Los Noctámbulos, the new EP by Elena Colominas, was released a few weeks ago by Blue Spiral Records. Elena was born in Barcelona in 1980. After completing a classical piano degree, she was part of different indie pop bands as a pianist and arranger. Later, her interests drifted towards modern classical music, which indeed inspired her first studio album as a composer and performer in 2019. Elena’s music takes inspiration from pop, modal and classical music.
We met the artist for an exclusive interview that you can find below.
Welcome Elena and thank you for this interview.
When did you start composing – and what or who were your early passions and influences?
I started composing some years ago, after having finished my classical piano studies and while I was in the university studying Pharmacy. During this phase, I began to play and write some arrangements in pop-rock bands.
Some years later, once I started to work as a hospital pharmacist, I began composing and creating classical music more frequently. Finally, about three years ago, I resumed composition studies and started writing musical pieces more intensively.
I think that my early passions and influences are very common among pianists: Debussy, Satie, Rachmaninov… I’ve always loved spanish composers like Albeniz or Granados. In parallel I’m an indie pop – rock lover too.
What do you personally consider to be incisive moments in your work and/or career?
In the summer of 2018, after being involved in different pop music projects I decided to come back to classical music and work on those improvisations and little songs I’ve been imagining all those years. Then, I started to work in my first classical album studio that finally was published In 2019, called “Síndrome post-vacational”. After that I’ve never stopped writing piano music.
Can you tell us something about your last release “Los Noctámbulos”?
“Los Noctámbulos” is a serie of four short piano pieces inspired in urban life and the solitude that often comes with. They are romantic pieces but with a wave of darkness and some nostalgia. The name “Los Noctámbulos” is inspired in the Edward Hopper’s picture called “The nighthawks” which always has attracted me.
I cannot imagine composition without improvisation. In fact, I always feel that I use improvisation too much and try to force myself to be more rational.
How long did it take to prepare the album?
I wrote the pieces during the Autumn and Winter of 2019-2020. The studio recording was performed in August 2020, one month before bringing my first daugther to life. It was during summertime in Barcelona and I was about to explode 😉
Nevertheless, I was aware that in the subsequent months it would be much more difficult to have the chance to go into the studio!
What do improvisation and composition mean to you and what, to you, are their respective merits?
I cannot imagine composition without improvisation. In fact, I always feel that I use improvisation too much and try to force myself to be more rational. For me it’s easier to imagine music and let my hands go on but only when I go beyond improvisation, I feel that my pieces reach a higher level.
The role of the composer has always been subject to change. What’s your view on the (e.g. political/social/creative) tasks of composers today and how do you try to meet these goals in your work?
I think that, as most of artistic works, composers are usually committed to social reality. The role goes beyond music creation and tries to make visible most of the problems of our society today. I try to be honest and coherent in both my life and my work.
I think that fortunately, in recent years contemporary “classical” music has reached a wider spectrum of people. Maybe the breaking of the traditional rigidity has permitted the spreading of this music to a general audience.
What equipment do you use to compose your music?
I use my home piano (a Kawai CS11) connected to my Mac laptop so I can easily edit the scores of the music I’m writing. I used to write in paper but once I discovered notation software it made my life easier!
How, do you feel, could contemporary compositions reach the attention of a wider audience?
I think that fortunately, in recent years contemporary “classical” music has reached a wider spectrum of people. Maybe the breaking of the traditional rigidity has permitted the spreading of this music to a general audience. Introducing new classical music in new settings could be a very interesting option. Why not listening to a piano concert of new classical music at the beginning of a pop-rock-indie festival?
Could you tell us something about your future projects?
Right now, I’m writing music for violoncello and piano. It’s new for me, as I’ve always written music for piano solo. I’d like to record some of them in the near months. One of my longer-term desires would be to explore the world of electronic music.
Where can our readers find more information about you?
I don’t have a website yet and I’m not a big fan of social media but I have an Instagram account were I update information about my music work.