Getting a click out of music
THE music business is just that, a business; one full of pitfalls that can dash the dreams of aspiring artists - but not this singer-songwriter from Old Felixstowe.
Twenty-year-old Alex Body is making the most of the digital age and taking his musical destiny in his own hands.
“I would love to be a position where I could just hand it over to someone else and just be writing all day. But you know, you get pros and cons because if I was signed to a certain label they might be saying ‘okay, well you’ve got to write in this style’ or ‘I need a hit single by now’.
“In the current digital climate, with websites and MySpace, it’s got to the stage now where record companies have almost become superfluous and it’s kind of nice and liberating to be able to take it and say ‘okay, I want to put out an album exactly as I want it’.”
Taking on the business side of things - such as setting up world distribution and an online store - is, he admits, really hard work.
“The point is I’ve stuck out this new CD; I’ve got a thousand copies and they’re selling and I’ve done that all myself.”
The former Deben High School student has been playing music since he was 12, spending five or six years in the moderately successful progressive rock band Hokum.
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They split when their guitarist went to university so Alex decided to go solo and put out home-made EPs and albums.
“I think of them more as sort of collections of demos, there’s stuff on there which is all right and it’s nice to have as record of the songs I’ve written,” he says.
The material got a good response at various London gigs, but people wanted to see him with a band. With the help of some former Hokum members the current line-up eventually came about.
“My new album is the first I’ve done with real drums for a start and other guest musicians. I’ve really spent a hell of a long time producing and mastering it and everything so I like to think of this as my proper debut.”
Alex tends to write the songs himself and lays down a demo to get across how he wants it before taking it to the rest of the band to work on.
As for describing their sound, well that’s tricky.
“I suppose I often go for progressive power pop, sort of slash alternative rock. I usually say if you like good, fun rock music come and see us live and then you’ll know - you know?”
The new album, People Never Notice Anythnig <COR> which Alex who also produced, pulls together some of the best of his extensive catalogue of songs. They range from complex progressive instrumental arrangements to shameless powerpop and live favourites.
The band have been gigging all over, including The Fly in London and venues in Camden and Kentish Town, and are looking to perform more in the region.
“We didn’t do a lot in East Anglia towards the beginning, the Ipswich music scene was very blues or covers orientated and that wasn’t us. We seem to be getting a bit of a following in the town so that’s been really pleasing, especially at venues like The Beer House and McGinty’s.”
It’s clear music is Alex’s passion and he left school pretty much as soon as he could to focus on it full-time. A decision he hasn’t regretted yet - “It’s tough and poor work, but it’s fun”, he smiles.
His family are all big music listeners and Alex’s mother plays piano, but he’s the first to take pursue a living out of it. They’re supportive of his decision, although he admits one of his younger sisters thinks his music is rubbish.
“The youngest one really enjoys it but my middle sister... in my family we all like slightly off the wall music, a lot of progressive rock, edgy stuff; but she’s very into the normal teenager stuff so.”
So what’s the goal?
“A sold-out Wembley Stadium,” he laughs. “Actually no, not stadium let’s say arena - I think the sound quality is better there.”
n Listen to Alex Body on www.eveningstar.co.uk
n For more information on Alex Body, visit www.alexbody.com