Please list the name, age, and respective instrument of each band member.
Sons of Alpha Centauri are:
SOAC are an eclectic musical venture - what genre of music do you consider your work to be? Who are your major influences?
Every bands favourite question. Ha. We’re like our own 2000s self-interpretation of our favourite 1970s bands like Sabbath, Floyd and Joy Division. We also really like some of the big riff gunslingers from the 1990s too like Helmet and Kyuss.
When did you form your band? What inspired you to make music together?
Me and Marlon formed the band after our previous band called ‘Pariah’ split up. We started SOAC as a repository of ideas and riffs but as a dedicated band / project in 2001 and it has grown from there.
So you’ve been going since 2001 so been together a while - how did you meet?
Me and Marlon went to school together. As opposed to constantly playing football or going to the graveyard to smoke cigarettes then we’d go to the park and get the biggest speakers we could and pump metal and drum n bass through the best speakers we could afford. Marlon would walk round school with these portable speakers loaded with about 15 AA batteries. One day it was Slayer, then Moving Shadow drum n bass, then Floodgate. Then at lunch or after school we’d go to the music room and set up every and as many amps as we could to get a jam session going.
We met Steve through the local live music scene – back in the late 90s when there was thriving scene locally. He had played in local bands for years and was like the scene hardcore drummer. He had been working with Blake for a few years in the ‘Negative Noise Orchestra’ and Stevie B invited him into SOAC. Blake has created and curated an ever more critical role in the band.
The main themes or topics for most of your songs are only really expressed through your artwork Do you think these topics will change over time?
Possibly, probably. Time is actually a key theme for us. We may build on the initial conceptual elements of war and environment but these were just foundational themes. The debut was principally World War 2 mostly because of all of the relics of that war around us here in Swale / Sheppey and the psychological relationship between them, time dilation, the populace and the environment. That has since evolved into anthropogenic landscapes of peak oil vs sustainable technology and again the wider psychological implications.
What are your rehearsals generally like? Do you have a set time each week in which you practice or are rehearsals more spontaneous?
We have been rehearsing and practising by the sea for over 10 years now. We’re very fortunate to be in a position whereby we can just play and then go and chill by the sea. It is our kindred spirit and drives everything that we do as a band musically and emotionally.
What can you tell me about your instruments? (Are SOAC subject to brand loyalty or will you play with whatever's available)?
I used Ibanez basses, Gibson guitars and Fender bass amps. Marlon uses Fender and Gibson guitars and Marshall amplification. Blake uses Roland and Korg and Stevie B is a Ludwig and Sonor player. We enjoy having a solid sound but we’re not obsessed with having the coolest or most vintage gear. In fact, we find the gear and equipment obsession a bit boring. When we were young we had some really broken and dud equipment but it was all we could afford. Me and Marlon played in band where the drums were broken, cracked cymbals before. We worked in a warehouse and all we could afford was a hard drive – to record our album onto. Being broke and making the best you can out of the limited funds you have makes you appreciate things a lot more. I never liked the kids that had the Gibson Gold Top guitar like when they were 16. It wasn’t that I couldn’t afford it (as I clearly couldn’t!) it just felt like they hadn’t earnt it you know?
How do you get psyched up for a gig?
The answer to that question would have been completely different 10 years ago but things change and you realise what’s important – i.e. your health.
SOAC have worked with quite a few bands now but if you could play alongside any band which one would you pick?
That changes any day of the week but today it would be ‘Faith No More’.
What has been the biggest challenge in Sons of Alpha Centauri? Have you been able to overcome that challenge?
I think that the biggest challenge has been growing up - as you grow older and you might grow apart. Sometimes bands have a very quick cycle and they are gone and that’s it. For us, we’ve been together nearly 15 years and only done one album. There are reasons.
Seeing music turn stagnant on itself and then start to consume itself has been a challenge. We’ve seen whole genres and scenes come, go and die. They were interesting – for a time but then they turn sour, or worse – just boring.
So in order to avoid becoming boring, what's your ultimate direction for your band?
I can’t speak for the whole band – our overall vision is very nebulous. Essentially it is the ongoing struggle between humanities possibility to embrace the stars and travel beyond our planet / solar system but war seems to be the main preoccupation of the species. We are the theme of that struggle and the various victories – and losses. SOAC reflect on the stars and escape while embracing our own destruction - The Ultimate Trip.
That is quite dark. So are you one of those bands secretly seeking fame and fortune?
Never. We watched the concept of the ‘rock star’ dissolve into the birth of the Internet. SOAC are very private – I speak on their behalf and as their voicepiece. They / we don’t want any involvement in that kind. Only one member of SOAC has a Facebook page (and it’s not me) – we don’t like social media and we’ve agreed to do interviews on the precedent that just I do them.
So biggest question… When IS the second album coming out?
Wait! That’s the biggest challenge man - feeling that the second album is stuck in development hell. Ha – no it’s not stuck in development hell! Err.. I think. Honestly though, no more collaborations until the second, and possibly third album are ready er. released.
When did you start to sell merchandise, and what do you have for sale? Where can people buy your merchandise?
Yes, people can check us out www.sonsofalphacentauri.co.uk
What advice do you have for people who want to form their own bands?
Keep some mystic about you. Fuck Facebook.
How can fans-to-be gain access to your music?