Interview: The Alleys

Two years after supporting McFly at the Clyde Auditorium in 2012, The Alleys have not only matured as people, but more so as a band. With a newly formed sound and style, the group kickstarted their road to establishment by performing at one of Glasgow’s most iconic venues: King Tut’s.

A lot can change in a short space of time, so two years has seen many adaptations occur within the band. Vocalist Jonny said that at the time of the McFly performance the band were “still trying to find our sound”, the oldest member at the time being just sixteen. However, Jonny continued, since then “the band has adapted quite drastically, really” as the size and musical abilities within the band had altered.

Within 24 months, the Carlisle-based band waved goodbye to a guitarist and welcomed Lewis the pianist (also a trumpeter) and Andy on the saxophone. They also released two albums, Amusement and Don’t Dream Babe, No-One’s Listenin’, so the band is quite literally bigger and better than ever. The band have been continually writing, and as bassist Ben stated “as you write more you get to know each other’s style a bit more”.

The remaining three members (yes, there are six of them – enough to go around) are Jordan on guitar, Tom on drums and Jonny on lead vocals. These are merely their primary talents within the band, as all of them provide backing vocals as well as musical capabilities in trumpeting and the good old harmonica. If this is how talented they are at 18, how will the band be in 10 years time?

Hopefully still together – as Tom and Jonny are brothers, which could potentially lead to an Oasis scenario. However, Jonny assured me that “we don’t ever fall out, it’s kind of actually good that we’re so involved in the same thing because it helps our relationship.” And… Breathe a huge sigh of relief.

So, their sound has changed – but to what? With musical influences from the likes of The Rolling Stones to The Beatles, each song produced by the band differs from the next. This is not only because of their musical preferences, but also their instrumental abilities – as Andy says, “we all put our own influences on the pieces”.

Which is completely true as I witnessed it first hand during the gig. There was trumpet and saxophone improv during their performance which enabled their show at King Tut’s to be entirely unique from their next one.

Though Jonny said that “we don’t really like to compare ourselves to many bands because I don’t want to feel like we’re contained within a certain genre or style”, prior to the gig it was hard not to make comparisons to other bands. Though they do not sound like anything that currently exists in the musical world, there are certainly resemblances to other artists and groups.

Vocally, it has elements of The Kooks but the general sound has essences of The Beatles, Arctic Monkeys and a twang of Foals with Bombay Bicycle Club. It’s one massive concoction of seemingly effortless cool. Every song differs from the next, ranging from pop, to indie to rock ‘n’ roll. Their talents and capabilities are endless.

With Jonny’s persistence and immense stage presence, within five minutes of being on stage the band had the venue quite literally jumping. Despite initial awkward crowd interaction, this was soon expelled by the incredible music and energy proved by The Alleys.

Glasgow crowds are known to be rowdy, but this didn’t stop Ben from taking a leap of faith into the audience of sweaty, overly hyper teenage boys who party boy’d the bassist to their heart’s content.

Post-gig saw an exhausted Tom share his surprise over the Glaswegians’ behaviour. Welcome to Glasgow chaps, where at every gig we will chant “here we fucking go” throughout the entire duration of your performance and start mosh pits to slow songs.

These antics haven’t deterred the band from the city – thankfully – as they’re returning on February 21st to perform another show at The Garage. This willingness to travel and put on shows will without a doubt widen their fan-base and get their name out there. Frontman Jonny revealed that “we’re more than happy to gig more instead of changing our sound for somebody else”, which is the best attitude to have in a music industry where so many artists are willing to compromise their sound.

The Alleys now know what direction they want to head towards more than ever. Their determination and passion is evident through the amount of work they’ve managed to produce in a relatively small period of time, which provides promising prospects for the future. So what’s in store for 2014? There’s talk of an EP being released by the end of the year, but their priority for the next 12 months is gigging and producing demos.

These guys are without a doubt going to be a big one to watch for the next couple of years. Have a listen to their work so far on Soundcloud and be sure to like their page on Facebook to keep updated on their upcoming gigs that you should undoubtedly attend. It’d be rude not to.

Words: Sarah Mushet