot of political systems today are too focused on constant growth, and that many individuals are only concerned with gathering political power for themselves, rather than thinking about future generations and issues of sustainability. For me, that is the only reason we should be on this earth – to create things that help our fellow man and the generations that follow us. Everybody should have access to things like clean water and a dry place to stay. It’s a complicated issue. To give everyone the same right and ability means that the population of the earth will continue to grow, and as we know that will produce a lot of trash and we have a problem to agree to terms that help to protect our environment.
While composing my record I was surrounded by my daughters and 4-year-old son, and I couldn’t help wondering how they will be living in 30 to 50 years’ time in a world that’s constantly changing, and I wanted to combine these thoughts with my music. In my earlier work, I would come up with baskets of topic ideas and then compose music on each of them and try to piece everything together. This always worked pretty well and left enough space for interpretation, but for What If I wanted to combine my thoughts into a single body of work. In this case I think the album is a snapshot of a specific time in 2016.
Last year I wanted to get deeper into music and try to carve out what I need and what is worth me releasing, because I think that this is a time when being without an opinion is actually giving strange people the power to rule my world, and I'm not willing to do that, as long as I can influence it. I realized that most of my problems have to deal with my own laziness to have things stay as they are. It previously occurred to me, as a teenager, that my piano playing always circles around 4 or 5 chords, so I wanted to find new voicing and new tonalities. I experimented but didn’t find it very easy and over time I fell back into my old habits. But then later, with the prepared piano, I found a way of making regular chords sound interesting, because they get a specific shimmer or a strange rhythm, and I was happy with that. This challenged me to avoid my usual way of playing. I think with a lot of things this learning process is necessary because all the negative developments are a result of being unable to change habits and behaviors, even though they make no sense.
I'm learning a lot about my own life from creating music as well. With What If, I have managed to make a big step in my personal development because I was overcoming my fear of using more sparseness and leaving empty spaces in my tracks. I’ve slowly learnt that if you want to be an artist, you and your thoughts and ideas have to be enough and everything that is a reflection in the outside is secondary, because this is the only way to focus. But that doesn’t mean that I want to be ignorant. I think the challenge is to be aware of your surroundings and take care to have a strong focus on your path and your next steps. You can sit down at your instrument and everything you do you release because you think it good, or you can put a filter on your work and not let the music leave your table, until you reach a certain quality that's important and personal to you – that you can then share with others. I think I've accomplished that with this album.
Hauschka will play at Village Underground on May 30th HERE.