Alfie was the very first independent act we championed in 2018 who back then an act who had never played outside the towns he had lived in, 2 years on he’s a confident maturing artist who is comfortable in his home studio as well as his wide collection of instruments. Having been dotted on a few nationwide tours it was only a matter of time before he dropped his well received debut EP. With quarantine locking us all down Alfie is using one of his strengths- social media to continue to connect with fans with his new series Quarantunes.
Hi Alfie, how are you? Thanks for having a chat us, it’s always great to keep supporting you. Firstly, where are you locked-down in? And who else are you with?

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?

I think I was a lot more naive back then, and a lot more hopeful that I’d put one track out and be touring the world. I’m still hopeful of that obviously haha, but I know now that it’s a hard industry. I felt a lot of pressure back then though, and don’t feel as much now. Now I’m just enjoying my time spent getting better at the instruments I play, singing my songs and learning to produce my own stuff.

Your latest EP is coincidentally called If My World Falls Apart which dropped this spring, what topics had the EP been intended to cover? And apart from being a stunning EP, how well do you think the lyrics translate if at all to the situation we currently find ourselves in?
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!
How does Alfie Neale as a project work- at what point do the songs end up in the practice room and how finished are they at this point?
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.
It’s weird to know what any act is right now with their promo campaign with everything having been rescheduled. Have you managed to announce new dates for the postponed EP launch yet? And what can we expect next time the world gets to see you live?
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.
Because of the weird situation are your moving forward and starting work on new music yet? And have their been any Zoom/Houseparty/Skype band meetings about future work or even rehearsals/writing sessions? What has the outcome of all this been so far?
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!
You’ve recently started your series ‘Quarantunes’- what is Quarantunes and what are the rules? And most importantly how can people get involved?
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!
Most acts as fledgling musicians learn covers, what were some of the early covers you learned and what covers do you still enjoy playing now?
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!

More than ever we are learning how we can support each other to get through, what are some of the brilliant acts of kindness/company offers or gestures that have really caught your attention?
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.
Lastly we want to ask you in three questions to give back to your fans. What advice would you give people to survive in this weird time?
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!
Secondly, what advice would you given fellow musicians? This can be advice about anything in music and doesn’t have to relate to the lockdown.
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!
Lastly can you give us the name of a few acts that are helping you to get through lockdown?
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.

Words: James Wadsworth @jamespart31