Words by Nath Luke
UK indie rock band BRIXTON ALLEY have somehow played 25 shows in Australia since November last year! Surely they must have played the most gigs of any UK band in the world? We are claiming that record for them unless we are shown proof!!
They are not resting however and will be joining WHARVES at a huge free show this Saturday night 1 May 2021 at Felons Barrel House courtesy of promoters Lennox Groove and This Feeling (UK).
We sat down and had a chat to Brixton Alley bandmembers Ben, Alex and Jonny and this is what we learned...
Lennox Groove - Where are you from, how did Brixton Alley get together and what are you doing in Australia?
Brixton Alley - We're from a town called Stratford-Upon-Avon in the UK. The home of William Shakespeare and pretty much the furthest away you can get from the sea back home!
Ben and Alex and brothers and Ben and Jonny went to college together, where they studied music technology and played in a band together. After a couple of years their old band went their separate ways and one very drunken night, Alex convinced them he could play drums (he couldn't), a rehearsal studio was booked, songs were written and a show organised and so Brixton Alley was born!
We moved to Aus in January 2020. We had the opportunity to come out and play some shows here in 2019 and we just fell in love with it over here. The scene in general is so cool and the crowds are amazing, so we decided to take the plunge and move here permanently to try and make it Down Under.
LG What has been your experience of dealing with the industry in Australia compared to the Uk when it comes to other bands, managers, promoters, venues and the like?
BA - It's been really positive. From our experience, the industry is similar in a lot of ways. For example, in Melbourne and London, where the venues are bigger and there's more competition you tend to be a bit more autonomous as a band, in terms of sorting shows and promotion etc. at least at our level anyway. Whereas our time up in Queensland and regional Victoria has been much more like playing regional shows in the UK, where the smaller communities are much more involved. The one thing we have noticed here though is a strong sense of community in the Aus music scene, where people really want to help you out, as well as an ingrained love for rock music and getting loose at gigs. We love it!
LG. What have been your favorite UK and favorite Aus shows to date and why?
BA Favourite Aus show has to be our EP launch show at Vinnies Dive Bar on the Gold Coast. That place is amazing! Everything from the staff, to the sound and even the décor makes that place so special. We'd only been in Queensland for a couple of months when we played there, but the show was sold out - we were super stoked about that considering we didn't know a single person when we first moved to Brissy. The gig was mad, the crowd were singing along to all of our songs, people were on stage downing beers and Jonny even ended up playing in just a pair of budgie smugglers. Vinnies is the bomb!
One of our favourite UK shows was probably at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival at 2am. It was an impromptu gig that we got offered whilst we were out drinking during the day and said yes to! As it was 2am, it was pretty loose, with people even dancing in the street outside the venue. Another favourite of ours was our leaving show when we came to Aus, it was amazing to be surrounded by all of our best friends, family members and fans, but it's bittersweet, as we haven't seen them in a while now and unfortunately we're not sure when we'll catch up with them again, but when we do, it will definitely be another awesome show!
LG You recently released an EP '303' can you tell us a little about the record?
BA We recorded 303 at Studio Circuit on the Gold Coast with the amazing Brock Weston. Brock is the drummer of Brissy legends Bugs. He also produces all of Bugs' tracks as well as the Beddy Rays - both of which ended up in Triple J's Hottest 100 this year.
The EP is really little stories from growing up and life at the moment. We tend to create characters and scenarios in our songs and write about their fictional lives, that are sometimes based on our own experiences. The single This Party Sucks, for example, is a tongue in cheek look at how crap 2020 was during the pandemic - like being stuck at a party you don't want to be at. Happy Things is just about a relationship and how seeing a certain person makes you happy. New Tattoo is slightly deeper and tells a story of how people change and sometimes relationships drift apart. And Drinking Jokers is just about going out and getting wasted with your mates.
The EP is called 303, as that was the number of the flat Ben and Jonny lived in when they wrote the EP.
Fun fact - Ben hand-drew the entire EP cover, which is an homage to Footscray; the suburb in Melbourne that we lived in when we first moved to Aus. Footscray Park is mentioned in This Party Sucks.
LG. You are playing with WHARVES in Brisbane and the co-promoter is well known UK company 'This Feeling'. Had you played any gigs for them in the UK?
BA We haven't ever played with This Feeling, but we're absolutely stoked to be on a show with them. They're a real institution at home and a key stepping stone for up and coming UK bands, so we're really grateful for the opportunity.
LG. What are your plans from here for releases, shows, further travel?
BA. We're back in the studio with Brock in May to record some new tracks that we'll be releasing this year. Other than that we'll continue gigging hard. We've played 25 shows so far since coming out of lockdown and are booked through to July already, so we'll be hitting the road and delivering Brixton Alley to more people across Australia in the coming months.
Check out Brixton Alley links here and their latest video below. Enjoy!!