Make a Little Room
What's the most memorable gig you've been to as a music fan?
Elbow at The Roundhouse, 2008. Seeing Elbow after they'd just won the Mercury Prize for Seldom Seen Kid was a magical experience - the atmosphere in the crowd was electric, they were obviously enjoying themselves and Guy Garvey was straining every sinew on every note he sung. His energy and passion was almost palpable. It was proof (if any was needed) that having longevity in the music business will someday pay off. It was great to see that a band like Elbow could finally tap into the mainstream and get the audiences they'd always deserved.
Are you excited to go on tour with Caffe Nero?
I'm really looking forward to this tour - sitting and enjoying a coffee whilst listening to music is probably one of my favourite pastimes and so to be able to play in coffee shops across the country is really exciting. Especially seeing as these types of gigs are where it all started for the singer/songwriter movement back in the 60s!
Tell us about writing and recording your new album, In The Wake.
In the Wake has been a long time in the making. It's an amalgamation of several different recording sessions over the past couple of years. I'm really proud of how it turned out as I think the songs and the recordings are a good reflection of where I was and what I was feeling at the time.
What were the easiest and the most difficult songs to record?
Some songs don't need much - Good Woman for instance was a single take - me and my guitar, no overdubs, nothing. Whereas something like Make a Little Room has had many different guises and arrangements before we settled on what you hear on the album.
Do you prefer singing in English or in Welsh?
I don 't have a preference - music is universal no matter what language you sing in!
Take us on a tour of your hometown and show us your favourite place.
I'm from the Lleyn Peninsula in North Wales - it's very isolated and secluded which makes it a perfect place for wild walks along its beautiful sandy beaches. My favourite places are Bardsey Island, Porth Neigwl (Hell's Mouth) and Porthdinllaen!
What song do you wish you had written?
God Only Knows by the Beach Boys.
Pick your own fantasy live band (with members dead or alive) to accompany you playing that song live.
Drums - Mick Fleetwood
Bass - Paul McCartney
Electric Guitar - John Mayer
Piano - Brian Wilson
Acoustic Guitar - James Taylor
What's your favourite UK live venue? Why?
Norwich Arts Centre - it's always been a lovely respectful and attentive crowd and seeing as it used to be a Church (there are even tombstones on the floor!!) there's always great acoustics there.
Have you played at any music festivals? Any fun stories?
Wakestock in Abersoch, North Wales - It was 2007, the Summer of Rain!
I was due to open the main stage on the Saturday - the weather had been miserable and my drummer and bassist couldn't access the site because of all the mud and so me and my guitarist had to do an impromptu-acoustic set to all the soaked people who'd managed to get in!
It was the first proper festival I'd ever done. I'll never forget getting the audience to sing along to one of my songs. It was just a wonderful feeling having thousands of people singing your words back to you when half an hour ago they hadn't even heard of you before! Afterwards backstage we had the whole VIP catering tent to ourselves as loads of the other bands had failed to get there due to the weather - so we ended up eating all their food - it would've been a shame to see it all go to waste!!
Vinyl or Spotify?
Vinyl if you can get hold of it - if not Spotify is really great too!
What's your ideal song to wake up to?
Again - God Only Knows - Beach Boys.
Al's album In the Wake is out on March 14. Buy the album from www.allewismusic.com.
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