THE MODERN RECORD INTERVIEWS: ALEX MICHAEL
We chatted to Durham-born, London-based singer songwriter Alex Michael about his debut single ‘Another Love’
What/who first inspired you to start making music?
I think there was always something in me that longed to write, and I’m pretty sure like most musicians that came from my parents and their love of music. They would let me sit up late with them at weekends and listen to an array of stuff - John Martyn, Ray LaMontagne, Talking Heads. I started to keep a note book as a kid, and I’d jot poems and stories down, picking out words and phrases that I loved from other songs. I didn’t really put my heart into the guitar until I was in my late teens. I was always a bit ashamed of being musical as a teenager, my group of friends at secondary school didn’t really approve of it, and looking back I wish I didn’t hide it for so long. It was a natural transition into writing my own songs, I just wanted to do that over learning cover songs, and I’d still rather sit going over one of my ideas for hours on end now over learning something I’m listening to.
If you were going to cover a song, what would it be and why?
I think I’d have to go for a classic! I recently learned a rendition of The Beach Boys ‘God Only Knows’ - acts don’t seem to write songs like this anymore.
Another Love has a very personal tone, what was the inspiration and writing process for the single?
Another Love is written about an aching distance between the things we love to do and the people we love to be with. I wrote the song after endlessly travelling between London and my hometown of Durham, leaving my loved ones behind to go after my passions. The chorus came together so quickly, and I got addicted to the lyric almost instantly. The verses however took months on end and it wasn’t until moments before the first vocal take that I thought ‘Yes, this now feels right’. At its core, the record is about a human display of hedonistic behaviour, in which we continuously pursue new pleasures and experiences endlessly hoping to find fulfilment. Why do we always need more is the question I’m asking myself.
How does being a part of the London music scene differ from your hometown of Durham?
I think the notable difference is the vast amount of musicians here. It was quite overwhelming upon arrival. So many people all gunning for the same goal. But after a while you do become part of a community that’s really supportive and invaluable. Up north, there is a lot of talent, but once you are on the circuit, you seem to know almost everyone in your lane. Whereas in London, I don’t think that is possible.
Lastly, what does 2019 hold for Alex Michael?
More tracks. I’m in a place where I have a few songs in the bag and it’s a case of listening to my gut and seeing what I think the next best move is. I really don’t want to get bogged down with numbers and followers as that’s all out of my control, but I’d love to gain new listeners along the way as well as prick up the ears of older ones who know me from playing local up north. I just want to be as creative as I possibly can this year and I’m so excited and grateful to have an outlet for my ideas. 2019 should hopefully see a few intimate shows in and around London as well as songs about growing up, growing apart, getting ill, getting better, friends, family and everything in between that unites us.