Hug your friends and tell them you love them. Do you think you do that enough? The artist fears he doesn’t. He thinks he is just frustrated at watching people struggle alone and in silence, and not realize that doesn’t have to be the case. The artist thinks ”Put It Behind You” captures that feeling. Check out the exclusive interview below:
1. Can you tell us a bit about where you come from and how it all got started?
JORDI ALKEMA: I’m from sweet sunny Brighton, UK. An absolutely fantastic place to grow up. It’s right by the sea and is littered with fun loving and easy going people. Brighton is especially sensational if you’re into anything music related. Early on I was exposed to gigs and other musicians so it was sort of a no brainer to have a go myself.
2. Do you feel that your music is giving you back just as much fulfillment as the amount of work you are putting into it or are you expecting something more, or different in the future?
JORDI ALKEMA: The realisation that you have created a song is unbeatable. This is fulfilment to me. That isn’t to say the things that come after aren’t fun and exciting, but ultimately I can live without it. Put simply, I crave a way to facilitate a life where I can more frequently get the satisfaction that comes with writing music.
3. Could you describe your creative processes? How do usually start, and go about shaping ideas into a completed song? Do you usually start with a tune, a beat, or a narrative in your head? And do you collaborate with others in this process?
JORDI ALKEMA: Often I’ll come up with a riff or chord progression that retains my attention long enough for me to record it on my voice notes. I might start humming nonsense over the top and then eventually massage all that mess into a rough song. Recently though I’ve been trying to challenge myself. I might ask a friend for a couple of words or a phrase and see if I can go and write an entire song around that. It’s a lot more rewarding that way. More importantly, reduces the chances of my process becoming stale.
4. What do you feel are the key elements in your music that should resonate with listeners, and how would you personally describe your sound?
JORDI ALKEMA: Someone recently described my music as like ‘an evening shared amongst friends’ and that has really stuck with me. I want to bring you in and, for a few minutes, get on the same wavelength. So I think the key element is intimacy. There’s going to be a story that shrouds a message, one that hopefully resonates with you. If you like you can picture the actual sonics as getaway music for a dreadfully planned heist.
5. Did you have any formal training or are you self-taught?
JORDI ALKEMA: When I was about 7 I would take my dad’s acoustic guitar and just hit strings and make, what I can only assume, was a vile din. I think to spare themselves the pain of that a-tonal muck, my parents put me in guitar lessons. They also put me in piano lessons but I was inexcusably atrocious…
6. Why the name ‘JORDI ALKEMA’?
JORDI ALKEMA: It’s just my name. To some degree all this music is an extension of me. I write all the music and play all the instruments so why would I hide behind a stage name at the last moment? It just felt a bit inauthentic when I was putting this project together.
7. For most artists, originality is first preceded by a phase of learning and, often, emulating others. What was this like for you? How would you describe your own development as an artist and music maker, and the transition towards your own style, which is known as COUNTRY?
JORDI ALKEMA: I definitely knew from an early age that I wanted to be playing and performing my own music. I didn’t form covers bands and then slip into doing originals. I started forming and playing in bands when I was about 11 which is just around the age every single rock musician post ’91 wishes they could’ve been in Nirvana. Then you realise that Nirvana has already happened and after a considerable amount of crying you move on and come to the important conclusion that the world doesn’t need two Nirvanas. I think that’s probably the most convoluted way I can think of to say the emulation is always brief but each time you learn something unique that contributes to your artistic personality.
8. What’s your view on the role and function of music as political, cultural, spiritual, and/or social vehicles – and do you try and affront any of these themes in your work, or are you purely interested in music as an expression of technical artistry, personal narrative, and entertainment?
JORDI ALKEMA: I think technical artistry should be at the core of the music regardless of the overall narrative. Then you’re faced with a really difficult balance of overt and subtle messaging. For example, It’s so hard to have political lyrics that don’t just sound like ‘Mr Government man, we don’t like the government things you do, man’ but also aren’t so nuanced that the entire message is lost on the listener.
9. With social media having a heavy impact on our lives and the music business in general, how do you handle criticism, haters, and/or naysayers in general? Is it something you pay attention to, or simply ignore?
JORDI ALKEMA: The easiest thing I have ever said is ‘don’t care about what other people think’ and it is by far the hardest thing I have ever tried to believe. I would be deluded to think every person on the planet is going to like what I do. Obviously I see things I can’t stand online all the time and I just scroll on. I think if someone takes the time to share their hate with me it really isn’t about me anymore. Sadly something more deep and upsetting is going on with them that put them in a position where the most efficient way to process their emotions is commenting nasty stuff on social media posts.
10. Do you think is it important for fans of your music to understand the real story and message driving each of your songs, or do you think everyone should be free to interpret your songs in their own personal way?
JORDI ALKEMA: I’m torn. I put out a song with a really specific story or message and I want to spell it out for everyone because I want that shared understanding. But it’s rude to open someone else’s Christmas present isn’t it! So I keep my mouth shut until someone asks. That way I can hear their thoughts and ideas; maybe even getting a new insight into my own work.