OTHER SIDE OF THE TRACKS Q&A with Aoife Doyle on ‘Infinitely Clear’
- Interviews / Q&As
The development of a musical work begins a long time before an audience sees it, with inspiration, creation, choices, and many hours of work in rehearsal, practice, recording, and organisation. We love hearing the stories of how albums or concerts get from their initial seeds of thought to the final production, and how different musicians think about their creative process and work they do. Other Side of the Tracks gives us insights into this process from a range of musicians, and provides some fantastic perspectives on music, inspiration, work, and life.
Vocalist and composer Aoife Doyle shared some thoughts with us about her new album 'Infinitely Clear', taking inspiration from the Clare landscape, recording songs in pieces during the pandemic, and exploring life's experiences through music.
The Irish Times“...a heart-warming gem, a classic in the making from an artist who has found her groove and, one senses, is about to be huge. ”
Aoife Doye's 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. Backed by Johnny Taylor’s subtle piano, Andrew Csibi’s inventive bass and Dominic Mullan’s sensitive percussion, the band has won much deserved critical acclaim.
Q. Could you tell us about the inspiration behind this album?
I suppose living in the West of Ireland is a big one as I find the space, quietness, lack of superficial stimulation and being closer to nature/the elements have all facilitated and inspired composition and songwriting. When I moved to Clare I began to compose more consistently and after my 2017 album 'Clouds' I wanted to keep going and further develop my skill in that area - especially lyrically. The songs are inspired by a desire to write and distill the things I see, hear and experience.
Q. Musically speaking, how do you go about taking the steps from initial inspiration to a finished piece/album?
Well I suppose that varies from project to project. With this album, obviously there was a whole period of writing which happened first. Previously I had mostly written at the piano. But with these songs I tried to come at composition differently. So sometimes I started writing lyrics and no music. I often walk and sing in the bog near my house and I got a good few ideas for songs that way, 'Clare Sky' for example. On my previous albums we had always recorded the old fashioned way - live, altogether in the studio. Johnny Taylor, Andrew Csibi and Dominic Mullan play on all three albums. When it came to these songs, I thought a change in dynamic was important for the recording so as not to just relax into some comfort zone. So that's why I asked Michael Buckley to produce the album. Michael has worked on all three of my albums in one capacity or another and he is the ultimate problem solver, as well as a brilliant producer/arranger/musician. With the pandemic raging during the creation of this album, he made the social distance work in our favour, bringing us into the studio one/two at a time, starting with just voice and piano and building it up musically around the songs. An approach which I loved.
Q. What is the most important thing to you when making music?
Probably a lot of things. But the first that come to mind are - Being authentic, doing my best by the music, working with people who also care about the music, and enjoying the various stages of creating the work.
Q. A lot of your works on this album have stood alone as beautiful single releases - how do you think about the difference between a piece as a single and part of an album? What would you like listeners to experience when listening to the full album?
I think singles have the capacity to reach more people and warm listeners up to the album. When I was listening to the various contributions from musicians on this album I adored lots of details; Margot Daly's stunning backing vocal on Love Conquers All, Jack Maher's thoughtful guitar playing on Clare Sky and Ronan Dooney's soulful trumpet solo on Awakening. I think the single releases shine a light on those moments. And the message of the song has a chance to percolate out into the world. When it comes to listening to the album; The songs are a lot to do with questions/experiences and purpose/meaning in life. They explore love, loss, spirituality. Topics that are quite universal and yet the songs themselves are quite personal. Given the commonality of the subject matter, my hope is that the listener can interpret as they wish and as is fitting to their own personal experience.
Artist Marc Corrigan created an animation for the title track of 'Infinitely Clear' which you can watch here.