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In Conversation: Waldo's Gift

by <object object at 0x7f48d9167580> last modified 26/01/2024 01:08 PM

Waldo's Gift - Image Credit: Khali Ackford

Ahead of their Trinity Presents show at Strange Brew on 02 March, we sat down with Bristol experimental trio Waldo's Gift to chat influences, improvisation, what's next for the band, and much more.

How did you guys meet and form Waldo’s Gift?

James: You two met at university, and we all met at a jam and we got together and made music for ages.

Alun: We formed for the residency at the Gallimaufry. So our first five years of being together was playing every week to an audience, which was pretty special.

For those who don’t know, how would describe your sound?

Alun: I’ve heard our sound described in a cornucopia of ways, but I would say it’s not math, and not jazz. Maybe that’s the genre; not-math-not-jazz.

James: It’s weird

Harry: I like to think it’s a cross between Flying Lotus and Mahavishnu Orchestra.

Alun: It’s modern music, it’s genreless, we draw from everything.

James: Let’s remove all the labels – label-free.

Who are some artists that have influenced your music?

Harry: Flying Lotus, Aphex Twin, Olivier Messiaen, Johnny Greenwood.

Alun: Sergei Rachmaninoff, the Russians in general.

What do you think it is about Bristol’s music scene that sets it apart from other cities?

Alun: It’s small and dense.

James: The city’s big enough to support a unique blend of different styles, but it’s small enough to harbour a community and for you to really feel that sense of belonging.

Alun: The perfect place to go and start a band, which is what we did.

James: Yep, cheers Bristol

Alun: I think it’s the amount of stuff going on in a small space. It has pros and cons but lots of lovely stuff burgeoning, frothing, bubbling all the time.

What role does improvisation play in your creative process?

James: A large role, a non-negliable role.

Alun: Improvisation is at the heart of our creative process, because we used to do entirely improvised gigs, because of our residency improvising every week, and it formed our sound that we have now responded to and we have now tried to sculpt it.

Harry: And monetize it.

Collaborating with other artists seems to be an important part of your music – which artists would be your dream collaboration?

Harry: Sergei Rachmaninoff

Alun: For me, dream collaborator, The Punch Brothers or Chris Heel. Amazing progressive bluesgrass band. It’s them or Johnny Greenwood.

James: A gig that I saw recently that really moved me was Christine And The Queens at Glastonbury, it wouldn’t be just a musical collaboration it would be theatrical, visual, everything collaboration.

On the topic of collaboration, we’ve been enjoying your Beat Tape collaboration videos on Instagram – what was the idea behind them?

James: Thanks! The idea behind them was, because we improvise them a lot, we’re actually very lucky and gifted because we can make a lot of music in a very small amount of time, and what if we played the social media game and created a lot of songs in a very small amount of time, ie one day, record them all and give them out to the world over a large period of time and really encourage collaboration with people and see how other people could augment those arrangements in an online digital context.

Harry: And to make some bangers

James: And to serve the algorithm...

What’s next for Waldo’s Gift?

Alun: Album. Tour. Another album. Another tour. We’re going abroad. We’re going to places. We’re growing.

James: Building on the foundations of friendship that we already have.


Waldo's Gift will be performing at Strange Brew on 02 March as part of our in-house music programme Trinity Presents - click here to get your tickets.

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