Belfast Telegraph

We catch up with Alabama 3 frontman Larry Love

By Edwin Gilson

The colourful musician is frontman of Alabama 3, who made their name by merging the genres of country and acid house. An acoustic version of the band will perform at the Open House Festival in Bangor tomorrow.

You're over here a lot these days. Do you feel an affinity with Northern Irish people?

We've always loved Belfast; we've been playing there since 1996. For all the talk of the troubled times back then, the people were f*****g beautiful and they'd always go mad at our shows. I know some bands don't go there a lot, which is ridiculous. I'm sure I'll end up in a bar somewhere in Belfast, but I don't think I'll be in a state to remember which one!

There are a number of Alabama 3 incarnations, aren't there?

Yeah, we've got the acoustic act, the full nine-piece band and a soundsystem set too. The acoustic act is like a gateway drug to the proper hard drug that is the full band. We pull them in on the acoustic stuff, and then get them hooked on the full band.

You've often spoken about the death of the record industry. How do Alabama 3 make money?

We were quite lucky that the TV programme The Sopranos used our song Woke Up This Morning as the theme tune, as that has led on to some other film soundtracking work.

There's no point moaning about not selling records, you just get on with it. You make your own videos, do a lot of touring, whatever. We've got a record label called Hostage too, which, to be honest, is a complete pain in the a**, but it's another way of doing it yourself. I'm just grateful that we aren't digging ditches.

You're self-proclaimed hedonists, but you also have a prolific release rate. How do you combine the two?

We've always strived to have a high work ethic and commitment levels, despite what you might call our hedonistic streak. It's not f*****g difficult. A lot of bands will say 'Oh I smoke too much, I'm an alcoholic, and I've got a drug problem', and it'll be used as an excuse for their music suffering. I don't care about any of that chat. Besides, we're top dogs in that regard. We're the messiest.

You received a withering review from the NME upon the release of your debut album. Do you think some people missed the point of what Alabama 3 were doing?

Listen, bruv, we started off with music differences as opposed to gradually growing apart like most bands. When we started mixing country and acid house, people were taken aback. We used to refuse to do interviews unless we spoke in American accents. And then we had people saying to us (puts on American accent) 'But you're not even American, what are you guys doing?!' People couldn't understand that we were actually from Brixton. We liked winding the press up a bit.

Do you think Alabama 3 influenced any new artists you're hearing at the moment?

Well, this week I heard Avicii, who made 12.5 million dollars in a week, say that he had invented a new genre called Country House. I was like "You b*****d, we did that first!". A prophet is never known in his own land, I can tell you that.

  • Alabama 3 play The Windsor, Quay Street, Bangor, tomorrow at 8pm. For details, visit www.openhousefestival.com

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