Behind the Music: Interview with Alex Ohm

‘We pride ourselves on the energy of our live shows – we really wanted that to resonate through the new EP.’

With a new EP just around the corner, we chatted with Alex Ohm to find out more about ‘The Lost Persons Meeting Point’ (out Friday 12th Feb), being eco-friendly when it comes to vinyl, and the influence music has on mental health.

Describe your sound in no more than five words. Ever-changing, anthemic, alternative indie.

Who is involved in Alex Ohm, and what do they bring to the sound? We have Ste Ashford AKA the ‘Bromsgrove Edge’ – a man of many guitars and a master of his craft. We have the queen of bass, Hanna Maiden who provides some of the sweetest bass riffs I’ve ever heard and is great at adding harmonies too. She can get the notes that I can’t quite reach – The Mariah ones. Anna Baker has also recently joined us on drums, and we can’t wait to get up and running with her. She’s got some serious skills.

Turning to your new EP, there’s a great sense of capturing a live sound. How important was it to generate this sensation? It’s a really important thing for us and it’s something that’s missing in previous recordings. We pride ourselves on the energy of our live shows and really wanted that to resonate through the EP.

So did this approach affect the recording processes at all? It actually made it a better process. When I first started my solo project, I’d build the songs pretty much from scratch and record it as I went. It seemed to take forever to finish songs and then when they were done I’d think of changes that could be made. Songs develop over time and when you’re rehearsing them with a band you get a good feel for how it should sound and what works well. We rehearsed the songs before going into the studio and we had a definite vision of how we wanted them to sound which meant the studio time was pretty quick.

And also on recording, what led to two different studios being used? We started recording in London at Pirate Studios which was part of a prize. We really enjoyed our time down there and got pretty much all of the recording done. Then we had to mix it. We ended up doing this back up in Wolverhampton, mainly because it’s easier to sit in with the producer and talk through suggestions. It’s hard to get that right via email. During the time between using the studios, we had a chance to listen to the mixes and there were things that the band and I thought could be made even better so we decided to re-record elements of the EP before mixing.

On the wider aspects of the release, what influenced the decision to create an accompanying vinyl? I’m a big fan of physical releases; I’ve bought a lot of music on vinyl recently. I love to check out the accompanying art that goes with the music and vinyl sounds so much better than streamed music. It’s the first EP I’ve recorded with the band too so we wanted to mark that occasion with something special.

‘The link between music and mental health is huge, and for me it’s a way of expressing myself, escaping or venting.’

And on this, what factors drove the use of vinyl offcuts/eco-friendly approach? Why not? If we can reduce waste, I’m all for it. I came about the idea whilst searching vinyl production and it grabbed me. It’s great too because it makes a limited run of vinyl even more limited in the sense that there are only going to be a certain amount of different coloured vinyls. I think it also gives fans something more unique and personal. Find out how pre-saving could lead to you winning an exclusive vinyl test pressing of the EP here.

Considering the flow of the release, how much did the title of the EP influence the track order? The title of the EP – ‘The Lost Persons Meeting Point’ – influenced not only the flow of the tracks but the tracks that made the EP. I wanted a collection of songs that fitted the title and I think these tracks do that perfectly. It reflects how many people are feeling at the moment too.

When you first released the anthemic ‘Going Nowhere Fast’ in 2020, did you know this would open the EP? Yes, the order was in concrete way back then. We were all agreed on how the EP should run and wanted the first release off the EP to be a grand affair. Going Nowhere Fast definitely covered that. It’s ironic too because just as we released that track, the country went into lockdown and pretty much everything was ‘going nowhere fast.’

With such a diversity of musical influences across the EP, how do you go about deciding the stylist direction of your tracks? Honestly, I’m not sure. I never start a song thinking, ‘I want to write a song like so and so’, I just write songs that reflect a feeling or situation and take it from there. Obviously there are influences, but we just make the music that we enjoy and the range of influences we have seems to create our own sound. 

What is the most memorable gig that you have done to date, and why does it stick in your mind to this day? I think the time we played YNot Festival was a standout show for me. We played the Quarry Stage for BBC Introducing and the weather was awful. People were leaving the festival in their droves and I was certain no one was going to be there to watch us. I couldn’t have been more wrong. The tent was heaving, and we played a great set. During the last song, I jumped into the crowd and told everybody to get down as the track lowered in volume. To my surprise, the sea of people in front of me crouched down. It was amazing…a real audience condition. As the song built up, I instructed the crowd to jump up and the tent erupted. Such a good feeling!

And on the topic of live music, what is the biggest thing you have missed about not being able to perform? The connection with the audience. I’ve done a lot of streamed shows in the run up to the EP release which has been a good way of connecting with friends and fans, but it doesn’t quite fill the void of a live show. I enjoy feeding off the energy of the crowd – it drives the performance and I can’t wait to get back out and perform live again.

Last year, your track Hours raised funds for mental health charity Mind. What led to this? During the initial lockdown period there was a lot of money being raised for the NHS which was amazing. However, I wanted to raise money for charities that were helping people affected by the pandemic in another way. 

And linked with this, how strongly do you feel the relationship between mental health and music is? I think it has a huge link. We all listen to music day in, day out. We choose music to reflect our mood or to alter our mindset. I’ve seen so many people saying how much they’ve missed live music. It brings people together in a positive way and creates memories. For me personally, it has a significant link anyway; it’s a way of expressing myself, escaping or venting.

And finally, what are three things that you have learnt about the music industry that you wish you had known when you started out? There are a lot of people not to trust. There are different levels of success. Money talks, but that doesn’t mean you should give up.

Thanks Alex Ohm for chatting with Listen to Discover

Find out more about Alex Ohm at:
EP Review: Alex Ohm: The Lost Persons Meeting Point

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