Ahead of their gig at the Tooth & Claw in April, Dale Sutherland of Alkanes chats to Chris Lemon of IGigs.
Describing themselves as Alt. Rock/Alt. Metal the Aberdeen based band are Dale Sutherland, Gary Wilson and Jack Molyneux. Dale, created the Alkanes following the end of Purple Divide in 2013, quotes influences such as Arcane Roots, Biffy Clyro and Muse. We caught up with Dale prior to their gig at the end of April;
There is a definite refined intensity in the Alkanes tracks, how difficult is it maintain that in your music?
The main issue is a personal battle with myself and the drive to make a track exactly how I hear it in my head. I’ll write the skeleton, for lack of a better word, of a song and bring it to the guys. If the first reaction from Gary and Jack is really positive then I know we’re really onto something, and usually we’re never too far apart in how we all think it should sound.
Other times, I might struggle to get across to the guys the feel that I’m wanting to convey with a song and if I don’t get that initial reaction I tend to beat myself up about and pull apart the song or scrap it completely. So the intensity that is conveyed in the EP is something I try to develop. I want to create as much power and drive as you can possibly get from a 3 piece and with a couple of new tracks that we’re currently working on, I think we’ve upped our game. It will only get more intense from here!
How do the Alkanes stand out in a relatively crowded alternative scene?
There are some incredible bands around in the Alternative scene at the moment, Donnie Willow, Megalomatic, and Twin Heart to name just a few. It’s a difficult one. I’m never one to blow my own trumpet really. I guess some of the crazy shirts myself and Jack wear sometimes is what really makes us stand out!
With nearly three years of Alkanes, what do you see as the biggest achievements of the band so far and what are your future ambitions?
Our headline gig at The Lemon Tree in Aberdeen is one that stands out for me. Some amazing artists have played there over the years. To be able to take to the stage that was once graced by 2 of my favourite all time bands, Radiohead and Biffy Clyro, was an amazing feeling.
As for future ambitions, a debut album would be nice and I hope to hit the festival circuit one day. I would love to get the chance to play Reading & Leeds or Download. Another goal I’ve always had with this band, is to be able to tour with a band that I admire, someone like Arcane Roots or Black Peaks, I like to think that’s achievable.
It’s probably a bit of a cliché but, ultimately, I want to take this band as far as we can possibly go. I take great pride being part of this band, and with all of the projects I’ve been involved with, be it playing or management, I’ve never felt more comfortable.
‘A Different Kind of Perfect’ has received quite a bit of positive feedback. What did you learn from the process, after a year are you thinking about what comes next?
I think the main thing we’ve learnt is that there is no need to rush a release. I pushed hard to get the EP finished and out as soon as we could because we had been around for a couple of years with nothing to show for it. If I could go back, I would want us to spend a lot more time in the studio and I’d also want to focus more on the campaign leading up to the release. We left ourselves really short of time. In fairness, we managed to get a good bit of coverage considering, which always makes me ask “What if we just wait longer?”.
I was just being impatient and I’ve learnt from that, and it’s something I always stress to the other bands I work with in management. Just take your time, the music industry won’t just disappear tomorrow. Just focus on making the best record you can, if it takes 3 months, 6 months, 1 year, whatever! You can’t rush these things.
After over a year now since the release of the EP, we’re looking at working on a new single. We’re just struggling to all find the time to do it at the moment, but we’re not in a rush. We’ve briefly discussed working with good friends on an exciting release together in the summer but we don’t want to say much more than that at the moment. It might split opinions, shall we say.
Five gigs in five days seems hard going, how are you feeling about the tour in general?
Between both Alkanes and Broadsea, it’s terrifying the levels of excitement we’re all feeling right now. The tour was something that was first talked about probably about a year ago and now for it to finally be happening is just a great feeling. Broadsea have quickly become our brother band and a few of us have known each other from before either band existed so it’s nice to be able to hit the road with our friends. They’ve just dropped a cracking debut EP too, and they’ve had a great response, so it’s a great time to be playing with them.
I don’t find 5 nights on the trot too daunting. We’re going out for the love of what we do and to just really enjoy ourselves. It’s actually going to be 6, we’re playing a charity event in Inverurie the day after the Inverness show, so I might have to take it easier than I first planned at The Tooth & Claw!
There’s quite an array of talent on the bill of your Inverness gig, how did the line-up come about and what can you say about the other acts?
The bill is unreal! Our friend James, who helped put the tour together for us, managed to get Toy Mountains on board for this show and the Aberdeen show, and I’m very excited to have them join us. They are a band I’ve admired for a couple of years now, and they themselves bring a great deal of intensity to their music. You really sense the passion and emotion they throw into their songs. I’ve not been lucky enough to catch them live yet so I’m really looking forward to it.
We were booked to play a headline show at the tail end of 2016 at The Tooth & Claw, and we had All So Simple added to the bill. Unfortunately, due to life giving us a bum deal, I had to do a solo set that night with the boys taking headline duties. At that point we were starting to piece together the tour and I promised the boys a slot. It just so happened that James had asked them before I could suggest them to him, so it worked out quite well. Delighted to have them on board again. They are a tight unit and are always fun to watch!
Alkanes ,supported by Toy Mountains, All So Simple & Broadsea, play Tooth & Claw, Inverness on the 29th of April, 2017.
Tour Dates with Broadsea
25th April – Sneaky Pete’s, Edinburgh w/Campbell’s Wild
26th April – Bloc, Glasgow w/I Said Good Day
27th April – Monty’s, Dunfermline
28th April – Tunnels 2, Aberdeen w/Toy Mountains
29th April – The Tooth & Claw, Inverness