Guitarist and Violinist Tadhg Walsh-Peelo on touring with Gabrielle Aplin

Guitarist and Violinist Tadhg Walsh-Peelo on touring with Gabrielle Aplin

Tadhg Walsh-Peelo is something of a prodigy. He entered the Royal Irish Academy of Music in Dublin on a scholarship at the age of 15 and has since pivoted from Classical violin to folk-contemporary in a career that has taken him on tour with Gabrielle Aplin, sharing the stage with John Mayer, numerous BBC Radio One sessions not to mention Glastonbury. We talk about guitars, never selling your gear, and accidentally supporting the Rolling Stones in London's Hyde Park...

MPS
Who are you working with at the moment?

TWP
At the moment I'm on the road playing with Gabrielle Aplin on her 'Light Up The Dark' UK & Ireland tour. I'm also playing support with up-and-coming singer Hannah Grace (who is releasing on Gabrielle's Never Fade independent label).

Over the past year I have also toured with The Staves, Hudson Taylor, Kodaline as well as collaborating with Irish musical legends Imelda May & Paul Brady.

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

TWP
I've always been in love with live music. It's one of the most exciting and satisfying experiences, especially when you get to perform great music with great musicians to a great audience. I'm very fortunate to have had so many amazing performance opportunities over the last few years that keep me wanting to gig more.

There is a different kind of thrill to doing recorded work which, although less immediate is just as rewarding in the long run. I recorded strings for Gabrielle Aplin's recent album Light Up The Dark which was obviously very exciting at the time, and as a piece of recorded work it's something I was proud of. The amazing thing is that it's out in the world now and everytime I hear it I'm reminded of that brilliant creative experience.

MPS
Can you pick out a favourite gig?

TWP
It's hard to pick a favourite gig but one that stands out is supporting the Rolling Stones in Hyde Park with Hudson Taylor. We weren't even supposed to play the mainstage, we were called up to fill in for a mainstage act who had taken ill last minute. We were relaxing backstage enjoying the sunshine etc having played in a small tent earlier when we got 'the call', 20 minutes before stage. The whole scenario; the disbelief, the realisation it was actually happening and then us being piled into a van and rushed to the mainstage all just added to the ridiculous excitement of suddenly being out on the mainstage in front of 40,000 people. I think we played the whole set on a massive adrenaline rush! Especially the drummer, Jonny, who was playing his first gig with the band!

MPS
Who do you count among your musical influences?

TWP
In terms of violinists I'm really influenced by Colm Mac Con Iomaire (The Frames, The Swell Season), who was the first violinist I ever heard playing in a band and using effects to create really interesting sounds. His solo albums are also amazing, beautiful violin tunes and soundscapes. His extremely tasteful use of loop pedals in his playing is also something I'm really influenced by.

In terms of bands I'm a huge Beatles fan. I'm also a big fan of all the Irish acts I grew up listening to such as Glen Hansard & the Frames, Damien Rice, Bell X1, Kila, Fionn Regan, The Villagers, The Gloaming.

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

TWP
It's hard to pick an era other than the current one. Despite all the challenges of this era the amount of amazing music we all have access to is staggering. This diversity of influence means there is more and more music that defies the old categories of 'pop', 'rock' or 'jazz'. Music that is simply influenced by a little of everything and is therefore just music. It's amazing! I see musicians like The Punch Brothers & Chris Thile as excellent examples of this.

If I could magically time travel though I think I'd like to go back to Classical era Dublin for the world premiere of Handel's Messiah...if I could get tickets!

MPS
What was your first guitar?

TWP
I've always played acoustic guitar, in my bedroom, busking in town with my brother and friends. I remember getting my first proper good guitar for my 18th birthday (with a pickup and everything!). It was a beautiful Tanglewood and a really special present from my family. It's seen me through a lot of great gigs!

My first electric was a 1960s Hagstrom given to me by my uncle when I was about 15. It's an amazing looking guitar and seriously punchy soundwise. It's only relatively recently that I've taken the time to get it serviced properly. It's such a beautiful instrument.

MPS
What guitar are you playing at the moment?

TWP
I'm currently using a Freshman as my acoustic. They're scottish guitars and I got mine as a birthday present from Hudson Taylor. I love the feel and sound of mine and I get a lot of comments from sound engineers about how natural it sounds.

Electric wise I recently bought a Gretsch ProJet which I have been enjoying (not least for the lovely bigsby!). On the tour I'm currently on Gabrielle has been allowing me to use her absolutely beautiful vintage Gretsch Countryman, which has been a real treat! It's also making me think seriously about getting myself something similar.

MPS
Tell us about your Hotone pedals, what made you chose them?

TWP
I first saw Gabby using a hotone pedal and I was immediately attracted to how small and neat they were! Especially the tiny Wally loop pedal! They are really beautifully designed to give you the right about of functionality to do something simple really well, and they take up so little space on my pedalboard. Since adding the Wally and a Hotone Blues Drive to my pedal setup I have been getting loads of interest in the little fellas from other musicians.

MPS
What else do you have on your pedalboard?

TWP
On my violin rig I use a EHX Holy Grail for a great reverb, a POG 2 for some serious Octave sounds, a TC Electronic Flashback delay and of course my hotone Blues Drive and Wally Looper. I have two violin channels, one clean and one dry. The dry channel goes through a Fishman Aura Spectrum preamp an LR Baggs Para Acoustic DI box.

On my Hotone guitar rig I currently use the Verb, the Tape Eko, the Trem, and the Octa. I absolutely love the sound of this with a nice guitar through my Fender Blues Junior, and the size of the whole pedalboard is such a bonus! It's tiny!

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

TWP
Luckily nothing that springs to mind! I'm a hoarder....

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

TWP
One of the biggest changes for me was getting a really good pickup for my violin. Feedback had been a problem in the past but when I got the LR Baggs pickup built into my bridge this problem was almost completely eliminated. This allowed me to start properly experimenting with amps and effects. I remember clearly the first time I plugged my fiddle into a big Fender Twin in rehearsal room in London...it completely blew my mind. The tour that followed was a journey of discovery for me as I kept collecting effects pedals and trying out new sounds etc...

Getting an octave pedal for my violin really opened up a whole bunch of sounds for me...and I'm still learning how best to use it live!

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

TWP
My main advice would be to just keep working at it. You can't get anywhere in music without putting in the hours and I think every hour spent playing, listening and thinking about music will ultimately help you.

I also believe you should try to enjoy as much of it as you can. People who are playing/making music and enjoying it have 'made it' from my point of view.

 

Find out more about what Tadhg is up to at: 
Twitter.com/Tadhg_er
instagram.com/tadhgwp

 

Also, a big thanks to Photographers Dara Munis (photo in the header) and Chris Johnson (both photos in the footer) for supplying the Images:

chrisjphotography.biz

daramunnisphotography.com 

 

 

 

 

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