When I caught up with ALXNDR on the night of their sold out headline show at The Garage in London, they were huddled together in a van.
Jumping inside, I got introduced to lead vocalist Anth, bassist, backing vocalist James and drummer Drew.
After a quick joke about interviews in vans and stranger danger, we got down to business.
It’s the second night of tour, how are you feeling so far?
Anth: Absolutely ecstatic.
James: I feel very good.
What was it like finding out that tonight’s show was sold out?
J: Amazing, it was really overwhelming.
A: Gobsmacked, absolutely gobsmacked.
Which venue/area are you really excited to play?
A: Tonight obviously, ’cause we love London but, I don’t know, I mean Glasgow is always such a fun show. I mean that’s further North than where we’re from, but that’s like a really fun show. We’re just happy anywhere, man.
D: I think I’m excited for the cities we haven’t been before, Oxford, Leicester, Sheffield. But it’s always good coming to London, I mean, that’s the capital. And what’s great about London, ’cause I spoke to someone who’s from the area, is that there’s always a gig on. It’s just amazing how much the music scene here is just so packed in.
Out of your setlist, which is your favourite to play and why?
J: Drive, I’d say, ’cause it’s like that opener, it’s punchy, it’s wake up and smell the coffee.
If you could pick anywhere in the world to tour, where would you love to go?
A: Cali, I’d love to go to America, tour America.
J: Yeah, States of course.
A: West Coast.
J: New York though, New York is pretty awesome.
What are your three absolute essentials to bring with you on tour?
A: I’m trying to think, oh, Vocalzones.
J: Phone charger, that’s handy.
A: I should probably say something funny.
D: Uhh essentials? Erm, contact lenses, toothpaste and drumsticks. Oh no sorry, is it three or four?
D: Three essentials, okay I’ll take away the contact lenses.
J: How are you going to see?
D: And drum key.
A: Essential, like you leave the house and go “sh*t, I needed that”. You need your wallet, your phone and your keys. Those are my three things. You want to be able to call people, you want to be able to buy stuff, and you want to be able to go home.
RWND came out November 2015, what was the writing and recording process like?
A: We wrote RWND over a period of a year, because we would release a track, push it, then tour, and then release another one. And we kept releasing tracks and then eventually we thought we should put these five tracks on a cool EP. And it’s done pretty cool to be fair, since we released that we got this Academy tour.
Were there any songs that didn’t make it to the EP?
A: A couple, we’ve had loads of songs.
J: We’re very picky, like we’ll write an idea and we’ll know from the offset if we should progress with it. Even if it’s a guitar like or anything, it’s still got to have weight to it.
D: It’s true, I think it’s because we have our own studio, and when we write it’s like we have unlimited time so we’re always going back to the workstation. So we will get picky because we’re writing a lot, and it’s like “we’ve done this and we’ve done that, mate, okay, these five tracks will make the cut” because we know we’re not pressured, there’s no timeframe. So we do keep writing but when we’ve got a collected number of songs for a record we do just think “well they’re not strong enough, these are the strongest” and then continue forth.
Are you most creative together or individually?
A: It literally depends. We get creative when we’re together ’cause we vibe off each other’s ideas but all it takes is one person to be like “I’ve got this idea” and we’ll do send backs if we’re in the studio, or we could be in the rehearsal room writing a guitar riff and someone else joins in, that sort of basic band writing thing. Or it could just be in the studio with the keyboard or whatever. It changes for us, like writing always changes, it’s weird ’cause we never actually try to write. We do sometimes when we feel we should probably write some more songs but a lot of the time, we expect, and we enjoy natural organic writing when we’re just dicking around on a keyboard or whatever and we’re like “oh sh*t”, and then you’ll just start playing a groove to it, and you’ll start laying a bass down or whatever and it’s just like “that’s a track”.
Are there any songs on the EP that you’d think you’d like to rerecord but maybe changing things, like writing in a different style?
J: Not style wise, but when it comes to playing live like when we’re practising the set over and over, I’ll have little ideas, personally, that would have sounded great on the recording. Like when we play “Drive” I think, at the very end I’ll change it up a bit and it’s awesome, and I was like “aw I wish that was on the track.”
D: I guess because we don’t have an outsider, we don’t work with a producer, it’s all in house and I think when we do have a timeframe for something, not necessarily rushed but when we listen back, like we are satisfied, but there’s always things we could change. We really like the songs but we know we could always reinvent them. I guess yeah, it’s just progression isn’t it.
A: But we’re happy! They’re good songs. I personally would love to work with other people, producers and writers as well. Industries will sometimes ask “so who wrote this” and “who wrote that” and we’ll say it’s just us and they usually get a shock and say “so you didn’t get any external writers then?” We did it all ourselves, like should we have had external writers? You know, because a lot of bands these days will have ghost writers or whatever.
Would you ever entertain that idea?
A: I’d entertain the idea of collaboration, I’m all about being creative with other people and having fun and if an idea works then hey, you’ve got to be open minded in this industry. But I think we’re too chilled to think about it, we just write. I would never sit and go “oh I want him to write this because he wrote this hit” or whatever. We just enjoy doing what we do.
Before you go on stage, do you have any pre-gig rituals?
J: Uhh, just to walk around in circles, I pace.
A: I warm up, drink some water and get loosened up and relax. The best thing to do is just relax because if you over think things you’ll get on stage and drop stuff. And you’ll cry, and you don’t want to cry.
J: That’s embarrassing.
A: Just relax and chill out, make sure all your stuff is right. That’s the biggest, like, not panic, but if I go on and something’s not right or, it just really kills your buzz a bit.
D: Soundcheck and change overs are quite manic, so I like to go outside, get some fresh air and have a think.
Let us know what you think in the comments below, or on Twitter @CelebMix