OTHER SIDE OF THE TRACKS Artist Q&A - Aoife Doyle
Aoife Doyle’s unique, expressive voice is equally at home with jazz, folk, country, bluegrass or blues and her singing can evoke memories of the sophisticated, velvet tones of Ella Fitzgerald, the earthy, sweet lyricism of Patsy Cline or the straight-up country clarity of Alison Krauss. Ahead of the Aoife Doyle Band's performance at our International Jazz Day edition of Signal Series, Aoife shared with us some of her thoughts about the unique connection of making music with people, the expressive power of song, and society's support for musicians.
Q. What motivates you as an artist, to create music?
It's hard to put my finger on the specifics of what motivates me to create music. It's like an itch. I suppose it's a way of responding to what I see in the world around me. And also a haven from it all.
I love playing music with other people. It's a unique form of connection and communication. So that motivates me too.
Q. Who or what inspires you at the moment - be it in music, arts, politics or your personal life?
Moving to the West of Ireland has greatly inspired me and continues to do so. I have written a lot of music since moving there. Having time to reflect is a key part of composing music for me. The slower pace of life, the wide open spaces and the lack of billboards lends itself well to that.
Q. Can you tell us about a seminal experience, project, or encounter that had a significant impact on your career?
Meeting the guys I play with Andrew Csibi, Dominic Mullan and Johnny Taylor has probably been the most significant encounter in my development as an artist and in turn, has impacted my career.
With their support and patience I've had a chance to learn about being a band leader. I've also made the transition from singer to singer and composer with their encouragement. Any tune I bring to rehearsal they embrace whole heartedly and work on it till it's the best it can be. They bring my songs to life. And inspire me to write more.
Q. Working as a songwriter, and as a vocalist with instrumentalists, how do you think about the connection between words and music?
When it comes to writing, I think about sound first. I might have a general idea about what the song is about but it's the chords or melody that inspire me to write usually. This is perhaps an unusual approach in the songwriting world. A lot of songwriters I've met generally think of the words first. I often choose words with vowels sounds that will 'sing' well. I try to marry the two so that the words compliment the music and vice versa.
I often think songs are a way for people to hear and understand a message that they might miss in everyday conversation. Songs often say things that people never articulate. The music plays a big role in carrying the message. It can be interesting to play around with different grooves and chord progressions and see what unique way a song can be presented. Lyrics can be interpreted quite differently depending on the groove and tempo.
Q. What direction do you see the music industry headed towards in the next 20 years?
I don't really know. It's the question everyone is pondering. I think it's an interesting time to be a musician. As the industry is changing and in murky waters, it leaves a lot of space for us as musicians to go about our careers in a creative way. It requires a lot of thinking outside the box, which we are hopefully doing as creative folk anyway.
I would love to see more support from our government for musicians. Ireland has such a rich, celebrated musical landscape and yet music still isn't really recognised as a valid profession. It's difficult to sustain yourself as a musician in Ireland if you don't have significant commercial success. Other European countries (France for example) recognise music as a profession and it's freelance nature. And with that understanding they have support systems in place for musicians.
You can hear the Aoife Doyle Band, in a double-header with ReDiviDeR
At Signal Series on International Jazz Day, Tuesday 30th April, Doors 8pm
The Wild Duck, Sycamore Street, Temple Bar, Dublin 2.