Stylish duo Catherine Pockson and Bob Matthews better known as Alpines are one of those joyous finds whereby you are baffled as to why they’ve not reached international stardom yet. Forming seven years ago the duo were snapped up a year later to Sony/ATV (then EMI Publishing) and enjoyed support slots with the likes of Emeli Sande and Florence + the Machine. The fashion world love them – Rankin used one of their tracks in a video for designer Hannah Marshall, AllSaints used one of their tracks, ‘Drive’, for their AW12 campaign and Vogue premiered their single and mini film for their track ‘Lights’. Fast forward five years and Alpines are back with their second album Another River which they released in October last year. We caught up with vocalist Pockson to talk inspiration, fashion and daydreams…
WTYB: What was one of your earliest memories of hearing music?
Alpines: I think one of the earliest memories of hearing and loving music was watching all the classic Disney movies and falling in love with all the soundtracks when I was about 4 or 5 years old. To this day I still know the words to most of them!
WTYB: What was the inspiration behind the latest LP?
TA: There are lots of inspirations on this album. We started with a simple mood board of images, all black and white, including photographs of the desert by Ansel Adams, Bauhaus and brutalist architecture, paintings by Pierre Soulages, fashion images by Marta Jakubowski and much more. In terms of lyrics and production, we took a very minimal, raw and emotional approach. I wanted to be very honest with my words in order to create something more immediate and powerful. We used the symbolism of the desert to represent the overall sonicsphere of Another River.
WTYB: Who is your favourite fashion designer and why?
TA: I have always loved Vivienne Westwood and she would be my number one designer. Not only because of the way she creatively tackles fashion design and pushes boundaries, but also because she is an activist for many things with a desire to protect the earth by increasing awareness of climate change.
WTYB: There is a solid visual aesthetic that correlates well within the music you create. How do you think this came about?
TA: The visual side of things has always been very important to me and mood boards have always featured as a key part of our creative process. Before starting my career in music I was a fashion student at Kingston University and it was here I learned the importance of directing your vision and being clear in your direction and focus. Not only for yourself but also for others who might want to indulge in the world you are creating.
WTYB: How do you hear your sound expanding in the future?
TA: We have started to write and record the next album and already we feel the sound slightly developing in subtle ways. I would like to think we will always keep developing, continuing to be really honest with ourselves and trying to create something different each time. We don’t want to stand still with our music, we want to keep being explorative and brave.
WTYB: Who would you like to collaborate with musically?
TA: So many people! As his album is coming out tomorrow, I would have to say Sampha. He has been a big inspiration for my approach to writing this album, learning to be brave with my writing. I would also love to be in the studio with Timbaland and Erykah Badu.
WTYB: Describe your sound in one word?
TA: Wow that is a hard question. In fact I think it is impossible! Can I do it in three? Soulful, emotional and textural.
WTYB: How much impact do you feel fashion has on music and vice versa?
TA: Fashion and music have always gone hand in hand. As a musician you want to project an image, no matter how simple or elaborate that may be. I would argue they are both as impactful as each other.
WTYB: Which one of both Stevie Wonder’s and David Bowie’s tracks are your favourite?
TA: Stevie – ‘Higher Ground’; Bowie: ‘Life on Mars’.
WTYB: What do you daydream about and why?
TA: Helping endangered animals in the wild. I am constantly in a state of heartbreak over the beautiful creatures of the earth struggling in their habitats. I just wish there was more that I could do. Every little helps but there is always the overriding feeling it is not enough. So I suppose I daydream about being in Borneo with the orangutans trying to help them survive and flourish.
Another River is OUT NOW on iTunes
By: Phoenix Martins @PhoenixMartins