I’ve been lucky enough to pursue my hobby as my career at Haileybury College. It’s been an exciting journey for me teaching young kids from the first day they play the chanter through to senior school. Besides the bagpipes, I also enjoy modern, pop-style music and am currently producing several of my own projects under this influence. Music encompasses every facet of my life including my wife - who is a singer - so our house is never quiet!
Music is a funny thing. The composition of sounds in our everyday lives can create some of the best music. I often find myself overwhelmed by the variety of life’s sounds. I suppose when I spend so much time in the studio analysing sounds, I can’t help but hear the flaws or the beauty. For example, I recently wrote a tune called “Mirage”, where I was inspired to write the piano part of the tune after hearing the sound from the train stop signal on my way home from work one day.
In a way, I believe the instrument chose me. I never got the chance to learn another instrument and when I was given a chanter for my 11th birthday, I just never put it down. I’ve taught myself a bit of piano, but becoming a master at your craft can take years, decades even, so I stick to my area of expertise because I also love the intricacy of the sound of the bagpipe.
There are so many factors to the stability, power and tone in balance with great playing. I’ve got a workshop at home where I can build and craft the instrument to my liking. I’d have to say what I enjoy the most however is producing an excellent sound at a band level. A pipe band with a solid, bold sound tuned perfectly has an incredible energy about it. It seems to have the power to make time feel like it's stopped still. I believe this type of sound is unmatched in the acoustic world.
A lot of my compositions have transcended the bagpipe scale and am now writing more pop and cinematic pieces. I spend a lot of my time in studios with pop producers and get a lot of inspiration from modern vocal lines. I would say the natural progression for me is to continue moving the bagpipes in a modern direction where they haven’t been taken before.
It’s exciting to think of the endless musical possibilities that can be achieved with the pipes. For example, in a format that seems so restricted at first glance, the syncopated rhythms in “I See Fire” over the 4/4 time signature turned my head on itself, but it ended up working out awesomely in a strange way.
My musical goals would be to develop my production skills enough to start sharing my compositions in a more pop/vocal style format in the general public. Ideally, in 5 years time you’ll hear Lincoln Hilton songs on the radio.
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