RGM Introducing – We Interview Alfie Neale

Hiya folks thanks for joining us in the virtual RGM lounge today, grab a brew and take a seat.

What made you decide to become an artist?
I’ve always loved music and admired artists playing their original music but the moment that actually inspired me to try and work on the music full time was watching my friend play a noughties indie covers set in a pub in the town I grew up in – I still don’t think I’ve seen a crowd go as hard as they did to the early Arctic Monkeys songs in that set haha.

Introduce us all to you and your musical history?

I’m a 22-year-old Singer-Songwriter who grew up on Jack Johnson, Gorillaz, Paulo Nutini and Fatboy Slim as the earliest music I remember listening to. My dad always played songs by artists like Bowie, The Beatles, and Van Morrison on his guitar so I’ve always loved music that tells a story but I love dance music as well. I think a lot of people my age grew up so immersed in so many genres of music during the piracy/streaming era and it’s been class to go from whatever my parents listened to through mini soul, indie, dance, funk eras amongst so many other genres.

What advice would you give other artists starting out?

Play live as much as you can, but make sure to write and produce songs (even if it’s only demos) on your own as well. It’s been so refreshing having the balance between working with a band on my live show but also having songs that we’re solely created in the studio recently as opposed to working on songs with a band and just releasing them.

What’s one question you’re sick of being asked when interviewed?

I’ve not been interviewed enough times to get sick of any of the questions yet haha! 

What support is out there for new artists in Brighton?

The ‘Brighton bubble’ as everyone here calls it is so strong. It’s funny because you’ll look into a crowd in any of the small venues and it’s a load of other artists trying to do the exact same thing as you but it doesn’t feel like anyone’s in competition with each other. Every artist supports each other too much and sings everyone else’s praises and that’s the best support about right now.

Who is inspiring you at the minute on the Brighton unsigned scene?

There are some amazing artists – I’ve always got to shout about Yakul, they’re a crazy Jazz band and their lead vocalist James’s vocals are immaculate on every record. Two artists who I’ve seen collab time and time again are Dereck d.a.c and KIANVSLIFE and they kill it every time – Kian is a ridiculous producer and has inspired me for a long time – I love that they release bodies of work each time instead of following the single-orientated approach that most people (myself included) follow. 

What would you like to see more of in Brighton?

I’d love to see more Pop music. I don’t mean the heavily produced commercial music as much as I love it, but there’s a really strong Rock scene and a really strong Jazz scene too, but we don’t get many artists touring down here compared to other cities so I’d love for some more mainstream music to head down this way. 

Do you sign up to any conspiracy theories? 

I wouldn’t say so haha! I try not to think too much about it because once I get sucked into something I won’t stop looking into it until I’ve got the full scope and that’s far too deep a hole to dive down.

What useless party trick /talent do you have/? 

I’d say I’ve actually got a signature dance as far as I’m aware, it gets brought up quite a bit by anyone who’s been unlucky enough to see it in my friendship group but no particular talents haha!

What was the most fun you have had on stage?

I think it still has to be my first ever headline show in Brighton. It was a good few years ago but it sold out, and getting on stage it was pretty much either one of my friends or an acquaintance that I’d met at Uni. People were singing songs that weren’t even out because they’d come to show support so many times and it was just so fun. 

What was the worst experience on stage?

On my first tour I was playing Saxophone and my guitarist knocked it into my mouth and cut the inside of it which was the greatest moment. The show we played on Thursday had some issues with the track playing and the sound engineer literally stopped the track mid intro which was quite hilarious too.

Tell us something about you that you think people would be surprised about? 

My last Saturday night was spent drinking a can of pink gin in the launderette while I put my clothes round the tumble dryer – my friends were pretty surprised when I told them that was where I was heading but they should know me well enough to predict something like that.

Name a four-piece band made up of legends – who would be in it? (drummer, bass, lead singer etc)

I’ll go for Michael McDonald from the Doobie Brothers on lead vocals, George Benson on lead guitar, Pino Palladino on bass and Questlove on drums (got to have a familiar rhythm section). 

If you could play any music festival which would it be?

As cliché as it is Glastonbury’s is still the top of the list, I’m from Dorset and always love the fact that the biggest festival in the world is in Somerset and I highly doubt many of the stars who play there would come down our way otherwise.

Best gig you’ve been to that you weren’t playing? 

It has to be Sticky Fingers at Brixton academy. One of my favourite bands and you don’t get to see Aussie artists in the UK very often at all – there’s nothing like going to an artist’s gig where you know all the words to every tune! 

What makes you stand out as an Artist?

People always mention my voice – I wouldn’t say I’m the most technically gifted but can my voice has definitely got a lot of character to it, I definitely grew into it in my early twenties. I think my recorded music also sits right on the line between gritty bedroom-style production and a really high quality studio sound which I love because it’s either one or the other usually.

I hear you have a new single brewing, what can you tell us about it?

The new single is out now and is the start of releasing a lot of music which I’m really excited about. It’s definitely a gateway into the ‘Alfie Neale’ sound which I hope people will be hearing a lot of soon enough.

Talk me through the thought process of the single?

The song discusses the silver-linings of a breakup. I found myself writing a lot of sad songs over the lockdowns but tried to take a different approach and discuss something from a different perspective, and also put a flip on the sombre music that should accompany it!

What was the recording process like?

The track was literally made almost from start to finish in two days in the studio. Cassell The Beatmaker who produced and mixed the track has produced some of my favourite songs and working with him was exactly how I imagined – absolutely class. We planned to do two 12pm-6pm days but I think I ended up staying there until midnight both nights – it was the first time we’d ever worked on a track of mine in the studio as well and was the first time listening to a song of mine thinking ‘this is exactly how I imagined, but better.

What was the biggest learning curve in writing the single?

The track was actually written in about an hour or two, and recorded in two days so there wasn’t too much of a learning curve. I think it was more of an anti-learning-curve when I came to the realisation about the different perspectives I could take when writing in hindsight.

Would you change anything now it’s finished?

Not a thing, I haven’t stopped listening to it since I recorded it. 

What are your plans for the year ahead?
I’ve got an EP which I’m going to release, but that’s not going to be the only music that comes out. I’ve got a proper home studio setup for writing now and a great group of people around me that I think I’ll be working with for a long time. New music and a lot of shows is the plan for the next year! 

Is there anything else you would like to share with the world?
If you’re going through a breakup have a listen to the track, and if you’re in a happy relationship or single have a listen just in case things change haha! Thank you for having me as well, it’s a real honour to be on RGM as an independent artist.