Some photos for the up-coming album...
a traditional Irish drum
The following is an excerpt from a late-night interview at a disclosed location that never happened...
Q: Don, I understand you've begun work on an album using fireside smallpipes -- this is a new endeavor for you, right?
A: Indeed it is -- on both counts! In 2007 I home-recorded & produced a solo Highland bagpipe album in honor of my mom for Mother's Day 2007 and as an interim work to my first official solo album. A year later I found myself wanting to make another interim album -- one that represented my improved playing skills. I felt I needed to do something different, so I thought I might make a recording using smallpipes. I had been interested in adding smallpipes to my instrument-base and finally got into them when I was given a set by my parents for Xmas 2008 toward making this second interim album to my first solo Highland bagpipe album. The plan with this work is record myself playing smallpipes as the focal instrument accompanied by musicians in the US and Ireland playing a range of other acoustic instruments including guitar and fiddle. I even plan to accompany myself playing my bodhrán.
Q: So, I understand you've titled this project "Building Fire" -- where did this title come from? Did you have something in mind about a building being on fire, and if-so how does that tie in with this contemporary-traditional sounding bagpipe album?
A: Usually when I get the inspiration for a new album the initial concept is a package-deal -- I think of what the music will be like and what the title will be all at once. When I began to work on this album I had a period where I was searching for it's name -- even if only as a working title. In the process I came to an awareness that a number of things were starting to come together in my life -- particularly with my music. My playing was beginning to reach the point where I felt ready to start recording the album ideas I had amassed since first conceiving the idea of recording an album, and a lot of the pieces to do that were starting to fall into place. It just felt that everything was beginning, everything was reaching critical mass to where it was all about to start. The name "Building Fire" is all about building momentum, and opening that up.
Q: There's tasty talk going around that you plan to make some sort of companion- or sister-album to Building Fire -- is there any truth to this rumor, and if so what does that look like?
A: Uhm ... yeah! That's not a big secret actually, so I guess you can say that you had it confirmed here first. As for what this other work looks like -- well, soon after starting Building Fire, I went for a walk with an artist friend who put the idea into my head. Once Building Fire is done, take the source recordings from the original work and have it remixed by DJ/techno-types making a companion traditional/electric album called ElectriFire. There are only a few pipers that I know of who have done this sort of blended-contemporary/traditional work, which I enjoy -- Martyn Bennett, Mark Saul, and in California Blake Pullen -- so it looks like I'm going to have some fun getting in on the act. Beyond that, I don't know what this looks like yet -- but I'm looking forward to exploring it!
Q: So you think you can make smallpipes and other acoustic instruments rock?
A: I relish the challenge and I look forward to finding out! Really its the techno/DJ-types who will make it rock or not -- but I'm striven to stretch and expand myself musically. I think it will be an interesting experience.
Q: Wow -- thats great -- I'm looking forward to hearing both of these projects! It sounds like you have exciting and very pleasurable work ahead of you. Your website says that you have ideas for a couple of smallpipe albums after Building and ElectriFire -- something about "candy" and "incense" -- can you tell us what those concepts are about?
A: Well, I appreciate you asking, but actually a wise friend of mine instilled in me the self-discipline of talking little and with very few people about my future album ideas. While I don't think there are other musicians or pipers out there gunning for my ideas to beat me to the punch, it does still help to insure that it doesn't happen. As a side benefit, it keeps the purists from being able to tell me that I'm somehow doing things wrong before I've done them. (chuckles) Delayed gratification in condemning my work -- they'll have to wait to complain about how I've "broken 'The Rules'" until later.
Things To Come...