Petula Clark sang “When you’re alone and life is making you lonely, you can always go downtown…” – what a cow. You’re more likely to get robbed and raped than have your spirits lifted by doing that. Instead, the safer and more effective way I’d recommend of banishing the blues is three words; “PLAY.SOME.ALPHABEAT.” Since 2004, Denmark’s finest export have been on a personal mission to spread joy and catchy hooks wherever they go. Their first album managed the tricky balancing act of sounding indie enough to trick NME-readers but was everything a pop fan wanted too. While their second album, The Beat is… was a bit of a departure from all that, paying homage to Black Box and other early 90s dance, it was a gorgeous record too. So far the UK late spring/early summer weather has been predictably unpredictable, so what better than for the trusty Danes to whisk us off on a vacation…literally, with their latest single. What more could you ask for?
Where would the perfect Alphabeat vacation be?
There is no such thing as vacation when you’re in Alphabeat, but hey, a sunny beach on a remote island with everyone we love would be pretty good…
Your first album was mostly Eighties influenced, your second Nineties – does that mean we can now expect an early 2000s sound?
Nope, sorry! Would be kinda fun though. Late 90’s early 2000’s, endless sampled “real life” drum beats like Westlife, Atomic Kitten or what ever. But no. This time around we’ve combined the way we made our debut album with studio drums, guitar and the more “bandy” sound with the slick produced and modern sound we had on The Beat Is…with samples and all that jazz. It’s been a lot of fun to do it this way, nerdy and it’s been taking a lot of time but the result so far is absolutely amazing. You can expect an album with a lot of upbeat pop songs you can dance to!
For the past few years you’ve mostly been based in London. What non-obvious advice would you give to any Danes visiting?
We moved back to Copenhagen after three great years in London and all over the UK really. The road was our home for those years and we’ve been to so many lovely places. We’d probably tell people to enjoy the beauty of Edinburgh, go party all night in Newcastle, sightseeing in Bristol, shopping in East London and then end up on the beach in Brighton where the sun always shines for some reason. We love the UK and would love to go touring again sometime…if you guys want us back.
As well as doing your own material, you’ve also been writing for other artists. How have you found the whole experience of offering stuff to someone else with no guarantee that it’ll be released?
We did a bit of songwriting with other artists when we were in the UK and it was a lot of fun. It’s always thrilling to meet new people who share the same passion for amazing songwriting and then get into a room with a piano, a microphone and a Mac and then start recording stuff out of the blue. But we do prefer to do things on our own with our own touch though writing with other people is a great way to get outside the Alpha-bubble for a while…
Do you still have a record deal in the UK?
We don’t. But our Danish label Copenhagen Records (best label in the world, fyi) are distributed through Universal and that’s the reason why ‘Vacation’ is also available in the UK, Europe, US and a lot of strange places in the world. We still want to give every pop fan the possiblity to listen to our songs, so this is a great way to pay back for all the love everyone gives us by releasing our songs out there. You can have it if you want it. But it would be pretty good with a major label supporting us, so if anyone out there is up for helping us out we’d be glad to meet up. It’s hard to be a small band in a big world of pop without someone pushing it for you in regions such as the UK and US but we’re doing our best to spread the word ourselves on blogs, news sites, radio etc, and the help has been brilliant. It was fun to see ‘Vacation’ move into the Top 100 on iTunes UK on the day of release. All our hard work had paid off and the fans had heard the rumours of a new Alphabeat song. We are not sure if the new album will get a physical release everywhere, but at least we’re pretty sure our Danish label will release it on iTunes etc. for everyone who wants it.
Is the new album ready for release, or is it still being recorded?
It’s still in the making. So far 6 songs are mixed and done. We’ve still got a bunch of songs that needs the final touch and we should have a full album with joyful pop at some point late Summer, early Autumn.
Alphabeat has always been about fans lusting over Anders SG and Stine. Isn’t it time that the rest of the band showed their sexy side?!
Well, take a look at the new press photo. It’s 6 times sexiness!
Do you ever regret turning down the chance to tour with the Spice Girls?
Nope. It was way to early in our UK career to be thrown out there in front of 1000s of fans and we knew that we’d always be known as “the band who supported Spice Girls”. Today it’s more fun to look back and people know we are “the band who turned down supporting Spice Girls”. That tour ended all of a sudden, right? Good thing we said no. We played 160 live gigs in 2008 and got known for our own thing and not because we supported a big pop group. People know us for our very energetic live shows and we still hear from people who remember our small gigs at places like The Whelans in Dublin, King Tuts in Glasgow and The Water Rats in London. Always amazing. That we ended up selling out two nights in Shepherd’s Bush later that year was just the result of old school hard work and it felt so good!
Is there anyone in particular you’d really like to tour with?
Touring with Lady Gaga is probably the biggest act we could dream of supporting. And we did. It was an absolutely amazing tour around the UK. We also turned down supporting George Michael back in 2007 when he was in Denmark, same reason as for the Spice Girls gig – too big and too early on. But if he reunited with Andrew Ridgeley and went on a “Choose Life – Again” tour we’d be there in a split second! The Talking Heads would also be a reunion we’d say yes to…”Stop Making Even More Sense”…maybe.
When people think “Alphabeat” they immediately think “joyous, happy” etc. Do you think you’ll ever write a misery-laden record about depression and suicide?
Probably not. We were once one of those boring early 2000s indie bands but found out it was just more fun to have fun.
We do what we do best and will probably make joyous and happy pop music till the day Alphabeat is no more.