Roisin Murphy’s guitarist Alistair McNeill shares his musical persona

Roisin Murphy’s guitarist Alistair McNeill shares his musical persona

Alastair McNeill is a guitarist who’s worked with a pretty eclectic collection of artists - ranging from spoken word innovator Scroobius Pip, to multi-media art project YILA, to indie pop outfit Aloosh. He’s currently performing with Mercury music award nominee Roisin Murphy on her ‘Hairless Toys’ tour. We caught up with Alastair on the road...

MPS
Roisin Murphy’s music covers quite a range of musical expression, what kind of challenges does this present to you as a performer?  

AMc
Having a pallette of sounds ready to cover such a wide range of styles on guitar is difficult, less so with synths as we run presets (not the modular) but with guitar you have to have a lot of effects ready and the tone has to be recognisable and suit the song with limited gear. You don’t want to sound like you're in a wedding band covering Roisin songs

MPS
Do you have any other musical projects on the go right now?

AMc
Yes I have my group YILA. It’s a big project with lots of collaborating artists from all fields, we’ll be releasing a single ‘Overload’ on Feb 26th on Silver Bear Recordings. It has no guitar this project, although the Strymon was employed on modular synth duties

MPS
What kind of work do you get the most satisfaction out of?

AMc
Anything that you can watch grow from an idea in your head into execution in reality

MPS
Can you pick out a favourite gig?

AMc
Watching Rioji Ikeda ‘Superposition’. Complete work touching all the senses, getting you thinking about political issues without forcing them on you and totally breathtaking sonically and visually

MPS
Who do you count among your musical influences?

AMc
Pantera to Steve Reich, Ligeti to Aphex twin and everything inbetween

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

AMc
Nostalgia is a trap...

MPS
What was your first guitar?

AMc
My Dads vintage Ovation acoustic, like Jasper Carrots. It was great but a beer was thrown once and it exploded

MPS
What guitars are you playing at the moment?

AMc
I have my Martyn Booth special which I had made for the Roisin tour and a Maton Mastersound for slide and drone duties

MPS
Tell us about your BlueSky, OB1 and DIG, what made you chose them?

AMc
I chose the BlueSky because it really is a high quality effect, at first I thought it might be too posh for stage but that definition is what really makes it stand out and translate to a large stage. I use the BlueSky for some really typical spring sounds to pop out of the mix and then some really dense long decays for drone and ambience

MPS
What else do you have on your pedalboard?

AMc
A Moog drive, Diamond Memory Lane 2, Mooer Pitch, Cusack Music Pedal Board Tamer, Cusack Music Tremolo, Trex power and a Boss tuner

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

AMc
My Sherman Filterbank 2.

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

AMc
Ableton; but now suddenly anything is possible that can also cause a problem

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

AMc
Remember to focus on the subtleties, even if you think your audience won't notice the devil is in the details

 

For more information about Roisin Murphy visit: roisinmurphyofficial.com

 

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