With Jan-Dirk Platek: an interview with the artist of "On/Off"

Born in Velbert/Germany, Jan-Dirk Platek has been playing music since childhood. His first instrument was the drums, but other instruments such as guitar, bass and piano soon followed. His keen interest in various instruments grew from year to year. Over the years he developed into a multi-instrumentalist and songwriter. In the late 90s Jan-Dirk Platek was active in various local bands in Germany. Today he is also the head of the instrumental rock project WE DESERVE THIS and has released several albums on the US record label Fluttery Records. But his real passion is the piano and the calm sounds of modern classical music. Under his own name, he composed numerous pieces that included into the broadcast SOUNDSCAPES on BBC Radio. His songs have also been heard on the well-known US radio station KEXP on the program "Pacific Notions". For Jan-Dirk Platek, instrumental piano music serves as a deceleration, as a way out of hectic everyday life. Music and sound are an important part of his life.

What have been the greatest challenges of your career so far?

I don`t have a career - I just try to compose music that I like. I would never call myself a musician, I just play with instruments. The instruments are my toys. I'm like a child trapped in an adult body. It was great that my music was played on BBC Radio by DJ Stephen McCauley. I was able to reach a lot of new listeners. But I don't see music as a challenge. For me it's like breathing. I need to produce music. I can't stop. Music is like the air that I breathe.

Which performances/recordings are you most proud of?

I'm really proud of my album "Quantum Theory". These songs reached a lot of people because it was played on BBC radio. The album is my favorite recording - without a doubt.

When you compose and produce tracks, do you make music for yourself or do you make it with others in mind?

I only make music for myself - that is the truth. I need to make music and I can't stop it. For me music is like a drug and I'm addicted. My soul needs to be creative. I would compose music even if no one would listen to the songs. Music is my life. I cannot live without it.

What characterizes this period of music for you?

This period of music? You mean the music scene in 2021? I think there are a lot of creative and talented people out there and I'm happy to be alive at this period of time. Everybody is able to record music and everyone can be creative with awesome results. That also means that there is a lot of inspirational music out here. My music is influenced by a lot of different artists from different genres. It's happening almost every day that I discover a new artist that blows my mind. There is so much creativity out there. I love that.

Do you want to tell us how the "On/Off" project was born?

The two tracks "On" and "Off" were written in one day. I had these chords in my head and I started to record them very quickly. The idea was to make a soundtrack for the morning ("On") and the evening ("Off") of a day. In 2020 I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. Since then I struggled with heavy fatigue. Sometimes I think that my body needs an "On" and "Off" button to start and end the day. I sometimes wish, that it would be great to be like a machine. It works when you switch it on and it stops when you switch it off. Sadly that is not possible. So that was the idea behind these two tracks - It's just an reaction to my chronic disease.

Which non-musical influences have affected your music most?

 I really don't know - it's all about feelings and moods. I think my own moods influences my music.

What is your musical philosophy?

My own musical philosophy is to produce music that I like. There is nothing else. I'm composing sad pop music and I like it.

If someone has never heard your music, which keywords would you personally use to describe your overall sound and style?

It's sad instrumental pop music with a melancholic feeling. Easy as that.

Could you kindly anticipate us something about your upcoming projects?

I will release piano solo album called "Schwarz" on piano day 2021 (March 29). Also, I'm working on my project WE DESERVE THIS which is more electronic stuff.

Bonus question: Three favorite tracks of all time?

• Nils Frahm - Familiar
• Failure - The Nurse Who Loved Me
• Bicep - Atlas