Alex Taylor. 3.2.17

Hi Alexis, can we start by taking a moment to talk about your 2016 album Piano which was such a beautiful, intimate, piece of work.  Did you find writing Piano, and being so intimate and honest, a difficult experience?

Actually I found it fairly easy as I just sat and played through a handful of songs live at the piano. I think the idea to do it had been building for a few years so it wasn’t hard to get into the headspace – I like those songs and felt some of them of my own had slipped through the cracks a bit, so it was nice to try to ‘expose’ them as it were.

The video work you did with Simon Owens, especially for So Much further to go, were all incredibly profound and wistful; visually bringing to life key themes of the record.  Is the work you’ve done with Simon an extension of your ideas for the record, or does the creative concept come from Simon’s interpretations of your work?

Simon was wonderful to work with – he seemed to respond in some way to an inherent beauty he heard in the music, to be affected by the music, and had these very simple but bold and ambitious ideas about how we could make videos for it. I think those three videos were very special experiences for everyone involved in making them – they enhance the music rather than simply operating at an ‘accompanying short film’ level.

In, what appears to be, an extension of creative restlessness, you’ve followed up Piano both quickly and with an interesting concept.  Tell us about new album Listen with(out) Piano and where that restlessness comes from.

I had gone so far into making an unadorned record that it started to cross my mind how these songs might sound with other musical voices interacting with them – but I also felt like it would be great if the new interactions could work on their own too, like ghosts of the original tracks. I approached one by one each of the 11 artists/bands explaining the rather strange concept and to my surprise they all said yes… and made something really surprising and beautiful. I am making another record at the moment – am not sure if it is restlessness or just wanting to make albums… I think that is what I should be doing with my time…!

You’ll be up in the north on the 24th Marchplaying at the Sage.  Touring Listen with(out) Piano seems like it might bring certain challenges.  What can we expect from the show and how are you feeling about approaching those challenges?

Last time I was at The Sage I listened to Mark E Smith clearing his throat rather violently…just before he went on stage and played a great gig… I hope the audience can expect a clearer signal path from voice to speaker from me. I might bring my exercise bike too.
We can’t wait for the show.  We’ll see you there.
Piano and Listen with(out) piano are both available now on Moshi Moshi
Alex plays the Sage, Gateshead, on 24th March