On their musical influences
Steve: So you’re saying you don’t listen to much music?
Alex: No, no. It’s not that I’m like, ‘I don’t want to listen to that, don’t play that.’ I listen to music if it’s on and music really does affect me. Maybe that’s why I don’t listen to it as because it affects me whether it’s a sad song or a happy song. But yeah, from the beginning, I never wanted any influence from anybody. I wanted everything I wrote down to come from [gestures] here and in here.’
Steve: So is it strange then when people say to you ‘I can hear a little bit of this in it’ because you haven’t listened to any of these people.
Alex: Yeah, in the early days there were a lot of comparisons and I was just kind of like….[shrugs] Thank you? [Laughs]
On their songwriting process
Steve: Do you write really easily? You make the songs sound effortless so I don’t know why you write, if you’re all in a room together or whether [Alex] you’ve got a song and you play it to the band. How does it work?
Alex: I just constantly write. You might call me a bit of a hermit because when everyone else is out having fun, I’m sat at home with my guitar.
Steve: That’s your fun though is it?
Alex: Yeah, that’s just what I want to do.
Steve: Are you increasingly hard on yourself: ‘this is good enough, this isn’t good enough’ when you get to the end of writing a song?
Alex: After the song you always think, I could’ve done that, I could’ve done this. But I try and take it at face value and when I first write it, how does it make me feel and how might it make anybody else feel? If there’s passion behind it, I don’t want to lose that. I don’t want it to get lost in the ether. I want to get it out. I think there’s always room for improvement but if you know something feels right, you just know don’t you?
On personal songs
Steve: [Your songs] almost sound like pep talks to yourself.
Alex: Nobody’s ever touched on that but I do see that. Because it began as therapy really: I started writing songs because I needed just to escape. I’m very deep, me. I just think all the things massively and you get it out. For me anyway, personally – all those things that keep bringing me down, if you say it out into the world, it’s not as bad. I’ve got rid of that pain and I’ve put it into that song.
On starting out
Alex: There was a lot more – and I’m only going back a couple of years here – there was lot more opportunity. In terms of, some of the pubs we used to play when we first started, they’ve gone, they’re boarded up. Just nothing around it. But its important isn’t it? It’s how we started. And I must say, we never had anyone putting us down or [asking] ‘why are you in a band?’
On what they’re doing next
Alex: I’m going yachting with Rihanna, me!
Steve: Okay, does your manager know?
Alex: No, nobody knows.