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Five Minutes with Drummer and Composer Corrie Dick

I sat down with Drummer and composer Corrie Dick to talk about his inspirations, the brand new album and the creative process.

How/ when did you start  writing the records for your debut album Impossible Things? Did it all begin with the Alice In Wonderland quote (“sometimes I believe in as many as six impossible things before breakfast”)?

Haha! Well the Alice in Wonderland thing is kind of inconsequential to most of this music to be honest. For me this album is all about the vast epic space of the highlands… a yearning for fresh air and moments of euphoric abandon in the middle of the struggles of everyday life. I’ve been writing for as long as I’ve been playing instruments, so a long time now I guess, and the whole thing felt like it was leading up to this album. Now the album feels like it was leading to something else, I’ve got some ideas for where that might be.

Can you describe your album in three words?

Surging melodic music

Do the band on the album play together regularly?

Yeah, we play in lots of different configurations within the group, the music is versatile like that. I love seeing how the music changes when, for example, Conor (bassist) can’t make it and we just play with organ filling that role, or no bass role at all and all the propulsion has to come from elsewhere.

corrie dickWith nine people playing on the album, how do you get such a consistent and together sound on the recording?

That’s all down to the great musicians in the group and their ability to interpret what I’m trying to say. They are so on the money too. I wanted it to feel as dynamic as a trio would and I guess that’s all down to respect for space. I think there’s a real patience about the way everyone plays on this album. It’s a brave thing to do – not play, but leave space for audiences to hear what wasn’t played.

Do you think about the listener while writing or recording or do you go with what you like and hope everyone else does too?

Oh yeah totally I’m thinking about audience/listener. I want them to have an experience when I play for them and I guess I want to guide them to a particular place, but if they end up somewhere else then that’s good too, as long as I’ve managed to engage people and as long as they get something from it. But also I think that as a musician you have the best chance of connecting with people if you’re playing something you genuinely believe in, people feed off your joy (Stevie Wonder) or your sorrow (Kurt Cobain) or your spirituality (Arvo Pärt).

What are your strongest musical inspirations?

I’m kind of all over the place at the moment – loving everything. Initially I was influenced by drummers like Brian Blade and Jeff Ballard, but my interests have got more varied – I love Chimurenga music of Zimbabwe, and other groovy music like The Meters. Folk music from across the world is a big one for me right now – music that has been refined and refined over generations, music with purpose.

What attracts you to a certain type of music or album?

I don’t know really, it’s such a feeling. Something visceral that makes me grin or dance or weep or hold my breath. Yeah, music that has some kind of power over me.

Even though you have a background in jazz, your album covers a range of genres. Do you think this is the way forward for music, rather than placing every sound in specific categories?

Jazz has always been a fusion of different influences and for me the idea ‘jazz’ is more just an approach to playing that can be seen in all sorts of named ‘genres’, and the sooner people can get out of thinking about music/art in these boxes the more they’ll enjoy musical discoveries. I guess that whole thing is just a tool for record companies to sell albums and direct and control their customers into buying other things that they deem to be ‘the same’. But it’s all music, and thank God for it.

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