The Overlook with Matt Peiken

'Polaris' and 'Palimpsest': Violinist Andrew Finn Magill and Horror Writer Jamieson Ridenhour

October 13, 2023 Matt Peiken Episode 97
The Overlook with Matt Peiken
'Polaris' and 'Palimpsest': Violinist Andrew Finn Magill and Horror Writer Jamieson Ridenhour
Show Notes Transcript

Violinist Andrew Finn Magill  has an eclectic, genre-crossing new album called “The Polaris Project.” Horror writer Jamieson Ridenhour is the writer and co-creator of the popular fiction podcast "Palimpsest." The two Asheville artists split this episode of The Overlook. 

Ridenhour and “Palimpsest” actress and co-creator Hayley Heninger celebrate the upcoming fifth season of their show with a performance Oct. 26 at the Black Mountain Center for the Arts. Magill launches his album with an Oct. 27 concert at the Wortham Center for the Performing Arts.

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Matt Peiken: So talk about what was different from the outset for you. Why did you even want to create? Palimpsest versus your other forms of writing which are also fictional the horror based what about the Podcasting medium and the way you conceived palimpsest was different and that pulled your 

Jamieson Ridenhour: attention at the time in 2017, I was listening to and just getting turned on to some emerging audio dramas and particularly one called Alice Isn't Dead made by the people that do Welcome to Night Vale and Alice Isn't Dead was, Joseph Fink writes it and there was a single actress that performed it and I just thought it'd be fun to try.

I thought it felt like something I could do. I had some recording equipment. My son's a musician. I felt like what if I try this and see how it works, and then Haley was interested too. So we gave it a shot and the one of the things I'm fascinated with in my writing is the use of the unreliable narrator in lots of different ways.

Sometimes they're devious Sometimes they're just clueless. Sometimes just we know more than they do and a single voice seemed to be the perfect vehicle to do that. We have a character telling us this story, and particularly in our first season, about midway through, you're like, I'm not really sure she's telling me everything that she knows, or maybe things aren't quite what she understands.

And that's, for me, that's a real hook of a story. And I really enjoyed being able to explore it that way that's 

Matt Peiken: really surprising to me because when you're writing in theater or writing a novel you have infinite characters from which to draw from you can pull in different settings and You know tell from a variety of perspectives I would think once you've already had that experience and to the depth that you had that you would find a single narrator In some ways, maybe a challenge, but limiting to what, why did you find that appealing to tell a story from that vantage you know, your episodes run what?

20, 30 minutes. Yeah. About 20 minutes. Yeah. So that's a long time for a singular voice to be talking. And I think it's a challenge. To hold an audience's attention for that span of time So what was it about that form that really 

Jamieson Ridenhour: appealed to you part of it is the challenge. Like when I write poetry for instance I like writing in form which a lot of modern poets don't but I like writing sonnets or sestinas or something to I like having parameters that force me to then be more creative.

I can't just do anything I want with a first person single narrator. So I have to then force myself to be more creative. If I want to present this information, how do I do it if she wasn't in the room, At the end of most seasons, we have at least one episode where 

we have other actors and usually that's because this the storytelling format needs to be broken out of somehow. She's... Probably clearly not going to survive this. So how do I tell the end of the story? I've got to bring somebody else in but for the most part I just like the challenge I think it forces me to be more creative.


Jamieson Ridenhour: last thing we've done we had, in 2022, we didn't do a series. season, we did five standalone episodes which each were set in a different time and place in the house. And one of those episodes was our fifth anniversary episode and it was called the Junior Satan Club about a group of high school goths who break into the house.

And that was, we had four other actors in that there were five voices in that and we performed that live at the magnetic with all of those actors.


Matt Peiken: did you have to augment your sense of voice? When you're having a single narrator, who's not just telling in this case her own story, but others around her Tell me about imbuing voice into your characters when they're not voiced by 

Jamieson Ridenhour: themselves? That's a great question. So often that has to do with the framing narrative that I've put it into for instance season one is a woman who is Giving audio notes to her therapist who has moved away So she is literally narrating the story. We try and conceive it so that she's not just like reading a story to the audience. We're listening to these audio tapes We're listening to transcripts of letters and I will say 

Matt Peiken: That is a vehicle I've seen a number of fictional podcasts use initially is like A notes to somebody else.

I'm writing this to somebody else. It's a very convenient vehicle, but you did move away from that so talk about that and how that was a stepping stone for you into other ways of framing the single 

Jamieson Ridenhour: voice I think the All of it has to do with goes back to the idea of the unreliable narrator and goes back to the mutability of memory Which is one of our themes So the idea that i'm telling you things that have happened to me, but I am consciously or unconsciously rewriting them in my head either to make myself look better or to, elide certain things.

And like season two is a confessional she's confessing to a priest who you realize later on is dead actually. And so she's talking to a dead priest, which for me, it is a spoiler alert, but that was four years ago. You guys should be caught up. It is, it should be pretty evident pretty quick that the dude is dead.

But I liked that idea of like here's a confessional you're supposed to be laying everything bare everything, truthful and all of your sins and the fact that she is Lying to herself about a lot of what she's saying adds a layer of kind of dramatic irony that I enjoy How do 

Matt Peiken: you pace out a season?

There's ten episodes and I would think in some Sense as a writer you would welcome that structure that you know You've got ten chapters to fill there has to be a progression But when you again have this single unreliable narrator, is it different plotting a course of a story?

that way as opposed to through a Theatrical play or a novel 

Jamieson Ridenhour: it's definitely different than a play it feels more like a short novel. Each one of our seasons ends up being around 25, 000 words. So that is 

Matt Peiken: like novella length, or almost 

Jamieson Ridenhour: novel, right? Yeah. In between. It's about half a novel, yeah.


Matt Peiken: a lot. Now, length aside. Is it a different approach, do you, for each piece of it, how do you approach short form, well that's not really short form writing, even in a novel sense, in a fiction sense, How do you approach the very beginning of a season for Palimpsest? 

Jamieson Ridenhour: It's, yeah, it's not short form writing, but it is episodic writing, and that's something I had to learn, and our first season was a huge learning curve for both of us.

And what I learned as a writer was pacing. Because we have a 10 episode arc, and we know generally The outline of the story going in I might not know the actual ending but when I begin writing I know the shape of the story and then so I've got that story that's going to be 10 episodes long each individual episode has to Advance that main story, but it also has if you're writing for TV.

It also has to have a sort of mini climax or at least natural stopping point that's gonna make people want to move to the next one and and so learning those beats took me a minute. What I found was when I went back to writing other kinds of things after doing a couple seasons of Palimpsest, when I wrote another play for instance, I had learned so much about pacing that I felt like my other genre writing improved.

Matt Peiken: You learn so much about pacing through Palimpsest. Through writing Palimpsest, yeah. That's really, that's interesting, but it's a different kind of pacing, 

Jamieson Ridenhour: isn't it? It is, but it's when you have like if I'm writing a play or a novel and it's a, it's a big thing and I tended before to think about it in terms of chapters or sections or acts and writing for audio has taught me to think about it in terms of like narrative beats instead of like where I'm You know, how long have we been going?

When is the curtain going to fall for act two? More about where does this, where are the small points where the story pivots to move us towards a climax? 

Matt Peiken: Now you said You and Hayley co create this.

That wasn't that way from the very beginning, or 

Jamieson Ridenhour: was it? It was from the very beginning. 

Matt Peiken: So how do you do it? Because you were the writer, when you first met, she was a performer in one of your plays. She didn't write that show. How did you co write this? 


Jamieson Ridenhour: Co creator is the better phrase than co write.

So what happens is, we together come up with the concept of the character. 

Matt Peiken: And it's always I want to be clear here. We're entering season five You've done four seasons where they are four distinct different stories with four different characters Yeah, each piece has its own conclusion and doesn't carry over to the right You 

Jamieson Ridenhour: can you could pick up any season and start at any point there.

They all take place in the same house so our model for that was like american horror story So it's an each season's a new story with a new character But the same actor and there are by this point five seasons in there are Easter eggs and callbacks to other seasons, but it you don't have to know the whole story So you 

Matt Peiken: see your co creators versus co writers?

So talk about your process and talking with Haley from the beginning about what are you going to create for a new season? 

Jamieson Ridenhour: So we'll come together and I'll have a vague idea of like season five that we're about to drop the first episode on Halloween is informed by fairy tales and it's set in the 1920s in France.

And so there's some great Gatsby feel and I had the idea that I wanted that kind of flavor. So then together we invent the character. The woman that's going to be telling this story. What is her background? What is her situation? And before I even began writing, there was a lot of back and forth where she has a lot of input into who this woman is and how she speaks and how she thinks.

And then once I have the character, a real sense of who that person is, I began writing. Does 

Matt Peiken: Haley. When you're writing, do you talk with her during your process to help give voice, to shape voice, so you can imbue your script with that voice? Yeah. 

Jamieson Ridenhour: Yes. And we give a lot of, I send drafts of everything to her she gives feedback.

And there's often a lot of things that happen in... In the actual recording session where we get in and we're actually hearing it out loud and she says this is not the way I would say this feels awkward to me And so there's rewrites there but also just in terms of we're six years in now and We've worked together so long.

I know I'm I have a sense of what her voice is going to do. So there's a lot Less rewriting at this point because I can hear what she's going to be doing with it as I write it because I know her. 

Matt Peiken: As the series has gone on, has she expanded her range in terms of voice and how have you used that as a writer?

Jamieson Ridenhour: I like to try and push her and expand her range. She's got a really broad range anyway. I feel very lucky. Haley's one of the best actors I've ever known and She can do pretty much anything I hand to her But I try not to do things like, you need to do a French accent for the whole season I wouldn't do that to her but season two for instance was a character who was the child of Irish immigrants in the 19th century.

And so we did do a lot of it's sort of an immigrant accent. It's not quite Irish, but it's not quite American. And we did a lot of work to develop that together and we do consciously try To make characters that are, how could this character be different than the ones we've had before that we don't want the same flavor every season.


Matt Peiken: this took off, from season one, tell me about the kind of response you got and how different that was for you compared to other works you'd done. And why, what you attribute 

Jamieson Ridenhour: that to. Season one um, off after it was completed. So during the, while we were releasing the episodes of season one, we had really low download numbers.

Like my mom listened. Really 

Matt Peiken: as season one, as you were unfurling each episode by episode by episode. 

Jamieson Ridenhour: It was growing a little bit, but it wasn't doing big numbers. Then when season, when it was complete We felt really good about it. We felt like it was the strongest work that we had each done as artists.

And I sent the season, like links to the season, along with the press release to a bunch of media venues across the country. Media 

Matt Peiken: outlets that focus 

Jamieson Ridenhour: on horror? Yeah, focus on podcasts, focus on audio drama. Okay. And some on horror in particular, but in 2017 they were beginning to have a lot of coverage of audio drama, or more coverage.

And so we got two really good national reviews, one in Discover Pods and one in Audio Dramatic that really... Praised us, and our numbers started going up then, and then right after those reviews came out, we released season two, and season two jumped. So the timing just 

Matt Peiken: worked out really well. Yeah.

The timing worked Isn't it funny how just the right speck of attention can change things? Yeah. It's it's maddening. Yeah. Because it's just like in any popular art form, you can be a band or musician that's toiling in obscurity forever, and some song gets picked up for a commercial or gets linked in somehow by somebody who's well 

Jamieson Ridenhour: known and...

And then you're an instant success, right? 

Matt Peiken: But you've been at this writing game for a long 

Jamieson Ridenhour: time. I've been at it for a long time. And when I publish something I've got to make sure it gets to people. If it's in print, it's got to be distributed.

You have all these things that stop you. And AudioDrama, once you hit upload, it goes everywhere immediately, Spotify and every pod chaser, pod catcher. 

Matt Peiken: So What did that immediacy, the immediacy of this medium, do for you and your interaction with your audience? On 

Jamieson Ridenhour: social media in particular, we found a really strong audience responding to us. And I'm really grateful that we have a fairly large queer following and supporting partially because season two features a queer love story, I think, in the center of it, and that was the season where we got some attention and people started listening.

But we have what it means is we get, and I've never had this with other work, we get, fan emails and people doing fan art and people asking Having theories about this is what I think is going on. Am I near the mark? Is this a clue that you've put in here? Which is A blast. It's just really fun when you have 

Matt Peiken: that happening Does that play back or reverberate back when you're in the creative process in terms of expectations of audiences?

Are they really hooked into this thing? Do we propel that now, or do we play on that to any degree in this next 

Jamieson Ridenhour: story? It hasn't really played into the creative process as far as the types of stories that we tell. It It does play into, if we go particularly long between seasons, I begin to feel a little bit of pressure because I know people are... for it we took about, seven months between this last series of standalones we did in 22 and this new season just because it's just the two of us and sometimes our lives mean that we don't have time to work on it. And we began getting emails and when are you going to drop a new episode?

What's going on? Is everybody okay? And you begin to feel a little bit of not overwhelming, but I did feel like we probably should get this. Go in. 

Matt Peiken: You mentioned types of stories. Has that evolved? The kinds of stories you and Haley want to tell, are they different now? Are they more sophisticated or is there a nuance or subtlety now that you're going for that you wouldn't have necessarily thought so in season one?

What I 

Jamieson Ridenhour: didn't know we were going to be able to do when I started. Season one, we didn't know was going to be season one. We thought we were going to make this ten episode. And it was a classic ghost story, which I love to write. I've always wanted to write like an M. R. James style unreliable narrator story, and that's what we did.

But once we came up with the idea that the house itself, Hawthorne House, where all these events happen, for reasons we have not yet revealed on the show can appear in different places and times. Like a haunted TARDIS, once I had that idea, then we were free and we could write anything we wanted.

So Season 3 is set in London during the Blitz in World War II. Season 2 is in a 19th century freak show. Season 3 is set in the early 1990s and has this great sort of Counting Crows soundtrack. And we're gonna be in France in the 1920s for Season 5. I can... I can write any kind of story that I want, and as long as we set it in the house, it's palimpsest.

Matt Peiken: Now, why setting it in this one house when you're in different countries, and you're in different decades, different eras? To 

Jamieson Ridenhour: thematically tie it together, and we're building a kind of a mythology of the house. We know the reasons behind these things and why they're connected.

And it also means that we get to do things like The word palimpsest means layers of things layered on top of each other. So like when you paint something, if you paint on top of it and the original painting shows through it, that's a palimpsest. And we use that to talk about memory. And so we're actually doing that with the house because in each season the character in the house notices things that are remnants of other seasons or other time periods.

And so what we're doing is layering this mythology onto the house. Is 

Matt Peiken: there anything about this coming season or about your process that we haven't talked about that you think is important for people to know?

Jamieson Ridenhour: This new season is very grounded in fairy tales. It's about relationships and toxic masculinity and... Bad marriages and werewolves. And it's probably the most fantastical thing that we've done. And we've done some pretty fantastical things. So I'm excited about it.


Matt Peiken: We first talked for my story that I did about you, I think it was in 2018. Was that? Yeah, sounds right. Yeah, it was quite a while ago, and you had produced an album of Brazilian music. That's right. Talk about the cultural turn for you. When did you start exposing yourself to other kinds of music beyond Irish music and when did it start having an impact on the music you were making?

Andrew Finn Magill: Sure, I really started exposing myself to other kinds of music at the Swannanoa Gathering because they teach more than just Irish music there. There's seven programs based over five weeks offering everything from Appalachian old time to swing. So I took classes and all that stuff as a kid, I started with Irish music.

That's what I fell in love with first, but soon thereafter fell in love with American music of all types old time bluegrass jazz. And I would say even then I was composing music inspired by those styles. But I always try to compose music like within that style. If I was going to write an Irish tune, it was an Irish tune and not like an Irish bluegrass hybrid.

It's just in the last few years that I decided to. Start melding them, I suppose you could say. 

Matt Peiken: Were you trying to just expand your vocabulary or were you looking to express yourself in those 

Andrew Finn Magill: idioms?

Probably a bit of both, Matt. Composing historically for me has often been an exercise to see how well do I understand the music that I'm learning. And, I always wanted to be able to reproduce within that style be at Irish or bluegrass or whatever. And it wasn't until I went to Brazil in 2014 and I started composing Brazilian music, you know, shorter, or at least I thought I was that my Brazilian bandmates were like.

No, you need to put your own voice into that. Like we've been hearing Brazilian music our whole lives. We're like, we want to hear like a Gringo's take on this. And I'd never heard that before. And it was kind of the confidence that I needed perhaps to be able to push some boundaries compositionally, you could say.

How did 

Matt Peiken: that affect the music you were making itself? What were you expressing through Irish music that you found? Was evolving by expressing through a Brazilian lens. 

Andrew Finn Magill: Wow. That's an interesting question. So when I was composing Irish music, one of my biggest heroes was Liz Carroll still is.

And she's not the only, but she's such a prolific composer. I was always amazed at how she was able to compose within the style and have a singular voice. Like you hear a tune, a Liz tune, you know, it's Liz. And I wanted to be able to do that too and and I wanted to be able to do that in every genre that I composed in, but inevitably, we have our own voices and even in Brazilian music as much as I tried to stifle it, I suppose at the beginning, my voice came through and the band that I played in, it was called O Fino.

Brazilian shorter quartet. They really liked that. And it wasn't a conscious decision at first, but once I realized that, okay, like my voice isn't going anywhere, it's going to be in my tunes. I decided to embrace it a little bit more and be a little more deliberate about. Blending, I don't know if it was necessarily Irish music with Brazilian music, but some of my other influences, like jazz and American music. 

Matt Peiken: The new record, it seems to me while the one, when I first met you back in 2018 was much more grounded in Brazilian music.

You're kind of all over the map here with this music, there's even a kind of traces of hip hop to it. Talk about this new record. And what you were looking for in these songs, tell me about the path of composing these songs that became the 

Andrew Finn Magill: record. Sure. So this is a total tangent, but in the last two years I've started to score for film.

And so that's how that interest has emerged. Were these projects 

Matt Peiken: that you're being commissioned for? Some of them, yeah. How did that happen? How did people even know to find you to commission scores from you? 

Andrew Finn Magill: One was a fan. This is just just an amazing coincidence, because she didn't even know that I was necessarily scoring for film.

But most of them have been through my friends in the film world. And during the pandemic, there were no gigs, you couldn't tour.

So it's Oh, what's something I could do from home? I'm like, Oh yeah, I've always liked to film music and that would be cool. And so I've only done like seven projects. That's 

Matt Peiken: still, that's a pretty good clip. And so talk about the process and we're getting away from your record here.

We'll get back to it. So talk about your process of writing for films. Are you still writing from violin first? Or are you starting on a keyboard? Or starting with rhythms or moods? Where's your starting point and what are the building blocks? 

Andrew Finn Magill: Yeah, it's a great question and it changes a lot for every film. I write almost everything on a keyboard, on a MIDI keyboard.

But, each film has been so different sonically that I've had to really study up on that form of music, and sometimes there's no violin whatsoever, so I'm not thinking... As much as a violinist and yeah, I guess I am thinking in moods at the end of the day. It's all about the director, what the director wants.

Yeah. Their vision. 

Matt Peiken: So you said you're writing, you start writing on a MIDI keyboard. Do you do that with your own music as well? Or does that start with 

Andrew Finn Magill: violin? So yeah, maybe to get to transition to the record here. It didn't historically, but now that I've discovered the keyboard and how great it is to be able to write with MIDI.

So for the Polaris project, I made scratch tracks for every single tune. And I recorded it all with the violin or violins, and so I'd be like playing the baseline with my octave violin.

for the scratch track or, I'd be playing like the keyboard chords with my violin, like a stack of double stops. You would just be layering them. I'd just be layering them. And it was tedious. And at the end of the day, a little limiting too, because, I don't have all the notes that a bass has even on an octave violin or, there's just sounds like a lot of One of the things that was really inspiring about working with these musicians was how they heard.

Matt Peiken: What instrumentation did you bring in and were you all recording live 

Andrew Finn Magill: together? It was all recorded live, yeah. We recorded it at Echo Mountain in Asheville, which is just a playground of instruments.

It's like a musician's fantasy land. So recording it there really affected which instruments we used and then ultimately which moods and vibes were created because I had heard things a certain way, but then once we got in there, I'm thinking of Justin our keys player specifically because, They have so many keyboards at Echo Mountain.

So on this album, there's a Wurlitzer and Hammond B3 organ and clavinet and piano and Rhodes and, multiple Moog synthesizers and, all this stuff at our fingertips. 

So the last time we chatted it was about Canto Violino, my Brazilian album and maybe I'll explain a little bit the origins of the Polaris Project through this.

Canto Violino was very much a Brazilian album in the same way that my album Roots was very much an Irish album, and historically I've... Just like I composed as a kid, my albums have been very much in the genre that, you know, that project is about, be it Irish music or Brazilian or whatever.

And with the Polaris project, I decided to start mixing them deliberately and not be as committed to a genre per se, but just write the music that's most me, whatever happens, happens. 

Matt Peiken: With the new record you were deliberately looking to bridge styles and across styles 

Andrew Finn Magill: talk 

Matt Peiken: about specific songs name a song that stretched the balance for you as a composer and that illustrates new territory for you and how you approached it.

Andrew Finn Magill: Sure. Probably idols, which is the single. That was the last piece I composed for the project. And I actually composed it specifically for these musicians. Over the past few years, I've been really inspired by some of these modern instrumental groups bands like Snarky Puppy and Prager and Funky Knuckles and Scary Pockets, bands like that.

And I just love how those bands are able to create this like fresh, modern sound that is. I don't know it's hard to categorize if it's jazz or if it's something different and And so, Idols, was inspired by that and it's a kind of music that that I had never really written in.

Matt Peiken: You have a song, I think I mentioned to you, that I hear hip hop in it. 

Andrew Finn Magill: I think you're talking about Nocturnal Interlude. And it's funny you mentioned hip hop because during the session, we were all talking about this is straight up Portishead or they were like citing all these nineties bands that that, yeah, I guess it is, but that was the only piece that was like composed in the moment I had I had a scratch track for that as well.

But the way that happened my friend Leah who sings with rising Appalachia she had mentioned, I'd love to like, I'm in town. I'd love to record something if you need any vocals on your record. So I brought Leah in and she had never heard it. And we basically just came up with the arrangement on the fly. And it became the hip hop thing by accident. Oh, what do you mean? 

Matt Peiken: Just by, it was improvisational in that way?

Andrew Finn Magill: Yeah, I would say so. 

Matt Peiken: And I keep trying to circle in to get a sense of. What you're wanting to say in this music, mention another song that you can pinpoint to a part of your life that is expressed 

Andrew Finn Magill: there.

Sure. Like the track Chikondi was inspired by the year I lived in Malawi, the track for Hoda William. Was inspired by the two years I lived in Brazil. 

Matt Peiken: When you say that track was inspired by the year you spent in Malawi. What about that? What are you looking to imbue in the song that you recall in your visceral memory of your time 

Andrew Finn Magill: there?

That track Chikonde specifically features Peter Mwanga, who is the reason that I lived in Malawi. I made an album with him, and he's featured on the album playing thumb piano and Malawian percussion and singing. And so I always wrote that track with him in mind. But I also, when I wrote it, I was thinking because I wanted him to play the thumb piano, which by the way is called a sansi in Malawi, because I wanted sansi on that track, I wrote something that was going to work for that instrument, something that's not super chromatic and modulates, but would work with that little instrument, and a melody, which reminded me of Malawi.

I mean, It's in 6, 8, and I remember a lot of. A lot of music in six when I lived in Malawi. But then, it's also an Irish Jake, which is again, getting to the whole melding of different influences. Yeah. 

Matt Peiken: Do you think that it's fair to characterize this record as sort of a sketchbook of your travels and experiences?

Andrew Finn Magill: Yeah, totally. Yeah. Cause that's how I think of it. Each track reminds me of. a Different place I've lived or a specific musician that I've worked with and that's the reason I made the album. Yeah. 

Matt Peiken: Let me ask it. How are you affording to do this? Because the, your travel is, pretty extensive and you recording at Echo Mountain.

I don't think you're given a big budget recording contract or correct me if I'm wrong on that to make the record where, how are you funding 

Andrew Finn Magill: all this? All of it, the travels, the recording session at Echo Mountain it's all been funded through grants over my life. That's 

Matt Peiken: amazing. You mean like non profit foundation grants?

Andrew Finn Magill: Sometimes. Yeah let me think here. I guess they would all be considered, yeah, non profit. 

Matt Peiken: Okay, that's that I ask because I think it's important as other artists listen to interviews like this, that it helps open avenues of thought for them and 

Andrew Finn Magill: what's possible.

Since we're talking about it the grant which I got to fund this project was the North Carolina Arts Council Fellowship. It happened in 2019, but because of the pandemic. I was meant to record this album in May, 2020. And so that you now, you know why it was rescheduled five, six times.

Matt Peiken: Are you composing all the time? Are you a pretty prolific songwriter? 

Andrew Finn Magill: I used to be. And then, I had a daughter. And like, life has sort of taken over. I've had a very busy year touring. I haven't had many chances to compose apart from the film work that I've done.

Matt Peiken: Is there a growth that you can see for yourself as a musician that met you made through the making of this 

Andrew Finn Magill: music?

absolutely, Working with these musicians in particular was one of the most inspiring experiences I've ever had. And it taught me a lot about creativity and being a musician. Cause these musicians were just so creative in the moment. They added so much. The best musicians I've ever worked with, honestly.

And and so that in itself I'd never had an experience quite like that. And I've worked with a lot of musicians who I would put at their level but something about that session, there was just like so much energy, so much excitement, so much creative energy, specifically in the room, it left me thinking about my music in a whole new way.

I've approached composition differently, 

Matt Peiken: what parts of the world are we going to hear next or where are you going to travel next? That's going to be represented in your music. 

Andrew Finn Magill: Oh, I probably have to cut myself off, Matt, probably have enough genres to deal with here.

But yeah, strong melodies and in the same way, jazz uses strong melodies as a template for improvisation. I think that will continue from here on out. I'm a melody player.

That's how I think, as a fiddle player, but Developing those melodies and morphing them and transforming them that is a new way of thinking for me. I've always improvised in tunes, but I've never like thought of a tune as a template. Like when I say tune, I mean like a fiddle tune as a template for improvisation, the same way a jazz player would, and there's lots of kinds of fiddle music with improvisation, But not all of them approach it like a jazz musician would.

And because these musicians have a jazz background, they were all able to approach this music that way. And before I know it these tunes are going off in so many different cool directions I never thought they could. Yeah, and 

Matt Peiken: I imagine you're thinking you're going to embrace that in your projects going forward.

Kind of that melding of the charted and the improvised. 

Andrew Finn Magill: In fact, I like, I'm already writing for the sequel, I suppose you could say, and thinking of it in the same way.

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