“Uprootedness is a theme I was concentrated on and was dealing a lot with in my past
exhibitions and art projects. For many years I was searching for a place which I could call home. When I returned to the piano 4 years ago after a long break since my childhood (started at 6, quit at 14) I had the feeling I was returning home. I realized
that my home is not a psychical place that I can touch rather it is an abstract such as music which has no boundaries. So this album is celebrating the discovery I found home in music”. These are the first words by which Daniela Orvin introduced her debut album ‘Home’ (recently out on Berlin-based label Seasides on Postcards)… Let’s get into her home with her own words!
Chain D.L.K.: Hi, Daniela! How are you?
Daniela Orvin: Hi! I’m good, thanks, really happy about the attention and feedback that my recent album ‘Home’ is getting. Thanks also so much for your wonderful album review.
Chain D.L.K.: Your name came out on this zine on the occasion of a chat with Yair Etziony, another Israeli expat, who mentioned a collaboration with you…could you tell us something about it? How did you meet Yair?
Daniela Orvin: I know Yair from a mutual friend who sent him some of my music just before he moved to Berlin. So, here in Berlin, we became friends. A remix I did for Yair’s track Avalon was released half a year ago, in a remix album of his music on False Industries, and yes, we are working on some collaborations…but let’s keep it as a surprise.
Chain D.L.K.: Compliments for your Home! Before talking about it, let’s look back a little…how did you get closer to music composition and listening? Do you remember any staggering moment (a concert, listening to something in particular or any event) related to this path?
Daniela Orvin: Thank you for the compliments again! Coming from a music-enthusiastic family, I’ve listened to music since I was born. Looking back now, understanding my process and musical development, I realized that while starting to play the piano at a young age, I also started to learn about composing music from just listening to it in a more critical way, developing my hearing, and understanding and feeling music from my guts. In my teenage years, I was also a big radio fan, and a bit later also a clubber for many years, so music was always present and there for me.
I was always dreaming or secretly wanting to write my own music, but I didn’t dare until about 4 years ago. I just love music so much and it’s such a major factor in my life that I was afraid to touch this, afraid I would not be good enough and that I would just be disappointed with my efforts. It was a combination of severe perfectionism, severe insecurity and some severe stupidity.
Chain D.L.K.: You were born in Israel, but you’re currently living in Berlin. In between, you changed other towns and cities for different reasons according to your official biography…well, is there a place you really consider as your Home?
Daniela Orvin: No, I was born in Berlin! So, originally from Berlin, I came back to Berlin hoping to find my home here after not finding it in other places including Israel, where I lived most of my life. As I have studied art I have also expressed my uprootedness in my photographs, discussing this in my solo exhibitions but eventually returning to play the piano after a very long break. Starting to write my own music made me realize that my home is Music, a non-physical place that has no boundaries. It’s where I feel the most comfortable; it’s where I feel I belong. My album Home is referring to this personal discovery and celebrates it.
Chain D.L.K.: I read you started playing piano when you were 6 yrs old. Is that recognizable composition on the first moments of the opening “Prelude (Part 1)” related to that age?
Daniela Orvin: The beginning of Prelude (Part 1) is a recording of my performance of Bach – Prelude 1. Although I didn’t learn to play this specific piece in my childhood…it was more recently…I practice/ play it a lot to myself. My intention was to open to the listener a door to my private space/ my home by starting the album with a recording of me playing this familiar piece to myself at home, which gets blended and turns into my own composition.
Chain D.L.K.: Those first notes of Prelude seem to gradually “expand” and float over the environment where you were maybe hitting those keys (as suggested by the field recording I can perceive)…would you describe the images in your mind that were mirrored by such a movement in that Prelude?
Daniela Orvin: Ooh, most of the album, including ‘Prelude,’ was written so fast last April, and I have a total blackout of the specific moments / thoughts/ images in my mind/ decisions/ inspiration etc. while writing it. I just remember it was magical, very pleasant and a lot of fun.
Chain D.L.K.: The second part of this incipit was titled Unexpected Coincidence…what does it refer to? Why do I have the feeling its synths are close to the ones of the soundtrack of Stranger Things (as well as some stuff by Sigur Ros, that you explicitly mentioned as sources of inspiration)? 🙂
Daniela Orvin: ‘Unexpected Coincidence’ is a direct continuation of Prelude; it shares the same notes and chords, but instead of playing it on the piano, I play it on the synth. As the album has a personal reference and my life or path is full of coincidences, including the discovery that my home is music, I decided to name this piece like that as well. Track 6 is titled Surrendering to Coincidence, so I thought Coincidences could be a nice title connection on the album, and hopefully the track is unexpected because it starts with one melody and mood but develops and ends with a completely different mood and melody.
I am not so sure why it feels as if the synth is close to the one on the soundtrack of Stranger Things. I had to check the trailer on YouTube as I wasn’t familiar with the music or the series and I don’t have Netflix, but maybe generally it’s the same synth. I use a Minilogue, which is a polyphonic synth, and it has basically and mostly a very specific, characteristic sound.
Chain D.L.K.: I like that image on the cover artwork where a pic of sea waves replaced the score. Did you make this graphical choice?
Daniela Orvin: Thank you. I made the graphical choice and also photographed both photos: the photo which replaces the score on the piano and the cover photo of the album itself.
Chain D.L.K.: It brought to mind The Waves by Ludovico Einaudi…any reference to him? Did you like his kind of “minimalism?”
Daniela Orvin: So, now I feel really ignorant or living on another planet…I had to google him and check the music. I’m listening to it now, and to be honest, it’s OK, but not really my taste or something that might inspire me. I love minimalism, but the melodic decisions or choices are mostly not my cup of tea.
Jóhann Jóhannsson – Fordlândia or “Flight from the City” for instance, or any other piece by him – are also minimalistic and repetitive and work, which I enjoy and am very much inspired by every time I hear, although of course what I’m doing is very different from what Jóhann Jóhannsson did. It might be an inspiration point, but from there, I take it to my own place.
Chain D.L.K.: We already mentioned Sigur Ros. The style of the Icelandic band (as well as the ones by Amiina and maybe Mum…other wonderful Icelandic entities) becomes clearer on the first vocal track we meet during listening, the intense For Now… any words about this song?
Daniela Orvin: Mentioning Jóhann Jóhannsson in the answer before…I love Icelandic musicians and music. I visited Iceland in 2012 because I was so curious about the origins of those amazing musicians and their unique music. I wanted to understand their inspiration and background, and I think I did. My visit in Iceland really influenced me, and it’s also where I decided to move to Berlin and realize my dream to write my own music. In Berlin, I’ve started playing the piano again and discovered my new/ old home in music, so everything has a connection and to do with Iceland. Also, the photo I took, which is placed on the piano instead of the score on my cover artwork, is from Iceland. And thanks so much for thinking that For Now has some Icelandic style or influences; it’s a great compliment for me.
‘For Now’ is a song that I wrote a while ago, separately from the rest of the album, and it was musically the core of the album. It’s a love song, and I sing in it 3 words in Hebrew: ‘Le’et atta, Ata,’ which means, ‘for now, you.’ In Hebrew, it’s a word game, because Now and You sound the same but are written differently. The kind of electronics / percussion sounds are actually a recording of me typing on the computer keyboard, and I also use some recordings of the Mediterranean sea I asked an Israeli friend to record for me.
Chain D.L.K.: One of my favorite moments of the album, “Spring Came Early”… what does that refer to?
Daniela Orvin: It’s my favorite piece on the album. It just refers to the fact that spring came early at that specific time, and it felt so wonderful and refreshing after another Berlin winter. I was in such a good mood while writing it. Hopefully it’s possible to hear my joy in the music.
Chain D.L.K.: “18:00 From My Balcony”… what were you staring at that time? Which balcony? A “spiritual” one?
Daniela Orvin: It’s the only piece on the album I wrote notes first, so I wasn’t staring at anything rather struggling to learn the notes and perform it, as it was as unfamiliar to my fingers as if someone else wrote it. The balcony is my home physical balcony and the field recording accompanying the piano was taken at 18:00 from that balcony; you can hear the church bells in the background that are hinting that it’s 18:00 and the sounds from the street and the street train/ tram near my home.
Chain D.L.K.: Are you performing Home on live stage yet? If yes, have you planned some tour yet?
Daniela Orvin: I’m not performing live at all. The last time I performed in a concert was at age 13. I made a mistake on the last note of a piece which made me think I was not a good enough pianist, and therefore, I also quit playing the instrument. So, big issues and trauma for me. I never really enjoyed performing in front of an audience. I always felt it was some kind of test that I needed to prove myself and it’s very stressful for me. I prefer and enjoy composing music much more, being behind the scenes or writing music for film or video games, for instance. The music for Home is also mostly not easy to perform live, so if at any point I decide to play something from this album in front of an audience, I will need to write performance versions.
Chain D.L.K.: Besides listeners (and hopefully all those who are reading this interview and listening to your music while doing that), would you open the gates of your Home to some other musicians to remake some songs?
Daniela Orvin: That is actually a great idea which didn’t cross my mind at all. Of course! If anyone is interested, please contact me!
Chain D.L.K.: Any work in progress?
Daniela Orvin: I’m trying to work on new material and have ideas and drafts, but life itself and some non-fun things have recently been interfering. Hopefully, this will end soon; I’m very eager to get back to concentrating full time on music. But there is also music ready and waiting to be released. There is the album “The Writings,” which is a mutual work with Sven Laux, who is also owner of Seasides on Postcards, which released the album Home. The Writings will be released on Dronarivm next year, and I’m very much looking forward for this. A new piece will be released soon in a compilation themed Sleeping Music on the British Whitelabrecs, and another mutual track with Sven which will also be released soon in a charity compilation that Dronarivm is involved in.
Visit Daniela Orvin’s website at: www.danielaorvin.com