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AAA Music | 23 April 2024

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AAA Music Approved: Alexander Carson

| On 20, Mar 2019

Who are you and where are you from?

Alexander Carson originally from Norfolk now in London.

What inspired you to get into music?

I’ve been playing piano since I was about four and a half years old so the idea of not playing music has never even been an option. Music is what makes me understand life.

What have you done?

Before my current solo venture I was the lead singer/songwriter in a band called Wooden Arms. We did two albums (Tide 2014 / Trick of the Light 2017) and toured the UK and Europe for a few years. Right now I’m focusing on my solo music and writing for film, I’ve just this moment finished up a soundtrack for an independent short film called ‘The Yellow Wallpaper’.

What are you like live?

I play predominantly solo but I’m sometimes joined by friends – drums/cello/guitar/extra vocals etc… I’m keen that it’s not exactly the same show night in and out. When I’m entirely solo I do use loops and some fx to help achieve greater harmonic scope to my music. But also, I’ve just played a few shows where I’m almost entirely stripped back – just me and piano. I enjoy fitting my sound to the space rather than trying to shoe-horn something in.

What makes you different?

I think my classical background sets me apart from a lot of singer/songwriters. But also my songwriting and voice sets me apart from most composers. The truth is I sit somewhere between both artistic forms and end up being something entirely different. That hasn’t always made it easy for me to find a niche in the music industry, but I try to comfort myself by saying the most original music will always stick out like a sore thumb.

Physical vs Downloading vs Streaming…How do you listen to music?

Probably neither! When I’m writing music I don’t tend to listen to a lot at home, I find it seeps into my brain and I end up inadvertently ripping people off. I listen to live music a lot though, I watch a lot of shows even when I’m not playing in them. I think a live performance is the key to seeing something truly honest. I’ve no interest in backing tracks though, it has be raw and a bit wonky. All the best art is made on the precipice of going horribly wrong at any second. 

What have you been listening to?

I’ve had Paul Simon’s ‘Still Crazy After All These Years’ perpetually stuck in my head – something about that chord structure just makes me go crazy. I hate the sax solo at the end though – too schmaltzy. I got to see Tom Rosenthal play his first ever headline shows recently and that was great – he’s had four albums but almost never played live. So he’s got this energy that only comes from doing something brand new but also has all this experience behind him. It made for an incredibly honest and joyful show.

What are your aspirations for the future?

After ‘Ellipsism’ comes out on 12th April I’m going to do some UK shows around April and May. And in the summer I want to work on an instrumental EP that is semi-improvised. The idea is that I sit at the piano for an hour or so and record everything. I then noodle around some musical ideas I’ve had – I then revisit the recording about a week later (ideally so I’ve had time to forget what I actually did) and then cut up the bits I like and compose around them. So far some have come out as entire pieces and others are fragments. I’m hoping to include some other people with this as well, ideally violin and cello.

I’m back playing shows in September and October. Wooden Arms have the five year anniversary of our first record ‘Tide’ this September so we’ll come out of hibernation and do some shows – I’ll have more solo shows around this time too. I’m also hoping to introduce some new songs with the band that, in theory, will make up the next album. I’m also talking about working on another film soundtrack this year but that’s early days!

Questions answered by: Alexander Carson…

Alexander Carson’s debut album ‘Ellipsism’ is out 12th April. Check him out on tour from next month. Click here for dates…