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OTHER SIDE OF THE TRACKS Q & A with Scott Flanigan

  • Interviews / Q&As

Scott Flanigan is one of the foremost keyboard players on the Irish jazz scene. IMC caught up with him ahead of his Clouded Lines album launch with his Trio and acclaimed UK guitarist Ant Law at Arthur's Jazz Club on May 6th. Keep reading for insights into this exciting new project.

Could you tell us a bit about the inspiration behind Clouded Lines?

This album was part of my PhD which I completed a few years ago now. As part of it, I wanted to try to move my own music forward a bit, and add a little bit of chaos into everything I was playing. I did some deep analysis of two of my favourite pianists - Aaron Parks and Brad Mehldau - and used their ideas as templates for my own improvised lines, as this was clouding my original musical lines, hence the title! Around the same time, Moving On Music offered me the opportunity to write some music for the Brilliant Corners festival and this was co-funded by the PRS Foundation. At the same time, I was looking for an opportunity to play something original with Ant Law. We met at a residential course called Take Five run by Serious in London, and I loved his playing and approach to music. All of these things came together just at the right time and coalesced into the music on this record.

Musically speaking, how do you go about taking the steps from initial inspiration to a finished piece/album?

Discipline. I have so many half-written pieces which sounded fine but I never quite got around to finishing them. With this record, I had a very clear deadline of a gig where the music had to be written in advance and sent to the guys in the band to practice, and there’s nothing that gets things working better than a deadline! After that, it was a long process of recording, mixing, critiquing, mastering, getting the artwork designed, and planning how to release it. That’s the bit that’s the most boring - the music is done and now comes the administration part of the project getting it across the line.

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

Interaction with musicians is what makes the music come alive for me. Over lockdown I did very few online collaborations because I missed the spontaneity of working with musicians and exploring a theme or an idea in the moment. I love hearing incredible bands, but I love hearing incredible and inclusive soloists who are working with the musicians around them to create something that could only happen with those specific musicians at that specific time.

What would you like listeners to experience when listening to the album?

Listen out for four musicians who each have the same approach to music - maximum attack all the way! The energy of the music is a constant theme across the album and in my live performances. Great music will take you places, and with this record I hope we achieve that.

Catch Scott Flanigan Trio with Ant Law at Arthur's on May 6th:

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