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Inverness rock two-piece Alkanes find a perfect formula with new single Death or Glor

By Kyle Walker

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Raucous rockers Alkanes are back, and the Inverness two-piece are seeing out 2019 with a hot new track to battle the winter chills. Frontman Dale Sutherland talked to Kyle Walker about new single Death or Glory, recent lineup changes, and festive prep...

Q Hi Dale, thanks for answering these! How are you doing today? How is the preparation for Christmas going?

A Doing great thank you! Christmas preparations took a while to get going but I’m on track now thanks to my lovely girlfriend Zarah. She sorted presents for my folks so I’ve not had much to stress about, bless her!

Q What better way to treat the Alkanes fans over Christmas than with the release of Death or Glory on the 27th! Talk me through the single – how has this one come together for you and the band? What is it about? And now that it’s nearly out, how are you feeling about it?

A Death or Glory is a track I’ve been sitting on for a good few years now. There’s been a number of comings and goings in the band since then, but it still has a raw and boisterous feel to it.

We actually recorded the track in the summer of 2018, along with Sixes and Sevens which we released back in March, and for various reasons the release has been delayed. I feel like the timing has been great though, I feel like we’re far more prepared for this release and we’re seeing signs that it could pay off.

I had written the track whilst in a previous relationship. It was a sudden realisation that the relationship wasn’t right for me and that I had almost been lying to myself that it was just a phase and it would work out. The title ties the overall subject quite well. Death or Glory, its now or never, make a change for the better and move on.

It’s always been received well whenever we play it live so I’m really looking forward to finally getting it out there!

Q Good music video for it too – a big group of folk just going wild at the Tooth and Claw! Who all helped bring the video to life? And how did it feel for you to have the support of folk turning out to be in the video?

A My very talented friend and colleague, Ben Hastings, filmed and edited the video. We wanted to keep it very simple and just have fun with it.

There was no real plan for the shoot. We sent out an open invitation for people to be involved with just a couple of days notice so we were thrilled to get folk turning out to loosen up and just have a good time!

Q This marks the first single Alkanes have released since becoming a two-piece band in October. How has the shift in numbers affected the Alkanes sound for you? What are the advantages/challenges for this new Alkanes formula (ho ho ho)?

A Since becoming a two-piece band, some of the songs have taken on a different vibe but without losing magic I’ve always felt playing them. We’re dipping our toe into writing at the moment and we’re really pushing ourselves to develop our sound. We’re trying to go in a direction you don’t see many two-piece bands take.

It feels far more progressive and creative than ever before. Myself and Connor gel really well in the practice room together so it actually felt far more natural being a man down than we expected. The challenge of making two sound as big as possible has actually been very exciting.

I think for my playing style and my writing, it has been a lot easier too. I don’t have to stress about what another guitar or bass is doing and just challenge myself to fill out the gaps.

Q Rounding off the year with a single release is obviously a pretty tasty way to end a year. Looking beyond the release of Death or Glory for a moment, what have been your standout moments of the year, personally and as part of Alkanes?

A Standout moments for me personally, progression at work, visiting my favourite city, Berlin, again, visiting Vienna (stunning place!) and an album called Nest by Brutus (wonderful band, check them out!).

As for Alkanes, we’ve been quiet for the most part but releasing Sixes and Sevens and hitting the road with our band boyfriends Broadsea. Every time we get to hang out with a good bunch of friends who play sweet music is a blessing!

Alkanes (from left): Dale Sutherland, Connor Meeks.
Alkanes (from left): Dale Sutherland, Connor Meeks.

Q Folk may also know you for your solo slots as Justboy over the course of the year. What are different aspects of your songwriting do you feel that you get to explore with your solo project? And which is more exciting/nervewracking for you – playing as Justboy or playing with Alkanes?

A Writing songs for my solo project has been very refreshing. I’ve always joked that it’s a chance to get the “rubbish” songs out. I do actually love the songs I’ve written for this project though. It’s straight up sad pop songs and I love it.

Stripping right back to myself and a guitar has allowed to pay more attention to the melody of the vocals and it’s allowed me to really explore my voice. I think I’ve discovered I’m more capable vocally than I give myself credit for and I’ve found a new confidence as a performer.

Performing as Justboy or with Alkanes are both just as exciting for me in their own way. As Justboy, I have a new found love for singing and really pushing myself vocally. With Alkanes, I can loosen up, have fun and release some energy!

Q So what are the aspirations for 2020? Any plans in the pipeline you can let us know about? Any resolutions, perhaps?

A We have a headline show at the Tooth & Claw on Saturday, February 29 with our friends Pure Grief, Fight The Raptor and Daniel Gunn. We are also planning on releasing another single around the same time.

We’re also going to knuckle down and write some new material and hopefully hit the studio. In the summer, we’re hoping to land some festival slots.

Other than that, we’ll just take each day as it comes!

n Alkanes' new single Death or Glory is out on Friday, December 27. Go to www.facebook.com/Alkanesband

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