Saturday 2 May 2020

R.S.A.G have a new album 'Chroma' coming out in May. Can you tell us what to expect?

'Chroma' is a mood driven album, with a much richer soundscape and heavy weight percussion. You'll hear songs that will connect to my earlier work and then some from a new more sensitive space. I am proud that my co-writer Jamie Walsh and I were able to merge our musical and lyrical ideas to produce songs of intensity and emotion.

You hail from Kilkenny, a city that has produced some great artists over the years. What is it about Kilkenny that inspires such creativity?

Kilkenny has a great advantage; being situated in the middle of Waterford, Dublin and Cork. As a result, over the years the city has hosted an array of music and arts festivals which attracts people from all over the world. This has created a sense of pride along with a lot of inspiration for the city. Kilkenny has always been a creative hub for artists, producing bands like Crawl Babies, Engine Alley, Kerbdog, Jerusalem Taxi's, My Little Funhouse, Headspin, Surfin' Dead, Blue Ghost, Gout and The River Valley Band, to name but a few. They all in one way or another inspired each other. Kilkenny is also the home of Cartoon Saloon and Lighthouse Studios, who have had two Oscar nominations, for the last two animated features. Is there something in the water? Maybe, but for me it's the people. 

How do you feel you have progressed as a musician over the years?
I feel I've progressed from a lot of different aspects of what I do. My playing has progressed from performing live both as R.S.A.G. and with other bands and artists. With recording and producing music you have to approach performing in a different way. You have to think about the overall sound and how each performance will fit to suit the mood and narrative of each track. This too has been an interesting learning curve for me over the years. Each album brings with it these differences both in playing style and techniques. Technology has also helped my progression. Apart from playing, recording and producing, I also teach music. This too has helped develop and progress my craft. Apart from really enjoying the teaching process I feel I've learned so much from my students. I love hearing how they interpret what I'm teaching, hearing their own individuality and style developing as they grow in confidence.

What type of drum kit do you use?
I use an APK premier kit. It's from the mid 80's. I bought it from a guy about 15 years ago who still had it in its plastic wrapping. I particularly love how the toms sound.

Who are your favourite players?
There are so many but here are a few:

Buddy Rich
Gene Krupa
Tony Allen
Louis Bellson
Max Roach
Ringo Starr
Steve Shelley
John Bonham
Steve Gadd
Jimmy Cobb
Al Jackson
Levon Helm

What are your favourite albums?
In no particular order:

In A Silent Way - Miles Davis
Daydream Nation - Sonic Youth
The White Album - The Beatles
Life's Rich Pageant - R.E.M.
Beethoven's 6th Symphony
Repeater - Fugazi
Entroducing - DJ Shadow

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

I've been keeping busy during lockdown, trying to make the most of my time at home with my wife and two dogs. I'm recording new music, teaching and facilitating a very interesting new music project online with young people from Kilkenny for Ossory Youth. It's aptly called 'Lockdown Session'

You can order the new R.S.A.G album below

Photo Credit;
Colour photo - Ruth Medjber
B & W photo - Unknown