‘Force your children to play metal. It builds character’

The Becks Rhythm Series kicks off tonight in Dublin’s Sugar Club band brings together some cutting-edge jazz players. Here, keyboardist Bill Laurance and Hiatus Kaiyote’s Paul Bender discuss their favourite licks, riffs and influences

BILL LAURANCE This series of concerts has an interesting range of new collaborations. Who is there left in the jazz world you'd like to work with? I've always been a Herbie Hancock fan so to do anything with him would be amazing. Me and the other keys players from Snarky Puppy, Cory Henry, Shaun Martin and Justin Stanton, have talked about doing a piano record together also. I also love Imogen Heap and am looking into a collaboration with her too.

If your son or daughter wanted to become a jazz player, would you encourage them or ban them? I would whole heartedly encourage them. Jazz may not be a reliable career but the things that Jazz can teach you in life are priceless.

Which artist, outside of music, do you turn to for inspiration? Stanley Kubrick. I love the way he tells a story. I'm always trying to tell a story with my music and I try to make my compositions as visual as possible. I love the other worldly quality that Kubrick creates in his films and it can be refreshing inspiration.

Where there any mentors or other band members who proved particularly crucial to your playing? And what was the best piece of advice they gave you? Michael League is a very old friend who has supported and encouraged me from the beginning. He helped me finish albums and make sure I moved on when it was time to. He has a true gift for music and is one of the hardest working people I know.


Outside of playing itself, how important are the other aspects of performance for you? You are performing from the moment you are on stage, whether you're playing or not. But once you do start playing, just like the Pianist Hank Jones once said, "Make every note count."

The Bill Laurance Project play the Beck's Rhythm Series, Sugar Club, Dublin on Wednesday, July 1st. 7.30pm, thesugarclub.com


When was the last time you heard a riff and thought, damn I wish I'd written that? Pompie Ballet by mid 20th-century electronics innovator and composer Daphne Oram. It's the most supremely dark and beautiful melody. A short yet perfect composition that we actually perform regularly in our set, it's spooky as hell. Bonus points for any audience member who spots it in the set

Are there any standards you've tried to play and just couldn't get them to work for you? I've never been able to make Satin Doll sound anything other than deeply, deeply naff. So in that way I couldn't get it to "work for me". I think if I tried to play any standard right now, it would be pretty shitty, to be honest. I haven't played any standards in a long while.

Who is there left in the jazz world you'd like to work with? My ideal musician that we would collaborate with is within the realms of possibility, as he's from Australia. His name is Taylor Crawford, and he's a multi-instrumentalist genius whose own music is more beautiful than 99.9% of everything today. He's a freaking genius.

If your son and daughter wanted to become a jazz player, would you encourage them or ban them? Hahaha. Ban them? That's a bit intense. I would definitely encourage my potential/future children to play music, but I would discourage them from defining themselves as a "jazz player" or any other term so limiting. Ideally they would see themselves as musicians without reductive labels. Also, I would force them to play metal as well, it builds character.

Is there any one person you always run musical ideas past? My 15-year-old self. He's a super weird and awkward kid, but he knows if something is "cool" or "tuff" musically. I try not to let him down by playing like a "lame old guy". But truly, I remember being that age and making a promise to myself to always play with a certain "fire". I try to honour this past intention.

Jazz players have a well-deserved reputation as been particular fine dressers. Who is your tailor? I personally have spent most of my life with a fashion apathy that has resulted in some pretty horrific outcomes. These days I'm a little better, but I only because I make a point of always shopping with my friend Amie, who's an awesome tailor/stylist/treasure hunter. I literally can't shop by myself, I get taken by the fear and have to leave the store immediately otherwise. She's helping me be less of a dork.

Hiatus Kaiyote play the Sugar Club on Thursday, July 2nd 7.30pm