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ALRIGHT (OKAY) have arrived on the music scene at full throttle with their own unique brand of wobbly guitar pop. Sitting down in their practice studio, the four friends – who like to “unintentionally cause a bit of carnage” – reveal they’ve spent the last three years “jamming and jiving” in the hopes of bringing that little bit of extra joy to their fans.
Alex, Jonah, James and Will are all well versed in the ways of Liverpool. Having all met at university, the boys have spent the past few years growing and thriving alongside Liverpool’s vibrant music scene. Forming at the back end of 2018 after Alex and Will met on a night out, the band instantly hit it off, with James describing the relationship between the four as “love at first sound”.
Picking their brains on the unusual name of the band, Jonah divulges that “Clown Funeral” and “Casual Scythe” were both plausible contenders. Alex chimes in to clarify: “I remember seeing a post online somewhere showing signs homeless people would use when travelling to different places, usually marking where they had food or shelter, or what the general area was like. There was a sign with an X and underneath it read ‘alright (okay)’, which I quite liked the wording of. I guess it was to tell people the area wasn’t that bad to be in. Once we looked at what names we had come up with, that one spoke to us the most.”
If the name has a clear lineage, then the band’s sound is much more difficult to pin down. This, of course, isn’t necessarily a bad thing; their unique ability to flit between genres sets them apart from the sea of indie bands currently rising through the ranks. I’m eager to hear their own take. “Like if Frank Zappa had a chance to meet System of a Down to discuss the global financial crisis of 2008,” philosophises Jonah. “Or, if you want a serious answer, fun and fast-paced post-punk riffs over a wall of crushing drums.”
Though eager to bring their Zappa-Tankian tonic to the world, much like the rest of society the boys found their plans halted with you-know-what. Noting that the pandemic made them appreciate the little things in life, Jonah jests with a profound decision that “pubs are the backbone of society”.
But despite the carnage ensuing around them, lockdown did help the band find a new direction for their music. Writing a lot of new tracks acoustically, the band found re-entering the studio to be a breath of fresh air. Having performed their first ‘gig’ as an Instagram livestream, the group found themselves making up for lost time once they could finally let their debut single, Coffee, out into the world. “The last year has been a crazy dichotomy,” James reflects. “From having to practice acoustic sets at Alex’s house to being able to play in front of crowds for the first time is unbelievable. It was definitely a struggle over lockdown, but I’m so happy we persevered and made new music.”
Coffee bookmarks a defiant page in the growing anthology of Alright (okay), having originally been penned when Alex was 17, and recorded in Vulcan Studios, the post-punk cut offers a high-energy take on break-up anthems. “It’s about that strange limbo period you can sometimes find yourself in when you know you’re done, but they’re still occupying your mind or they’re trying to stay close with you. The tune was quite a bit slower to start, but once I brought it to the band it became its own beast.” Eyes fixed firmly on the next chapter, Jonah divulges they’re currently adding finishing touches to their next single, After Paris, with a debut EP on the horizon.
Despite having only played to a virtual crowd, the quartet stumbled into selling out a show at Liverpool’s Jacaranda. Described as “absolute carnage” by Alex (not least owing to him breaking his guitar string three songs in), the band navigated their way through a bustling, sweaty mosh to deliver their lockdown-penned tracks to a live crowd for the first time. With James noting that the band had been working their way towards this moment for their entire career, it was surely a night not to be missed. “To see all the faces we’ve been unable to see for 18 months smiling and having a nice time with one another was truly a special moment.” Jonah cheekily adds: “Did get a bit sweaty. You’ll have to check our Instagram to see topless Will and James.”
Discussing the amazing talent they find themselves surrounded by in the 21st-century indie scene, the band tip their hats to Dead Animals and Mondo Trasho, who coincidentally will be supporting the boys at their headline show at Jimmy’s in February. For now, the band continue to be humbled by their craft. I ask Jonah what it is about performing live that he just can’t get anywhere else: “Tinnitus.”
After Paris is available now. Alright (okay) play the Bido Lito! Social at the Kazimier Stockroom on 28th January.