Saturday 9 May 2020

Dan, can you tell us about Fixity and some of the projects you’re involved in? 

Fixity is a home for my compositions and ideas around repetition, space, and textural exploration in song form through improvisation. It has existed since 2015 and since then has taken in the perspectives and skills of numerous musicians from Ireland and Sweden that are important parts of my musical life in different ways. There have been 10 releases in total so far since then, including two LPs released by Penske Recordings, 'The Things In The Room' [2016] and 'No Man Can Tell' [2019]. All available at . 

Other ongoing projects I am involved in as either drummer, producer or saxophonist include Senior Infants, The Bonk, Not Earth, The Great Balloon Race and The Council For the Dark Arts Orchestra. I also organise Cork Improvised Music Club, an independently promoted residency dedicated to the world of real-time music making at Plugd Records in Cork City since 2013. 

What type of drum kit do you use?

I play a Gretsch New Classic in bebop sizes (18/14/12) with a Sonor SClassix 14x4 Birch snare. Cymbalwise I use  a 20" Bosphorus master series unlathed ride and 22" Istanbul Custom Jazz ride with 14" hihats made up of a KCustom Dark top as the bottom and Meinl Thin crash on top. 

Who are your favourite players?

Mitch Mitchell, Brian Chase, Rashied Ali, Bob Moses, Jim Black, Paul Motian

What are your favourite albums / songs?

Cosmic Music - Alice and John Coltrane
Songs Of Experience - David Axelrod 
Kraftwerk 1 - Kraftwerk
Endtroducing - DJ Shadow
Dazzle Ships - OMD

For a long time my favourite song has been 'Naima' by John Coltrane, in particular the version recorded live in Stockholm in 1961 with Eric Dolphy. I think it’s the most beautiful thing I’ve ever heard. 

You have played with a lot of musicians, is there anyone else you’d like to play with?

I’m really glad to have had the opportunity to play with some really beautiful people throughout the years and I would love to be able to keep on developing these relationships further and finding new possibilities. There are a few folks I would love to play with and learn from such as Matts Gustafsson, Tyshawn Sorey, Roscoe Mitchell, Lee Ronaldo, Marc Ribot... I could go on. 

How are you spending your time during this COVID-19 lockdown?

For the most part, my practice as an artist is built on interaction and collaboration in real time with people so this lockdown has put a significant hold on a lot of what I do. I don’t have a studio right now so it's a time where playing drums and being involved in collective improvisation are not possible. Given the circumstance, what I’m doing is composing, practicing saxophone and recording what I can for various projects in preparation for whenever we can return to our lives. It is not an easy time for musicians and dealing with an uncertain future is a terrifying thing, but we have to be sure to keep what fulfils us present in our lives, every day.  

Picture credit; Kieran Murphy