Here’s a great interview of Alex Hulme by Alex Fenton of Creative Hive – the original is here: http://www.creativehive.org/post/1260
As part of my coverage of Kendal Calling 2012, I ventured up to the fabulous Woodland Stage at the festival on Sunday to watch singer songwriter Alex Hulme from Garstang. I’d seen Alex play in Bolton a few weeks before and I got the chance to ask him a few questions when he came off stage.
AF: Alex, what a fantastic performance, how’ve you enjoyed playing KC?
AH: Its been absolutely amazing. When I came last year, I said I really wanted to play at this festival next year and it’s been a fantastic weekend.
AF: What are you looking forward to at this years festival.
AH: Im going to go and see Feeder tonight. They were my favourite childhood band – this will be my tenth time, I’ll have to see them. I’m going to the Riot Jazz stage to see Lauren Housley. Ryan Kean was really good and Toe Rag were bonkers – it was nice to go bonkers!
AF: What have been your career highlights so far?
AH: I got to play a couple of my songs for Paul McCartney a month ago which was unreal. I was part of LIPA and me and 4 people got to play for him, which was outrageous. KC has been a massive highlight – a big tick on the list.
AF: What are your thoughts on the TV Talent shows
AH: Xfactor and Britains got talent are a scandal, part of my dissertation was about these programmes and their effect on the industry. Everything is focussed on the journey and not the end product. People are very talented on there, which is just exploiting people as they win and then everyone forgets about them and then it moves on to the next years contestants rather than building up slowly and doing things properly.
AF: You’ve got a new EP out ‘The Start’ which is great – how does this EP differ from your earlier material?
AH: The production values are much higher, we worked really hard on the arrangements and the sound. It’s got a real mix of stuff, I like to write poppy stuff, I’ve got a bit of pop in me that I’ve never properly exploited. I like to mix and match – there’s a crazy one, a soft one and it’s a nice ride through everything I’m doing at the minute.
AF: When you met Macca, was there one thing that really stuck in your mind that he said to you?
AH: He really stresses the song writing – the 3 most important things – Melody, Melody and Melody, that really stuck in my head.
AF: As well as singing and playing the guitar, you control a sampler with your feet – it looks incredibly difficult, how did you learn to do it?
AH: When I first learned to write and record my songs, I used to use a Line Six, very lo fi recording device, a computer loop machine. I started using that when I was 14 using loop phrases spending hours practising in my bedroom.
AF: How do you think that social media helps or hinders you as an artist?
AH: Facebook is the singular best form of promotion to anyone that hasn’t got a huge budget. It’s surpassed MySpace by a million miles – the ability to post a YouTube video and Soundcloud clip. Facebook allows you to share it and pass it on, it makes spreading the word 100 times easier. I think its helped my new EP surpass all previous records.
Getting people to LIKE your page on Facebook is unbelievably hard though! Facebook likes are the new MySpace hits in the industry, so getting people to click that button is really important. I look through the list occasionally and think Why havent you clicked Like!
AF: I heard you play Sparks recently and I must admit, I had to suppress a tear. Are there any songs that really move you?
AH: Aww! (Laughs) Yes, there’s a guy Sufjan Stevens – I never thought I had a favourite artist as such, but he’s got a track on his album Illinois, which is hideously horrible, its about Leukaemia, a stunningly beautiful song, but harrowing. I was driving home on the way home and I had to stop, because I was filling up.
AF: One of your songs is about your Grandad Wally who passed away – can you tell me a bit more about this one
AH: My Grandparents are really big characters and influences on my life. The song’s called Salute. My Grandad was 92 and still looking after my nan who had dementia. He was still carrying her to the toilet at 92, which was mad and he just plummeted over the course of a few months. The song is about that – it was a big shock in my life.
AF: Do you think that song writing can help you come to terms with things?
AH: Totally. When I wrote Salute, I was balling my eyes out while writing it as I’d never really spoken about that side of it. It’s hideously cheesy, but I think the best songs come from the heart.
AF: Slightly off topic now – VW campervans – old ones or new ones?
AH: It has to be an old one – they might break down more, but they have more character. Its like the old mini and new mini, the new mini is bigger, faster and HUGE – you have to have to the iconic version!
AF: If you could play with any artist living or dead, who would it be?
AH: Probably Irish singer songwriter Foy Vance. If I could sing with Sufjan Stevens and Fionn Regan that would be unreal!
AF: Alex, its been a pleasure, have a great rest of your festival!
AH: Cheers Alex!