Al Mitchell is a British artist known by many different names throughout his music career. He has singlehandedly, from his teens to present-day, built an underground alternative scene in Hastings – humble, isn’t he? Al learned to be resourceful and has been honing his style as both a songwriter and producer for the better part of the last decade. Al Mitchell & The New Born Sinners recently released the single ‘Rubber For Cars’ and we had the chance to discuss it with Al.
Why did you enter the music industry?
It seems I tripped and fell! I’m not really sure why, if I’m being totally honest. Music was really the only thing I got to grips with at school. Since then I’ve always been surrounded by it. When I was young my parents would play a lot of new wave and late ’70s/early ’80s pop music. It struck me early on that it was a cool way to express myself. I could get anything off my chest and it was ok. I love the idea of making something I’m deeply proud of and maybe one day, someone might stumble upon it, and, in turn, they will make stuff too. Circle of life.
Can you tell us about your new single ‘Rubber For Cars’?
‘Rubber For Cars’ is something totally different to what I’ve done before. I’ve always played in loud rock bands. Pixies taught me how to write songs, therefore, I would always write a quiet verse and a loud chorus; that’s always been my blueprint. It’s only during lockdown I‘ve set myself a challenge to get out of that comfort zone. ‘Rubber For Cars’ is a product of that. It doesn’t have a typical chorus or even the usual instrumentation I used to write with.
Lyrically, I usually write about my personal experiences, but staying true to my challenge I thought I would try and paint a picture of my surroundings during lockdown. Hopelessness, confusion and acceptance of the things we cannot change. It brought to attention the daily struggles people face yet remain unseen; what people hide and keep secret in their small daily tasks. Accepting our demons and learning to love and deal with the insecurities and inconveniences in our own special little ways. However hopeless and bleak this whole situation may seem, there is a feeling of light at the end of the tunnel.
What was the writing and recording process like?
The song started with a beat and then a bass line, which is really strange for me! I usually start on acoustic guitar and start from there. This time I wrote the parts and recorded them before any lyrics or melodies were written. Looking back on it, I think it was a healthy thing to do. It gave me a feel of what the melodies should sound like and perhaps what subject matter should feel like. I recorded it all on my own in my living room so the process itself was very chill and relaxed.
Does ‘Rubber For Cars’ have any significant meaning for you?
I think it does. It frames and sums up a time of confusion, not really knowing what’s coming next. Angry at how we’re being led through this storm.
What do you hope people will take from the single?
I just hope people enjoy it and take some kind of escape in it!
Which is more challenging for you – melody or lyrics?
I find lyrics a lot more challenging for sure. If I think too hard I usually come back to them a week later not being a fan! Having said that, when the music was all recorded, the lyrics for ‘Rubber For Cars’ came pretty quickly.
How do you keep yourself motivated?
I try to be almost like a sponge! I try to listen to as much different music as I can. Constantly trying to find things that resonate with me, whether it be a film or something that’s happening in this twisted and strange old world!
How would you describe your sound?
Pop music that sounds a little broken.
What do you think is the best way to discover new music?
I sometimes like to just sit down and start with an artist I like and go from there. Spotify is really good for that, but it’s really all about going to see bands. When gigs and live shows start popping up again, it’s always fun to take a punt and go to local shows. You often find SO many great things and you didn’t even know they were on your doorstep! You can make some top friends this way too!
What does the future hold for you?
2020 is shaping up! I’m really looking forward to getting back in the practice room with the guys and going through these songs I’ve recorded in lockdown. Fingers crossed, we can play a gig in the not-too-distant future. Another release is on the cards very soon.
Do you have a message for our readers?
Hang in there! Keep listening, keep loving!