Creature Interviewed Alessi for the Festival edition back in 2008.
For those who do not know you please describe what you do?
I play songs. I feel lucky you came across them.
What artists/ musicians/ things in general, are the main influences on your song writing?
Really good people are influential. Kind folks going about their ways. Family, friends, travels, the sea, the moon, a sweetheart – quite a few things are precious and influential. Music wise : some very beautiful music is made over in Omaha (where the album was recorded) – Neva Dinova, McCarthy Trenching, Thunder Power, Son, Ambulance – to name a few and they are inspiring in their own ways. Of late I’ve been writing quite a bit and listening to Patti Smith and Sam Cooke – and a song by Burnett & Rutherford called ‘All Night Long Blues’.. it’s such a good one! Listen to your Nana and Grandad – they’ll tell it like it is.
Your songs, although childlike in some respects, are very accomplished. You are only 18… I only just started playing at that age! How did you get into song writing at such an early age?
At our primary school there were all kinds of instruments to play; metallophones, glockenspiels, recorders, steel pans, bongo drums, vibraphones…all sorts – and although I’d get nervous in music lessons, I’ve been around instruments since I was little and playing them has always felt good. Nathalie (my older sister) and I are very fortunate to have lovely parents who’ve always played great music at home and in the car. They are very supportive and encouraging of all that we’re interested in and have always respected how much I enjoyed playing the drums at secondary school and then the guitar. I started writing bits and pieces on the guitar when I was 14, around the time I started writing a zine called Brain Bulletin. Dad came up with the name when we were riding the tube one day.
Lyrically your songs are very inventive, the imagery is amazing, how do you go about transferring your thoughts into a song?
Usually, songs start out with the words and then I try to find something to keep the words company on the guitar. Sometimes, it feels right to leave words or an idea on the guitar to exist for a little while. Keeping them separate and really giving them time to grow can be fun. It’s not always the same, but more often than not, I like to let the two things do what they need to before putting them together and finding out how things sound.
I sometimes find it difficult to capture the intimacy of a home recording when performing live, how have you found this challenge and what advice would you give to somebody who is starting to gig with lo-fi acoustic songs?
if you feel like your songs are close to home and you’d like to make listeners feel at home at your shows, then try your best not to let a change of room or a bigger or smaller audience than your dog and your books make you feel any different. I don’t always find that easy but if you get your brain coils in motion, your songs can feel like friends and can have the ability to transport you to times and places you are most happy and comfortable. you can almost be travel with your feet on the ground.
Finally, what’s up next for Alessi?
I’ll be going on tour next month for the first time (november) around the u.k with Peggy Sue and Derek Meins – that should be fun… and then a new E.P. will be out in december and the album will follow in march. There are quite a few special events coming up ; a wedding, halloween, birthday and some family trips in between… I’m looking forwards to it all – and reading the new Creature…