Alfa 9 write music inspired by long drives into the American desert and describe their sound as ‘dreamy-spaghetti-psychedelic-country-jangle’.

Jim Ottewill
  • By Jim Ottewill
  • 12 Sep 2012
  • min read

Their second album Gone To Ground, which is released next month on Blow Up Records, sees the band wear their hearts on their sleeves, drawing on a rich heritage of classic country-rock and 60s psychedelia.

The self-produced set was recorded in their home town of Newcastle-under-Lyme at their own Dungeon Studios and mixed in London by Myles Clarke (The Who/Pete Townsend).

M spent 30 seconds with the band’s Ali and Leon to find out more…

How long have you been making music?
Ali: For as long as I can remember. I became more serious about it when I was at school. I was learning the guitar and I started recording songs on my cassette hi-fi with the built in mic. I was hooked!!
Leon: I’ve been in bands for just over 20 years (eek!).

What inspired your latest album Gone To Ground?
Ali: For me it would have to be The Sweetheart of the Rodeo by The Byrds.
Leon: Biggest influence was visiting the West Coast of the US and driving in the desert, visiting the infamous Joshua Tree Inn along the way, with a suitable soundtrack blasting out of the stereo

What process do you go through to create your music?
Ali: This can differ. One of us can have a song near completion or alternatively just an idea or even a riff. However what always stays consistent is how we explore the song as a band. We play out the song live to get feel and a direction and finally record it as a demo. Once it’s recorded we can get an idea of whether we're happy with it or not.
Leon: Lots of trial and error but what sounds good demoed at home doesn't necessarily work when brought to the band and vice versa - that's my favourite part of making music: Bringing a half-cooked idea into the studio and hearing it come alive and take on a life of its own.

How would you describe your sound?
Ali: Dreamy psychedelia.
Leon: Spaghetti psychedelic country jangle.

What would your dream collaboration be?
Ali: If it could be anyone it would be Gene Clark.
Leon: I've always loved John Leckie's production and I've recently become aware of David Holmes through his work with Cashier No.9 - he seems to bring a real cinematic, widescreen edge to whatever he does. I also wouldn't say no to Johnny Marr.