One Flute to Rule Them All

ALDOC is the new band led by ex-Gráda frontman and Lord of the Rings soloist Alan Doherty. Produced by his long time collaborator Gerry Paul, “From Tallaght to Halle” was recorded between Germany and New Zealand and the music is driven by the Irish flute, yet lifted brilliantly by settings derived from Doherty and Paul’s love of urban sounds. Recently ALDOC performed at the Kolkata International Music Festival organized by Song of the soul. Abhijit Ganguly spoke to Alan Doherty.The members of Aldoc who performed were- Tobi Schmitt, Kristoffer Rylander, Eddie Van de Ghent,Sjoerd Van der Sanden,Julian Mr-Hff and Martin Moran.

How did your tryst with flute happen?

My father plays music. He plays a little bit of flute as well. The flute was always lying out around our house. I started playing whistle at the age of 7 years. Then I started playing flute at the age of 17. My teacher was Paul McGrattan, Matt Molloy inspires me in Irish music, in Indian music I like Hariprasad Chaurasia, Deepak Ram. Also, Ravi Kullar would be my favourite player to listen to.

How did you gather all the great musicians that appear on your album?

When we made the album we made it in two different countries- Germany and New Zealand. We called upon session musicians who I liked from different albums. Unfortunately, they couldn’t tour as they lived in New Zealand and we were touring in Ireland and Europe. So I had eye on other musicians I liked. I got them together and they had just learned the parts.  When learnt the parts they put down their own interpretations on each track.

To what extent does the other musician have the freedom to add and extend what they want to a piece?

It’s getting better. When we started off it was pretty much copying what the album was.  We are playing for one year now. Maybe we have played about 25 concerts. The musicians are getting more relaxed with the music. They are trying different things.  The problem is we don’t have much opportunity rehears as much as we would like to, as we are in different countries. So when we do tours, we come a couple of days earlier and rehearse. I do all the writing myself in my studio in and pre-production Dublin.

To what extent has technology affected your music?

In our concerts we have two electronic musicians. I would play a note on the flute or song a note and shu shu would change it and make it sound something different. This is exciting!  Another aspect is-Recording an album in Germany and sending the track to Ravi by email and he puts his stuff down and sends it back to me. I think lots of people do this now with the power of the internet.

What are your future plans?

I just finished an album with Ravi Kullar. It’s an Irish and Indian flute album.  We met each other three years back in Germany at a flute festival.  We recorded in Ireland and India.  Hopefully it will be released in 2016. And for ALDOC we have big plans for writing and touring in 2016.

Your word of advice for aspiring musicians?

My advice to the youth is to play along CDs as much you can,  do not be afraid of going   wherever you want with your instrument and you should always be yourself. Create your own individual style and play and practice with everybody with different styles.

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