Interview: The Rhythm and Booze Project

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For those who like a wee dram with their live music, The Rhythm and Booze Project is only choice this Fringe. The Mumble grabbed a wee chat with the duo’s Felipe Schrieberg & Paul Archibald…


Hello Paul, first things first, where are you both from & where are you at, geographically speaking?
Paul: I’ve been living in Bristol these past few years. Felipe, originally from California, is based on London now — but we were both based in Edinburgh for years before that.

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Paul

Paul: I’ve been living in Bristol these past few years. Felipe, originally from California, is based on London now — but we were both based in Edinburgh for years before that.

When did you & Paul first meet each other?
Felipe: We met 10 years ago when we were both students at St. Andrews. The blues band I was (and still am) playing in needed a drummer at the last moment for a birthday party. A mutual friend recommended Paul, and here we are!

Paul: I’ve been living in Bristol these past few years. Felipe, originally from California, is based on London now — but we were both based in Edinburgh for years before that.

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When did you & Paul first meet each other?
Felipe: We met 10 years ago when we were both students at St. Andrews. The blues band I was (and still am) playing in needed a drummer at the last moment for a birthday party. A mutual friend recommended Paul, and here we are!

How did the band begin?
Paul: We decided to make a two-piece band to visit Islay in 2012, so we could play our way through the hotels and distilleries there. We got paid in whisky and a bed for the night (though we were sometimes camping). We made our way through some great whisky and saw some amazing parts of the island. The idea for this band, which we started last year, came out of that trip. We wanted to emphasise our love of whisky and music—we still go back to Islay, every year, and come back with as much whisky as we can carry.

The Rhythm and Booze Project has taken you all over the world, what have been your coolest experiences on the road?
Felipe: For us, going to play at the Feis Ile Islay whisky festival every year is always special. It’s over a week of distilleries hosting parties across 9 days in a beautiful corner of the world, and we get to be in the middle of it. We love it. Some highlights include providing the music for George Crawford’s last masterclass as Lagavulin distillery manager, getting 1000+ people going nuts to our music in the courtyard of the Bruichladdich distillery, and doing a special blues and whisky tasting in the cooperage at Caol Ila.

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How do you choose the songs for your set?
Paul: We find that early blues songs work best for our two-piece set-up better than more recent songs — we still adapt things, though. We’re working on originals too, and the material for those is usually influenced by experiments we try out at live shows. The best things from us come from experiments at gigs rather than pre-planned things in a practice room.

What for you makes a good blues song?
Felipe: It starts with good dynamic drumming. There’s too many blues tunes that have mediocre drumming with needless twiddly widdly guitar over the top. I’m much more interested in the dynamic changes and small moments of magic that can take place all the time in great blues tunes than in chops and mediocre tasteless cowboy playing which unfortunately is the norm these days. I’m also a sucker for good grooves. The Chicago bluesmen do this well, and there are some unbelievable rhythms that came out of the Mississippi Hill Country, though there’s a wonderfully wide world to discover.

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You’re washed up on a desert island with a solar powered CD player & three albums, what would they be?
Felipe: A cruel question. I’ll go with these.
1. Moanin’ in the Midnight – Howlin’ Wolf, one of the best blues records ever made.
2. Sleep Beneath The Willow – Daniel Romano, a superb country music record.
3. Aretha Now – Aretha Franklin, maybe my favourite album from the Queen of Soul

Can you name your top three drams?
Felipe: I can’t name a top three! But these are a few of my favourites which are relatively easy to find.
1. Lagavulin 16, one of the great peated whiskies.
2. Balvenie 17 Year Old Doublewood, Rich, fruity, and regal.
3. Bruichladdich Islay Barley, a punchy drink that tastes like a bourbon cream cookie.

You’ll be performing at the Edinburgh Fringe this August, can you tell us about the show?
Felipe: This is the first show at the Edinburgh Fringe that combines live music and tasting to our knowledge. We’re aiming to entertain and enlighten while playing great music. We’ve got three phenomenal drams that the audience will get to enjoy in the show, showcasing the incredible variety of flavour in Scotch whisky. We’ll also be playing our style of raucous blues throughout while also passing along some knowledge about whisky itself that the audience will be able to use whenever ordering a whisky at a bar or buying a bottle.

How does the whisky effect your playing?
Paul: After a couple drams I get better, after a few more I get worse but I think I get better, and a few more after that someone should probably take over my job!

You’ve got 20 seconds to sell the show in the streets of Edinburgh?
Felipe: Scotch whisky and live blues. What more could you want from a show at the Edinburgh Fringe?

What does the rest of 2019 have in store for you & your band?
Paul: We have some exciting events ongoing in London: we host blues nights featuring an open whisky bar, and we also have our first American whiskey and cigar evening coming up. We basically create events that we’d like to go to ourselves. We’re off to tour Germany in September and Poland in November too, so it’s a busy few months ahead!


Two Guys Three Drams

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Aug 8-17 (21:25)

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www.therhythmandboozeproject.com

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