The Alchemy craft punk/funk into pure rock and the result is magic

Canterbury rock trio The Alchemy chat to Jodie Brough about the release of their third album ‘Somewhere//Anywhere’.

This is a completely new experience for them after a shuffle in members and the first where they have complete creative control. The album, released on 24th November, is an absolute masterpiece. We caught up with the band for a chat about the writing of their very much anticipated third album.

Assistance from the charity ‘Help Musicians’ enabled them to be able to ensure that this release reaches its full potential, and the enthusiasm for what that assistance did for the band is palpable.

“‘Help Musicians’ is a charity where quite literally they help musicians,” explains vocalist and guitarist Rhys Taylor, “There’s all different types of grants that can be gifted. What comes with a release is obviously you need to be able to cover all your PR and then all of a sudden the money you might make on the record is pretty thin because obviously you have to invest all of that money again. So, instead of doing what we had to do like Idle Ghosts where we had to pick and choose where we would put our money for our promotion, whether it be into social media or whether we’d do more written press, having someone like ‘Help Musicians’ on board allowed us to do both.”

The whole process of this album from start to finish is 100% The Alchemy. The band not only wrote, produced and mastered the release, all the visuals have been created by them as well. They described this as a “freeing” experience. Giving them the ability to “pump out music quickly without absolutely obliterating our bank!”

The album’s called Somewhere//Anywhere. Where did the title of the album come from?

Jack: There’s a song on the record called Somewhere Anywhere, and obviously we’re all a bit old and that, so we’re all just starting our thirties, and it’s this kind of thing where lots of our friends and family members and all that kind of stuff are quite in their ways of their life nowadays, and I think for us we’re still quite loose and just enjoying our life and the way we live it, and so the Somewhere//Anywhere concept was about being, are you identifying as somewhere from someplace, or are you just free, just willing to do what you want to do?

Rhys: Which was where this record basically was for us.  It was like a turning point in the road where we obviously had members drop off with different things in life,  and we had the same things with friends and family. We didn’t see them as much. Whereas for us, we are artists through and through, so it was just a case of this is what we are, this is what we do, and it just seemed like a nice fitting name for the record.

Would you say that the addition of Jack and Sam has made a big impact on your sound?

Rhys: This album was completely new, because obviously we had a new member, we had a member join and a member leave at the same time. It changed up entirely,  which was quite refreshing to me.

Being our third record it was definitely needed. It changed the approach, it changed the way we actually wrote. Having Jack in the band, who is an incredible writer, bring all of his influences and his kind of ideas to it was just like a really nice breath of fresh air.

Idle Ghost [the band’s last release] we wrote during lockdown, it was a really lonely album. It was all recorded remotely. Being back in the studio for this was nice and refreshing.

We didn’t want to write like Chemical Daydream [the bands 2019 release], part two, we wanted to write a whole new album, completely fresh, so it’s new for us and new for the listeners.

“…we always used to start off with one of those punk or funk-infused ideas, and then sort of see where it led us”

Was there anything that you were listening to during the production and the making of this that shaped the sound of the album, do you think?

Rhys: All sorts. When we started demoing ideas, it was mainly myself and Jack in the studio, so it would literally just be bass and drums. And what we would do is, because we both come from either a punk or a funk background, we’d try to bring that same energy. And we always used to start off with one of those punk or funk-infused ideas, and then sort of see where it led us, and somehow half of them ended up turning into alchemy songs, which is pretty interesting, because we’re definitely not a funk band.

Sam: No. I think you can hear a lot of those influences,  especially the rhythm section, like where that came from. There’s quite a few aggressive punk drums in there, which is definitely where my head was at the time. And it was just nice to bring something a little bit different, but we can still maintain that alchemy flavour.

Rhys: It was nice, because obviously the boys were keeping the energy, and obviously I was just listening to loads of bluegrass, so I was like, right, well, I’ll write the chilled song. Time to bring this mood right down.

See, that actually leads on quite nicely to what I was going to ask next, because I was going to ask if there is anything on the album that sounds completely different to the way that it started in a demo, and it sounds to me like if you were to play me demos of some of the tracks, or initial demos of tracks on this album,  they’d probably sound nothing like what they’ve turned into.

Rhys: You know what, there’s definitely that case, but maybe not so much the change of the sound of them, but the tempo. There are some songs that Jack wrote, a song called Real Life which is probably one of my favourite songs off the record that he wrote in the middle of lockdown, and obviously he was at home having a good time on his own, and the song was slow. I think we pretty much doubled it, didn’t we, really? So it wasn’t like major sonic changes, but there were definitely some tempo changes. Jack has this amazing funky messiness, but that’s the whole point of why it sounds so good,  whereas when I would then play the riffs, and I play it a bit more sharp.

What are your favourites on the album?

Sam: Mine, I change my favourite every, like, couple of days. When I’m listening,  re-listening through it, to make sure we can actually play them live, to rehearse them. I really, really like Real Life. The drums aren’t especially complicated, but it’s just really nice to play, and it’s a really good song to just be in. Like, it’s just a nice space. But I think Brothers is the most fun to play, for me. I have the most fun with that one, for some reason. It’s just lively. It is lively,  isn’t it? I don’t like listening to Summer,  because it makes me cry.

Rhys: Summer, for me, is a very meaningful song, so I’ll always adore that song.  And then, I think, Real Life is definitely up there, because, like Sam said, it just feels good when you’re in it, and to listen to it. And maybe Hollywood, the last track on the record, just because it’s weird. It was the weirdest we’ve ever done. Yeah, my top three. Hollywood, Summer, and Real Life.

Jack: Yeah, Hollywood‘s a good one.  I do like Hollywood, because I get to shout like an Essex bloke at the end of it. Which I am, so that was cool. I like that. Birdsong is probably because it’s fun to play. I just love playing it. And I can play it without making a mistake, which is pretty good for me. It just depends on the day,  what mood I’m in.  I tend to not listen to it, and I think I’d better listen to the album before we go and practice, because I need to remember them. I think, ‘Oh, that’s quite good,  isn’t it? I don’t remember that. Did I play that? I must have done’.

As Somewhere//Anywhere hits the airwaves, The Alchemy is getting ready to announce some live shows. But that’s not all – brace yourselves for a wild ride in the early months of the new year as the band unleashes a streamed live set that’s not just a concert but a full-blown auditory adventure.



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