Racer Sessions

Sundays, 8-10pm at Cafe Racer in Seattle, WA

Ronan Delisle presents This Sunday

Greetings, dear music lovers!

This Sunday we are pleased as punch to welcome our dear friend Ronan Delisle back to the Racer stage. Ronan is someone who has been a consistent member of the Seattle music community, having grown up here and returned after finishing his undergrad at UNT in Denton, TX. We invited Ronan to come and present this week after spending some time in his new graduate studies at UW. Read on for some words from Ronan about what to expect, and make sure to find yourself at Cafe Racer at 8pm for the music.




“This coming Sunday, I’ll be joined by Thomas Campbell on drums and Abbey Blackwell on bass in the exploration of a handful of themes and songs we are excited about. As the three core members of my band, Fig, I’m thrilled about the sonic unit we’ve become over the last couple of years. Though we have a common repertoire of music from that band, for this session we’ll be drawing largely from sketches and newer material to improvise with.

Ronan Delisle. Image by Haley Freedlund

Ronan Delisle. Image by Haley Freedlund

As far as concepts to keep in mind for the improvisations to follow the opening set, I’d like to question the decision making process that occurs throughout a piece. There are infinite choices to be made during an improvisation or composition, and the way we handle these crossroads determines the energy of the music. In the last few weeks of being back in school, my professors and peers have challenged my musical decision making.  I have found myself missing opportunities to be spontaneous and in-the-moment due to a lack of trust in my instinct, so I have thus challenged myself to address the three following elements of group playing:

  1. An entrance is a powerful moment, to enter without conviction or direction can be cumbersome to the purpose of the music that is happening around me. If I want to enter softly and without being noticed, that needs to be clear. If my intent is to be out front and melodic, I need to do so unapologetically.

  1. The conclusion of a phrase or texture is equally important. To simply remove myself from a situation that has stopped feeling comfortable or that has become unclear is not accepting responsibility as a member of the group. Silence as a proactive choice is very useful, but to stop playing is impractical to finding a new musical direction.

  1. There is the wonderful desire to be sympathetic to the musical statements of others in an ensemble, so as to accompany or match them. Despite being a perfectly valid intention, this approach in my own music has led to playing too politely, or sticking too closely to another musician’s direction and not provide enough contrast for their idea to really shine. Listening is much less about matching an idea or following someone as it is about providing a foundation to make my fellow musician so as good as they can. I’ve been pushing myself to not make the obvious choice and stay comfortable, but instead take the risk of potentially sounding “bad” to grapple with the more adventurous idea.

Finally, a teacher of mine recently put it to me that free improvisation is like being on the show “Lost”, that is, we are all stranded on a desert island (the stage of Cafe Racer) and are responsible for surviving (making the music compelling), regardless of background or experience.

Happy session, people!”