Interview: Alice’s Ants “It’s definitely normal to have stage fright because it shows that you care.”

They haven’t put out any recorded music yet. They don’t even have a drummer right now. But Alice’s Ants are still making a name for themselves on the underground scene. Based in Nottingham the band made up of Emily (vocals) Sam (guitar) and Kier (bass) have already gained a strong local following through playing gigs and networking. Gary Trueman chatted to the band about supporting the scene, when we’ll hear their planned EP and topical virus survival tips.

You’re looking for a drummer at the moment is that correct?

Emily: “yes that’s correct.”

Is that an ongoing situation with you guys?

Sam: “The drummer was my brother and he was drumming with us for about a year but I think he just got a bit bored with it. He wasn’t enjoying doing gigs and things so we’re after someone else now.”

Emily: “We want someone who actually enjoys it. We are trialling a few people so hopefully that’ll go well.”

Obviously it’s important, but just how crucial is it to get someone on board who is totally into the music a hundred per cent?

Emily: “It’s very important because it shows that passion.”

Sam: “If someone’s not really into it then it brings down the whole vibe.”

How long have you been going for and where do you think Alice’s Ants fit in the music spectrum?

Emily: “Technically we’ve been going since 2015 but it was just me and Sam writing songs at home. We didn’t gig or anything. Then we wanted to take it a bit more seriously and get out and do some gigs.”

Sam: “Me and Keir have been together playing in bands since school.”

Kier: “I can’t quite remember when I joined officially but I remember it was the other two and Emily was trying to learn how to play bass and sing at the same time.  But she couldn’t do it  so she asked if I could play bass for a bit.  And I said I would, for a bit, and I got into it, and here we are.”

So when did you start gigging?

Sam: “Our first gig as Alice’s Ants was April last year. That was for the Easter Punk Weekend at the Hairy Dog in Derby. That was fun.”

You’re new on the scene but you’ve already built a decent following. Quite a o lot of people are mentioning the name Alice’s Ants. Nottingham is a very big music city, so do you think it’s important that all the bands are supporting each other as a collective?

Emily: “Definitely. We’ve always supported our live music scene and supported bands like Desensitised and Hands Off Gretel and the scene.”

Sam: “Meeting fans of them as well and getting support from them even when they haven’t heard anything.  It’s a bit weird, but it’s a good weird.”

Keir: “Sam and me have gone to all of these different gigs and they’ve always mentioned loads of different bands. When we went to these gigs I was surprised at how many people actually knew of us. Even now as people are starting to throw the name around, somehow we have a following. What’s going on?”

Sam: “We were getting offered gigs before we’ve even put any music out.”

Emily: “We’re incredibly lucky to have that and it’s through being friends with people in the scene.”

Kier: “It really does help that Emily and Sam have gone to gigs and mingled in.”

Networking can never be underestimated. Social media is pretty important too isn’t it?

Keir: “It’s pretty necessary considering how modern day society works. So even when we’re just practicing sometimes we’ll do a live stream just so everyone can see what we’re up to. It’s always good to show a presence and show people that you’re still active. Interaction with people who comment on your pages or comment on your videos, that’s a major part of the whole industry really.”

Your sound if you’re going down the comparison route has elements of Hole, Babes In Toyland and possibly a bit of The Pretty Reckless too.  Is that a fair analogy?

Emily: “We listened to The Pretty Reckless in the car on the way here. So yes.”

One of the things that’s been talked about at your gigs is the vocal delivery. You get a lot of bands where the singer is really in the audiences face. Emily though, you’re almost demure, shy even in a way.  Is that you naturally, are you naturally reserved?

Emily: “I’m definitely quite shy. I’m quite different at home though, I can be quite crazy when I want to be. But I’m normally quite a shy person and I think that’s how I come across.”

Do you suffer from stage fright then?

Emily: “Yes, I think we all do.”

Do you think as you get more gigs under your belt and you gain experience that it will go or do you think it’ll stay? And is a little bit of nervousness a healthy thing?

Emily: “I think it’s definitely normal to have stage fright because it shows that you care. You want to put a good impression out there for other people. But I am hoping it will go down a little bit. I( do get very nervous.”

On stage you do still have an air of confidence with the shyness though.

Emily: “In my head I’m confident but the way it comes out it’s not so much.”

If each of you could pick a band that you would like to share a stage with who would it be and why?

Sam: “It’s got to be Green Day. I love Green Day. When I was about seven I got into American Idiot.”

Keir: “With me it’s really hard because I listen to pretty much every kind of genre out there. If I had to pick it would be out of Rush or The Levellers. I love both and it’s so hard to pick. Or New Model Army. I’m into everything though, folk rock, pagan, Viking metal, or even Mongolian throat singing bands. The Hu, they’re brilliant.”

Emily: “I’ve got a mix really. I do have to say Green Day, they’re a big influence on me. A lot of grunge bands. If they were still around Nirvana would be pretty amazing. And of course Hole. There’s just so many. I really enjoy Skating Polly as well.”

If they were ever going to make a film about Alice’s Ants who would play each band member?

Sam: “For Kier, Jack Black.”

Emily: “For Sam it has got to be Jim Carey. I think he kind of looks like him…. Kind of.”

Sam: “I’ve been told I look like Russel Howard.”

Kier “For Emily even though she’s a singer because I don’t know any female actresses I’d pick Avril Lavigne, but with the confidence turned down a little bit.”

Emily: “Avril Lavigne is a big inspiration for me so…”

 When do you intend to put some recorded music out?

Emily: “This is a question that’s been in our heads for a while because we’re not really sure what’s going on. Now we’re looking for a drummer it’s been postponed a bit. We are hoping this year. It will be this year.

Sam: “We’ve got an EP but recording it is taking all of our time. It will be coming out this year though.”

And to finish up something topical. With everything being shut down due to Coronavirus and bands now live streaming. How do you think what’s happening will affect music?

Sam: “The live stream thing is a good idea. We’d like to do that.”

Emily: “It gets you out there too and every little bit helps.

Keir: “Lockdown is a huge thing. It’s going to be a hard time.

Any virus survival tips?

Sam: “Toilet paper doesn’t help so stop buying it all.

All: “Stay home if you can, Netflix and chill.”

Alice’s Ants – Facebook

Interview and photos by Gary Trueman