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, complemented 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 Soul, where Abhijit Ganguly spoke with 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 and Deepak Ram, and Ravi Kullar.
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 an eye on other musicians I liked as well. I got them together and they just learned the parts and put down their own interpretations on each track.
To what extent do the other musicians 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 have played together for a year - 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 to rehearse as much as we would like, as we are in different countries. So when we do tours, we arrive a couple of days earlier to rehearse. I do all the writing myself in my studio and preproduction 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 different. This is exciting! Another aspect is -recording an album in Germany and sending the track to Ravi by email. He puts his stuff down and sends it back to me. I think lot of people do this now with the power of 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 youth is to play along with CDs as much you can, do not be afraid to go wherever you want with your instrument and you should always be yourself through your instrument. Create your own individual style and play and practice with musicians of different styles. Just try things out. Time will tell you if you like it or not. Sleep with your instrument!
Photos courtesy of Subhro Kreation
Contributing Writer, Abhijit Ganguly, is an extensively published journalist based in Kolkata, India. His stories cover the global arts scene and the fusion arts movement with the culture and art of India. Ganguly’s work includes personal interviews with world renowned dance troupes, film directors, fine artists, sculptors, as well as jazz, hip hop and classical musicians. He is known for presenting an inside view of the artist's craft and what motivates their creativity. Ganguly also delves into the artist's take on what a young person in Kolkata can learn from each artist, so that the youth of the city can learn to master these skills.