Intriguing Interviews (#II011): Theo Alexander
It feels relieving to know the sheer fact that the weekend is going to be back pretty soon. With so many things that is currently on the go, it is the alleviative thought of relaxing that makes us drool over our work space.
But there is something else that sedates the mind for at least some minutes, per day: Music. Listening to it, making it is something that lets us breathe, even though if it would at least for some hours.
Speaking about listening, we recently exchanged some mellifluous words with London-native & Prague based musician Theo Alexander.
It has been always joyful to wade through these cynosures that can be found on Theo’s site. An aural aspirin, for the annoying headaches caused by the dull duties that everyone has to go through the week.
As we listened to these phonic sedatives, we thought that we need to make a talkfest happen. So, after some days & some emails, everything has been set. Oh & people, you will love it.
So, shall we start with the interview? we think, we shall:
Hello, hello, hello. It really is a mere pleasure to have the chance of making this talkfest happen. Not only that you sugar-coated our days with every release that we have checked so far, but also that there is going to be more in the near future. But for those ones, who might not heard from you, would you mind doing a terse intro?
Yes, sure. My name is Theo. I’m a composer from London, but currently based in Prague.
Those cities are really overflowing with different influences, whether if we’re talking about art, culture or life in general. But tell us, Theo, how did your musical itinerary has started? Has it been a mere fluke or something that was destined to happen?
Well, mostly through wanting something different in sounds while listening to them, you know.
Let us make a guess, you started with one instrument? Which one? The guitar, right?
Right. But then, I wanted to stop playing only the guitar to start learning other instruments as well. Boredom always provokes change.
This is indeed very true. Everyone of us know the feeling of tedium, it can make you feeling dizzy after a while, so doing something in a creative perspective in your leisure is something that truly takes the impression of being bored into the level of oblivion. Speaking of which, are you listening to the same style of music that you compose? Or do you hear something waaaaay different?
Definitely something way different. On a daily, casual basis I listen to heavy stuff. You know, like death metal, grindcore etc. Besides that, I’m currently having a lot of fun with the Obscure Tape Music of Japan-compilations
& Balinese music, such as Jaipong.
Really love the variety that you can listen through. These pieces brings up a variety of emotions. Plus, as most of the musicians let themselves be inspired by those ones or an impression they had while listening to music throughout their seconds of relaxation or even during the dullest routine-tasks, they want to turn these specific notions into notes. Do you do that as well? What do you try to convey the most?
It really varies. At first, I was wrapped up with the balance of emptiness & intimacy that is totally saturated in contemporary piano music now. My next release, the album Waiting For You to Die (Solar Edit: out soon via 1631 Recordings) has some of that, but also begins to explore ideas of memory & implicate the processes of memory into composition.
We can’t wait to hear the new record. Like literally. To sum it up, the creations you compose are the reflections of your emotions, your current state of your soul? Because you can hear in the last publications that you’re all about expressing yourself, using impressions to turn them into melo compositions, right?
Yes. It’s about the impressions of places & how they transform across situations of recollection. But, actually, this is a more recent idea that I am currently working with. Something that I am thinking about now is how sound can be forced to change in certain contexts & thus bring out obscure qualities in a recording.
Ohhhh. This makes the wait a bit painful. We have to endure it. But we have to be honest, we can perceive the emotions that have been packed inside each of the releases. It makes us flabbergasted. This makes us curious, Theo. If you perform live, how do you convey the emotions? By a mere piano?
Unfortunately, I haven’t gigged yet. But I’m currently looking for dates this year in Europe to promote my album.
This is awesome to hear.
How it would look like, if I would perform? Definitely, a single piano.
Ok, let’s use the time machine. We will take a trip back in the old days. There are sure some significant moments, that we will going to see. Remarkable seconds, Impressive personalities that helped us to become what we wanted to be. Speaking of which, is there somebody or something that guided you the most, to be the creative person that you are right now?
The big guidance for me was John Zorn.
He kind of set me off in search of new music. I was really impressed by the rate that he composed and the range of sounds he was able to pull into experimentation whilst remaining distinct.
Influences, Guidances. They all form you to be what you want to be. If we’re seeing that on the perspective of the evolvement of the personality that also has an impact on other aspects as well. For example, the perception on music. With an eye on your long awaited album, we’d like to know more on the evolvement of the record? Did you compose the oeuvres on a vapid jam session? Or was it like an anticipated thing that you want to invest time in it? Does it have a specific meaning to you?
To be blunt, it’s my first attempt of writing an album, by only using the piano. It felt quite claustrophobic that way, so I have experimented a lot with the recording process. A sense of place is quite important to the album, as space has influenced the way in which pieces were mixed. Each piece responds to a certain environment & state of mind. However, this an idea I feel pretty done with it at this point. I won’t continue exploring it in the future works.
(SOLAR EDIT: here’s a sample to catch a glimpse of the sound of the record)
We think that this is a natural thing: like you’re currently feeling something, then after a while, the notions have diminished. But, let’s talk about something that we like to discuss with every artist that we interviewed so far. Because every opinion matters on this specific topic. Do you think that it is still possible to do music for living?
Honestly? No. Having a part time job is a necessity. Luckily, I can do that in Prague. Because in London, the balance between writing & working was very out of sync. It was a huge reason for moving.
Theo, it has been a real pleasure so far. Not only that your music sedates every part of our body, but also alleviates the soul, we want to know, if in the mere future, there is a chance of having a dream collaboration with one of your idols, who would that be?
I really do not have a dream collaboration. In the past, I did one. My friend & I put our hands together, to form the noise group, named Brightness. The two recordings came out on Cellar Tapes, last year.
That has been the official part of the interview, yet as we’d like to show the human side, we did allow to add a section into the section (oh hell, that sounds like something created by the illuminati, huh?), which we just named: Solar’s R/Vapid Ten. This sec-into-section contains vapid questions, which can be answered by the interviewed artist voluntarily.
so, let’s see Theo Alexander’s answers:
Your favorite vegetable?
Your favourite food?
Banana or apple?
Strawberry or cucumber?
Disney or Warner Bros?
Disney, because of Teacher’s Pet.
Einaudi or Tiersen?
Neither. But If I would be 18 again, then Tiersen.
I would not be a musician, if…
I had a full time job.
If I would start right now with the music…,
I would have gone for proper classical training.
If I would be an object…,
If I would be an animal…,
A gargantuan amount of THANK YOUs followed by a dozen of 🙏🙏🙏-emojis to Theo & the effort he made to make this interview happen. As we truly adore the sheer beauty of neo-classical music, it has been truly a pleasure to wade through the aural spheres of this gifted musician again. Be sure to subscribe to his channel, get yourself the latest release as soon as it is up, check out the succulent discography that is uploaded on his Soundcloud-page & don’t forget to share one piece with your dearest ones.
If u want to send some cat pictures or simply to say hi, holla at:
The end of the tale, but not of this book.