A former metal-head and bricklayer, Alex Pearson has traded his galloping guitar rhythms and cement mixer to become one of the fastest-rising stars in the British singer-songwriter scene. Intrigued, I made the journey to his recording studio in an Edinburgh cellar to learn more about his début album and the man they call ‘Yorkshire Boy’…
Geeks Unleashed: So, a new face-on-the-block with a début album. What inspired you to break from the mould and go into music?
Alex Pearson: The fact that I am probably incapable of doing anything else? (Alex laughs) Music has always been a passion of mine. It always really bugged me that people assumed you have to go and work in an office job, but not everyone is built to sweat it out under blue florescent lights while wearing a cheap polyester suit. I flitted around from job to job, but the only constant thing was the music. The only time I am really calm and relaxed is when I am on stage or writing music.
GU: Tell me a little bit about this record of yours.
AP: It’s got everything that I like in it, from acoustic guitars to massively over the top melodies, to straight-up sing-alongs. There are also some really slow reflective acoustics tracks on the EP, but I think that they are equally balanced by the full band tracks that are more intricate and have a lot of power behind them.
To be honest I think its quite difficult to describe as its kind of a new sound, I’ll let others decide what genre it fits in to…
GU: That’s quite a statement! Have you always been a singer-songwriter, or have you experimented with other approaches before becoming the Yorkshire Boy?
AP: I wrote my first song when I was 9 years old, on an old Casio keyboard with a pre-set song programmed in to it. I have always been in bands since then. At uni’ I was front man for a pseudo metal band called Nothing in a Moment (NIAM). Eye liner, gold Flying-V and all. The whole metal scene was for me was about replicating the music I listened to, rather than creating the music I wanted to.
GU: What caused you to change direction?
AP: A massive fallout between the bass player and drummer in NIAM. Which was tricky because we all lived in the same house. Have you ever tried to get four drunk/stoned guys in to the same room to practice? It’s even harder when they refuse to speak to each other. I just couldn’t afford to keep buying Jack Daniels for five people. (Alex laughs) But I guess its also due to a chronic lack of friends…
GU: What’s your craziest on-stage story?
AP: The story is actually more a night full of events. I was too busy living the rock’n’roll cliché to focus on my performance. It started with getting horrifically drunk and getting my ‘guyliner’ done, followed by knocking a security guard with an empty bottle of Jack (seemingly they can’t fly). On stage the wish of every front man was granted to me when a bright pink bra landed on the mic stand whilst my insane lead guitar player was licking my face, that was a funny moment. That night ended kind of badly for me. I passed out naked with my hand down a U-bend.
Now that’s rock’n’roll!
GU: Who would you site as your main influence?
AP: That’s a difficult question, because the majority of the music I like is European symphonic metal. But the music that I write is inspired by a variety of hard-working acoustic rock musicians, the likes of Eddie Vedder Springsteen and Damien Rice. But the catalyst for my full return to music was Frank Turner. After listening to ‘Love Ire & Song’ I hung up my Flying-V for good (its hanging on my wall right now, I’m looking right at it… memories, hazy hazy memories.)
GU: Tell us a bit about yourself, and if you were to pick one famous musician to share a beer with, who would it be and why?
AP: When people ask me about myself, I tend to refer a lot to Yorkshire and what it is to be from there. Wherever I go, I will always be a Yorkshire man! Hence ‘Yorkshire Boy’… but being a Yorkshire man is a state of mind, it’s never putting a coat on when you are cold, never admitting you are cold in the first place, saying exactly what you think and bugger the consequences… and above all being large, loud and living life your own way.
If I was to pick one famous musician to have a beer with though, it would have to be Frank Turner, if for no other reason than when watching an interview with him he said “I’d be happy to grab a beer with anyone.”
Made in Yorkshire can be downloaded on iTunes