Meet Alicewell; a new band from Sweden. Even though this is the case, take one listen to them and they sound as if they could have stepped straight off the UK rock scene. Alicewell are an unsigned band, but despite this, they have recently released their debut album Wounds, and just finished a tour of the UK. If you love your You Me At Six, Deaf Havana and Paramore, you are going to love Alicewell. Here’s everything you need to know…
BM: Can you please introduce everyone and let people know what everyone’s role is within the band to act as a bit of an introduction?
Alicewell: Hi! We are swedish band Alicewell and this is how everybody works: Robert is the guitarist and our booker. He’s running all the contact with managers and venues for upcoming shows and promotion of Alicewell. He’s also the one who nags the others to do their job.
Lukas is also the guitarist and does all of the recordings in the band. We consider him as a dad in the band. He always thinks outside of the box and thinks twice, while the rest of us don’t.
Danny is the drummer in Alicewell. He’s doing most of the bands photos and editing work. He’s also running a photo blog with a lot of street inspired pictures. He always has a lot of bonus facts about Thailand cause he has roots from there.
Kim plays the bass and does the backing vocals. He’s totally the band’s sacrificer, and the band’s ‘hard worker’, always carrying the heaviest things and doing stuff that no one else wants to do, things like that.
Jonatan is the lead singer in the band. He’s half Swede, half Finnish boy who found his home in this band with his four best friends. He’s often too tall for recording videos/ taking pictures as well. He’s very social and likes to be on stage and meeting people – actually that’s the second reason why he’s in a band while the first thing is simply to play music.
BM: Starting with the typical questions; how and when did you all get together and start making music?
Alicewell: Before Alicewell, all of us played in different bands in different cities. Robert and Lukas played in one band and Jonatan, Kim and Danny played in another band. We had played a couple of shows together and we liked the sound of both bands. It started out by Robert and Lukas who contacted Jonatan and Kim and asked them if they would like to help them out with a side project and they gladly did.
BM: Was there a specific point in the process of putting the band together when you stopped and thought ‘this is definitely starting to work’?
Alicewell: The first day we met. It was like a ‘love on the first sight’ feeling. We were hanging out and starting to jam a couple of songs that Lukas had started to write, and when Jonatan and Kim put some vocals to them, we all felt that it sounded really good. Those songs ended up as Your Ambitions and Paris To Vermont.
BM: You just released your debut album Wounds, talk me through the process of making the album as a whole; what’s your approach to song writing etc?
Alicewell: It started out with Lukas coming up with a couple of song ideas which were Your Ambitions and Paris to Vermont. It basically just popped up in his head and he had every basic instrumental part sorted out. Lukas presented it to us all and we liked it straight away. The fact that we already had two songs done quite fast made it easy for us to find our sound right away. Because of that, we went straight ahead and just wrote one song after another as we felt confident in our sound and style.
Lukas recorded and mixed everything at his home studio, which was the best option for us since there was no cost and no time limit, which meant that we could take our time and experiment with ideas, tones, phrases and melody. We think we hit a home run on that album because we really stand out with our sound.
BM: Did you have an idea of how you wanted the album to sound before you started writing or was it a case of just jumping right into it and seeing what happened?
Alicewell: The album “Wounds” is a compilation of first songs we ever wrote as Alicewell. It’s a blend of all the genres we listen to, so we can’t say that we completely had an idea about the album sound. But afterwards, we feel that it has an Alicewell sound.
BM: Is there a story behind the name Wounds for your album, or did you just like the sound of it?
Alicewell: The name Wounds comes from our song with the same name. I think this song is about wounds in different ways. Every song is about something special, kind of like how Born to Sing is about Jonatan’s high school years. The song Wounds is about a son being left by his dad, about how he deals with the situation and his aggression. I think this song has a lot of power and feelings in it, and we all felt like Wounds was both a song that would fit the theme of the album, as well as the fact the name has indeed a good sound to it.
BM: So you guys are actually from Sweden, have you been doing the touring circuit over there for a while or was the plan just to head over to England and try to win over some fans in the UK?
Alicewell: When we played in Manchester we started to count which Alicewell’s gig it was and we came to the answer that it was our 7th gig as Alicewell! We’ve actually played abroad more than in Sweden. After our UK tour we got the feeling that there is a bigger market for our genre in the UK. Although we do hope to tour across Sweden as well because we know what Swedes are capable of at concerts!
BM: For people that haven’t given you a listen before, who would you liken yourselves to? Without knowing too much about your influences, it sounds like there’s definitely strains of UK bands like You Me At Six and Deaf Havana in there, as well as some Paramore…
Alicewell: What do you mean? We’re totally influenced by Lady Gaga, One Direction and Miley Cyrus!
Those three bands: You Me At Six, Deaf Havana and Paramore are like the ‘fathers’ of the Alicewell sound. We respect those bands a lot and think they are great. We think that UK has a lot of great bands; we’re also into bands like Mallory Knox, Young Guns, Natives, Twin Atlantic and Only Rivals. You can’t ever have too much good music.
BM: Are there any specific albums that have encouraged you to write or want to perform, whether it be an album from one of your favourite bands/artists, or just the one album alone you love?
Alicewell: We think that it was more bands in particular, not their albums. Me myself (Jonatan) got inspired by bands such as Yellowcard and Billy Talent at the age of 14 and I think they got me into music. In later days I think the bands we mentioned before such as You Me At Six, Young Guns, Deaf Havana and bands who are kind of in the same genre as us.
BM:Talk us through your live shows then, what can people expect if they see you live? Do you have a stage show or do you think it’s better to just let the music do the talking?
Alicewell: We love to give people who come to see us an energetic and explosive live performance. No matter if we play on a small stage or a huge one, we always do our best to give you an energetic show.
BM: Have you had any best or worst shows of your career so far…?
Alicewell: To start off with the worst: when we started out, we played a few shows in cities nearby. The sound engineer at one of the shows, for example, ate chips and seemed to focus more on his chips than on his job! We’ve had a few worst shows, but you have to play the bad shows to get the good shows.
I actually think our gigs in London and Aberdeen on our last tour were best shows we’ve ever played!
BM: So, tell us about some of your live experiences as audience members rather than as the performers. What are some of your favourite or first shows, or favourite festivals to go to? Are there any bands you think are consistently good live no matter how many times you see them?
Alicewell: We all love to see bands live. It doesn’t matter what kind of genre it is. The thing that matters is when you get that live feeling; seeing a band almost explode on stage with their energy. As long as a band gives a full-hearted concert, then it’s a good live performance.
BM: Do you have any plans to release videos for any of the songs on your album for people to look out for?
Alicewell: Actually we recently recorded a video. It has taken a while but the one who waits for something good never waits too long. We’re going to release it with a new single!
BM: Thank you very much for your time! Finally, if you were sat around celebrating as a band, year from now, realistically or unrealistically, what achievement would you want to be celebrating; what does the future hopefully look like for Alicewell?
Alicewell: Thanks for having us. One year from now, Robert would hopefully have dropped some weight and Alicewell would have played another UK tour with an EP and a video released.