Even though it’s drawing heavily on its roots of beat-driven hip-hop and R&B, neo-soul is traced by an unmistakable contour of jazz-tinged sophistication and subdued pop hooks – often with the piano or the keyboard in a leading role. Inspired by genre forerunners like D’Angelo, Erykah Badu and Maxwell, this collection of EZkeys MIDI gives you a diverse palette of material from which you’ll be able to mold and shape your next composition. Expect slick and elegant parts that will sit perfectly with any regular or classic electric piano. Just add a beat and you’ve got a song. Start writing!
When and how did you discover your passion for music?
– Pretty early… Perhaps when I started to hammer the upright piano we had at home at the age five or six. That’s some kind of passion I guess! :). I think a turning point, passion-wise, was when I started playing different stuff than the classical piano that my mom wanted me to play. When I started playing in bands and such, 14-15 years old there about.
How come you ended up playing the keyboard?
– I had a piano at home, growing up. Mom taught me at first.
You have recorded several titles of MIDI for EZkeys by now. Explain a little about the process of recording one of these packs.
– I usually start by listening a lot to a playlist of songs. Get a feel of the genre. A vibe. Then usually a couple of ideas tend to emerge quite early. I switch a lot from the different songs/sessions I’m working on in the beginning. Like, if I’m recording a Stevie Wonder-kind-of-thing variation number 3, and suddenly feel like I have the Ray Charles take on this, I instantly open a new session and record the new idea. I find it easier and more fun to work this way – to never stop the creative process. To go with it. Instead of the well-I-really-should-be-doing-this-right-now-approach. And force it. There´s always time to edit/erase/change things up and record variations at a later stage. That’s a different kind of creation I think, like what to add, what to remove, more of this and that, or doing a very sparse take.
What is neo-soul to you and what did you try to cover in this collection of MIDI?
– Well, I’ve listened a lot to D’Angelo. One thing that I perhaps was a little bit worried about on this one, was the timing of the chord instrument against the rhythm section. How’s this piano going to stand alone? Some neo-soul have a pretty far out timing going on against the drums. As far as covering, I followed a playlist of rough ideas, adding some, removing some. Mainly to have songs that were not too alike in tempo and playing style. I think it turned out great!
Name: Martin Hall
Some of the artists that inspired Martin for the Neo Soul EZkeys MIDI pack.
We gave two of our songwriter friends Niclas Lundin and Yannis Constantinou a challenge: Write and mix a song from scratch using only EZdrummer 2 EZkeys, and EZmix 2. See and hear the result in this video!