Ahead of their first headline tour, The Music Magazine caught up with Alberta Cross drummer Austin Beede on the morning of September 23 for a chat about all things AC.
Hey Austin, how are you?
I’m good thanks, how are you?
TMM are very well thanks. So where are you right now?
We are down in London at the moment. We have a show tonight. [Alberta Cross are playing a one-off secret show tonight to showcase their new album Broken Side Of Time]
Tell us, what’s the story behind Alberta Cross… Where did it all start?
Well Petter (Ericson Stakee) and Terry (Wolfers) met years ago at one of Terry’s friend’s bar. They were both there and they just hit it off. So they started writing music together and then the rest of us – the other three of us – met when they moved to New York. We just kinda hopped on when they moved out there. We all tried out and became a band about a year and a half ago.
Alberta Cross is a pretty interesting name. What inspired that?
I’m not sure what inspired it. There are some rumours that it came from a street name. There are a bunch of different stories on how the name came about. I have no idea to be quite honest (laughs).
What would you say are the band’s influences?
We all listen to older rock music and older soul music. You know music from the sixties/seventies like Bob Dylan, Neil Young and Stevie Wonder. Petter is really into Depeche Mode and Nick Cave. He’s into a whole bunch of stuff. We are all into our own stuff but collectively we are all really into our sixties and seventies stuff.
And personally what bands do you like?
Oh tonnes of bands. I like anything from ummm lets see I like everything [TMM appear to have put Austin on the spot here]. I like French-pop bands like Air and stuff like that. I like the Beatles, Led Zeppelin and um what else do I like? Oh and Shuggie Otis. Do you know who Shuggie Otis is? [TMM at this point shamefully admits that no we have not heard of such a person]. Well he’s a guy kinda like Californian psychedelic soul stuff from the seventies – he’s really good. [TMM assures Austin we will Google him immediately]. Let’s see… I could list off so many bands here. I guess recent bands who I would be into would be Flaming Lips who I like a lot. I like Mew’s new record, have you heard of Mew? [Thankfully TMM has heard of Mew! We love Mew].
How would you describe where Alberta Cross come from, what with all the members growing up in such different places?
Well basically that’s what it is. We are all from all different areas but we all met in New York and that’s where everything happens. We all live there and we all practise there. When we think of the band we all think of New York. That’s our home base. But we are definitely like a United Nation of band. We are from all over. I’m from California, our guitar player is from California, our keyboard player is from Minnesota and England – he’s kinda half American and half English. Then Petter was born in Sweden then moved to London and Terry is from London. So we all had different upbringings. But I think that’s good for us – it keeps things fresh you know?
Sure, it gives you that variation, right?
Yeah, we get a different outlook on everything as we all grew up in different areas. We are all very different but we all get along so it’s good.
For people unfamiliar with Alberta Cross how would you describe your sound?
Musically I would say there is a touch of gospel, there’s a touch of rock. There’s probably a lot more rock and a darker vibe on this new album. I tend to describe us as rock with a little hint of everything (laughs).
Have you got a personal favourite on the new album?
I think my personal favourite would be Rise From The Shadows [TMM has a bit of a gush here about that being our favourite track too – or Taking Control we haven’t quite decided]. Yeah, Rise From The Shadows was written down in Charlottestown, Virginia. When we first wrote it it was a lot faster but we decided to strip it down and make it feel like more like a soul track.
What with you supporting a lot of bands in the UK is it exciting to be starting your own headline tour in November?
Oh yeah. It’s certainly going to be different playing a headline tour. We’ve been basically supporting bands in the UK and America so it will be our first real headline tour. It will be interesting to see who comes out so we see who is actually fans of the band and not just fans of who we are opening for.
How intimidating was it supporting a supergroup such as Oasis?
The first show with them was a little bit scary as the crowd were really loud and they obviously just wanna see the main band. So they were all just throwing beer in the air, people yelling and that kind of stuff but I think we kind of won them over by the time we finished our set. They were getting really into it. All bobbing along – it was really good. It all seems so long ago now. It was scary at first but ended up being a really good experience for us.
So when can the TMM readers expect to hear some new material?
Right now we are basically concentrating on the album and touring. There is a couple of songs that we’ve started to write but they’re in the very early stages. There are also a couple of songs which we didn’t put on the album which will probably be on the next record which are really good.
OK before you leave us, what band or artist would you recommend to TMM’s readers?
Ooo let’s see. Can it be anything? [TMM: ANYTHING you want] In that case I’d have to say Shuggie Otis again, he really is brilliant.