Tell us about the Deppa-Hirst Band and the music that you play.
“Most of us have played together for a long time. This is actually our own project. It’s the first time we’ve had our own band. We’ve been together about a year and a half now and we play a mixture of Claude Deppa’s tunes and my tunes. We do pretty much all original material but it’s very accessible. The tunes take influences from all over like calypso, reggae, salsa and samba. There are lots of different influences, plus he’s South African so we get all of those influences as well.
It’s a bit of a melting pot.”
Tell us about the members of the band.
“On piano we’ve got Andrea Vicari, a fantastic jazz piano player, and on bass we’ve got Dorian Lockett and on the drums we have Jordan Hadfield, he’s a young guy who’s at Trinity College at the moment in his first year and he’s a great drummer. We’ve all known each other for a long time so we’re quite a close group of people.”
What other projects are you working on. You’ve also got your own jazz quartet?
“My quartet is the same band without Claude, really! We use a lot of my compositions in this band so it’s pretty close. I do some other things. I work with Hazel O’Connor. I do an acoustic trio with her, which is quite exposed as it’s piano, saxophone and we all sing. Having spent some time working with that trio it’s great to have a fantastic rhythm section behind me. There’s a big contrast. The trio is fantastic in its own right but it’s quite exposed.”
“With the Deppa-Hirst band, we do jazz clubs and we do seated audiences and concerts but we also do dancing audiences.”
Tell us about how you go about composing your music.
“I always start with the melody of a piece. I’m always walking around singing into my phone and bits of ideas go in there. And then I’ll play the music later on with the piano and work out the chords that’ll sit with them and take it from there. They’ve got to have some kind of rhythmic element to them as well.”
“Sometimes the ideas just come fully formed and other times I’ve written lots of bits of things and then looking back over them I can see that they fit together one after the other. And that becomes the basis of the whole piece.”
“My favourite way to finish them is take them to the band and hear how it sounds with everybody playing them.”
Do you have plans in terms of doing recordings?
“We did a live recording for the BBC last year in Ipswich and we’ve just been mixing those tracks. We’re looking at releasing that as a CD shortly.”
The Deppa-Hirst Band perform at The Ropetackle, Shoreham-by-Sea on Thursday 29th March.
For more on Clare Hirst: www.clarehirst.co.uk