So you will present a new suite for Percussion and Electronics, which has been commissioned for the 2019 festival. How did that come about? Tell us a little bit more about the commission…
After initial discussions with the festival team about how we could design a performance that would offer something a bit different to the programme, I felt I wanted to centre the composition around percussion and electronics as this is such an integral part of Atlas’s sound and Ian Thorn (who funded the commission) has such a fascination with drumming and contemporary jazz. I also really wanted to invite a guest to join us to expand the line-up. We’re so lucky to have the remarkable John O Gallagher living in the UK, I thought it would be really exciting to ask him to be on the project too. His sound is so unique and distinctive, – I am really looking forward to collaborating with him.
You have a forthcoming album ‘Peaceful King’ coming out. Tell us more about that…
This is Atlas’s debut album, – it is due to be released on Stoney Lane Records in spring 2019, around the same time as the festival – we’re really excited it’s finally ready to be unleashed into the world. The music was all written with the sound of all the individual band members in mind, and although it’s has a strong jazz sensibility, we hope that it will appeal to all sorts of other music appreciators too. There are three vocal tracks on the album, which feature Sara Colman, a wonderful (fellow Bristolian also I might add!) singer/songwriter, – her lyrics are divine – but there’s also slightly rockier sounding material as well as more abstract tracks which feature electronics elements too. We’ll be touring the music throughout 2019.
You have been described as one of the leading musicians of your generation. How did you get into music and do you have any advice for anyone entering into the jazz world?
I think in this day and age every musician needs such a variety of skills, – obviously making interesting, good quality music is by far the most important thing – and that should just be enough. Jazz musicians need to have a clear musical identity, and not be afraid to do their own thing, or sometimes go against the grain a bit, in order to stand out. We also need as a bunch of other skills like good communication, marketing, organisation, etc. as well as just being a decent human being. Be prepared to be persevere, and stick at it, – I’m a firm believer that pays off in the end.
Rising Star Commission – The Festival is delighted to host this new commission and hopes that this will inspire others to support the Rising Star Commission in future years. It is a great way to mark a celebration, to support the work of Bristol’s emerging talent and the Bristol Jazz Festival. We invite future sponsors to consider this opportunity to support the work of Bristol’s emerging talent. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more info.