Pierre Volter – Belgian songwriter living in Loja Ecuador

“I am a composer before I am a musician. “

“I often compare music with painting.  Nobody asks a painter to paint live.  A painter takes all the time in the world to produce his masterpiece for the world to admire.  Many musicians claim that there is no real music outside of live music. I find that intolerant.  In the studio, I create music like a painter creates his painting.”

Pierre was born in Brussels, Belgium, he studied at the “Universite Libre de Bruxelles” to become a chemical engineer.  After working in the field of engineering for a number of years, he went back to study for a doctorate in Biomedical Sciences which lead him to work at the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research in Brussels.

“It is here that I bumped into my first computer…. I loved it.  It was clean, dry and did not stink like chemistry”.

This in turn lead to Pierre forming his own company, called BBX Ltd, which to this day provides software development services to a number of international companies.

Pierre’s love for music started when he was only a lad.
“I started music at a very early age.  I wasn’t even born that I was tapping my little embryonic foot on my mum’s bladder”.  Well maybe he wasn’t that young when he started learning to play the piano.

Studying classical piano at the Brussels School of Music and then with a private teacher.  Lots of scales and, of course, the mandatory inescapable Bach fugue to practice over and over.  “The fugue is tricky. Neither hand knows what the other is doing”.

It was good for the learning process of developing the independence of the hands, but it wasn’t his future, too classical.
“I wanted to play my own compositions but the teacher was not interested. There was the program and the program was the program.  Composing was probably perceived as arrogance”.
These pieces are now part of the Nouveau Piano album and among the most liked.

‘…. It makes for a breezy and refreshing style from the urgency of Full Steam to the resonant Boom, Boom Piano, to the sheer, floating beauty of Born in Aquarius.’
Stewart Hunt, Nelson Mail, October 2002

Through his teenage years Pierre studied guitar, voice and saxophone.

For the guitar, his method was simple: get a record from say, Bob Dylan, or Simon and Garfunkel and try to do exactly what they do, without cheating.

“I did not need a teacher for that, just a good pair of ears and lots of practice”.
Friends also helped him a lot by showing him tips and techniques.  One breakthrough in Pierre’s guitar playing was when he learnt finger picking.  It opened new vast territories.

Pierre has developed the guitar’s finger picking syncopated technique for the piano and it is this that helps to give the unique ‘Pierre’ sound to his piano pieces.   This technique is particularly obvious in track 1 ‘Double Shot’ and track 3 ‘Falling Down’ on his latest CD ‘When The Tide Turns’ (WTTT)

The guitar enabled Pierre to become a proficient songwriter.  Through the 1980s, he did solo performances at cabarets in Brussels.

“Brussels’ good for that, lots of tiny, dark smoky places in cul-de-sac.  People go to these places. It is vibrant.”

In 1983, he hired professional musicians and organized his first concert.
“I performed my entire repertoire of songs (about 2 hours) in front of a happy crowd of 250.  It was a total success.”

In parallel to the piano and the guitar he was a baritone singer in the choir “La Villanelle” in Waterloo.  The choir’s repertoire was complex and varied, Schubert and Bach as well as contemporary French songs.  Pierre wanted to learn all the different voices himself and conduct the choir.  He pursued this by attending a 2 week seminar in Vaison-La-Romaine in Southern France to study and practice choir conducting and ended up fulfilling his wish by having his own choir for a while.

In his twenties, Pierre also learnt the saxophone and played in a wind orchestra for 3 years. “I loved the saxophone.  It is a Belgian instrument, did you know?”  He also played in a crazy jazz band for 3 months.  ”It was pure improvisation, no scores, total chaos and the leader was yelling at us all the time.”

More recently he has learnt how to play the bass guitar, the drums and mastered the art of music recording, mixing and mastering.

Well, this is where his computer skills and the musical talent merge into one, in New Zealand.  A friend of his told him one day that New Zealand was ‘the best place he has ever seen’.  So Pierre went and had a look for himself, and he’s never looked back.

In New Zealand he made enough money in software development to buy recording gear.  His knowledge of computers allowed him over time to set up and run an entire studio with computers, MIDI equipment, sequencers and samplers.  The studio is called BBX Music.

In 1997, Pierre self produced his first album ‘Thinking About You’.  This is a collection of songs inspired by love and loss and his travels.  Thinking About You was released as a CD-R and sold privately by word of mouth as far away as places like Alaska and Russia.

In 1999, he produced his second album: ‘Bronte Easterlies’.  These are piano pieces.  The CD had modest sales not so many people want to listen to just piano these days.

In 2000, he produced his third album: ‘Rat Race’, a more upbeat CD comprised of songs inspired by life in New Zealand.  It was also released as a CD-R and only sold privately.

By 2002 the studio had reached a professional level that enabled Pierre to release his first pressed commercial CD: Nouveau Piano – Traveling Within.  It received excellent reviews including Pierre being hailed as possibly ‘NZ’s answer to Yanni’. Nick Batt, NZ Musician, January 2003.

Nouveau Piano by Pierre Volter

2003 sees the release of Pierre’s fifth album and his second full commercial release.  When The Tide Turns (WTTT) is inspired by recent world events and the pleasure of coffee.

To be continued …

Pierre Volter – cantautor de Bélgica viviendo en Loja Ecuador

Cantautor es un músico, por lo general solista, que escribe, compone y canta sus propias canciones, incluidas letra y melodía. Aunque hay muchos cantantes de diversos géneros que escriben sus propias canciones, el término cantautor se refiere a un tipo específico de artista que se adscribe por lo general a una tradición folk-acústica y suele incorporar a sus letras temáticas sociales, políticas, personales y filosóficas, aunque hay cantautores que cantan sobre todo al amor.

Durante un tiempo se denominó a este tipo de música canción protesta. Hoy en día el término se encuentra menos cargado de connotaciones críticas o reivindicativas que en el pasado. Wikipedia

Pierre Volter (se pronuncia “Pier”), Wauters es su verdadera apellido, de lengua materna francés, nació en Bruselas, la capital de Bélgica. Vivió su juventud en su país natal donde inicialmente estudió ingeniería química en la universidad de Bruselas mientras se dedicaba a la música como hobby, estudiando música clásica y piano en la academia de Bruselas. Esta educación musical le dio una buena base clásica para ayudarle a iniciarse como compositor y cantautor, mientras aprendió a tocar la guitarra y el saxófono como autodidacto. Compuso y cantó canciones en francés e inglés mientras vivió en Bélgica.

Cuando tenía treinta y cinco años emigró a Nueva Zelanda donde vivió 15 años siguiendo su trayectoria musical de compositor y cantautor. Ahí aprendió las técnicas de ingeniería de producción musical digital y construyo su propio estudio de grabación computarizada. En este estudio produjo 3 CDs, uno de música instrumental y dos de canciones en inglés (WTTT).

La particularidad de Pierre es de ser totalmente independiente, componiendo la música, escribiendo las letras, haciendo los arreglos musicales, tocando los instrumentos (instrumentos físicos o librerías de samples), encargándose de la parte  técnica, desde la grabación de las pistas hasta los mixes y masters, el diseño gráfico del CD y las páginas web de promoción. Además de dedicarse a la música, su trabajo en Nueva Zelanda era ingeniero en software y por supuesto esto y su educación en ingeniería le ayuda mucho.

Desde 2009 vive en San Pedro de Vilcabamba, un pueblo pequeño en el sur del Ecuador. Es dueño de un proyecto de venta de bienes raíces y de turismo. Ha diseñado y construido el sitio www.seekvilcabamba.com. Como su pasión por la música no ha disminuido, no perdió tiempo para aprender el idioma de Cervantes y ahora está escribiendo y cantando canciones en español.

Pierre Volter filmando
Pierre Volter filmando “Tus noches son mis dias” en el hotel Howard Johnson de Loja

Su estilo de música nunca encajó en ningún género determinado, más bien es un híbrido entre trova, clásico, rock, balada romántica, jazz, “world music” y música así llamada “alternativa”, ahora mas con ritmo latino.

Sus letras son para llevar un mensaje a su público, para hacerle escuchar, reflexionar, soñar o sonreír. Su repertorio actual consiste en una amplia gama de covers y canciones originales en tres idiomas: francés, español e inglés. Se produce solo con la guitarra y con la ayuda de su portátil con las pistas que el mismo graba en su estudio de Vilcabamba.

Su música se puede escuchar en su sitio web www.nadamasquebuscar.com o en el facebook.com buscando la página “nadamasquebuscar”.