Ajimal – Interview

Posted: November 11, 2011 in Ajimal

Ajimal is the dynamic-in-ear-collaborative-experiment of Fran O’Hanlon. It evolved from what used to be called Ideogram, writing about the way that music and medicine and art and ideas and science and stories and hallucinations combine and interplay. The idea is to invite people we enjoy to come and perform and record and make stuff together and see what happens.

At least, that’s a vague semblance of the idea.

Can you take us back to what first got you into music, and what inspired you to start writing your own songs.
I’ve always enjoyed music, started on quite a classical course when I was young, which I’m grateful for now, but at the time maybe didn’t appreciate it quite as much… it’s come in really useful though, and I think it filters through at times, particularly during piano stuff.
I started writing because I knew other people who I thought were great writers I suppose, and started to get into people like Radiohead and later Tom Waits, Paul Simon etc, who are just incredible song writers, so that inspired me.

For anyone who hasn’t heard your music how would you describe it?
An in-ear-sound.

What made you go for the name Ajimal?
Ajimal came from Haiti, from a place I worked for a few months in 2010, he used to be a voodoo priest under the name, and was connected to the Duvalier regime in the 60s. A pretty dark past. He converted to Christianity and changed his name, but when I heard the sound of the word, I loved the phonetics of it, it was only a while later that I came back to it. I like it because it doesn’t really have many connotations as a sound and most names do. I like that people don’t really know what to expect from the name.

What have been the highlights of the year for you so far and what are you looking forward to for later in the year?

It was great to get a band together a couple of times, at The Roundhouse, and at Evo Emerging, with friends playing strings and drums, I enjoy re-inventing the songs, I think that way it stays fresh for both me and for the audience. Which is important!
Recording the debut Ajimal release at the moment, so looking forward to cracking on with that and finishing it, there are quite big plans for what we want to do, with lots of musicians and different people involved, so hopefully it will all come together.

Your track Wolf was recently used in a competition for local filmmakers to make a music video. How did you find the whole experience?
Yeah, I was massively grateful for the opportunity and that so many people took the same starting point and ended up with completely different videos and stuff that the song had inspired them to make. I think that’s the whole interesting thing about any creative idea – the reactions it conjures up for different people.

Ajimal – Wolf from Pinball Films on Vimeo.

Music from the North East is attracting a lot of attention at the moment with the help of organizations like Generator and Amazing
Radio based in Newcastle. How much do you feel a part of the North East music scene? Which bands would you recommend checking out?

Yeah definitely, it’s great to be part of. Ah loads of people man! Grandfather Birds are class, Minotaurs fo sho, Holy Mammoth are just bloody excellent. I recently heard the debut release from Mr Ben Sir, which is absolutely beautiful. Nadine Shah is amazing as well, and her debut record is going to be fantastic.
What I think is cool about Newcastle is that lots of musicians seem to overlap and stumble onto each others gigs and support each other. It’s nice to be part of that, and also people want to go to gigs and hear live music, which isn’t always the case.

What influences have helped shape your music?

Everything! I suppose everything that ever happens to you influences how you process what goes on around you and how you interpret it, but that’s perhaps not a very helpful answer. Too many to mention I suppose!

With the growth of music sharing on the internet it’s much easier to discover new music through platforms such as Soundcloud or Spotify. Have you made any new musical discoveries you can recommend?

Yeah I came across Everything Everything through Myspace back in the day before it was totally shit. It’s interesting that since the digital era, anyone can quite easily make music on a laptop with a basic set up (myself included!) but then the difficulty becomes not the making of the recording, but actually getting it to people you think will enjoy it!

Where can people see you live next ?

I’m playing my first headline show at The Bridge with the excellent Blank Maps and Toyger on the 3rd of Dec, which should be a great show!

What’s next for Ajimal?

There’ll be some news soon about the debut Ajimal release in the new year… in the mean time lots of free stuff to download at http://www.soundcloud.com/ajimal – please share it as far and wide as possible!

“Like” Ajimal on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/ajimalmusic
Follow Ajimal on Twitter @ajimalmusic

Thank You


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