Following the release of their debut album last week at the Sanderson Hotel, Alpines talk us through their enigmatic journey this far
Sat in the garden at the Sanderson Hotel, it instantly became apparent that Alpines (aka Bob and Cat) share a love for both music and fashion. Whilst Cat is dressed in a monochrome power suit, Bob is also fronting some seriously sharp tailoring, but they don’t just look the part, they act it too. Having met at a mutual friends wedding in Bristol, at which Bob was playing in the wedding band, Cat and Bob were unaware they were about to spark a long-standing relationship on more than one level. “Bob came to a show when it was just me and a piano. He had ideas for how to make it better really,” says Cat modestly. “He knew how to make it a fuller sound, which is the sound on the album today. That’s it really.”
Having embarked on a fifteen hour road-trip to the French mountains in search of inspiration, the duo found harmony in the highest grounds, taking their name from the native plant-life: Alpines. “We really wanted something that was timeless and fresh,” explains Cat. “So, Alpines just worked.” Whilst Bob grew up listening to punk, rock and indie bands, he progressed from performing to production, but for Cat it was all about ‘90s girl-power and body-shaking dance routines to the sounds of Aliyah, TLC, Destiny’s Child and MisTeeq . “My teenage years were when I really formed my opinions and my taste,” she says. “I listened to a lot of the girl groups and I did a lot of dance routines to MisTeeq. But aside from the groups I listened to a lot of Aretha Franklin and Joni Mitchell.
Sharing a love of pop music, the sound they create has gone from sparse, minimal and industrial when they first started out, to the far more funk orientated sound we hear today, initially self-termed “Night-Pop”. “That was something we came up with very early on as a bit of a joke,” says Bob. “It seemed to fit the ‘nocturnal’ vibe of our early songs. But it doesn’t work anymore. Maybe we’ve made the transition to day-pop.”
Genre-classifications aside, their new album Oasis released this week is arguably their most true sound yet. “We’ve refined a lot of what we were trying to do,” says Cat. “In the last few years we’ve got more experimental and it’s helped us to evolve.” But whilst the sound has evolved, the mission has remained strong. “Making people dance is something that really matters to me,” Cat continues. “You can’t do that without a groove, so that’s another thing that I’m obsessed with.”
With toe-tapping, body-popping beats throughout the album, it’s safe to say their mission is accomplished, but they won’t be stopping here. “We’ve already changed our style greatly since we started, and we’ve only just released our first album,” says Bob. “I anticipate that we’ll keep on changing. All my favourite bands throughout the history of pop have done that. I think it’s the best way make sure your music remains interesting, to yourself and others.”
Aside from their album, they’re also producing a great array of covers, one in particular we are premiering on the Wonderland Soundcloud today: Monsta Boy – ‘I’m Sorry’; and whilst they have already attracted many high-profile artist remixes, including Maya Jane Coles amongst others, Cat’s dream collaboration, Eminem, was somewhat surprising. But after explaining how rappers have inspired her lyrically for the album, it makes more sense. “There’s so much honesty with hip-hop,” Cat enthuses. “You can explore deeper subjects, kind of fucked up stuff in a way. Or stuff that’s more straight to the point. Like Eminem.” With endless possibilities right at their feet, the future is bright for Alpines.
Oasis came out Monday via Untrue Records.
Words: Brooke McCord