Alexander Flood, one of Australia’s most creative young drummers, grew up in Adelaide and has been going to WOMADelaide since he was a child. He says playing at the world music festival in 2023 with his own band was a dream come true.
Three minutes with Alexander Flood
Gen Tell us about your childhood.
Alexander I grew up in Kingswood in a big beautiful family home, which I have such fond memories of. I had a music studio set up in a spare room in the house, which is where I was able to invest hours and hours over many years into my craft: practising, composing, producing, rehearsing bands. I went through school at Concordia College (class of 2014), where I immersed myself in the music program: orchestra, string ensemble, concert band, big band, jazz quartet, funk band, percussion ensemble, as well as taking music theory and composition classes. My parents were adventurous travellers, so growing up I was very fortunate to travel the world many times. From as early as I can remember I was exposed to many places and cultures across Europe, the Middle East, North Africa, Southeast Asia, USA and New Zealand. I believe these experiences early on really shaped my perspectives and musical and cultural interests, which I’ve continued to dive deep with.
Gen What music was influential for you growing up?
Alexander I grew up being exposed to lots of disco music by my parents – Bee Gees, Earth Wind & Fire, ABBA and so this music is all very nostalgic and special to me. One of my early drum teachers Joel Prime gave me a USB when I was 11. It was loaded with about 100 songs from artists including Jon Cleary, Dave Weckl Band, Michel Camilo, John McLaughlin … I listened to these songs on heavy rotation all year and this really was my introduction to jazz music and helped shape my listening early on. Then through high school I was listening to lots of Herbie Hancock, Snarky Puppy, Lettuce and Tower of Power.
Gen What drew you to the drums?
Alexander I began learning drums at school at age eight because a few of my best friends were taking group lessons together and I wanted to join them so we could miss class together and play music. My progression was quick and natural and so I fell in love with it very quickly, and the rest is history.
Gen How would you describe your music?
Alexander Rhythm is always at the core of the music that I write and produce and often the influences and foundational elements come from dance music. So, I’d say my music could be described as dance music with jazz and global influences.
Gen You received the Helpmann Academy Jazz Award for “Top Overall Graduate” in 2018. What have been some other career highlights?
Alexander There have been many very special moments and highlights of my career already, but the ones that come to mind include touring Europe with Christian Scott in 2022, recording and touring in Germany with my own band in 2022, writing, producing, and releasing two of my own albums through Stretch Music (Ropeadope Records) in 2020 and 2022, performing with the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra, West Australian Symphony Orchestra and Queensland Symphony Orchestra, living overseas and touring Europe and Asia for 12 months with Gravity & Other Myths in 2019, and just being able to continually share experiences and grow with so many incredible musicians and people in Australia and around the world.
Gen What are your memories of WOMAD as a kid?
Alexander When I was 12, I joined Raiders Drum Corp, run by Steve Todd, which I was a part of for about 10 years. The group would perform at WOMAD most years, playing in the parade, which would move around the parklands playing New Orleans-street-band-style and samba music. I have strong memories of spending the weekend each year exploring WOMAD and all the musical and cultural diversity, discovering new artists and new sounds, which was a big influence on my passion for global music.
This article first appeared in the March 2023 issue of SALIFE magazine.
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