THE terrific Alex Lleo has been chatting with me…
about his single, Long Shot, and filming its incredible video. I ask about the song and its story and whether more material will come down the line. He talks about his musical upbringing, influences and what plans he has in regards gigs.
Lleo reveals a rising artist to watch and an album that means a lot to him; how he spends time away from music; what advice he would give to artists coming through right now – he ends the interview by selecting a great track.
Hi, Alex. How are you? How has your week been?
Morning! I’m great thanks! It’s been good. Helping my bro record his first E.P. Exciting stuff!
For those new to your music; can you introduce yourself, please?
Sure. I’m Alex. I write songs from my garden shed and sing them to the world (smiles).
Long Shot is your new track. What can you say about the track’s creation and story?
Well. It’s a groove-laden slow-jam! The song was inspired by the love of chance encounters. Meeting someone for the first time; not really knowing if you’ll meet again but finding joy in the simple moments.
What was it like shooting the video in Càdiz? Why choose that location?
Cadiz is, by far, one of the most beautiful cities on the planet. We had the pleasure of staying in the old town which is drenched in history and culture. Once I’d established the idea of shooting a couple longboarding, I began the hunt to find the guys that would fit the image I had in mind. I had visions of a Californian sunset. I really wanted that lazy, chilled vibe. That's when I found Chano online and I took the gamble to reach out to him. It turned out to be one of the best things I’ve ever done!
Being born and raised in Cadiz, Chano knew every sweet spot in a fifty-mile radius and the moment I pitched the idea he was so on-board with the vision. My aim was to use longboarding as a form of expression; allowing a sense of freedom and chemistry between two people who clearly care for each other and the wild life around them.
Is there going to be more material coming next year? Are you working on more new stuff?
Yes! I’m spending the winter finishing of a load of new material for 2019 and trying to collab with as many new people as possible! But, Long Shot will be the first track from the three-song E.P., Emanate, with the last song due for release in November.
Who do you rank as music idols and inspirations? Did you grow up around a lot of music?
Man; that’s always a tricky one. My early inspirations came from a lot of my dad’s collection. From Paul Simon, The Band…you know, basically anything in the ’70s that was made with real blood, sweat and tears! My family aren’t really musical but they appreciate a good tune! Right now, though, I’m a huge fan of so many great artists coming out of Canada and North America. I think it’s their relationship with the outdoors that I love - artists like Leif Vollebekk, Bahamas and Half Moon Run.
How did music arrive to you? When did you notice you had a talent for writing/performing?
Well. I’ve always been around music but I guess it really became an apparent during high-school. Playing with your best mates really loud out of a garage or shed; that's when I think most kids realise it's the best thing in the world! It was during that time I starting having a crack at songwriting and it just grew from there really.
What do you hope to achieve by the end of 2018?
Well. We’ll have a new E.P. out, we would have headlined another hometown show and I’ll be doing a few more stripped-back performances leading into Christmas.
Have you got a favourite memory from your time in music so far – the one that sticks in the mind?
This recent trip to shoot Long Shot, which I guess is a bit of a bi-product of the music but Chano had taken us out to this secluded beach for a wild camp out. I remember just sitting there, looking out towards the glistening lights of Morocco from across the water just thinking: ‘Wow. Music sure does take you to some places’. Then, we sat around singing songs in dodgy Spanish accents all night. It was a real ‘pinch me’ kinda night.
Which album means the most to you would you say (and why)?
Twin Solitude - Leif Vollebekk
I just think he’s the most underrated songwriter of our time. He has such a unique way of marrying music to words.
If you could support any musician alive today, and choose your own rider, what would that entail?
It’d probably still choose Bon Iver. I’d just love to be able to see that show every night and get a sneak peek into all that juicy equipment!
What advice would you give to new artists coming through?
Urrm…just be honest with yourself, I guess. Don’t rush things and learn to make social media work for you. Don’t allow it to turn you into something you aren’t. Hopefully, then, that’ll attract the kind of fanbase you want to spend time with.
Do you have tour dates coming up? Where can we catch you play?
To celebrate the release of Long Shot, we’re playing a home show at The Cuban Embassy in Moseley, Birmingham on 11th October. After that, it’s back to the studio before we announce another U.K. tour in Feb.
IN THIS PHOTO: John Craigie
Are there any new artists you recommend we check out?
John Craigie (check out his song, I Am California)
Do you get much time to chill away from music? How do you unwind?
Not so much at the moment, but I do love to get away when I can. Surfing has always been a big love of mine, just because it forces you to be in the moment which can be so hard to do these days.
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).
Blake Mills - Women Know
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