Alexander Norman – Multi Genre Skills
Jamie chats to Alexander Norman about their current release, future plans and everything else in between.
For those that are unfamiliar with Alexander Norman, can you break it down for us?
“We’re a production duo that makes music of various genres, including drum and bass, hip hop, garage, UK hardcore, house… Basically we just go where the mood takes us.”
Do you think your hardcore roots has played an influence on the production style of Alexander Norman?
“In terms of understanding what makes the listener ‘feel’ something & some of the production techniques we use, yes. However, quite the opposite in terms of composition. In fact, a lot of our material is the polar opposite to hardcore, which seems to surprise people, as are the artists and vocalists we collaborate with on songs. Regardless of genre, its music. We create sounds and noises that hopefully provoke an emotion, whether it be the euphoria of hardcore and old school, right round to the anxiety of a deep grime record and its story.”
Being one of the biggest MCs in the hardcore scene, has this been a help or a hindrance in terms of getting this project off the ground? Have people in the scene been receptive and most importantly, do they understand your direction?
Honestly, being ‘that hardcore guy’ was bitter sweet for this project.
I’m not gonna lie, at first getting other leaders in different genres to click play, when they have a preconception of you already has been a real struggle.
Once or even IF they do, the feedback has been ace and often one of complete shock. Of course some have been supportive from the get go, and drum & bass wise, people like Benny Page, Erb n Dub and Danny Byrd have been awesome for support and advice from day one.”
Is the plan for this production duo to cross over into a multitude of genres over time?
“Kinda, yes, we already have a plethora of songs and collaborations sat in folders waiting to drop, from just about every dance music style. We just go wherever the daydream leads. This week, we’ve been working with one of the finest ragga/jungle MCs to touch a mic in that scene, and the following day, remixing a song for one of the biggest crossover rave acts of the 90’s. That’s what keeps it fresh us.”
What one style out of your comfort zone would you both be tempted to dabble in?
“Well, Ed plays guitar and I play the piano. We’ve been talking about having a crack at a rock song. The BBC have linked us with loads of great alternative vocalists, so we’re almost spoilt for choice. I reckon we’ll have a dabble at some point.”
What’s the long term goal for Alexander Norman? Live tour?
“Making music is our priority and we’ve been making two albums, but, yes we’d love to play to different crowds and tailor our set to where we’re performing. We’ve been booked for a couple of festivals doing various genres, so we’re gonna be looking to actually play stuff live and bring out our various guests to feature. We’re also doing an ‘unplugged’ style set soon for BBC Introducing & also have some great DJ sets lined up around the UK of course as well. Its all very exciting.”
‘Flamingo’ was produced sometime ago and was featured almost a year ago via BBC Introducing. Why has it taken so long to surface?
“Well, initially we were planning on holding it back for the album, then a couple of big labels showed an interest in signing it after all the various counties started playing it on BBC radio ( which both fell through, as often does with these sort of things ) Then, with everything else going on, it kinda sat on a hard drive waiting for release. We decided this year we’re going IN, so it made sense to start with that. Its been crazy online with people like Altern 8, Liquid, Freestylers & even DJ Marky showing an interest in it, to name but a few. Id never imagine they’d even listen to it, let alone be commenting, liking and sharing it! Blessed.”
It’s certainly got that summer vibe to it! Did you original plan for a Spring release?
“Yes, when we sent the beat to Dynamite, I could kinda envisage his voice on it already, so i was gassed when he sent back such an awesome verse & loved the track. He’s a don in my eyes. I hadn’t planned on rapping on it at first, but I was just vibing off his part & started recording.
The result is what many are describing as a new school ’Summertime’, which to me, is a HUGE compliment. Very proud of that track.
It almost has that unique UK garage flavour to it, any chance of another version?
“A garage remix could be cool, I guess we could revisit it in the future? Gammer also expressed an interest in doing a remix too, which would be crazy to hear what he did with it, as his stuff right now is so eclectic & different.”
What’s coming up next on the release schedule?
“Next up release wise ( I think ) is going to be ‘Mine’ with awesome singer/vocalist Anni. She’s got such a great energy to her, and it really was a joy to work with her. Its a kinda liquid/pop drum and bass track, so we’re just getting some cross genre versions & remixes of it together at the moment. Again, its a real feel good buzz to it.”
Any plans to feature other drum and bass MCs on your tracks?
“Yes yes yes! As mentioned earlier, we are working with one of the best legends in the game currently, but I have some ideas for a couple of the other guys that id love to get poppin’. There’s a lot of talent kicking about the underground rave scenes, and coming from an MC background originally, I believe we could showcase their skill correctly.”
Do you guys have a wishlist for the year in terms of things you want to get done?
“It goes something like this – Regular independent releases to start, then album one out in the summer and reveal the future plans for the act moving forward. Of course tour the songs & perform some of it live. There’s lots more to tell, but I guess, you’ll have to wait & see whats in store.”
“Everyone that is supporting our movement & music, but the biggest shout, goes to our families. They’re our motivation each day and we love you all very much.”