TMF Meets Alice Gold
We caught up with hotly tipped singer/songwriter Alice Gold backstage at Manchester's Ruby Lounge, towards the end of her tour supporting The Pierces. Her debut album, 7 Rainbows, is soon to be released on Fiction records, and she credits Janis Joplin amongst her influences.
How’s the tour been going so far?
Really good. There’s only seven dates but they’re all pretty much sold out and it’s so good to be playing to the right audience. They’re responding well to my music. It’s a good match. What’s so lovely is that all the tours I’ve done before, like Eels and Athlete have been through an agent or management, but this was a request from the girls – that’s obviously the best way!
You recently did the NME singles reviews. Were you nervous about that?
No! I did it in about half an hour. I was in a foul mood in the morning, I was a bit hung over and my management sent them through and to be honest, I didn’t realise it was going to be a big piece. Everyone normally edits me and they pretty much ran it as it was.
For me, I’ve got no danger of running into anyone when I review them, but you might…
(Laughs) There was one Radio 1 DJ who I totally cussed. He’d never play me anyway. We’re opposite ends of the spectrum. And I DID think it was Eurotrash mind-numbing arsewipe.
After this you’re going on to festivals, including Glastonbury. Is it your first time?
No, I did it a few years ago in a small tent. But on the main stage, with my full band, it’s the first time. I’m over the moon about it.
I wasn’t sure if you’d want to talk about this or not, but you were signed a few years ago (as Alice McLaughlin).
I talk about it loads. There was a lot going on with EMI at the time. It was a life experience. I like talking about it because it’s part of my story, it helps understand why I’m doing what I’ve done. I did this album without any record company help, without a manager. A&R'ed it myself.
You seem quite keen on social media – you blog a lot, you’re on Twitter a lot. Does that help you as an artist?
It’s just another way of expressing yourself. It’s not just about music, there’s other things I find interesting like art and photography, and it’s nice to be able to express yourself so easily through it. Just responding to fans, getting to know what they want and what they like. It’s good for me and for them. A lot of people don’t do it, I’ve noticed. I eventually won’t have to respond to everyone, but at the moment I do, it’s a gradual build up and I’m getting to know people.
Listening to the singles, 'Orbiter' is more guitar based, whereas 'Runaway' was more synthy.
The guy before you was saying they are quite different, but I’m an album artist, I’m a performer, and when you get the album you’ll start realising that it all fits together. The single stands out because they’re the different ends of the spectrum. 'Runaway' has always been the standout track because it’s so immediate, and I knew it had to be on the album – to grab people’s attentions – which it did, going A-List on Radio 2.
The album’s out soon – I take it you’re touring right up to that?
Every weekend apart from next weekend – I’m staying in bed all weekend!
What are your personal favourites – what should we be looking out for?
iTunes are going to feature the album, and they’ve hand picked “And You’ll Be There” which is one of my favourites – it’s great live, great on the record, means the world to me. It’s about doubting yourself and hope. 'How Long Can These Streets Be Empty' was written at my lowest point when I was struggling with whether I should stop. I’ve dedicated my whole life to doing this.
Did you think about giving up?
You do. You think should I get a “proper job”?
Was there self doubt?
No, that’s the wrong term. You try so hard to get your music heard. It’s not that you don’t believe in yourself, but you’re not having a lot of luck. It’s a huge amount of luck needed. 'Streets' isn’t about giving up – it’s how long can I carry on like this. Before I recorded the album, when nothing was firm and I was having a particularly low time – no cash, just depressed.
I was going to ask you about the Winnebago, but I guess everyone asks you about that! (Alice was given a Winnebago)
I went to America, bought a one way ticket to Nashville when I was having a bad time. My mum had died. My plan was to travel across the States, a romantic trip – have a home studio, record an album on the road. When I got to Nashville, I wanted to buy an old converted bus to travel in, second hand, but I couldn’t buy it without a social security number. I was gutted. My whole plan was gone – I didn’t want to stay in Nashville even though I love it there. Six weeks into my trip, I met a guy out there, I was dating him and he was a poker player. It just so happened that he’d won a 1978 Winnebago and had it in a warehouse. He was a millionaire and didn’t take note of what he’d won and what he lost. He blindfolded me, took me to his warehouse and there it was.
So you got to travel across America?
Yes. I was away for about four months. See ya! He got a ticket from a police department, a warning on his license because I was driving without due care and attention. The power steering was too sensitive! A cop had been following me for ten miles. I got out of the van, he had a gun.
I was saying “It’s just the power steering” and started walking towards him, when he pulls the gun on me. “Stay near your vehicle”. I was given a warning. “What you doing out here Miss Alice?” We got on quite well in the end, but this was only day two coming out of Nashville and I wasn’t used to it yet.
You got a bit of “next big thing” buzz from HMV and Q – did you feel any pressure as a result of that?
No. I don’t feel pressure. I’m having such a good time, and people are relating to the record. I just do what I do and that makes me happy, and if anyone else loves it, that’s great. I’m lucky enough not to have had anything high profile like BBC Introducing – and that’s more putting pressure on your team. As an artist you just do what you do.
Alice Gold's album, 'Seven Rainbows' is out July 4th on Fiction Records.