Mai 2013 / Dustin O'Halloran / Musician / Berlin-Kreuzberg

Coco Berliner - Dustin O'Halloran - 1

As a musician, you're certainly a type of auditory?
Yes, I suppose so, but for me music has been visual. I always see colors and associate it more with painting than anything else. My last record "Lumiere" I dedicated to synesthesia... the condition of seeing color when you listen to music, something I didn't realize I had until I started to read about it. It made perfect sense that so many painters felt this way about music, Kandinsky, Rothko etc.

Does your family has influenced you musically? If so, how?
No one in my family is a musician except my brother who played percussion when I was growing up and listened to heavy metal all the time. But my mother was a ballet teacher so in a way piano music was always around me. She always wanted me to play piano for her classes but I was young and didn't think ballet was cool at the time (laugh)... but I always loved the classical music especially Chopin, it spoke to me. Ironically now I am composing music for Wayne McGregor who is the resident choreographer for the London Royal Ballet!

How would you describe your creative process as a musician? Do you need first a red line, to compose a piece of music in its entirety?
Music always comes form strange and unknown places to me. It could be from sitting at the piano... or playing even a small synthesizer or tape loop or when I am walking and thinking. But usually in the best forms it feels as if its coming from a place outside of myself. When I feel like I have totally lost myself in the music then I think I am on to something good.

Why do you love your job?
I love my job because I get to spend all day alone surrounded by instruments doing what I love... and usually get to work at my own pace. I find it incredibly peaceful and its like meditation to me. There are hard times when I have to write a lot of music for a film and you are just waiting for inspiration and you know that you only have this short amount of time... but its always coming when you least expect. But all jobs have their difficulty and I do feel lucky that I get to do this everyday. Sometimes I wonder how long it can last! So I don't take it for granted. Then it's good to get out of the studio and do live concerts which I love to do... to feel an immediate connection to your audience.

You meet in Berlin many other composers and musicians. How do they affect you and your music?
When I first moved to Berlin I didn't know anyone, but slowly I met some other great musicians like Peter Broderick, Nils Frahm, Erik Skodvin and Greg Haines... but also just being in Berlin I was able to connect with a lot of other people from other European cities as well like Hauschka, Johann Johannsson (who ended up being my label mates on Fatcat Records) and Adam Wiltzie which resulted in a collaboration called "A Winged Victory For The Sullen" which was released last year on Erased Tapes Label. I think we have all inspired each other in different ways and it keeps you working at a high level.

What do you always wanted, but has postponed several times so far?
It probably sounds silly but I really want to study piano. I have only had short lessons as a child and most of what I know is self taught. I would love to do some really studies... and finally learn German!

What would you do if you are now could drop everything?
Go to an island in Greece and hideaway from the world!

The interview was conducted by Katja Mollenhauer. Photos by Nadja Wehling

Dustin O'Halloran was born in Arizona in 1971 and grew up in Los Angeles. He started his music career far away from classical music as part of the rockband Devics. They toured around the world very successful. Before he moved to Berlin in 2008 he lived for seven years in Italy. There are two volumes of Piano Solos released in 2004 and in 2006. As a soundtrack composer he recently provided the score for "Now is good" and "Like Crazy". One of latest albums is a live recording from Berlin's Grunewald Church called "Vorleben".

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