Artist Spotlight: Aidan O’Flaherty

Photo by Julie Samuels

By Maddy Epstein

Arts Reporter

Newton South senior Aidan O’Flaherty is a committed musician who finds a way to manage playing the drums, producing music, and run for both the indoor and outdoor track teams at South on top of it all.

When did you start becoming interested in music?

I started becoming interested in music when I was about 10, when my dad gave me a snare drum– which is just one drum, and then it evolved from there.

Is that when you started playing drums?

It’s not when I started really playing drums, like my dad just gave me a drum so I could have some fun as a kid. Then I really liked it, so he decided to get me lessons.

You also produce music, what is that like?

Well, music production is mainly what I do.  I do production on SoundCloud and I did some stuff at Berkeley over the summer.  That workshop really geared me towards how tough the music industry is. I also produced for Mike Fellow, who is a Newton South graduate, and it was all recorded at lovelove Studios in New York City and was mixed and mastered by Jachary, who is also a Newton South graduate. He’s really up there in the music world. Right now I’m working on a project with California rapper, Brandon Wave.

Do you play the drums for any music groups at South?

Yeah, so I play for two South music groups. I play in the honors Jazz Combo and the honors Jazz Ensemble, which are two great groups, and we even win some awards.

Tell me about the sports you do at South.

I did lacrosse freshman and sophomore year, and I’ve done indoor track for all four years. I also do spring track; I’m the captain for spring track.

Is it hard to balance music and sports?

It’s very hard to balance the two, especially when both the coaches and the instructors don’t have the same philosophies… a lot of the time the coaches think that music is kind of like a joke, or it’s not really anything important, but I actually take music very seriously, and I actually get credit for it.  Then, for the music teachers, they think that I’m too committed to sports. For example, track meets seven times a week, and a lot of my music instructors say that since jazz only meets twice a week, it shouldn’t be my top priority to only do track. Then when there’s a meet, it starts to really conflict [with music]– especially if there’s a concert– and it really sucks.

Do you think you’ll continue producing and playing music after high school?

I do think I’ll continue with music after high school.  Maybe not as a full time thing in college, but I’ll try to take some music courses or be in the music production programs they offer.  I’ll probably pursue something else on the side because [the music industry] is a little too narrow.

If you could give one piece of advice to someone trying to pick up a new instrument, what would it be?

I think my advice for everyone is to listen to as many music genres as you can. I personally listen to jazz, rock, soul, and especially Atlanta rap, which right now is very popular. Just don’t limit yourself to just one genre because you learn the most from listening to [a variety] of music.  Also if you develop a critical ear– think about what instruments are playing and think about what they’re doing. That’s really gonna set you apart from any other musician or anyone learning your instrument.

If you want to listen to Aidan’s work check out his SoundCloud, or come to Production Club during Thursday J-block, which he runs.