No worries at all, I appreciate the support massively! I’m locked down in my flat in Brighton with my housemate and both our girlfriends. It’s been plain sailing so far, just wish we had a garden or a balcony now the weather’s nice!
It’s about a year since we first interviewed you, who was Alfie Neale then and who is Alfie Neale now? Where has this year ‘taken’ you?
The EP is more a collection of songs that I’d written throughout a few years of being at uni, and they were all written about everything that was on my mind. The main theme is relationships with other people, and how much I’ve learned to rely on other people as well as myself in a good way. It can be really lonely if you try to do everything on your own. A lot of people have mentioned how the timing of my release was very coincidental with everything that’s happening at the moment, but I honestly came up with the title thinking more of my own little world falling apart, not the actual world itself!
It varies from song to song really. Some songs I’ll write and take them into the practise room with the band straight away, just to give myself an idea as to whether it’s going to work live. It’s really easy to hide a finished bad song behind a good demo in the studio (a section of my bedroom) so sometimes I’ll try and make a new demo how I want the record to sound, or sometimes I’ll try and make it seem as if the band’s playing live! I try to play everyone’s instruments in the band but they’re all much better than me at their own craft, so their ideas help out a huge amount of the time.
Yeah it’s very strange. I was planning on playing a few festivals (Liverpool Sound City, Live at Leeds, Hit The North) in May over the first weekend and playing a headline show in London at Colours, Hoxton on April 30th. They’ve all been rescheduled to later in the year now, though. My promo is all very up in the air, I can’t feel bad for myself though because everyone else is in the same boat too! The plan is that everyone will get to see us play throughout the last quarter of the year, the headline show has been rescheduled for November 25th.
I usually write all the lyrics and their melodies on my own before I’ve even taken them to the band. Sometimes it’s over a beat, sometimes with just a guitar and sometimes piano. Luckily I’ve got pretty much all I need to keep writing and learning from home, including a class vocal recording booth which I put up every other day consisting of speaker stands, mic stands, my duvet and a blanket haha. The outcome has been many more new songs that I’ve written and am scrambling around trying to make them sound professional so I don’t look back on them in two years and think they were terrible!
Quarantunes, for the moment at least, is one-minute covers of strictly feel good songs, where I’m playing all of the instruments myself and filming myself do all of it. Jack Morgan who does almost all my visuals then edits it into a neat little screen split so you can see everything going on. It was just planned so I can practise all the instruments I’m learning and give people some feel-good vibes to help anyone feeling a bit down from sitting at home 23 hours a day. Anyone can get involved on any of my socials by suggesting songs, sharing the good vibes and singing along at home!
The early covers I learnt were actually all rock covers as that’s all the other three non-classical musicians were playing in my school! Loads of AC/DC, Led Zeppelin and Ozzy Osbourne. After a few years I got in with some older lads who loved soul and pop, which is when I started singing lots of Paulo Nutini and Amy Winehouse. An artist called Ady Suleiman was the guy I looked up to throughout my teens and I can probably still play and sing all of his songs on the guitar. I still love playing covers and that won’t stop until I can write songs as good as those!
I think generally that the volunteers signing up to aid the NHS was absolutely amazing, and those offering to get groceries for vulnerable people. Everything Captain Tom’s done is ridiculous as well! Personally, loads of huge music tutorial sites (Fender Play, Roland+Skoove) have given away all of their content for free for a few months, which I’m sure will lose them some sales, but saves a lot of musicians from going mad.
Do your daily exercise even if it’s a walk and change the activity that you’re doing every few hours or so, even if it’s just slightly, so you can break up the day. I started meditating a while ago at the start of the day and that changed how I go about my days massively. Start your day with a plan and check things off as you go along so you feel accomplished!
Be patient! I’ve been ‘Alfie Neale’ for two years now and I know it’s going to take a whole lot longer to get to where I want to be. If you’re younger, practise. I can’t stress enough how ridiculously good the people at the top are at their craft, since starting to meet some of the people that inspire me I realised what your work ethic has to be like to make a living as a musician, and practising gets you one step ahead so you don’t have to catch up when you start playing shows and recording!
A guy called Brad Stank has been one of my favourites for a while, he makes the most chill tunes that can just calm you down in any situation. If you’re exercising, some Kaytranada won’t ever do you any harm. He’s got those songs that will make you run an extra kilometre when they drop! I have to give some respect to a Brighton name too, so Steven Bamidele if you want someone who writes and creates songs up there with anyone’s from the comfort of his own home.