DozenQ – Eight Rounds Rapid

This entry is part 14 of 20 in the series DozenQ 2

An interview with vocalist David Alexander of Eight Rounds Rapid

Southend-on-Sea that magical, musical place of legend and home base to another new outfit set to carry on in a creative tradition that owes just a little something to the legends that have helped make Southend a destination for musical tourists and fans the world over. Eight Round Rapids draw on the regions musical traditions and like their forbears they also push the boundaries in an effort to keep their sound fresh, inventive and challenging. Push being the operative word I think. Tradition is one thing but Eight Rounds Rapid seems intent on keeping it edgy, fresh and, most importantly, relevant.

The band has recently been on the bill for Wilko Johnson’s final shows and between dates I have been back and forth with vocalist David Alexander discussing the band, the tour and the rest…

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David Alexander – Vocals
Jules Cooper – Bass
Simon Johnson – Guitar
Lee Watkins – Drums

01. Tell me a little about how the band came together, if you will?

It was never my intention to be in a group. I am not a musician. I know nothing about music.

This project has evolved by increments into its form. It’s taken a while to assemble the right cast. The people in the group feel the same. Me, Lee and Simon have been together for a while and Jules has been in it for over a year. We have a good time and we argue, which is essential to our process. We never saw the point in imitating anyone else. We would not feel comfortable with that.

02. Musically speaking, where is the common ground for you guys?

I always knew it was important to make new things. We are from this place. We make music of this place as it is now. We are influenced by everything but no band really. People seem to want to talk genre. Are you blues are you punk? This I don’t know. We have a guitar, a bass, drums and a microphone. You’re going to resemble things. I don’t listen to the bands that people say we sound like. Words and ideas are very important to me personally. Every song is a story, some seen through a kaleidoscope. Singers that I have watched try to fit into a tradition of singing and performance. I don’t feel that way.

I went to art school and was not impressed by anything that was happening. That underwhelming sense of disappointment with the contemporary scene persists. Cool is the death of interesting music; a straight and narrow path leads directly to hell. We are anti-style and we would never chase audiences.

It is difficult to know where you go if you are not trying to be popular. If you have been involved in the creative industries you become aware that success isn’t necessarily about how good something is or even how tenacious you are. We have always recorded our songs and thought there was some merit in the sound we had. We started posting our songs on websites last summer out of curiosity and we began to get good feedback. Coincidently it seems our music chimes with some people.

I think that we are possibly quite a good group, I don’t know. Maybe our stage performances reflect that feeling that we value what we are doing but we don’t really expect others to feel any traditional pleasure.

03. How far afield have you travelled as a band at this point?

Geographically we have been London centric, with a bit of Brighton and a large slice of Essex. In terms of musical progress, well I just don’t know? If it all ended tomorrow then I think we
have come a long way. If we had five years left then we have only just begun.

04. Is touring in the works to support the forthcoming album?

Well it’s no secret now that we are supporting Wilko on his forthcoming tour, and that is a considerable honor. The album is not really a priority within the context of this event, but we hope that people enjoy what we are about. If they do then maybe there might be further opportunities to perform and play our music.

The collection of songs for the long player is close to being complete, and we hope to plan some events to accompany its deliverance. We are also planning a vinyl single that we are all intrigued by.

05. Does it matter to the band in what physical form the album is available?

We have conversations about formats but sound waves are sound waves. People who release cassettes and stuff like that is nice but we are all using mp3s now. I suppose what I disagree with is the end of the album. Everything on a record should be important, rather than just 2 or 3 songs and some filler. When we play a new song, it has to be strong or we reject it. Quality over quantity.

06. I’ve noticed a sort of kinship with the band Thee Faction. Do you see the lyrics as a way that is important to both you and the band in making political statements?

I think the kinship comes from a sense of authenticity. We are serious about the thing we do as they are and don’t see the performing as attention seeking for its own sake. They use music to tell stories and we do too, but the emphasis is different. Their political statements use music that originated from proletariat roots. We are working class people taking the music back and steering it elsewhere.

07. If the band was able to travel abroad do you think that would further any sort of commitment to making any sort of career out of creating art in this particular way or do you think it would be more important to each of you individually in terms of your human experience?

We work. We balance our lives between our jobs and the group. That relationship fuels the songs. We already have a career with the group it just don’t pay. I would love to do it full time and travel. I’m just not sure we tick the right boxes to make money out of it. You never know I guess.

08. You seem to be ticking at least some of the right boxes. It seems the band’s sound and approach is attracting the attention of some radio folks as well as people with a taste for something that has some real character for a change.

Well maybe. We don’t try to please anyone but our selves. We are very selfish like that. I guess that we are living through a dull time in the mainstream. Recessions are supposed to inspire reaction but big business has too big a stranglehold on the media. Our voice is small but it’s real.

09. Would you be so kind as to give me some more info about the forthcoming release; where it was recorded, material, how people will be able to get it and so forth?

We have chosen 10 songs for the album. Performing them live has changed the feel of some, so we have had to look at that. We go to John Hannon at No Recording studio in Essex. He is a friend of ours. We will make CDs and also have it downloadable too. We will post them to people and sell them at gigs I guess. It will be an honest listen. We are not into smoothing out the creases too much or creating something we couldn’t do live if we wanted too.

10. How’s life in Southend in general these days? Has the global fast-food empire and all that crapola taken over or has the area been able to retain any of its original charm, as it were?

Southend remains the same. Being the end of the Fenchurch street line from London keeps it at arm’s length from aspiration. It survives kind of hand to mouth.

11. I know you mentioned doing the farewell Wilko Johnson shows, which I am sure, are going to be both joyous and emotionally challenging for many, but have the band plans past those dates?

Wow. It is almost impossible to put into words. We have had the highest highs, the lowest lows. You name it. You juggle the mundane with the miraculous. We have thought about giving up at times during the last few days. I felt I had no business being there at all but I did my best. It was wonderful. Beyond that last Koko gig, nothing could compare.

12. And finally, thanks again for doing this and any parting words for fans of live music around the globe?

We hope our instinct is right, we hope the context is right and we hope the music is alright.


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Colin -Mohair Sweets- Bryce

One of Canada’s late 70’s “punk” rock crowd and from 1997 to 2007 the fellow behind Mohair Sweets print and webzine. Currently passes the time by playing the odd gig or two, shaking his head, wringing his hands and pondering whether or not the tape vaults of the legendary Pirates are really exhausted.

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Originally posted 2013-03-26 14:21:42. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

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