DD John and Friends

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10 Questions with Idris Davies

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idris

1. How would you characterize your music?

I: Work in progress. What it comes from is american roots music mainly but my dream is to be able to blend it with contemporary rhythms and beats. Need a drummer. Don’t we all?

2. What is one early music experience that made a deep impression on you//made you rethink what music can sound like//has helped shape the music you make today?

I: I could go on here at length. My first experience was at age 8 hearing Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds blasting from my mates mum’s car. I don’t know if it was the volume but that song got inside me whilst me and Martin waited in the supermarket car park we had that song repeating full blast and were dancing on the roof! Twenty years after it had been recorded Beatlemania was still alive.

Aged 20 I was taken ill and moved in with my parents to recover – it was here I found one of my Dad’s old music books – a Leadbelly guitar book – and learnt the song Goodmorning Blues with the walking bass. I was pretty taken at this, with the Blues and all it’s possibilities! I howled that song all night long – I mean into the morning! Goodmorning Blues.

3. What is usually your process when creating//writing a new song?

I: Firstly it helps to be hungover. Generally I’ll sit down with a guitar and note book. But it varies you know – sometimes the song will rise up out of the blue and it just comes; sometimes I get an idea for a song and it wont be until months or even years later that I can get it written. Sometimes a song takes work – editing and such – and sometimes it doesn’t.

4. Where can we find your music//what have you done to make your music available?

I: I’ve littered my music in the usual places – Youtube, Soundcloud, Bandcamp, Reverbnation and I share it to Facebook and Twitter.

I’m shy and getting too old to play the silly i-wanna-be-famous game so I do the least I can to share my music – I don’t play live any more and I don’t like having to sell myself.

5. What is a recent musician//band//music that you are excited about?

I: Oh man, well I struggle here because I don’t listen to modern music. I’d recommend you listen to Jelly Roll Morton and his Red Hot Peppers. I’ve been enjoying their noise most recently. These guys, and the early Jazz that they were playing, were simply fun! No connotations, no second agenda, no trying to be Keith-Richards-Cool just good youthful fun! The bands seem to have an arrangement but they generally play what they want! There’s mistakes (and that’s fine!) and there’s laughter and chatter and messing around and you can imagine dancing too! This was an age where Music was unemployed – free of the financial responsibilities it’s tied up in today. Free and irresponsible – that’s my kind of music!

6. How would you describe the music climate in your home when you were a child?

I: Active like a Bio-yogurt. My Dad plays most instruments from Tin Whistle to the Uelliann Pipes and all inbetween. He used to play sax in a Punk Band deep in the Shropshire Valleys and guitar in a Christian folk group. We had all kinds of instruments to play with and it was early that I picked up a guitar and my Dad taught me my first songs from The Cowboy Songbook. There were bands coming around the house to play and there were records for when there weren’t bands. We played the records loud and would all dance about in the living room. Even the dog joined in. My life didn’t ever never have music going – even in the car we had our bag of car tapes – Van-the-man Morrison, Dylan, Paul Simon, Eurithmics, Talking Heads etc etc etc. I remember Dad pulling the car over in town just so we could listen fully and completely to Dylan’s Last Thoughts On Woody Guthrie. I didn’t listen – I was too young if you like – but I’ll never forget how it effected my parent’s and that interested me. Now of course I love that mountain of a track! God if I could only write one thing like that.

7. Is style//image important to you and if so what//who do you consider cool in music?

I: Yes, I reluctantly think so. I dress like my hero’s I suppose. I study Dylan album covers to try and locate the exact jacket or wear my shirt the way he does. Fail on all accounts of course! In my music I see many genres – currently I generally fit the folksy singer-songwriter category and dress accordingly; but in my mind there’s a rock band in there – I’d dress differently for this – sharper. In a band it’s important to dress smart I think because once you’re in a band it’s a job – you have coworkers and you give presentations. Dress smart for work and all that. I had this idea of forming a band that play dirty blues-rock. With all the band members literally howling through every show like animals. But all dressed super smart like Muddy Waters!

Aka The Man.

8. What song do you want playing at your funeral?

I: Well that’s currently going to Jelly Roll Morton. There’s two – Oh Didn’t He Ramble is a good’un with the intro, slow and morose, leading to the introductory words “Ashes to ashes, dust to dust … if the women don’t getcha the liquor must!”. Then ensue wailing, laughter and a nice lively rag with everyone playing their own thing as only Morton’s boys can!

9. Why music and why do you make it?

I: Because I can! I recognize I’m not the best guitarist in the world, I’m not the best singer in the world and I’m not the best songwriter in the world. But I figure I can do all 3 alright so that’s ok right? These are skills I have and I see it as my duty to use them. I say my duty because I believe God gave me these skills. And what better way to thank Him than to use them and make music. So because I can but also because I want to – I wish beyond so much that I could produce a living from my music. Music is in my heart it represents my youth, as outlined above, and it coincides with just about every memory I have. Music is like the notepad on which my life is written; it occupies my mind like air does my lungs. How can I stop feeding off and making music?! No I have no choice but to continue day in day out. I can and I will.

10. If I should listen to one undiscovered musician//song today who//what should I check out?

I: My mate Anju. She has the best voice. I could (and do far too often) compare her to any of the great jazz vocalists but in truth no-one sounds like Anju. I was hit with a good wave of originality blended with strong talent when first I heard her breezing on the ‘cloud. She’s a good writer and her guitar parts are always interesting too! Her songs have a lovely super-dry whit which is always a pleasure to hear.

If I can share her link I’d like to – https://soundcloud.com/anj-7 – and pair it with a recommendation to buy her new album where she’s accompanied by some top top Italian Jazzers and they all have a ball!


Visit Idris at:

http://idrisdavies.bandcamp.com/

https://soundcloud.com/idrisdavies

https://www.facebook.com/idrisedavies


10 Questions with Chris Okunbor

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1. How would you characterize your music?

C: Grassroots mainly – music coming from ‘music of the working people’ around the world…folk…blues…old timey….traditional. But I love such a broad range music, I’ll often have little skirmishes into jazz, or even prog rock!! I like to either play with heart, or humour.

2. What is one early music experience that made a deep impression on you//made you rethink what music can sound like//has helped shape the music you make today?

C: Again, I’m going to cheat and name a few influences from my early teens, because that’s how my music has evolved, and you can’t really begin to understand my music without seeing these multiple influences:
~Paul Brady singing Traditional Irish songs such as Caillerch an Airgid at the same moment I was being exposed to songs via my Grandmother, from Connacht.
~The new life performers such as Martin Carthy, the Watersons, Fairport Convention, and Ewan McColl brought to songs from the English tradition.
~Hearing Robert Johnson for the first time.
You see? Soul music that struck me in the heart.

3. What is usually your process when creating//writing a new song?

C: Key lyrical title or concept. Brainstorm concepts…sometimes referring to poetry, for example the Sufi poets. Go to a cafe or park a few times to write the lyrics. Sometimes I’m given an instrumental melody…or the melodic/beat component just appears when I’m at the broad ideas stage.

4. Where can we find your music//what have you done to make your music available?

C: Live gigs around the place….blues bars folk clubs, festivals. For the next few months in Australia, but I hope to return to Europe next year, and a mini-tour of the US and Canada would be possible if I can organize enough paid gigs. Much of my recorded music and collaborations can be heard on Soundcloud.
I have a CD for sale on ITunes and CD Baby (Peckman’s Plateau) and a very old CD of me doing world music for young kids (Songs and Chants)~ available directly from me at cokunbor@hotmail.com

5: What is a recent musician//band//music that you are excited about?

C: Can’t just list one as I always listen to heaps of music that inspires me at the same time: Damien O’Kane (Ireland), Mississippi Fred McDowell (always), Homayoun Shajarian (Iran),Chris Woods(U.K.), and Soundclouders like Joe Fusco, Mono Stone, Faerytale, Iwan Gronert, Tarq Bowen, Man on a Grill, Swamp Lightning to name just a few.

6. How would you describe the music climate in your home when you were a child?

C: Lots of vinyl records played….old swing, jazz, world music….I had a big smorgasbord to listen to. I was the only one in my immediate family interested in playing an instrument….first piano, then guitar.

7. Is style//image important to you and if so what//who do you consider cool in music?

C: No…authenticity and love of music shines through. Supercool musician? Probably Corey Harris….and of course the Queen, Billie Holiday.

8. What song do you want playing at your funeral?

C: Let the Bright Seraphim by Handel (Trumpet and Voice)….up to volume level 11 a la Spinal Tap…ha ha! That’ll transport us all to the heavens.

9. Why music and why do you make it?

C: Can’t not make it…..I have no choice in the matter. Joy, sharing, life force, trying to touch the heavens.

10. If I should listen to one undiscovered musician//song today who//what should I check out?

C: Riny Raijmakers (who I call a living Sufi poet) ~ “Dust and Cigarette Ashes”…….. One is never enough though…I’m greedy….another Dutchman Iwan Gronert ~ “She makes me smile again” for delicate beauty of composition and emotional playing.



Find Chris at:

soundcloud.com/chris-okunbor

itunes.apple.com/au/album/peckman…teau/id892096855

www.cdbaby.com/cd/chriso