An interview with Marmoset artist, Jedadiah Bernards

Balancing raw emotion with pristine beauty, the piano compositions from Marmoset artist, Jedadiah Bernards get right to the heart of things.

Jedadiah's music takes cues from contemporaries like Philip Glass, Arvo Pärt, and Daniel Rosen (of Grizzly Bear) by embracing the potent pause between notes. 

Much like his music, Jedadiah wastes no time at getting right to the point with open honesty and transparency in our recent conversation with him below.

To get acquainted with Jedadiah's music, here are some recommended tracks: Music for an Aerial View, Off At Eight. Enjoy.


M: Who are you and what do you do in the world?

JB: I'm a pianist, of 18 years now...which is crazy to think about. I treat my composition process as a journal. When I'm writing something, I am capturing two sides of the landscape of my strange and awkward life...sometimes it's a meditation, sometimes it's a joke. I've struggled with mental illness most of my adult life, and turning to the piano as a sort of typewriter, has been a saving grace. That sound has brought a lot of amazing people into my life. It's amazing when I hear from people all over the world, who can interpret something beautiful from my stories.

M: What was the first instrument you picked up?

JB: The very first instrument I picked up was a beaten up trombone, in my sixth grade band class. Needless to say, it didn't work out for me...my music teacher even hung it up on the wall, after I left it out in the rain. The piano came around when my mom would drag me to workshops at a local church. I absolutely hated everyone and everything, so creeping into a church basement to a dusty, neglected piano was a totally normal thing. That went on for years, and I never thought much of my skill, until my music teacher freaked out about it. I'm still very close with her, and her family. I'm actually composing some wedding music for her son, Nate Crockett. He and I have been working together musically since our high school years. We used to go around town performing dark instrumentals with video projections...it was when I first started composing pieces. I had always been inspired by his musicianship and collaborations he made with our schoolmate Peter Broderick.

M: How did you get in to composing?

JB: After high school, I began struggling with my homosexuality and some very deep depression. My family kicked me out and I ended up heading to Portland. I had fallen in love with the city after many art-class field trips. Back then it was still a little gamey, and just about everything in old town was a funky art gallery -- no condos, or lines for artisinal ice cream. You could even get a studio downtown for $600 a month. It was a creative mecca. I managed to find some income playing piano at Rimsky's, organizing concerts at Moe's Pianos, and getting work training with New Avenues For Youth. I fit into Portland right away, and it was a great time to grow professionally. Now, 8 years later, I live in Seattle. I work two different restaurant jobs, and write pieces at home every day. My workflow consists of sitting at my digital piano and running my work through a laptop...sample libraries and all that fun stuff. I manage to find time to play a concert in Portland every so often, mainly thanks to the amazing work of Piano Push Play.

M: What's coming up for you?

JB: This next year holds a lot of big steps for me -- a solo piano album called "Portland Journal", two big concerts in the late summer, a new piano and a vacation to Folsom Street Fair. I'm happy to keep outlooks simple. The less seriously I take myself, the more opportunity seems to come knocking. I'm just happy to share my journals and stories with people who understand what I'm trying to say. That connection is more valuable to me as a composer than anything else.

 
Posted on March 4, 2016 and filed under Music.