Infectious Magazine interviews Alan Bonner on pop culture, the media frenzy of X Factor and Simon Cowell, and his upcoming US tour. Check it out after the jump.
IM: Thank you for taking the time to speak with me. How are you?
Alan Bonner: No problem, thanks for interviewing me. I’m very well thanks. drinking tea in bed listening to Orphans and Vandals. LOVE THEM and the singer is hot too which of course always helps…
IM: Your new album Balladeer is almost out! What can fans expect?
Alan Bonner: It’s quite a confessional record. Someone told me recently that it’s like they were listening to pages of my diary set to music. I don’t actually keep a diary so I guess it’s my equivalent. It was written during a time of struggle so I needed an outlet, but it wasn’t intentional. I think the next album will be more about me looking outwards and observing the world around me, where as this one is about looking inward. I’m sure some will like it because the songs are personal, and others will hate it for the same reason, it’s just where I was at at the time a wrote the songs. Albums are like snapshots of where an artist is at at any given point in life. That’s what’s great about making records. Each one is a different picture.
IM: Is there any song in particular you’d like fans to pay close attention to?
Alan Bonner: I’d like close attention to be paid to all of them hahaha but lets see today “Autumn” or “Talia” are my favourites.
IM: You graduated from Brighton Institute of Modern Music. Although you said it was a great learning experience and it helped focus you, do you think that in the way of musical training and styling it has helped you in your career?
Alan Bonner: I wouldn’t really call it a training as such. I learnt a lot of stuff that I forgot pretty soon after because I wasn’t using it in the music I was making on a day to day basis, but I think it helped spur me on. The only way to really grow as an artist or musician is to get out there, play shows and keep writing. You have to work hard and at your craft. You learn for more from a year on the road than you ever will from a year sitting in a classroom. I got a lot out of it because I was gigging and making my first album while I was studying there so I had something to apply it to. But I feel I’m a better musician and a better writer now than I was on that first album and my next one will be better than this one, but thats how it works. College is great as a basis but its more important to play as much as possible and live as much as possible. Drink in as much inspiration as you can. Get drunk on it.
IM: Do you think there are any disadvantages?
Alan Bonner: Not for me, no, because I was working my tits off alongside it. It was a really creative time and I don’t regret it, but I’m far more interested in what I’m doing now and even more interested in what the future holds.
IM: I saw you mention Velvet Goldmine (Excellent movie!) in an interview, and how it gave you this view of how your life in London would be. Do you think that the media and pop culture can be dangerous in the way it reaches young people, particularly artists seeking to make a life for themselves? Or do you think its inspiration outweighs that?
Alan Bonner: Good question. I think it depends. I think the whole X Factor thing is totally fucked. I’m not knocking the kids that go on those shows as some of them have real talent and it takes balls to put yourself through that. But it sends out the message that a you can go from singing karaoke in a pub in Leeds one minute and then be top of the pops next if you can just convince Mr Cowell that you have what it takes. Those programs don’t make artists, they make disposable puppets who will then be spat out and forgotten within a year. I think it sends out the wrong message to young people. There’s no work ethic involved and those shows are not about art they are about money. It’s grotesque.
I was never interested in any of that. I wanted to be an artist and live an artist’s life, even if it meant being broke, and struggling for years and a yes I had a very romantic view of it all, maybe I still do, but I wanted to do something real and true. There’s very little truth in Pop culture now. It’s all about gloss and fame without anyone giving a shit about the content. There is amazing new music being made in this country but you wont here it on the radio (other than 6Music) and you wont see a lot of it in the charts and thats a really sad thing, but it’s out there.
I do think though if you are a young artist and have a strong sense of who you are and what you want to do you will find your own way, even if it takes you a long time, and trust me the road will be bumpy.
IM: Being a solo artist, what have been some of the advantages/disadvantages you’ve found?
Alan Bonner: Being solo is great because you only have yourself to answer to and it’s easier to organise everything when there’s only your own schedule to consider. Having said that I miss the camaraderie of being in a band and I also think that you can get bored of your own ideas if you work alone for too long. It’s good to have other people to bounce off. Even on my solo albums my producers and other musicians have some input and I think the next album will be more collaborative, maybe I’ll form a band next time around. I’m excited by the new songs that are coming so we shall see.
IM: You’re coming to the US to tour the first time in May, correct? What can you tell us about that? You must be very excited!
Alan Bonner: I’m so excited to be coming to America, I cant tell you. I’ll be first support for an American band called Darling Waste and my good friend Paul Diello will be opening for them as well (it was him who invited me on the tour, check him out, he’s a talented boy) I am yet to find out the dates and the venues but it will be announced soon and the tour will go throughout May and early June. To tour in the US will be a dream come true. I’ll also be on tour in the UK throughout March. Dates can be found on my website.
IM: Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Alan Bonner: Anything else I’d like to add? BUY MY RECORD and I’ll be your friend for life ;O)
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