Welcome back Michael and thank you for this interview.
What are currently your main compositional challenges?
I think mainly, just finding inspiration can be difficult. I try to move with the momentum of my emotions, and I try to write only when I am in the headspace for it. Because of that, when times are particularly stressful, it can be hard for me to sit down and create.
What do you usually start with when composing?
Usually, I just hit record, and I start improvising. When I hear something I like that I can build on, I replay that riff and mold it into something I can use. Short of that, I will sit down and just play one note at a time with my right hand until I develop a melody I like, and then I will build the piece from that point on.
“Coalescence” has recently been released, can you tell us something more?
Yes! So Coalescence is a concept album. I wrote some pieces when my environment was relatively peaceful and comforting, and some pieces when I was stressed or exhausted. I’m excited to see which pieces people gravitate to. I wanted to again play to momentum, and when I felt inspired to write, I wrote regardless of my mood at the time. Because of this, Coalescence is a fusion of two separate headspaces to create an album of chaos and order.
How do you see the relationship between timbre and composition?
I think the two are strongly correlated. When I play different pianos, I play differently, because I hear things differently. That rolls into my composition work as well, and I’m considering branching into new piano timbres. For now, I’ve been focusing on being versatile within the bounds of one piano voice, to discover and create my own sound before I branch too much into other timbres. That being said, there is one track on this album that incorporates two separate piano timbres, so that was something new for me.
Do you feel it important that an audience is able to deduct the processes and ideas behind a work purely on the basis of the music? If so, how do you make them transparent?
I actually prefer for people to write their own meaning to my piano music. If it relaxes, if it creates internal dialogue, or if it creates an emotion in the listener, then I am always eager to hear those thoughts. At the same time, I compose pieces for my own reasons and love sharing those reasons with people as well. I believe it makes for good conversation that way.
What’s a typical work week like?
In terms of creative rhythm, there isn’t really any “typical week” for me! I’ll go weeks or months without writing any music, and then I will sit down and write two, three, or four pieces. I try to create impulsively.
What is most challenging about what you do and what is most rewarding?
I think the most challenging thing for me is knowing when to abandon my art. I have a hard time knowing when a piece should be done. The most rewarding aspect for me is getting to finally share my content with the listeners and gathering their feedback. Having my work appreciated is a great feeling.
What are your goals/dreams for the future?
My goal really is for each new release to surpass the last. I want to keep growing as an artist, and I want to touch more and more people with each release. I hope my music impacts people, and I’m excited to continue that journey.
What else would you like people to know about your job/career?
The main thing is that I already have my next ep finished up, so look out for more info over the next couple of months!
We thank you for your time!
Michael Neal was born in Findlay, Ohio, United States of America. Taking piano lessons from a young age, his art truly began to grow when he stopped and instead focused his creative power into original composition work. He loves emotional pieces, and uses the piano as a tool to unlock the mind. Michael began scoring for projects ranging from acoustic pieces to metalcore before focusing on composition work for video games, film, and standalone releases.