Poetry from the inner sanctum of the mind

By Mark McConville

Share: Share:

Alexandr is a band on the rise, proving their worth with a commanding sound and lyrics which tell us that they’re looking at the world differently. Their record Aloners To The World is a melting pot of styles and an infusion of rock and punk sensibilities, a collection of tracks which are a nod to the 90s. Some of the songs are subtle, and some hit the emotions, bridging the gap between the darkness and the light.

Your sound is so diverse and engaging, with plenty of hooks and cathartic lyricism. It is compelling to read the lyrics out loud and even study them. It’s poetry from the inner sanctum of the mind. Who is the prime lyricist or is it a joint effort?

Thanks! In fact, we have a particular way of functioning. We are three songwriters, and we write our songs, music, and lyrics more or less separately. So, no prime lyricist, we all contribute with our own lyrics and I guess, emotions. Occasionally, one will finish another one’s lyrics, which is an interesting exercise as you have to stick to the theme and style of the original words.

When listening to Aloners To The World I get Oasis vibes. Are you fans of that sound? What are your main influences?

Yes! Oasis was always an important band for us. They are the ones that made us want to pick up a guitar, write songs and be in a band. And for that, we owe them a lot. More generally, we do love most bands out of Manchester (Stone Roses, Happy Mondays, New Order, etc.) and quite a lot of 80s music like Depeche Mode or Tears for Fears.

The 90s sound is fresh and daring on the record. You keep things tidy and enticing. What does that decade mean to you?

Well, we grew up in the 90s so you can only imagine what it means for us! But it’s not only nostalgia: it’s a sound and music we genuinely enjoy. But we also aim to make Alexandr sound fresh, new and as 2024 as possible.

You’re based in France. Has the album excelled beyond your expectations in your homeland?

Yes we all live in Paris! The album has had a lot of good reviews here. In fact we didn’t get a bad review which is nice! France is a difficult market to crack because there are a lot of other music styles more mainstream than ours. Also, a large part of the market is reserved for artists singing in French, which we never do… But on the good side, I think we have our niche and I know for a fact there are still a lot of people of different generations who like English “guitar music” or brit pop or whatever you choose to call it.

I love the experimental sound, that progressive guitar melody on the record as well as the other aspects. How does it come together in unison? Do you add your segment individually or do you all play as a collective in the studio?

Coming back to the three songwriters point I mentioned earlier, most of the time, we each bring our own demos and then we all work on them together to make them sound like Alexandr. However, we very rarely work all together in a rehearsal room, it’s more about sending the files to each other and saying “I’ll try this or that”! Interestingly, we don’t even stick to our “band roles”, meaning I could be doing some bass lines, whereas the bass player could be doing the lead guitar on a track, depends who has a good idea and at what moment, if you see what I mean.

The album was mixed by Adrian Bushby who worked on albums by big hitters like the Foo Fighters. How was the recording process like with such a respected individual in the rock scene?

Working with Adrian was great! We were looking for someone to mix the album and got in touch because he’d mixed a band from Birmingham we follow called Big Image. He got back to us saying he loved the songs and agreed to mix the album! At the time, we were only just coming out of Covid, so we worked remotely. But frankly, it was the smoothest process we’ve ever been through with a sound engineer. Not only is he talented, efficient and quick but he’s kind, humble, enthusiastic and supportive, which is undeniably a great quality in this business!

This is your first full-length record. How did it feel delivering a 10-song record compared to putting out an EP? Obviously, there’s more work involved, but did it all come to you seamlessly?

Yeah, we’d done two EPs and felt that it was time to make a full album. In a day and age where music is consumed more song by song, we still believe in the idea of a batch of songs that fit together, that work in a certain order, that have a sound and a visual identity AKA an “album”. So for us it was more exciting than burdening to be honest. And of course, the full length format is also a great opportunity to add a couple of slower or acoustic numbers like “The Center Of The Universe” which closes the record and that we’re particularly proud of.

Are there any plans to tour the UK? I think people would be absolutely mesmerised by the sound you create.

Haha, thanks, that’s nice to hear! Not for now, but we have toured in the past and played Manchester, Liverpool, Leicester, Brighton and London several times. We always love playing in the UK, and you’re right, the audience was always really enthusiastic!

Do you think it’s harder than ever for emerging acts to break out? What are your feelings on that subject?

Mixed feelings really. I think on one hand, home studios, social media and streaming platforms, amongst other things, give us access to a whole set of new tools to reach out to our audiences more or less directly and which we didn’t have 20 years ago. On the other hand, however, there seem to be a thousand times more artists as a consequence, and it’s really difficult to stand out from all the noise. For example, it’s become really hard to find gigs in France and I hear the UK is the same… Oh, and just stating the obvious here, it’s impossible to make a living, let alone buy equipment with revenues from streaming! But we soldier on!

Follow Alexandr