AL MOSES interview
Al Moses are without doubt one of the best new bands to emerge from Cardiff this year. They’ve been gigging endlessly, building their audience and recently played to a sold out crowd at Buffalo. We met up with them, appropriately enough on Record Store Day 2018, to find out more about this promising band.
Where does the band name come from?
We can’t say for sure. Jack went to see Mary Chain in Cardiff and we were really struggling for ideas at that time. I think he just floated the idea of using a religious figure in the name and then we stuck the ‘Al’ in front of it. We still haven’t gotten sick of it, it’s probably the greatest band name of all time. It feels really good to shout.
Where are you based and how did the four of you get together?
We are based in Cardiff these days but we originally formed in Merthyr. Jack and Daf, our two frontmen, started the band sometime late in 2015, after meeting through a few parties and being 16 and out on the street.
The bands line up back then was five of us; four from Merthyr and just Jack being a Cardiff boy. We ultimately spent two years fucking around, not knowing how to play our instruments, various members leaving through their own choice. Eventually George our drummer joined, a friend of Jack’s from school, and Raychi, our bassist, moved down to Cardiff from Swansea.
Since then, we’ve figured out that no one gives a shit if we’ve written a 6 minute Nicky Wire wannabe anthem about generational divide anymore. We’ve figured everything out for ourselves, and we actually get what’s going on now.
How would you describe your music?
It’s Raw, it has to be because that’s what our ability and indolence lends itself to. Everything does just fall into place when we play though, we are very lucky in that sense.
Jack writes our songs, his writing style is always evolving which is healthy, but the main foundations of what makes a song his own, are constant.
We’d describe most of our lyrics as cynical and hard hitting social commentaries, but never brash like so many punk bands are tending to be at the moment.
We aren’t afraid to write pop songs. Our melodies are sparse and never dull, and our Chorus’s aren’t cheapened by their catchiness. There’s a lot of back and forth between Daf and Jack which we’ve become a bit renowned for which is cool.
What sort of bands do you all enjoy listening to??
A few of the big one’s we all love listening to and take big inspiration from are bands such as The Libertines, Primal Scream, Arctic monkeys of course. Jack is a huge fan of the Manics. Daf and Raychi probably have the most comprehensive music tastes of the group. Ranging from bands such as Kula Shaker to Animal Collective.
There are a lot of new and up and coming bands in south Wales at the moment. Why do you think guitar bands seem to be back in vogue?
It’s probably because it looks easy, which isn’t a bad thing. Our generation grew up watching a bunch of 30 somethings or 40 somethings in bands, who are probably past their best. In the last 10 years, no one has had either the genius or the enormity for us to think they are untouchable. It might be naive, but why not think you are gonna be the biggest band in the world.
You were selected for the Forte project at the end of last year. How did that come about?
We were told to apply for it without knowing much about it, but a few of their representatives had seen us play and were keen for us to become a part of it. It’s turned out to be a bit of a blessing, I don’t think any of us could deny how much it’s helped us kick on.
What practical advice and help has come from Forte so far?
As we said before, we’ve literally figured out everything for ourselves as a band, we literally were fucking clueless not so long ago. Forte have really helped us get our shit together, and we’ve been getting a load more gigs as a result of that. It can be a little soul destroying having to constantly email bands and promoters when you’re out on your own. The reality of this business is everyone just jumps on the bandwagon, and we don’t care, hop on.
You recently played a sold out show in Cardiff at Buffalo. That’s pretty unusual for a new band. How did it feel to achieve that?
It felt great because it took a lot of patience. Understandably, people form bands and then after a few months, they make an EP or do a headline. We’ve done things the old school way, a way which we believe in.
There was a band called ‘The Fused’ in Cardiff, who prioritised the community they built as a band ahead of any EP or massive headline show. They eventually managed to sell near to 300 tickets for the upstairs of Clwb Ifor Bach before they broke up. It’s something we decided to take massive inspiration from.
We gigged only support slots relentlessly for a year, and have released next to fuck all material for people to listen to online, but a lot of people in Cardiff and South Wales know who we are. We don’t know any other bands who can say that.
We have now built a growing community of crazy bastards who will follow us wherever we go, and it’s ultimately something that will benefit us massively in the long term.
You’ve released one single ‘Gutter Rock Moxie’ so far. Tell us about how that track came about and the recording process.
We think its shit. The song itself is cool, and the chorus in undeniable to anyone who sees it played live, but it’s not at all a representation of what we really sound like live.
What are the future recording plans of the band?
We’re off the middle of nowhere at the end of May, to record two songs with Stefan Pringle. Stef’s done loads of stupidly good work with a lot of young Welsh bands, we’re very optimistic its gonna come out really well. Like we said, we are really glad about how we have gone about things up until now, holding off any major releases. But we are ready now, and I think people are ready for us too.
What would your dream gig be? Venue and other acts you’d be playing alongside?
Cardiff Castle. We wish there could be a gig there every summer because it’s by far the best music venue in Britain. The line-up would have to be us, Manics, Super Furries, Parish. It would be some crazy drunken patriotic mania on St David’s day. Hallelujah.
Where can we see you playing live over the next few months?
We’re playing a ton of gigs in May and June leading up to our second ever headline show in Clwb Ifor Bach on June 14th.
Until then you can come watch us at FOCUS Wales next month, as well as Merthyr rising. We’re also supporting big boys JUDAS in Newport on the 14th may.
Would love to see some new faces come to any of them.