THE COMPUTERS / White Trash In Georgia – How Screaming Alex Turns To Singing!

The Computers on

Stylish young lads from Exeter they are – bringing out one of the finest british rock & roll soul version we can find. THE COMPUTERS – named so, just because there was no other band with a name like this – began as a punk style rock n roll band with a lot of HIVES riffs and screams from singer / screamer Alex. Soon they played all over Europe – indeed the famous german music live TV show “Rockpalast” reached out to tape their energetic live show on their first European tour back in 2011.  Together with their unique clothing style and their funny vids, THE COMPUTERS made people looking and listening carefully.

In 2013 their 2nd album “Love Triangles, Hate Squares“ surprised nearly everyone – Alex turned into a singer, and the band into a rocking soul outfit, which fits to them extremely good. Their live shows still are a bit over the top, exciting, full of energy and rock & roll passion. That’s why DIE TOTEN HOSEN, Germanys no. 1 rock band, became aware of THE COMPUTERS and invited them to support the HOSEN on some dates in Germany, and especially to the final tour concert in HOSEN hometown Duesseldorf, which took place in the Esprit Stadium before 50.000 HOSEN fans. That last HOSEN concert – announced as their last for a few years – turned out to be a memorable little festival, with THE COMPUTERS, THE DONOTS, and the mighty MADNESS (!!) supporting the TOTE HOSEN. A breathtaking day for all music lovers – and a fine opportunity for, to speak to the ones of Alex Kershaw (vocals, guitar) and Aiden Sinclair (drummer)  from THE COMPUTERS about that experience and about the bands career. Both turned out to be extremely nice and very funny guys – read this:

Interview by Martin Hannig, pic by courtesy of fkpscorpio We just came from watching MADNESS and we were dancing ad having fun, great concert. Must be fun to share the same stage with MADNESS!

Alex: Yeah great. From all the bands we played with, they played the biggest role in our life! For us it’s like The Clash….

Aiden: Growing up as a kid in England, MADNESS soundtracked our whole life. Being out in the park or watching football – people playing it all the time. It’s like folk music to us – a big band definitely. I guess MADNESS for you must be like TOTEN HOSEN to our life, they were always so present…

Alex: There you go. When we grew up we got into punk and soul and ska and rocksteady.  That’s why we still enjoy that bands like SELECTER and the whole Twotone movement, and just yesterday we listened to THE SPECIALS! Tell me about your feelings going on stage in this whole big stadium! How was the gig for you? Did you ever played such big shows?

Aiden: We played some big shows with TOTE HOSEN but that was outside in summertime….

Alex: … so now we are used to it, haha (all laughing)

Aiden: Here it was more like a gig. Tonight was a bit different, a bit more comfortable. The sound was good, nice and loud. Did you see people dancing in front of stage?

Alex: Yeah, pretty cool. We had the biggest pit up to TOTE HOSEN.

Aiden: And we like THE DONOTS. They are good guys. And also on the road since I don’t know when….

Aiden: They look better now than they did in the 90ies! Next year they’ll do the 20 years anniversary tour. Would be great to play with them. You started in 2010 or 11?

Alex: Oh yeah we are a very young band compared to DONOTS and TOTEN HOSEN  (laughs). On the way to Duesseldorf we had fun to watch your  Surfing Bird cover video – it was shot on a beach?

Alex: Yes right next to  our house. (Laughs). And the sea was freezing. It looked like hot summer…

Alex: No it was freezing cold. You know we ran into the sea and it was icecold. (laughing all around, while Aden and Alex told us some funny details from the freezing experience. Also laughing when we came to the original 1963 Surfin Bird video, with that singer from THE TRASHMEN doing that awesome crazy duck dance style…) You are about to support THE HEAVY on their tour in a few weeks, which could be a powerful combination.

Alex: Actually we’ve toured with them before, in France. It’s great and it makes sense when you see our bands together. We know each other very well.

Aiden: It was quite a long tour and we became friends. Since that tour we stayed in contact. We saw them on sunday lunch last sunday. Yes, we are friends. Could be a good tour. Italy, France, Austria, Belgium, Germany of course. You are about to explore Europe!

Alex: We’re gonna be goin’ all over! We play a lot in Europe.

Aiden: We been to Croatia, Poland, Spain, Portugal. We’ve been around! In our VERY short existence we done a LOT of shows.

Alex: The UK is really small you know. Hey you got Wales, Scotland, England, Northern Ireland…

Alex: …that’s right and we played all that places…. (laughs) You can’t keep playing the UK.  You have to go to Netherlands, Belgium, Germany…

Aiden: We love it here. Second home. Alan, your merchandising guy, told me Germany is a good place to tour for THE COMPUTERS.

Alex: We actually know a lot of people in Germany. They’re coming to our shows. And we know the places as well. In Berlin we shot a video, the Disco Sucks video. When I first listened to your songs, on your first LP, I went “they must be fans of THE HIVES…”

Alex: We are fans, but no friends. (laughs). It’s got actually quite a lot to do with THE HIVES liking the same music as we do. So the outcome is quite similar. And my second thought was “Elvis Costello first two albums”….

Alex: Oh yes I love him, he’s my life idol. Elvis is king! THAT Elvis!

Alex: But we like the other Elvis as well. Listening to “Love Triangle”, it was like listening to a whole new band. Your voice is totally different! I didn’t like your voice on “This Is The Computers” very much… to be true: sometimes it was annoying to hear that screaming….

Alex & Aiden laughing: Oh yeah.

Alex: I would listen to it. My dad doesn’t like it. He loves our new album. I wondered: that guy Alex he CAN sing, he’s a born crooner…

Alex: So wait to hear the NEXT record (all laughing) It’s an old school rock’n’roll voice….

Alex: Thank you. The songs are different, and the melody patterns. It’s more soul. It’s the way you sing it, the progressions of the songs, and the subjects. Was it like “now I have to sing, oh my god?”

Alex: No, I really wanted to sing. … first album was just screaming.

Alex: I could sing before I did that. (laughs)  You know, it’s got a lot to do with being able to write songs. When you using screaming as a technique, the songs go like this (screams a bit). When you learn to write songs and words people wanna hear, then you have to sing it. It’s about being able to write pop songs like ELVIS COSTELLO or SQUEEZE.

Aiden: We love SQUEEZE. Quite unknown here in Germany, SQUEEZE. That’s an english thing, right?

Aiden: Should be an everywhere thing, they’re great!

Alex: They’re very british. The subjects are very “up the junction” you know. “never thought it would happen / with me and the girl from clapham.” If you’re from Stuttgart you never know what that means…. (laughs) Frank Turner he told me recently when he was recording his new album in USA, it wasn’t the usual rock star thing, “come on let’s do an album in USA.” It was just that the producer wouldn’t come to the UK to do it. So he went there.

Alex: Yeah that’s quite common. And what about “Love Triangles”? Why did you go to Georgia, USA?

Aiden: The producer wanted to record it in Georgia.  So we went to Georgia. Was ist ok? I mean it’s not quite cheap to go there and record…

Alex: Well, you have to ask our record label (laughs). It isn’t cheap but it was a great experience in that particular part of America in the deep south. Did it influence your music production or your kind of singing or playing the instruments?

Aiden: Well the place we went it’s like the birthplace of r’n’b, gospel and soul music. You could feel it in the air! It was sticky and hot …. And within 5 miles from where we recorded there were two gospel churches!

Alex: When making the album we put fotos online and when you look at it, it looks really like a strange time. We looked like white trash. It was like: What are this white guys doin’ here, with their skinny trousers and shirts? Hanging out in the backend of our studio it looked like a trailer park – fuck you (laughs).

Aiden: When you really searchin for a certain sound, you can achieve it there. How long did you stay there?

Aiden: About 3 weeks. We tracked everything in just 4 or 5 days, the basics: drums bass guitar. Then a week vocals and piano. Then 4 days of mixing and it was done. Am I right saying it was a big step in your career as The Computers? You came back with a whole different album.

Alex: Oh yeah. You have to change. The first record still exists, you know, if you wanna listen to it. The second record is close to actually the stuff we listen to.

Aiden: It’s the record we wanted to make. We would have make that record before if we could. If we had the experience, the knowledge of how to create that music.

Alex: We started as punk kids. So obviously we gonna try to be a rock’n’roll band. John Reis from Rocket To The Crypt once said to me: You need to think about what you singing and what you saying because that’s what people really care about. And when I went home directly after that festival where I met him I sat down and wrote that song on our new record “Point Of Interest”, which was quite different from our old songs. And we said: so that’s how we doin’ it. So I wrote the rest of the songs from the record with that in mind. Some fans could say “no I don’t like it anymore…”

Aiden: …and if they do they never got it. I think the energy it’s the same live on stage. It’s something we never ever switch off. We tryin’ to keep that. Tell us your plans. Do you have some new songs?

Alex: Oh yeah. We have songs for a whole another album. Hopefully we gonna do the recording very soon. In early 2014 I imagine there will be at least a single. And in later 2014 a new album, so there will be no gap. Thanks for the interview, guys! Maybe we see us in Cologne ….