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LEFT LION MAGAZINE INTERVIEW WITH LARRY LOVE
LEFT LION MAGAZINE INTERVIEW WITH LARRY LOVE
Christian Povey puts some questions to charismatic leader and frontman Larry Love ahead of the band’s show at the Rescue Rooms this weekend. 02/12/2014
You guys have a reputation for constantly touring. Your last gig in Nottingham was in December last year; is Nottingham a regular stop for the band? And how does it feel to be back on the road playing the new album?
Alabama 3 have had a long and illustrious relationship with The Rescue Rooms, from the bad old days when it was just a building site to its development into a multimedia entertainment complex. We’ve always enjoyed a receptive response from the audience there and are very pleased to see The Rescue Rooms keeping Rock n Roll alive and kicking. It’s one of the reasons Alabama 3 are still going today, because people still need to shake their booty and lose their blues on a Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday night. With every Alabama 3 release, we’d like to think that we bring something new to the situation, whether it is disturbance, disorientation or decadence. Ultimately we know how to get The Rescue Rooms rocking, and The Rescue Rooms know how to get Alabama 3 rocking.
This year we’ve seen the release of your newest album, The Wimmin From W.O.M.B.L.E – the second in the W.O.M.B.L.E series. Compared to past albums, how has the writing process changed since the early days with albums such as Exile on Coldharbour Lane and La Peste
If you look at the sleeve of W.O.M.B.L.E Vols 1 & 2, you’ll see that it is ‘Alabama 3 present’. There is a significance in this, as we’ve never really believed in any credible music industry and that if one is to find musical stimuli in this day and age, one must cast one’s nets wider than the capitalist lie that is ‘You are John, Paul, George or Ringo.’ Hopefully our formulas are developing the acknowledgement that music can be done very quickly, with very little reverence to antiquated formats of yesteryear. Consequently, you’ll find upwards from 20-30 different collaborators on the record. With two studios and a club, we are blessed with access to a wide variety of high grade, low grade and everything in between. Many of the songs are written on the fly over the course of half hour car crash collisions, and then transformed via Wizard’s alchemy into music befitting an Alabama 3 label.
You’re now with your own label Hostage Music and recording your music at Brixton Jamm. Has the creative process become easier now that ideas and music are being shared locally in an environment you’re familiar with? And how is the experience different to when you were releasing music on Geffen and Columbia?
We always maintained full artistic control over the site-specific requirements of how we recorded, where we recorded, and who we recorded with. In that sense our game plan has never changed vis-a-vis our respect for an antiquated music industry. We were blessed to be under the umbrella of the indie label One Little Indian, who very much encouraged us to be autonomous and to develop our own agenda – so it’s not been too much of a leap for us to define our relationship with our music production. We remain narcotic Marxists and shall remain so until the day we die. Hopefully, we will always be open to be re-stimulated by young and old members of the musical community, who will recognise that in Brixton Jamm and Hostage Music, we provide a drop-in-centre for souls looking for Rock’ n’ Roll.
With more than 15 years of music and touring under your belt in an era where many groups break up after one or two albums – what’s the secret to keeping Alabama 3 the ever-proficient music making force that it is today?
Never dwell in the underpants of yesterday’s A&R men; never tour your best selling album as a pathetic attempt to please fans who have forgotten how to dance; never put yourself on the altar of desperados who don’t have the imagination to come up with new riffs and who are not prepared to listen to 17-year-old kids making music from their bedrooms, who might just have better ideas than you do.
Throughout the lifespan of Alabama 3 the one constant appears to be change – especially in regards to experimentation and blending of genre. Over the past 15 years your albums have delved into techno, country and blues music; with such a vast array of styles and influences within your music, where do you see your music transitioning in the future?
When we were first signed at the height of Brit Pop and were relegated to the charity shop of the ‘novelty act’ and famously derided to by NME as ‘a monumental waste of time’ we knew the parameters that we were set at that time WERE ridiculous ie. Country Western and Blues mixed with Techno. Within that remit, every genre of music is available to us. That is why we are still standing. That is why you don't see Embrace, Shed 7 or Oasis doing Country Western acoustic albums, followed by Techno records. Our initial blueprint remains the same. The width and parameters of that blueprint have allowed us to experiment with all forms. Although, we are having difficulty doing our Death Metal album, but we will try a bit harder.
Given the resurgence in the popularity of vinyl in the UK the last few years, do you plan to release the W.O.M.B.L.E series on vinyl at all?
‘Tis with joy that we see resurgence in vinyl purchases, vis-a-vis our own label and tour merchandise. The rising popularity of Record Store Day, and the musicians they’ve got behind that, would suggest that some more death knells are calling [coz let’s not forget, boys and girls, that it was the industry who encouraged everyone to ditch their vinyl for digital music and the easy commodification and formatting of music, which inevitably led to the death of said music industry]. Fans have cottoned on to the fact that that was a load of bullshit and are now listening to music on a variety of formats, whether that’s on USB sticks or a 180g piece of shellac. Long live analogue! Long live digital! Hopefully they’ve signed a prenuptial agreement so that when they get divorced, they’ll still be allowed to get funky together.
And finally, what’s the plan for Alabama 3 going into 2015?
Those with the patience, and intelligence, to have followed Alabama 3 long enough for many years will hopefully realise that the next page we turn, we will always have a different chapter. We have a film coming out which we’ve helped soundtrack called Hackney’s Finest. We have a wide variety of releases coming out on Hostage Music from Alabama 3, to Alabama 3 Acoustic and Unplugged, to Wizard, to The Vex, to Punkture, and O’Connell and Love – which is my solo project with Brendan O’Connell featuring people like Buffy St. Marie and Rumer and a wide variety of high grade players. Visit the Hostage Music website for more information.