Raffael Seyfried

composer and media artist




Raffael Seyfried's work takes place on the border between acoustic and electronic material. He explores the dynamic processes and characteristics that are present in both media. By subtly mixing these elements, he creates warm and unusual soundscapes, free from the constraints of a particular genre. His live performances focus on the interaction between piano and modular synthesizer, sounds that change and influence each other. The result of this multifaceted process is a multi-faceted sound world, sometimes planned, sometimes spontaneous and improvised.

As composer and orchestrator he found work on international film and television productions like "Gunpowder" (BBC/HBO 2017), "Patrick Melrose" (Showtime 2018), "Hotel Mumbai" (2018) or "Phenoms". (FOX Sports 2018). He also composes music for various projects such as the radio feature "Marslandung in Rio Tinto" (DLF 2018), the dance piece "Unbearable Darkness" (Tanzhaus Düsseldorf 2018) or the sound performance "Murmur et Hum" (2018).

After the release of two EPs, several singles and participation in the English label DiN's Tone Science compilation, Raffael Seyfried’s first complete album is now being released. He continues to develop the sound that he established in his first releases. The nine tracks consist of an organic mix of piano, synthesizer and, for the first time, string arrangements. A nine-piece string ensemble was recorded for the album in the Immanuelskirche in Wuppertal.

The album “Lines Of Flight” will be released in June 2022.




What does music mean to you personally?

Music is pretty much everything for me. It‘s what I grew up with and what I make my living with today. Even though it is work it is what I relax with as well. When I‘m not making music I‘m usually listening to it. Also it is a very important outlet for me and a tool to process my emotions. If I’m having a really bad day I can usually make it better by sitting down at the piano and letting it all out. Some of my favourite pieces I improvised in very emotional and difficult moments trying to think or to process something. And some part of that emotionality lives in that piece and perhaps also reminds me of something valuable I learned along the way.

Do you agree that music is all about fantasy?

I would agree. The goal in my music is to take the listener on a journey to a different place. This can be a small journey to a place very near or a grand adventure spanning space and time.

If you were not a professional musician, what would you have been?

A programmer probably. Technology has always fascinated me especially computers and what makes them tick. I teach programming for musicians at the conservatory in Düsseldorf so it is also something I have pursued to a point. Programming definitely tickles a different part of my brain and it is something that always finds a way into my music as well. I got into programming because I wanted to explore sound in a way that wasn’t possible at that time with commercial tools (not that I had any money to buy those tools anyway) so I wrote my own effects and synthesisers with free software. This exploration of technology and sound was what led me to modular synthesis where I can explore all kinds of weird and wonderful sounds.

The classical music audience is getting old, are you worried about the future?

I guess I am still pretty young (although getting older by the minute) so my circle is also made up of mostly still fairly young people. Maybe it is a bit more of a niche than it was maybe fifty or a hundred years ago but I think it has become more diverse and a lot more open as well. People, including me, are doing crossovers and breaking genre boundaries more often. I at least don’t consider myself to be a “classical music composer” I compose music. Sometimes involving instruments and techniques that one would associate with the classical styles but I also incorporate elements from other traditions. Perhaps we could rethink the label “classical music”. Maybe the classical music scene will diffuse into the broader music culture, maybe not. I would consider myself just a composer or musician and I don’t think music itself will go anywhere anytime soon.

What do you envision the role of music to be in the 21st century? Do you see that there is a transformation of this role?

Music has become more of a part of everyday life than it has ever been. Of course, that has also delegated it a bit into the background. Especially with the music I am making there is always the pressure to produce unobtrusive music. Music that will blend nicely into the background. With the importance of playlists there is a pressure to make music that is not too different from everybody else. Not too long, not too experimental. That of course is a bit frustrating. But there is also the other side of music being much easier to make and to get. You can find some amazing music out there in any style or genre. And as a musician you can find the people that want to listen to your music much easier than in the past. That said I think it is important not to get too caught up in the numbers and the streams and followers and focus as much on the music as you can.

Do you think that the musician today needs to be more creative? What is the role of creativity in the musical process for you?

I think music making has returned to a much more utilitarian place than for example in the romantic era. It feels to me like we as musicians and composers are a lot more craftsmen and women and a lot less enigmatic half-god-like geniuses of the romantic era. And I don’t think that is necessarily a bad thing. When you write music every day you will find that creativity is a muscle more than a muse. For me it is important to explore and stay curious to be creative and I think that is something that a lot of musicians are doing very well today.

Do you think we as musicians can do something to attract the younger generation to music concerts? How would you do this?

That’s a tough question! I think I would have enjoyed a more open and playful approach when I was younger. But it has to be organic. It has to come from the place they are coming from. I think there is a place for that kind of music in the life of people of all ages.

Tell us about your creative process. What is your favourite piece (written by you) and how did you start working on it?

Very tough question… I think I would say “Loss” is probably the one I have the strongest connection with. It was written or rather improvised at a very tough moment for me and I hit record just at that moment sitting at the piano in the studio of a colleague and built the rest of the arrangement around that take almost two years later. And at least for me all that emotion and all that tension is in that take.

Can you give some advice for young people who want to discover classical music for themselves?

I think it is fine to start at the surface: take something you like and go from there. There is no need to absorb the totality of music in one go. It’s fine to go one path you like as far as you like and then to go on to something else. Today it is so easy to discover new music, through streaming services. I discovered a lot of composers through Wikipedia just going down rabbit holes.

Do you think about the audience when composing?

For my day job composing for films: very much. When I am working on my own music I compose the music I want to hear in that moment which seems to be a good balance for me.

What projects are coming up? Do you experiment in your projects?

I am currently in the process of releasing my first full length album. I’m also working on a bunch of films at the moment. All of which are still in the beginning stages which are always a fun time of exploring and experimenting with sounds. The first sketches for the next album are also rolling around in my head from time to time