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OTHER SIDE OF THE TRACKS Artist Q&A with F-JoB

Ahead of their performance at the Signal Series at Arthur's on Thursday 5th September, the three members of F-JoB shared their thoughts with us on inspiration, the fate of the future, As individual artists, the three members of F-JoB have been at the forefront of several of the most artistically and commercially successful projects in creative Irish music over the last fifteen years. For the past year, the three have been developing their own sound as a piano trio. With influences from South Indian Carnatic music; they all have a deep interest in the traditions of jazz but are equally adept at interpreting challenging contemporary material; and all have an open-minded, inclusive vision of the music they perform. "One of the freshest voices in Irish jazz and a must-hear for anyone who wants to know where the piano trio is headed in the 21st century." [Irish Times]

Pianist Greg Felton has played in groups lead by Ireland's most renowned jazz musicians Louis Stewart and Ronan Guilfoyle and was commissioned to write and perform a large-scale piece for the RTÉ Living Music Festival in 2007. Bassist Cormac O’Brien is one of the most in-demand bass players in Ireland, holding the bass chair with the Dublin City Jazz Orchestra as well as leading his own groups, and has worked with Louis Stewart, Bobby Watson, Ernie Watts, and Cleveland Watkiss. Drummer Matthew Jacobson is highly active on both the Irish and European creative music scenes, performing and composing with leading ensembles including Aerie, Insufficient Funs, Umbra, Ensemble Ériu and ReDiviDeR.

Q. What is the most important thing to you when making music? 

Cormac: Enjoyment of the music and the environment that it is being played in. Creating something meaningful whether it be improvised in the moment or composed of a longer period of time.

Matt: Connecting as deeply as possible with the music itself, with the other musicians on stage and with anybody else present, listening or otherwise. 

Q. Who or what inspires you at the moment - be it in music, arts, politics or your personal life?

Cormac: The people around me inspire me to make music. Family and musicians that I enjoy working with. It's important to me to have a source of positive energy to work from. I tend not to reflect too much on politics and global issues and there is a lot of doom and gloom out there and I don't find that information conducive to making music.

Greg: The Art of Looking Sideways by Alan Fletcher. Though mostly about words and images, there are some wonderful nuggets of wisdom about creativity. Greta Thunberg and the Extinction Rebellion are also very inspiring in the face of looming ecological disaster.

Q. How would you describe the kind of music that F-JoB makes?

Cormac: Stylistically speaking there is quite a prominent rock aesthetic, though we still play standard repertoire when the occasion calls for it. The trio really moves in to a lot of different areas which reflects our influences, from Indian to folk to rock and of course the american jazz tradition. Despite exploring different meters and forms we still love to play standards.

Matt: A very democratic piano trio! Original compositions from each of us, and the openness afforded to each musician in these compositions, means the music can really go in any direction at any time - be that more traditional swing sections, odd-metre grooves, collective improvisations or solo elaborations. Also, the fact that the three of us have shared a lot of experiences (all going to the same secondary school and university, teaching on the same Degree programme, all spending time with the same organisation in South India to study Karnatic music, playing in millions of bands together) over the last fifteen years (and more from Cormac and Greg because they are old) means that no matter what direction the music goes in, nobody is ever left behind and we are all comfortable expressing ourselves in those moments. 

Q. In your ideal gig, what experience/response would the audience have? 

Cormac: As long as the audience gets something from it, some emotional response, then I don't mind what their experience is. The music should speak for itself and everyone's experience will be unique to them. Music should transport the listener to different places, whether it is a joyful place or nostalgic or melancholic.

Matt: Most important is that the audience feels something. That is the whole point of it for me. It doesn't matter what those feelings are, positive or negative, but music is there for us to express ourselves and communicate in a way that could not exist through any other mediums, so if that communications elicits zero emotion from the room then we have not done our jobs. 

Q. What direction do you see the music industry headed towards in the next 20 years?

Cormac: That is such a difficult question to answer. Everything is so available and we can't even predict the next year, let alone 20 years. The traditions will continue as they have but innovative approaches on how to create and disseminate music will keep surprising us in ways we can't predict. A very vague answer to a very broad question!

Greg: Due to carbon emissions, musicians will probably fly less. Local scenes may develop in interesting ways as musicians travel less while still getting inspiration from the world though the internet. People will be looking for authentic experiences in contrast to the digital world and the live music experience will always be a good way to find it. 


Thanks F-JoB!

Hear F-JoB live at
Signal Series
Thursday 5th September, 9pm

Arthur's Blues & Jazz Club
Tickets €10 online/€12 at the door

– posted