Al Doyle - Hot Chip // LCD Sound System // New Build

Al Doyle - Hot Chip // LCD Sound System // New Build

Although he’s probably best known as part of Hot Chip, Al Doyle was instrumental in LCD Soundsystem and, more recently, collaborated with fellow Hot Chip member Felix Martin in New Build. However, Al isn’t just a guitarist he also plays bass, keys, percussion – and flugelhorn… We caught up with him to learn a little more about his musical journey and some of the technology that has propelled him along the way:

 

MPS
How did you get started as an instrumentalist?

AD
I was a classically trained pianist and cellist from an early age, 5 or 6 years old.  I was good but I was never really good enough to make it beyond the most journeyman level, so I let that stuff go around the time I went to university.  At the same time I was teaching myself band-y instruments - guitar, bass, drums, and learning to make music with computers.  So it was mostly a matter of plugging away in various windowless rooms.

MPS
Was there a moment in which you decided to pursue a career as a music maker?

AD
Not really a single moment, no. More a series of increasingly unlikely moments. I mean, I just got a call from Alexis while I was unemployed and depressed in London, and he said do you wanna join the band, and I said yes. So that was one moment. I guess actually making the decision to give up my day job was another critical point. But it’s a constantly renegotiated deal for me psychologically. I still can’t believe it sometimes.

MPS
You’ve been pretty clear about the challenges of making a living as a musician in the 21st century, what has helped you to drive on when things get tough?

AD
Well things haven’t been that tough for me luckily, not yet.  When I talk about the challenges I really mean that with reference to kids coming through right now. It’s hard when you can’t make that much cash from record sales - you have to have this complete view of what the “package” of your band is; your image and all that stuff, which I was never really very good at. I think it’s easy to forget that you start with the music, and that’s the arena in which you should have something interesting to say. The videos and the high jinx and the funny masks can come after that.

MPS
You’ve mentioned Recondite, Surgeon and Fatima Yamaha as being  on your listening list; who would you count among your most important musical influences?

AD
King Tubby. 80s era Bob Dylan. John Cale.

MPS
If you could go back to any musical era what would it be?

AD
If it was anything like the film “Amadeus” then I’d love to go back to the classical era, put a powdered wig on and go see a late Mozart opera in one of the crappier places that he was reduced to playing.

MPS
What was your first guitar?

AD
Ha ha, guess what - it was a super 80s metal-looking Ibanez strat copy in red with a whammy bar and a pointy headstock.

MPS
What guitar are you playing at the moment?

AD
I actually have another Ibanez, but now it’s an AS50 Artist which was given to me by an old boss, and it’s the guitar I play the most by far.  I have two of them in fact.  I also have a tele with one of those hot rails pickups in it, and a weird fender maverick which is one of those post CBS frankenstein jobs with the hockey stick neck.

MPS
You use a bunch of Strymon pedals, what made you chose them?

AD
They were recommended to me by David Scott Stone who played guitar in LCD when I wasn’t around, and who also plays with the Melvins and is a general all round good guy.  They looked interesting and well made, and I like the idea of pedals that do one thing really well and can be really finely adjusted.

MPS
What else do you have on your pedalboard?

AD
There’s a picture attached, but apart from the strymon stuff I have a MXR microamp for some simple gain, a Rat, an eventide thing, a Worm tremolo, and a Lovetone Wobbulator, which I use to pan between two little amps.

MPS
Is there anything you have parted with that you really miss?

AD
Everything that I played on for LCD Soundsystem.

MPS
Can you think of anything that really changed things for you?

AD
I think recently I’ve really enjoyed learning the steel pan, because it’s not set out on a linear scale, so you have to think completely differently to when you’re playing a keyboard or a string instrument.  It’s all about key relationships and it sort of reconfigures your brain in a crazy way, but when you get it it’s super musical to play.

MPS
Is there any advice you can offer to people starting out on their musical journeys?

AD
Listen and learn from as many people, books and records as you can, and never stop. And be relentlessly kind to everyone you meet.

 

Find us on Facebook 

Follow us on Twitter

 



High Resolution Images