Teenaged producer Alfie has just released his latest EP Uncomfortably Numb on Brighton based record label Blah Blah Blah and is set to play London’s latest inner-city dance music festival, Eastern Electrics, later this summer. With records previously released on Tighten Up, the label founded by his brother, the noted producer A1 Bassline, and graced the hallowed booths of Fabric at the tender age of 16; it’s fair to say that the young artist has already accomplished a great deal more than most, before he’s even reached the legal drinking age. It’s difficult not to let his young years be the first thing to catch your attention, but the more you discover about him, the more that feels like a disservice. Polite, intelligent, incredibly grounded, with a penchant for making house music that you want to listen to again and again… you can’t help but be charmed by Alfie.
Hi Alfie, how are you?
I’m good, thanks, cheers for having me.
Most 17 years are doing A Levels and/or annoying people on the bus by playing tinny music on the smartphones. You’re already off achieving things many can only dream of! What do you attribute your success to?
Hard work, dedication to music, not just making music, but also studying music, listening to all kinds of music and not trying to be too single minded about music. Listening to good advice and trying to be a nice person, which is the best advice I ever had; why be a horrible person when it’s just as easy to be nice?
How old were you when you first started making music?
I’ve been around music all of my life through my family, but personally, I started becoming really interested in making it at about 15, I had my first release at 16 on Tighten Up records.
Who are you biggest musical influences?
My brother (A1 Bassline) has been a massive influence on me and in being instrumental in me making dance music. Outside of that, I have a great love for various genres, jazz, r’n’b, old and new hip hop, ska and a lot of different genres of dance; particularly garage, techno and house. I’ve grown up on a lot of Garage, especially Dem2, / US Alliance (Dean Boylan), as my Dad was his manager and I’ve spent a lot of time around him, he gave me the sampler he used for Destiny (E-Bay…. only joking).
Congratulations on playing Fabric at the tender age of 16. What are your plans to be so groundbreaking at 18 and 21?
Captaining England’s football team, then being Heavyweight Champion Of The World… sorry couldn’t resist that. Honestly, it may sound cliché, but I just want to be doing this for a living, forever. I love music, I live for it, and I can’t stand it when some people don’t appreciate what they have and take it for granted.
What’s it like playing at most world-revered clubs before your peers can even contemplate going there?
Obviously it’s an honour to be playing some of the places I have. I’m also extremely excited to be playing Eastern Electrics Festival as last time I was at the O2 it was as the main support to The Fall, which I still have to pinch myself about.
Do your friends ever get envious of the lifestyle?
I wouldn’t say so. I still go for a kick about with my mates over the park and go to local parties with all of my mates who I went to school with, plus I still play football of a weekend and have some good friends in my team. That’s my lifestyle really, music and football.
How did you come to be on Blah Blah Blah Records?
Me and my manager (also my old man) had been approached by a few labels, but they came across as the ideal label, the right ideas etc. They are a label going places.
Do you consider Tighten Up to be your home label, one you’ll always release on?
Well that’s a tough question, I don’t think so, it’s a very open label and there is no contract, no terms apart from the cut. If anything comes along, then there is no pressure; I’m a totally free agent. I have a few labels knocking at the door and we are definitely doing another release with Blah Blah Blah in the New Year.
Your hometown of Oxted has produced a number of musical luminaries- your brother A1 Bassline, Joy Orbison… Louise from Eternal… how does it feel to follow in their footsteps?
That Louise better be looking over her shoulder… 😉 You left out a couple, especially FOLD, he’s doing some great stuff at the moment, also with his other act Homepark. Again it’s an honour to be following in their footsteps, especially Christian (A1 Bassline), he’s my hero. I was gutted when he left home just over a year ago, I hardly get to see him these days, when I do we always spend a bit of time playing tracks to each other, but mainly we just get lost in the TV playing Call Of Duty and Fifa.
You previously did a guestmix for Rinse FM, could you ever see yourself going into radio as well, further down the line?
That’s a way off, but if it were offered I’d love to. Rinse or NTS would be a dream; I’d do one of them in a flash. I’m actually doing a guest slot on NTS on the 26th July on the Deep Shit show with Adam Parylak, Edwin (Foals) and Jack (Friendly Fires),which again, I can’t thank them enough for their support. After that, I’m straight over to Dingwalls to see K-lashnekoff , another underrated genius.
Your new EP Uncomfortably Numb has had support from Catz N Dogz, Sei A and even from XLR8R. Are you surprised by the great reaction or is it all part of the master plan?
I’d like to also mention the support I’ve had from Claude Von Stroke, Justin Martin, Four Tet, Addison Groove, Oneman, even Skream and Groove Armada. There is no master plan as such. There is some sort of plan and yes the reaction I’ve had so far has been unbelievable, all of my current day favourite artists bigging up my music is beyond what I expected. It seems to be hard to know when you have made a good tune, I don’t think anyone is really entirely happy with what they have made. I watched a documentary on Roy Orbison and someone asked him what his best tune was and he said “I haven’t made it yet”. He was a genius and a very sad loss.
What DJs and producers are really inspiring you at the moment?
Most of the above plus the likes of Skudge, Levon Vincent, Kyle Hall (who I had the pleasure of meeting the other day), Omar S, Basic Soul Unit, Shed, Mike Huckaby, Boddika, KiNK, Kerri Chandler, Groove Chronicles, Juan Atkins and Boo Williams.
What can people expect from your set at Eastern Electrics festival next month?
A lot of my own tracks, a few new bits and I’ll see what the reaction is from the crowd and go from there really.
Everyone has embarrassing music tastes lurking in depths of their youth but you’ve been making awesome music instead. Can you please tell us what the most embarrassing record you ever bought was and make the rest of feel a little bit less jealous of your musical prodigy?
I’ve been so lucky, and luck is a big part of anyone having any sort of success, but I’ve never had to buy much music as there has been so much of it around me. There are so many records and CDs in my house in virtually every room and more in the attic, I’ve still got so much more to get through, but my biggest guilty pleasure is probably a bit of Pink Floyd. The first record I bought was Miles Davis a rare 10inch in the Esquire series called Blows.
What’s the best bit of advice that’s been given to you about the music industry?
As I said earlier, work hard and try to be a nice person. Everyone loves a grafter.
Alfie’s new EP Uncomfortably Numb is out now on Blah Blah Blah Records.