Introducing: Alice Rock
As with the last slice of cream cake, everyone can find room for just one more girl/boy duo, especially when they come with that extra layer of jam like Alice Rock. Leaving the bright lights of Nottingham behind for the even brighter lights of old London town has seen Alice (vocals, guitar, smart wordplay) and Tabby (drums, Dennis the Menace jumpers) forge a close unit hell bent on producing a spiky, smart indie sound that may draw comparisons to the likes of Helen Love or a more mannered Sky Larkin. The release of their newest EP, Kill Or Cure has begun to create a groundswell of interest from those with a canny ear to the ground, so we managed to pull ourselves away from a particularly gripping episode of Homes Under The Hammer to talk schoolyard japes, 'making it' in the today's music industry and the sad habits of a lonely old man.
Welcome, Alice Rock. For the benefit of our readers (and my Mum), please introduce yourself.
Hello good people of this here Music Fix! We are Alice Rock, a quirky two piece punk-pop-goth(ish) band hailing from London. Alice plays guitar (amongst other things) whilst tunefully reciting copious amounts of amusing, yet topical, lyrics. And Tabby? Well, he does a simply wonderful job of bringing the rear end to the forefront via an amazing layer of processional wonder, i.e. he plays the drums.
Give us the basic skinny on your history. Don't skimp on the details, especially if they involve any encounters with wayward sports anchor Frank Bough.
We originate from Nottingham where Alice (an already established solo artist) laid eyes upon Tabby and took more than a shine to him whilst watching him gracefully play upon his drum kit. We formed a unique band and after realising we didn’t want to water things down with any bass players or suchlike – bought matching clothes, practiced like crazy, home recorded an album called Yesterday’s Makeup, set up an indie label, released the album, sold hundreds of records, played all over the UK and er, got engaged before heading south to the Big Smoke to try and ‘make it’ in a larger capacity. We’re kinda still working on the latter but things are steadily improving for us what with another successful indie release of the Kill or Cure EP and many a successful live show well worthy of writing home about.
Your 'Kill or Cure' EP has certainly been getting some rotation in The Music Fix broom cupboard. Tell us a little about its gestation and the process of self-releasing something in these internet-crazy days.
We’re very glad to hear about this broom cupboard activity! Kill or Cure EP is actually a selection of songs from the forthcoming Kill or Cure album, the mental gestation (conception?) period for which was somewhat sudden. Alice Rock had already written two albums (Finding Wonderland and Yesterday’s Makeup) after which there was a bit of a gap as moving forward as Alice wasn’t sure what to rant on about next in her lyrics. This didn’t last all that long though, as an amusing album focusing on modern life and all its materialism/scientific advances i.e.’ is this Killing us? Or is it a Cure?’ soon materialised, lyrically encompassing many a humorous tale of life’s pointless progressions along the way.
In terms of physical gestation, this took place in our infamous bedroom studio. We painstakingly record everything ourselves and the sound quality is steadily improving as we learn more about production and scrape the cash together for more equipment. Home recording is great as the limitations force you to create an original sound and the concept of having to ‘make something out of nothing’ really does result in a quirky sound that couldn’t be replicated in a professional studio.
Our sound is something that we firmly believe suits Alice Rock down to the ground. We actually recorded in a big posh studio once, and er, never played the sickly sweet tracks to anyone as all they did was take away our magic.
Self–releasing on the internet is a lot of hard work but incredibly rewarding as the more we promote ourselves, the more we records we sell. We’re not a big band by any stretch of the imagination but there are hundreds of people that neither of us know personally yet have parted with hard earned cash to have us on the iPods! Words cannot describe how proud we are of this.
You guys are probably too young to remember these things we used to have called 'record shops'. They were special shops where you could go and buy records and CDs and maybe an Iron Maiden t-shirt of you were lucky. As a result, what were the best records you uncovered in the towel cupboard - which is where I imagine ALL parents store their collections once the kids arrive?
Records? Oh yes, the black spinney-roundy things! Well, Alice is the eldest of the band and she was ecstatic as a 13 year old when she fell in love with The Beatles only to later realise that her mother had the best part of an entire original Beatle’s collection stashed in a wardrobe. And Tabby, well, he is so young that even his mother doesn’t own records!
Given that there's only two of you to make a racket onstage, how do you keep punters interested? I imagine a repertoire of decent ''There was an Englishman, Irishman ...' jokes come in handy?
Well you know what they say: less is more! It’s all in the eyes, the bizarre yet genuine facial expressions, the matching clothes, but mainly... it’s about giving the performance everything we’ve got. We share an amazing musical connection and just absolutely love playing – this seems to give us a powerful, mesmerising stage presence that always successfully holds court.
Is it wrong to eat a tube of Pringles in a dark room with just the TV for company? (I'm asking this on behalf of a 'friend' you understand).
Depends on the flavour of the Pringles and what is on the TV! We need more details!
The details really aren't fit for publication. Can you come up with an anagram of Alice Rock that isn't rude? A tin of peaches for the best effort.
‘Rice Alcock’, ‘Cockle Air’ ... fortunately neither of us favour peaches.
That's alright. (Rummages around) I think I have a tin of rice alcock in here somewhere . One day when I was at school (you understand this was a long time), Bruce from Zimbabwe put Campbell's hand in a vice. And I still get a tear in my eye thinking about the times were used to use pipettes to shoot flaming jets of white spirit across the biology classroom. What's your best memory of your years in the forced slavery that is School Hell?
Alice: Doing a dare that basically involved skateboarding up to the deputy head’s desk during a humanities lesson... the giggles were worth the detention!
Tabby: Being useless with my timetable and often realising I was in completely the wrong lesson!
I can't believe it! You've secured the services of someone famous to collaborate on a track. I kind of recognise them, but my eye doesn't work very well. Who is it?
Cerys Matthews with her amazingly powerful yet sweet voice! Perfect for duets with Alice.
Being great and everything, I imagine your diary is really busy over coming months. If anyone is swithering about coming to see you, what do you want to say to them to convince them to come?
Our diary is fairly busy and we have some great gigs coming up towards the end of August. If you fancy seeing something new, amusing and refreshing that strays from the usual bunch of egos in t-shirts then I promise we’ll try our uppermost to keep you entertained for a good 45 minutes. We’ll also thrust a CD into the hands of those who appear enthusiastic!
If I move to London, can I stay at yours? I will need feeding and a long bed but can do stuff like impersonate a Geordie. And shadow puppets - I am OK at them. I have to say at this point that Lily Allen has said I can move in with her as long as I don't touch her laundry. What do you reckon?
Well, you sound pretty low maintenance if all we have to do is buy you Pringles and put you in front of the TV! So, we can confirm that you’re more than welcome!