London’s futurist duo The Alpines – Bob Matthews and Catherine Pockson – describe their music as a meeting in the middle between them.
“We have been together since 2010,” says Catherine as they head out on a tour which takes them to The Prince Albert, Brighton on February 22. “We actually met at a wedding of a mutual friend of ours. Bob was playing in the band at the wedding. He was part of an indie band before we became The Alpines. I was doing a lot of my own stuff at the time, solo stuff, and we wrote some stuff together. We got quite a lot of interest after one or two shows in London, and we got signed quite quickly after that. It’s funny how it works out.”
As for the name: “One of the first trips we did was taking a road trip down to the Alps. We made a lot of CDs and mix tapes and put them in the car and discussed a lot of music and influences. It was quite a formative thing for us. And the Alps are just one of the most beautiful places. We wanted a good name, and Alpines are plants that grow on the higher reaches of mountains and are pretty hardy. We thought it would be a good name. We come from very different musical backgrounds. I come from a more soul, jazz, r ‘n’ b upbringing, and Bob was more indie, electronic and rock. One of his favourite bands is The Beatles, so our music is like a merging of our quite different backgrounds. I would describe it as intimate and quite soulful, but with quite a wide soundscape. There is width to it. We wanted to make music that was emotional and honest.”
Bob agrees: “But what I think we both have in common is that we both love pop music and classic song-writing. That’s the foundation of everything we do, and the rest of it just comes through our influences. Mine are more ambient and avant-garde. Hers are more soul and the music of the 90s.”
Another River, their second album, came out last October: “It went well. We have got a few good reviews, and people felt there was a progression from the first album. We wanted to make sure that we kept moving forwards and did something that was different to the first one. Rather than forcing it, I think we just let it happen. It was more like the shackles coming off. This time we wanted to do the music that we wanted to do and not worry about what other people thought. I think that created its own progression, and we were also two to three years older.”
Catherine agrees: “Partly also it is confidence. And experience. If you let yourself worry too much about the charts and what is popular, you lose sight of what you are trying to do. I think it is important to remember what you are about. You have got to remember your purpose, and you have got create something new, to push the boundaries. We were really, really pleased with it. We wrote nearly a hundred songs for it. It went back and forth. There are ten on the album.”
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