I interviewed each of my band mates to find out a little bit more about the recording of the album and their contribution to the ‘Optimist’ campaign. First up it’s Alex…
What is your name and position in the band?
What instruments / tracks do you play on the album?
Singer, b-vox, rhythm guitar, electric bass, egg shaker
How long have you known the other members of the band?
I have known the rest of the band since about 1995 when I moved to London to be in a band .. any band .. we met through our friend Laura, who went to Kingston with Jez, Paul and Al.
Fill us in on the other bands that you’ve been in.
Alistair was such an inspirational and natural drummer, with so much style and feel, that it was difficult to be in a band with another drummer (although I tried) after the 5 or more years I had been playing with him.
Also, as time went on, and Alistair’s work and family commitments increased, he wasn’t drumming as much. So I felt it was my duty to keep him playing to a certain extent ..
I would badger and cajole him into one band after another, with varying degrees of success. Recently I have had been working with other drummers, but if Al could still play, I would be playing with him.
Describe the recording process for this album. Was it as rock and roll as people envisage?
The recording of this album was a minor miracle, in that we got the most part of all 10 tracks recorded, pretty much live, in three days at Charlie’s studio.
This was down to a fair bit of rehearsal, and some top-notch recording and instrumentation techniques from Charlie himself. Al was unable to use pedals by this stage, but he still had enough left in his arms to get that fantastic playing style across.
In hindsight, this was our last window of opportunity. I don’t know if the session was all-out rock’n'roll, but there were a few fights (normally with me involved).
Pick two or three tracks on the album and describe what they mean to you.
In The Wake – probably my favourite .. Jez’s song about how there is no god, and religion is a promise that’s always just a lie from a bunch of clowns in the end ..
Metal Men – we wrote quite a few years ago – Al wrote some lyrics which I put to music. It’s about the end of innocence, and so on ..
The lyrics seem more poignant now than they did then .. the same can be said for most of the tracks I think.
I wrote So Long and No-One in a session last year, in amongst a bunch of other tracks. I set out to write some new material on my own, and I think Alistair’s situation weighed heavily on the session, and the tracks I came out with were all pretty dark, lyrically ..
When Alistair asked me to play something around the campfire on the Float to the Coast trip, I played him No-One, and the next morning he said that he had been thinking about recording an album of original songs, and he’d like No-One to kick off the process .. that was when I knew why I had written it.
What is your day job?
I work as a Broadcast Engineer in a Television MCR (Master Control Room)
Who / what are your musical influences?
I like to listen to a wide range of music, but I’m not sure that any of it ends up in the songs I write .. I normally just hit a guitar until something moderately tuneful comes out.
In a word describe the rest of the members of the band.
In a word:
Jez – Enthusiastic
Paul – Ex-pat
Matt – Encouraging
Jim – Elevated
Alistair – Endangered