Al Moses – single review and interview
“Taxidermy” is far heavier and in many ways more sophisticated than the band’s previous single “I want more.” It careers along at breakneck speed with vociferous guitars, an explosive shout along chorus and lyrics that should keep the English lit students happy for a while. The track is their take on the insecurity of being in a band and there’s a sweet, slightly knowing, irony when the band sing ‘The boy can barely play guitar’ and follow it with a blistering guitar solo which should go a long way to dispelling any lingering self-doubt. The band have come an incredibly long way in the past few years and have steadily built a large and boisterous following in South Wales. As they begin to get airplay and recognition beyond Wales the Al Moses momentum shows no sign of slowing down any time soon.
The band will be launching ‘Taxidermy’ with a string of gigs in June & July so we caught up with Al Moses to find out more about the track and how things are developing for the band.
“Taxidermy” is your take on being in a band. How have relationships developed in the band?
Together as a band, our relationship has always been very light-hearted, we spend most of the time being stupid and making each other laugh. We have to take the piss, because we’re in no way assured enough as a band to always stand by every song, photo shoot, or interview (like this) that we ever do.
‘Taxidermy’ itself is a statement of self-doubt. There are bits of this song, and every other song that we start to question; ‘is that a bit shit?’. But we know we’re always learning on the job as writers and musicians and all the rest, we would be idiots to nitpick every aspect of what we are right now.
It’s all summed up pretty well by one lyric:
‘I barely pay attention to my benign big mouth, I’d swallow every sentence if I could spit it out’
You can’t overthink it too much, people absolutely love the song, and it’s just a big fat single ain’t it? It’s the ideal follow up to ‘I Want More’, just raw energy.
You came together to make music but like all bands end up spending a lot of time travelling to gigs, hanging around etc. How do you get on and what have you learnt about each other along the way?
Yes this year especially has been a lot of that. You leave at 11am to get to the venue at 4pm for soundcheck, then you sit in a pub trying not to drink too many £5 Amstels until 9pm, you play 7 songs to 70 people and drive home for 2am. You get paid next to nothing and eat too many Mac’s. But we set out at the start of this year to get out of Wales as much as possible, we’ve done that, and we’ve really loved it. You’ve got to live and breath it haven’t you, you can’t see any of that as a chore because its the best way to spend a day in our eyes.
We get on really well on the road. It’s never easy to arrange to get to gigs because of our work, plus Daf is in drama college which has very demanding hours, but it’s all made easier because none of us get at each other.
I think we have learnt plenty more about our lives outside Almo now. We can’t say the strain on our lives has gotten greater because that sounds shit, its more the weight of importance grows with every gig, every t-shirt sold. We learn about a lot of new music through one another as well. Raychi has a proper eclectic mix of CD’s in the car that range from Tyler the creator to the Stooges’ ‘Funhouse’.
The single was produced by Steffan Pringle. What was his approach to working with you in the studio?
Stef really likes ’Taxidermy’, we could tell when we were recording with him he proper gets a kick out of it. That helped us throw the whole kitchen sink at the track, we weren’t holding back at all. When it was each of our turns to record our part, it was like playing live, all the adrenaline was there. He’s like a fitness coach or a hype man just egging us on while we record. There’s a mega high pitch scream right at the end of song, before the main riff comes back in, that was him just screaming in his chair.
He also said that ‘I Want More’ was the outdoor sunset slot anthem, compared to ’Taxidermy’ which is the underground 5am afterparty. We went on to film the music Video for ’Taxidermy’ in the same building as ‘I Want More’, but instead of doing it on the roof, we did it in the basement. He’s got a great way of imagining songs.
You’ve made quite a name for yourselves in South Wales. How are your plans going to get beyond Wales and into the rest of the UK?
Yes we put so much into the South Wales scene last year. We actually played every indoor venue in Cardiff apart from the Moterpoint, and fucking Fuel. Maybe we’ll play our last ever gig in Fuel. But ye while we have been trying to crack other cities, we’ve really missed playing South Wales. However, after spending pretty much 9 months away from Cardiff, we will be doing a massive gig which we are on the verge of announcing, it’s mad.
Getting ourselves ‘out there’ is a slow process, but we’ve only been really trying for 6 months and its already working. We have found ourselves really high up on stages at Isle of Wight, Tramlines fringe, Soma Fest and a few others. People have really taken to us, and we’re finding ourselves playing our first headlines in other cities which is cool.
Drummer George Percival has announced he is leaving the band because of work commitments. As such a tight knit unit how are you going to go about replacing him?
We hated the idea of searching for replacements, especially ones where we had no idea who they were, what they were like. George was a friend of Jack’s before he joined Al Moses, and that’s why he worked well with us. He’ll always be a friend too, it’s just impossible for us to be in a band together anymore. We have something going at the moment which is working well, something kind of accidentally put together. We’re not at all panicked about it, everything just falls into place eventually.
The single is out 28th June. How do you plan to launch and promote the single?
We’re doing 3 launch gigs for ’Taxidermy’; Le Pub in Newport on June 27th, The Macbeth in London on July 6th and Sin City in Swansea on July 13th. The song will be premiered on Gigslutz on the 28th, and we will be releasing the music video on the same day we think. We’ve put a lot behind the track so we hope people get tickets to each of the gigs and listen to it plenty. We’re excited to see everyone at the launch gigs, it’s gonna be a party.