With so many cool bands out there to check out I offer you some minor guidance by introducing you to ALLEYWAY. Anders Ekdahl ©2020
How important is the band’s name in giving out the right kind of vibe?
Nick – I like the name Alleyway, because it sounds dirty and trashy, but it’s also like this dark place where if you think about it, a lot of films and stories have chosen alleyways for some pretty strange and creepy things to happen. There’s also a feeling of danger and mystery.
Andy – When you think of an alleyway you think of the streets. We are just street trash rock ‘n’ roll alcoholics.
I wanted to start a band in the 80s, but couldn’t find the right people to do so with. What was it that made you want to do the band?
Nick – I was in a band with Dave that wasn’t very active at the time and I wanted to do something that was easy to play and really fun and I missed playing cool basement shows and small bars. I thought starting a band like Alleyway could bring me back to those times.
Andy – My first two bands were broken up (one has sinced gotten back together) and I was in a doom metal band at the time Nick asked me if I would be interested in Alleyway. Nick and I had been working on doing a band for 4 years, but it just never materialized. I jumped at the chance and loved it. I wasn’t anything I had been doing, but I really love the dirty rock ‘n’ roll. Eight years later we are playing some of our best stuff.
With so many genres and sub-genres of metal today what is your definition of the music you play?
Nick – We play fast hard rock metal with no fancy ornaments. It’s really fun music to play and I think the meaning of the songs is easier for people to follow so they can just have fun listening to it.
How do you arrange the tracks? Is there a method to how you arrange the songs on a record?
Nick – We start with putting the best songs first where we want them on the album and then we go to the second best songs. The tricky thing is when we notice things that are similar in the songs as we don’t want them to be right next to each other on the album.
Andy – Nick writes the songs, but I’ll come up with a couple here and there. With our latest album, we were going to write 20 songs and we did. The top 10 became After Dark. We have our own formula for how we arrange them for the LP. It’s goes back to the days of LPs and cassettes. You have to have songs that grab your attention at the start and the end of each side. It makes you flip the album over and over.
I am fascinated by how people can still come up with things that haven’t been done before, chord structures that hasn’t been written, sentences that hasn’t been constructed before. Where do you find your inspiration to create?
Nick – I always get ideas from films and want to write my own version of things. For me, it’s much easier to write a song about something than to try and write a story or film script. Thinking back though on the first two Alleyway albums we were really just writing about exactly what our own lives were like at that time. Things have changed as we have thought of more new Ideas to write about.
Andy – When I come up with an idea for a song it’s usually from experience or something that I experienced that I want other people to experience. An example is the song At The Night Light. It’s about this awesome pub in Hamburg, Germany. You’ll have to look into it to find another hidden meaning.
How important is the graphic side of the band? How much thought goes into artwork etc.?
Nick – We discuss the artwork ideas together and somehow decide on who will do the album cover. We’ve chosen a different artist for each album so far. Andy has put together all of the layouts as well as the logo. I work on the videos. I think the visual graphic side is becoming more important to us as we continue to find new possibilities.
Andy – Our old drummer Josh handled the first album. I’ve been handling them since then. I feel that the artwork and presentation is very important. I’ve bought albums based on the artwork. The visuals grab your eye. I try to come up with ideas that fit the band. Let’s Get Destroyed was based off of the Ramones. The new cover is different because it’s color. I came up with this after seeing my friends band Bewitcher and their 7” Too Fast For The Flames. I wanted a focal point and this album is different lyrically and musically from the others, because we’ve grown as a band.
I get the feeling that more and more metalheads too are just downloading single tracks. Is the album as relevant today as it was in the 70s and 80s? Is digital killing the album?
Nick – I feel the same way, but I hope things will go back to the 70s and 80s as far as music is concerned. People are still starting new record stores despite the downloading trend. I just hope it never becomes like movies where there are no more video rental places anymore. I hope digital does not kill the album.
Andy – I don’t see digital as killing the album as I see it putting it to sleep. I feel too many bands release singles, which I don’t consider singles as they only have the one song available. A single is a quick way to stay fresh. Release a single every few weeks and you have an album in 30 weeks. If you release an album and then in a few months you have nothing new, I think that is ok. Some think that is bad. If you look at the old bands that’s the way it was. Put out an album and tour.
Are we killing our beloved metal scene by supporting digital downloading or can anything positive come from supporting single tracks and not albums? Will the fan as we know him/her be gone soon?
Nick – Albums are pieces of art so it’s okay to stream the music but then please buy the art as well to support the band. I don’t think live music will ever die as it is an event and people always want to go somewhere and do something. Although what kind of bands can play where and who makes money is such a mess. It’s way over my head.
Andy – I think digital downloading is ok. I’m the old school collector myself. There is things to be gained by releasing singles, but you also lose a lot. You don’t have to write songs as fast, but you have to write the best songs ever. The fans won’t be gone, but I think the digital age did kill the average fan. After Napster people thought that music should be free and was devalued. Some days I don’t feel like paying for music just because people don’t want to pay for mine, but I can’t. I’m not that person. I feel if you made art it is worth something.
Is there a scene to speak of for a band like yours? Where do you fit in?
Nick – At first I thought this band would just fit in best playing small shows but the more we have toured I am thinking we could possibly do a lot more. We have played some bigger shows and left the audience shocked as they were not expecting much from an opening band called Alleyway that they have never heard of. We ended up selling more records than any other show. That tells me we have more to offer any audience.
Andy – There is an audience for us. I see it everytime I watch similar style bands that are dirty rock ‘n’ roll. Live music is where it’s at. The energy and enthusiasm just brings people together. We can and will do bigger and better shows. I think the scene will turn around.
What does the future hold?
Nick – We are always working hard on getting dates for the next tour as well as making new videos. The After Dark album is not out yet but we already have four songs for the fifth album which I hope we can record next year.