South London duo Alpines share an obsession with mountains, nature and flora, and their spine-tingling collection of sounds – not to mention the band’s mesmerising sense of style – reflects this. Wonderland caught up with Bob Matthews and Catherine Pockson of Alpines ahead of the release of forthcoming single, “Empire”.
Where did you meet and how was the name “born”?
Catherine: We met in Bristol at a friend’s wedding. Bob was playing at the wedding with the band he was in at the time. I had a gig the following evening in London and he came along to that. It was soon after this that we started making music together and realised that it was special and worth pursuing. We came up with the name because of our love of nature. We wanted a name that was timeless.
Would you say that Alpines have a definitive signature sound?
Bob: I would like to achieve that some day! I hope that we don’t sound like anyone else at least, that’s something we have always strived for.
You have a diverse range of inspirations, ranging from Rihanna to the Cocteau Twins. Was it a compromise or balancing act to achieve your sound?
Bob: At first our sound just evolved naturally. We did have a few discussions about what kind of band we wanted to be near the beginning, but now it just happens. Catherine will write a song, and I’ll just start adding sounds that I think suit it. The sounds I used are completely based upon the feel of the song she is writing, and you couldn’t have one without the other.
Your song “Gold” has been described as “cinematic” and “ethereal”. Will this unique angle of your sound be featured within your live shows?
Catherine: To me the song is more direct and raw in quality and I love it for that. I would say that the other songs we play live are more epic and perhaps contain that cinematic edge which we definitely embrace when we perform.
Bob: At the moment, we have no plans to play the collaborations live, simply because when we were working on them we were only thinking about the studio versions, and the other producers added a lot of elements that I’m not sure we could reproduce live. Maybe one day in the future, though!
You played a select few festivals last year. Are there any live festival dates planned for this summer?
Catherine: We are in the process of booking our summer dates but we have Camden and Dublin Crawl lined up for May.
You’re in each other’s company a fair amount. Have you picked up any bad habits yet?
Catherine: This is true we do spend a lot of time together and have definitely picked up on each other’s habits, but this honestly doesn’t bother me.
Bob: I think to be able to be creative with someone, you have to be able to put up with a lot!
What does 2012 hold for Alpines?
Catherine: There are some important events and releases on the horizon. We released our new single “Empire” last week on iTunes [with a full release on the 11th]. The album is on the way too, we are hoping to release it later year.
Words: Shane Hawkins