RGM INTRODUCING – WE INTERVIEW HUDDERSFIELD BAND ALFIE AND THE AVALON
Hiya folks thanks for joining us in the virtual RGM lounge today, grab a brew and take a seat.
Introduce us to you all and your musical history.
The band is comprised of Alfie Woods (me) on rhythm guitar and vocals, Ewan Steady mainly on lead guitar/keys, (although he plays everything) Toby Renwick on bass and production and Joseph Zbos on drums. We officially formed at the beginning of 2022 and have since gone on to produce several singles and perform in venues across the north. We often describe ourselves as Indie Rock with a touch of Folk.
We are all musicians that have come from different places and musical backgrounds and have found common ground here in Huddersfield. I have come from the background of learning electric guitar idolising bands such as Arctic Monkeys, Coldplay, and The Strokes to name a few. We have all had experience in playing in various originals band of different genres and have an appreciation for a huge range of music.
Joe, Ewan and Toby all have links to the brass band world with Joe our drummer still performing locally to Huddersfield in a band called Hade Edge. The crossover of our different backgrounds has helped in shaping the sound of our new EP and the sound of the band in general.
What makes you stand out as a band/artist?
So far as a band we have flirted with a few different ideas in terms of songwriting and production. We aren’t afraid to go with an idea if it ‘sounds good’ and serves the song and have never believed in trying to fit in with trends. With that being said, we have made a determined effort with this EP to commit to a sound whilst keeping enough variation between tracks.
We decided early on that we would love to incorporate the sound of a brass band. We knew the sound of a brass band would give the tracks a homely, warm and nostalgic feel that would compliment the songwriting. As a Yorkshire man, I also thought it would be a nice nod to my heritage and not something you hear mixed too often with ‘indie rock’. We believe this can help us stand out.
I hear you have new music, what can you tell us about it.
Our new EP ‘Good Old Days’ released everywhere on July 21st. It is a 5-track album centred around the concept of looking back in time and reminiscing about the ‘good old days’ but it is also optimistic for the future. Lyrically it is a very personal body of work with some of these tracks being written several years back, pre-lockdown.
Talk me through the writing process of the new tune/s.
Usually, I will write all the songs on an acoustic guitar and then present them to the band. If we think the song stands out as just a bare-bones acoustic track then we know we can turn it into something even better as a band and this is a process that started off the creation of this EP. As a songwriter, my influences come from bands/artists such as Coldplay (early era), Sam Fender, Kings of Leon and Radiohead.
The great thing about our writing process is that often the songs I bring end up being completely transformed (for the better) and as a songwriter, it is the greatest feeling to be able to witness the evolution of one of your songs. We have been able to gig these songs consistently over the past year and this has helped to make slight tweaks to bring the songs to another level on recording.
As I have already mentioned, we knew quite early on that we wanted a brass section to feature on this project. This would not have been possible without the players of Hade Edge brass band and the arrangement skills of our guitarist, Ewan who came up with all the brass parts.
What was the recording process like?
We recorded a demo of the EP last April and this gave us something to work off and record over. Drums and bass were recorded first and then over the course of several months we held various recording sessions (mainly in home studios) spanning weekends to do the rest.
We benefited from having a lot of time in between sessions as it kept us objective to the music. We have learned there is nothing worse than rushing a production – especially an EP.
Lastly, we recorded the brass this April and our bassist Toby was able to produce the final mixes shortly after! Credit to Ewan for playing just about every instrument on this project!
What was the biggest learning curve in writing the new tunes?
I would say for me the biggest learning curve was not feeling the pressure to rush the songs just in order to get them ‘out there’. In the past it has been easy for me to feel that I need to get songs done quickly.
This time we were all very comfortable in sitting on the songs and being honest with ourselves if we felt that something wasn’t good enough/needed to be improved and I think that mindset comes from confidence in what you’re doing. The process has been extremely enjoyable.
Would you change anything now it’s finished?
It’s always difficult to say what you would change. A few months down the line it will be easier to reflect on the EP but right now we are just soaking in the fact that we have finally finished it! Hopefully our next project will top this one!
Is there anything else you would like to share with the world?
Thanks for having us! We hope you enjoy the EP and do check us out on socials!