Nexus Meets … Artist – 'Lost Like Alice'
Here at NMB we have always waxed lyrical about Lost Like Alice as being one of the best up and coming acts that you need to know about. Originating from North Wales, we fully support and hear what Lost Like Alice is doing in bringing fresh music with glorious guitar work, coupled with a depth and honesty to the lyrics which helps make each track personal and relateable in various different aspects. Top all of this off with the amazing work ethic, attitude and live gigs that Ben Parker of Lost Like Alice does and you are well on your way to a winning formula.
We took the time to catch up with Ben following his recent release of Lost Like Alice’s ‘Thread’ EP which can be streamed at the bottom of the page following this article. We spoke about all things music and behind the scenes insights including what made Ben turn his attention to Lost Like Alice, his musical influences, how important it is for an act to focus and build on their live performances and of course ‘Thread’.
If you wish to have a read of our review that we released a few weeks ago for ‘Thread’ then be sure to click here.
How did you get into music when you were growing up?
When I was 11, my brother gave me his first ever guitar for my birthday. (It’s a Squire Telecaster that I still own). From there my Dad showed me a few chords and I kind of just taught myself from there, would practise any chance I got. Soon after I started to write my own songs and started playing at open mic nights. By the time I was 12/13 I was gigging regularly around my local music scene. I remember always wanting to be able to write enough songs so that I didn’t have to play covers anymore, so that’s what I did.
What made you turn your attention to Lost Like Alice?
For the majority of my time as a performer, I have been a solo artist. Lost Like Alice came about when I had started to perform regularly with a friend of mine who played the cahon alongside me, and we started to record some demos of songs that I had written, some of which became ‘Thread’. After a while, we both decided to do different things so I reverted back to being a solo artist. The name Lost Like Alice kind of just stuck. I like the freedom it gives me. I feel that I can release all kinds of different genres, without being pigeon holed as an acoustic singer songwriter. My music listening taste is really broad and wanted my own music to be the same.
Do you have specific musical influences which have helped to shape your current sound?
Growing up, I was introduced to some very unique artists. My Dad is a big fan of a lot of the Manchester bands, so I grew up listening to The Smiths, Joy Division and so on. When I was about 11 or 12, my brother introduced me to John Mayer, which is what made me want to write my own songs. I fell in love with his music. I would say he has been the biggest musical influence on me by far. His music is what started my love for playing blues.
In your opinion, how important is it for an emerging act to build up their live performance? Do you feel this has helped you in a production sense and vice versa?
I think it is very important. There are just so many things that you cannot learn from just playing in your bedroom. Performing live is my favourite part about being a musician. I think that the process of recording has made me a better performer, as I’m having to focus on each part of a song, and making it be the best that it can, and I feel I take that into my live performances. I always find that a song doesn’t really become a song until you’ve played it live. It’s the best way to see what works and what doesn’t.
What sort of input do you have throughout the production process?
I work very closely with Paul Demarco who is a musician based in North Wales like myself. He produces all my EP’s. The way it works is, I usually write a song, and if I think it could be something I might want to record I will send it him and will then bounce ideas off each other to find the right space that the song fits in. We have a very chilled way in which we record and make music. I think that’s how to get the best performance out of me. We have never used a studio. We recorded ‘Thread’ in my living room, my local village hall, and a caravan, and I found this really laid back approach to producing/recording really works for me as a performer.
Whats your approach to songwriting? Lyrics first? Melody?
Each song seems to come about a completely different way than the last. For ‘I Won’t Wait’, I had the guitar part first, after playing around with it for a few days I then sat down and the song just took off from there. Where as ‘Better Days’ was completely finished within five minutes of writing it. Each one is different.
We love the ‘Thread’ EP, talk to us a little about that.
I’m really glad you enjoyed it! I’m really proud of the EP, a lot of work went into it and I love all the songs in their own way. I got to really explore who I wanted to be as an artist and what type of music I wanted to create, and I believe that this EP is the answer to that.
What would be your favourite track off of the EP?
I honestly couldn’t pick. They are all special to me in their own way. Although my favourite to play live would probably be ‘I Won’t Wait’, it’s just such a fun song to perform.
What qualities from your own character do you feel you’ve managed to capture throughout the EP?
I try to be as honest as I can with my music. I believe the sole purpose of music is to connect, (some people might disagree), and by being transparent and open, it makes easier to do that. I always write internally. Meaning that everything I write about is something that I’ve felt, seen, or experienced in some way. I’m not exactly sure what my songs tell people about me as a person, but I do believe the honesty is important.
Do you have any further live dates planned? Is London on the cards for you anytime soon?
I’m out gigging heavily for the rest of the summer around North Wales, Manchester and other parts of the UK. I’m looking to come and do some shows in London really soon, hopefully before the end of the year but nothing planned as of yet.