Q – Hi, Lloyd.
Over the years I’ve often wondered about the piano playing on your solo recordings. I think I can recall you saying/writing somewhere that the piano sounds were electronically created on your computer. At the time, I understood this to mean you programming in (midi style? Sorry, I’m hopeless with all the tech stuff!) the notes, rather than actually playing a keyboard/piano.
This often perplexed me (I’m easily perplexed), as I recall buying one of your 12″ releases from Mainstream (either Jennifer She Said, or From The Hip) which had a great piano-lead song, the title of which I cannot for the life of me recall (the other b-sides included another great song called Lonely Mile, I think, but it’s been several years since I lost my copy). At the time, I assumed you played, since Blair Cowan had left the Commotions by then.
So, after all of that, I now have two questions: (1) Do you play piano? (you’re credited as doing so on several solo tracks, e.g. Downtown); and (2) was it you, or Blair, or someone else (Ian Stanley?) playing on the aforementioned b-side?
Sorry to bother you with what must be a triviality. All the best from Glasgow, as usual, and hurry up and visit (tour!) again please!
A – I can play piano, barely. But I do write songs on the piano. I doubt I could sing at the same time, but we may find out soon.. A large proportion of my new tunes are piano driven. I do use the computer to make me sound as though I can actually play proficiently and I’m in no way shy about that. My latest trick is to use two pianos, one playing chords and the other playing melodies and have them dueling, so it’s not clear if there are one or two.
As I recall the piano on Downtown is a single note descending melody.. I can do that.
The Commotions b-side you’re thinking of is called Please and that was a Lawrence tune. He plays the piano on it. Very nicely too, in a sort of Another Green World way.
As an aside for anyone interested, I just got a new Virtual Instrument Plug In for my studio set up. It is called Ivory, by a company called Synthogy. It is a piano simulator and it is fantastic. I think I can finally do the piano in the computer, no microphones, no sound modules.