Offering a worldly dive into the human experience, Sofiane Pamart creates splendor on latest album ‘LETTER,’ and Atwood Magazine spoke with the artist on how it came together.
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The majesty of the piano is in its innate ability to connect. Keystrokes and melodies are its voice, and those with the desire to let it speak do so with fervent passion. “My aim is to bring people together with piano,” explains Sofiane Pamart. With the world as his canvas, Pamart does so with a deft touch, making his latest project LETTER an album teeming with heart and the human experience.
The French artist and composer has roots in multiple worlds, going between the scenes of hip-hop and classical in seamless fashions. This is often showcased throughout his music, his style imbued in all pieces he creates. Opening composition “DEAR” provides this representation. It’s a piece of haunting stillness and energized movement in one, swiftly morphing into “PUBLIC” where the keystrokes are steady and quick – a gorgeous beginning that will have listeners enthralled from the first to last note hit. When moving into pieces like “ME,” Pamart showcases the mastery of his art to the fullest. A single piece that houses a contained world of splendor. Beginning, middle, and end each offer distinctive flair that allows for the composition to stand out amongst giants.
LETTER is an album born out of Pamart’s travels throughout Asia, but beyond using the world as his inspiration, family plays an integral role in not only his own life but his craft as well.
“SINCERELY” is the only piece featuring strings, and it’s brought by his sister, Lina. “We had in mind to compose a music like if it was for a great and epic movie,” details Pamart. The composition rests within the album’s middle, and it certainly generates a mountainous peak of gusto that wraps itself around the remainder of the album.
Though short in minutes, “WROTE” breathes sincerity. Emotion is a staple of Pamart, explaining that “transferring emotions into my pieces is vital to me,” and this composition is evidence of that fact. As the album enters its finale, “ASIA” presents a wistful conclusion. It’s a feather-light piece with an impact. Each note connects with one another in a masterfully succinct manner to create a piece that listeners will be hard-pressed not to be transported by. It’s the culmination of all that was played before, and the perfect send-off that will have all who listen filled with incomparable warmth.
LETTER is more than just another album from Pamart: it’s a statement of humanity that shines brighter than any other. To gain a better understanding of how it came to be became Atwood Magazine’s mission, so we spoke with the artist on its creation and the power that fans have played in it.
A CONVERSATION WITH SOFIANE PAMART
Atwood Magazine: I’d love to first bring up the titles on this album. It’s a playful naming convention with sincerity. When you say the public saved you from solitude, how would you say they have done so?
Sofiane Pamart: Being extremely passionate about something can keep you apart from others. Vertigo and loneliness are totally a part of a pianist’s life. The incredible support and beautiful emotions I received from the public saved me from this solitude.
Something that impressed me was seeing not only the PLANET GOLD reissue but also your work with Dabeull with Loving Life. Add that on top of your work on LETTER and your months must have been immensely packed. How do you juggle all of the projects and music?
Pamart: I just cannot stop myself. Dabeull is one of the greatest composers of today’s funk music and he is a close friend. It was very exciting to create together. Some of the tracks and albums that have been released have already ended up as gold and platinum records. This makes me so grateful and gives me a sort of never-ending energy. Gratitude is one of the feelings I want to share with the album LETTER.
I’ve always been fascinated by your time in both the neo-classical and hip-hops worlds, specifically their challenges. Are there any obstacles you face that are more common in the piano world compared to the hip-hop scene and vice versa?
Pamart: Classic and hip-hop are like enemies and brothers I seek to reconcile. Each of these two worlds has established its own codes and rules, which can sometimes be heavy. For instance, hip-hop artists love when I bring the richness of melodies and harmonies inspired by great classical music composers. Conversely, the world of classical piano music could benefit from more spontaneity and improvisation. These two galaxies really have things to learn from each other. I am just a natural path between them.
Watch: “LOVE” – Sofiane Pamart
When listening to your music, it feels apparent that you have an appreciation of incorporating every emotion and thought that goes into life experiences. Is that something you think about when making music?
Pamart: Definitely. I tell people’s stories and emotions through my music. What fascinates me is the universality of emotions: this ability, for two completely different human beings living in opposite parts of the world, to feel the same power of love, hate, or hope. Whatever or how different their values or life experiences are. My aim is to bring people together with a piano.
On the topic of emotion, your pieces are moving, and your heart is felt through each keystroke. When tapping into that emotion, is there any difficulty in transferring that emotion into your pieces?
Pamart: Actually transferring emotions into my pieces is vital to me. I just have to externalize the deep and strong emotions I feel through music. Music is my mother tongue.
Onto the album itself, LETTER is spellbinding. Pieces like ‘’SAVED’’ or ‘’WROTE’’ are all such distinct compositions with their own flair. How did you tackle the song-making progress with this album?
Pamart: As revealed by the tracklist of the album LETTER, I wrote this album in Asia. The incredible energies of the territories I traveled through have directly inspired this album. This is probably the reason why this variety appears in the album.
Watch: “ASIA” – Sofiane Pamart
‘’SINCERELY’’ certainly stands out with its incorporation of strings. When approaching this piece, what was your mindset behind it?
Pamart: “SINCERELY” is the only piece featuring strings on the album, with my sister Lina Pamart playing the violin. We had in mind to compose this piece of music as if it was for a great and epic movie.
When first listening to ‘’ME,’’ I was stunned, and I believe it still remains one of my favorites from the album. What is the story behind this piece?
Pamart: “ME” is a mix between determination and madness. It represents the strength born from despair that helps you to resist the inevitability of fate when everything goes wrong around you. I was struggling with myself after a loss of love in a breakup.
Your music videos I also find quite lovely. The way they complement the music is seamless. Do you have an idea in your mind when trying to pair both the auditory and visual?
Pamart: Music and images always go together in my mind. I am also really inspired by movies. All of my music videos are directed by my manager and great friend Guillaume Héritier. Together we translate our life and music experiences into images. We also wrote a book made of photographs and poems on the subject of my first album PLANET.
Watch: Sofiane Pamart Live
I still revisit your live performance video in Lapland under the Northern Lights from time to time just to experience the sheer majesty of it all. However, I’d wager that majesty was even more astounding in-person. When doing that performance, what was your headspace like?
Pamart: It was one of the most inspiring and challenging experiences of my life. We had this crazy dream of moving a piano under the Northern Lights in a truck in order to record a piano recital in the cold Lapland. My hands were freezing but my heart was flying. I created “Aurora,” “Borealis,” and “Kittilä” in honor of this amazing nature.
What excites you most about the future of your career? Any directions, or new territories, you are looking forward to exploring?
Pamart: I am so grateful that my music already goes beyond borders and moves people around the world. I am now dedicated to meeting the people who listen to my piano. I can’t wait to start my international tour. Hopefully soon enough in Australia.
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📸 © Romain Garcin