Tell us about your new project Graviton. It’s a bit new and a bit different to what you’ve done before.
“Yeah, it’s a bit of a change in direction. There’s more of a focus on composition with this album. I was living in New York for a few years, until quite recently and one of the things that I realised when I was out there was that I have a strength for composition. One of the things that New York does is it forces you to really examine what it is that you have to offer. It’s an intensely competitive environment to begin with and you have to dig a bit deeper to try and find what it is that you have to offer that is maybe a bit more unique to other people. The thing I discovered about myself is that I believe I have a strength for composing.”
“So with this album I wanted to really focus on my compositional skill within the framework of a modern jazz group. That’s how it came about. I guess the genre, the musical style of it is much more eclectic. The other thing that I wanted to try and do is something a bit more unique. So there are a lot more different influences, including prog rock. I’ve been listening to Armenian pianist Tigran Hamasyan a lot and I really admire what he’s doing, particularly the rhythmic language. That’s another thing that I want to explore a lot more.”
It’s also quite a unique band that you’ve drawn from different parts of the jazz world.
“Again it’s reaching out to a more disparate corners of the music scene. Eska and I go back quite a long way because we used to do Tomorrow’s Warriors a very long time ago. She’s very unique. There’s no one else quite like her and she brought something really special to the sound of the album. Anton Eger is a drummer that I’ve admired for many years, and he plays in some of the leading jazz ensembles, including Phronesis and Marius Neset. Also on the album is Shabaka Hutchings, who is taking the world by storm at the moment. I was very lucky to have him come and play on the album. And Rob Mullarkey is an important part of the music scene, even if you might not necessarily know the name or recognise his face, but he’s part of many different groups. He plays with Jacob Collier’s live group. He also mixed the album and he had a huge influence on the sound of the album.”
“But I should say that the touring group is different. The great thing about having these amazing musicians is the music that they can contribute to the album. But the bad news is that they’re also incredibly busy with their own careers. For the tour I’ve put together a band of equally great musicians that are able to commit to coming on the road with me.”
What plans have you got for the rest of the year?
“I’m adding new dates in the autumn so we’ll be doing some more touring at the end of the year. But I’d like to follow up with a new album with this band. It’s been really interesting to develop this music and I think there’s a lot more to be done. I’m interested in recording some new music. I’ve already started writing a few bits and pieces. Once we’ve played on the road a bit more then we’ll maybe go into the studio and see what we come up with.
Andrew McCormack’s Graviton perform at The Ropetackle, Shoreham-by-Sea on Wednesday 21st March, 2018.
For more on Andrew McCormack: www.mccormackmusic.com
[Interview conducted by Charlie Anderson.]