Nils Oliver Frahm
Nils Frahm had an early introduction to music, learning the piano throughout his childhood. It was through this that Nils began to immerse himself in the styles of classical pianists from previous generations as well as the music of contemporary composers, before forging his own musical path through composition.
Today Nils Frahm continues to work as an accomplished composer, producer and celebrated performer from his Berlin-based studio at the renowned Funkhaus. His unconventional approach to an age-old instrument, played contemplatively and intimately, and on a mesmerising scale through his vast stage shows, has won him many fans around the world. Nils has gained global notoriety for his highly developed sense of control and restraint in his work, as well as a breath-taking level of emotion and personality.
Following on from his first solo piano works Wintermusik and The Bells in 2009, and 2010’s 7fingers in collaboration with cellist Anne Müller, 2011 saw his break-through album Felt on Erased Tapes. Created by placing felt on the hammers of the piano, the record defines Frahm’s signature sound which was a further development of the two-track experiment Unter/Über. Felt was followed by his solo synthesiser EP Juno and Wonders — a record by Oliveray, his duo project with long-time musical companion Peter Broderick. Nils then recorded the 2012 works Screws while recovering from a thumb injury, which he gifted to his fans on his birthday. Erased Tapes also released Juno Reworked featuring remixes by Luke Abbott and Clark.
2013 saw Nils return with his new album Spaces to critical acclaim, expressing his love for experimentation and answering the call from his fans for a record that truly reflects what they have witnessed during his live shows. Recorded over a period of two years the album captured live performances from various of his concerts worldwide. Nils also released his first music book in the same year, Sheets Eins, publishing the sheet music for tracks such as Ambre and Said and Done for the very first time.
In 2015 Nils launched Piano Day, an official global body created by Nils and his closest friends to celebrate the piano via various innovative, piano-related projects around the world. The first project revealed by the Piano Day team was the building of the world’s tallest piano: the Klavins 450. It was on the slightly smaller version built by piano inventor David Klavins that Nils recorded eight improvised piano motifs in one sitting, which formed his Solo album – presented to the world on the first celebration of Piano Day.
During the same year Nils’ first film score release Music For The Motion Picture Victoria written for the one-take feature film by Sebastian Schipper, won the esteemed German Film Prize for Best Soundtrack; the soundtrack opens with an edit of Burn With Me by German producer DJ Koze. And in the Summer, the BBC Proms presented a memorable performance at London’s prestigious Royal Albert Hall curated by BBC 6 Music radio presenter Mary Anne Hobbs.
Nils celebreated his continued musical partnership with fellow artist Ólafur Arnalds with the release of their Collaborative Works in October 2015 and included their three previous EP releases Stare, Loon and Life Story Love and Glory, plus Trance Frendz — the audio recording of their intimate 45-minute studio film.
Following a Nils Frahm-curated Weekend Festival at London’s Barbican Centre and the release of his second published music book Sheets Zwei, 2016 saw a collaborative score with Woodkid for Ellis, a short film by French artist JR, starring and featuring spoken words by Robert De Niro.
In the same year, Nils became the proud host of Saal 3, an impressive studio in the historical 1950s East German Funkhaus building beside the River Spree. In the course of two years he organised an ambitious overhaul of the entire space. His highly acclaimed 2018 album All Melody was born out of the freedom that his new environment provided, allowing Nils to explore without any restrictions.
Following the release of All Melody, Nils brought his spectacular live show all around the world with over 180 sold out performances including the Hammersmith Apollo in London, L.A.’s Disney Hall, Brooklyn Steel, Le Trianon in Paris and the Sydney Opera House.
Moulded during his Funkhaus sessions and meant as companions to the All Melody album, Nils released three EPs in the course of 2018 and 2019. While Encores 1 focuses on an acoustic pallet of sounds with solo piano and harmonium at the core, and Encores 2 explores more ambient landscapes, Encores 3 sees Nils expand on the percussive and electronic elements in his work. The three EPs are also available as one full length release titled All Encores featuring 80 minutes of music.
To celebrate Piano Day 2020, Nils released Empty – a collection of solo upright piano music originally recorded as a soundtrack to a short film he shot with his friend and film director Benoit Toulemonde in 2012. The film is available to watch on Frahm’s YouTube channel.
In December 2020, Frahm released the concert film Tripping with Nils Frahm, accompanied by a live album out on Erased Tapes Records. The film premiered on the curated online cinema Mubi, and is still showing on various on-demand platforms. It was produced by the newly-launched label and production company LEITER, in association with Plan B Entertainment.
Continuing his annual celebration of Piano Day, Nils shared a previously unreleased nine-track piano album in March 2021. Graz dates back to 2009, recorded on grand piano at the University of Music and Performing Arts Graz as part of the thesis Conversations for Piano and Room which received an award in the Classical Surround Recording category at the 127th AES Convention in New York. It was Nils’ first album recorded for Erased Tapes, but it was kept locked away until now.