HE is one of those songwriters…
who is pure and determined. Alex Lleo puts his all into the music and follows its every move. I have been speaking with him about touring the South West; what the tale behind the song, No Way Back, is – he provides details about his upcoming E.P.
Lleo tells me about his plans going forward; why he recorded his latest E.P. in a unique way; what he does when he is not recording music; a new artist we need to keep a watch out for – ending the interview with a song I am now a big fan of!
Hi, Alex. How are you? How has your week been?
Hey! Busy, but good, thanks! Trying to squeeze in some rehearsal time for my tour next week whilst tracking for the next E.P.
For those new to your music; can you introduce yourself, please?
Well. I guess, fundamentally, I write songs and sing them. Haha!
But; I think a lot of artists are hesitant to put themselves in that ‘singer-songwriter’ bracket. I like to incorporate various sounds and melodies throughout a song’s duration. I’d like to think that the music allows the listener to delve into a deeper state of mind; whether that be a happy or more reflective place.
No Way Back is your current single. Can you tell me the origin of the song and what inspired it?
Haha. Well I wrote the song with a kinda tongue-in-cheek feel whilst working merch. at Isle of Wight Festival a few years back. At its core; it’s a song about chance encounters and the kinda things people do when their daily routines are on hold for a few days.
It is the second single from your debut E.P., Park Studios, JQ. What was the reason behind recording the music in a single take?! Did you want the music to have that live sound?
Yeah. That was exactly the intention with this project. I knew we’d have to sacrifice a few elements you come to expect with a full production but, I think we made up for it within the charm of spontaneity.
Which artists would you count as influences? Did you experience music a lot when growing up?
Yeah, loads. My parents were never musical but made up for it by having great ears. Dad was big on Motown and all the '70s Folk-Rock stuff such as Paul Simon and Fleetwood Mac: all you’d need to know about great songs construction!
How important are Worcestershire’s Lickey Hills and its diverse scenery to your songwriting? Does that vista give you a closer affection for the natural world?
I think, because I grew up here, I do take it for granted sometimes. It’s only when I think about the years spent exploring as kids that I realise the importance it’s had on my character. Nature, for however cliché it is, will always be a huge influence on me. It’s the biggest grounder to us all.
I know you are playing gigs in the South West. Is that a part of the country you have an affection for? Which dates are you most looking forward to?
I think anyone that’s ever visited the S.W. struggles not to fall in love with the place. What’s not to love about those coastlines?! I’m looking forward to every single one. Tours are usually filled with service station sarnies and rainy drives around the M25.
Let’s just say, I’ve got my wetsuit packed!
You are playing St Pancras Old Church on 2nd May. You looking forward to that one?!
Can’t wait! It’s such an historic venue. Really looking forward to the rare chance of playing with this six-piece!
How did you meet the band you play with? What is it like working on the road with them?
Well. At the core there’s myself, James (Bass) and Tom (drums). James and I go way back to college; he’s my producer and the guy I flesh the sounds out with once the song is there. Tom and I met through a friend on the gigging scene and I’ve known Lydia for many years. The string and horn guys were recommendations from Ali - Park Studios’ owner.
What do you hope to achieve in 2018?
New songs that, we hope, will be our vehicle to new places; so that we can play to new faces (smiles).
Have you got a favourite memory from your time in music – the one that sticks in the mind?
I did love the early days. Playing with my high-school mates; we’d offer to play people’s house-parties which, as you can imagine, was a lot of fun. Oh…and waaay loud! Good times.
What advice would you give to new artists coming through?
Don’t rush. It takes a lot of time and dedication to achieve a product that’ll please more than just your gran. (Even if she has an incredible ear!). Seriously, though; if you’re hunting for a career, your attention has to be on material and you need a good understanding of how the industry now discovers new music. Don’t just post to Facebook: learn how to utilise these tools to cut through the noise.
Are there any new artists you recommend we check out?
If you want something to hit the feels, you can’t go wrong with Leif Vollebekk’s new album, Twin Solitude. It’s a late-nigh-stroll-kinda-album.
Do you get much time to chill away from music? How do you unwind?
Anything outdoors-related. The cities are great and they serve a real purpose for the music world but, when I get the chance; it’s so good to get off the beaten track and do something that forces you to focus on the moment. It’s good for the soul.
Finally, and for being a good sport; you can choose a song and I’ll play it here (not any of your music - I will do that).
No Wrong - Bahamas
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