Hello Alaine, so where ya from & where ya at, geographically speaking
Hiya! I’m originally from Renfrew and moved to Glasgow as a young adult. Now I live in Paisley with my husband Chris, son Jamie and two cats called Chooky and Furry.
So when did you first feel yourself getting into music
I remember being really young, about 3 or 4 years old, and getting one of those tiny Casio keyboards as a birthday or christmas present. I spent a lot of time figuring out how to play the demo’s that were pre-programmed into it. Once I’d done that, I moved on to trying to play the music from certain TV adverts that got stuck in my head. I started keyboard lessons at 8, taught myself guitar from about 9, took up clarinet at 12, bass guitar in my teens and 20’s and ukulele about 4 years ago. I’m also a rather mean kazoo player and I mess about with piano now and then. As far as vocals go, I always loved singing but only started really working on the strength of my vocals about a decade or so ago.
Who were your inspirations then & are they still relevant to your music today.
Musically speaking, I’m all over the shop; When I was really young I was brought up on a whole host of different bands, ranging from Fleetwood Mac to the Beatles to Abba. As a teenager I got to vent my frustrations with life through a love of heavy metal, but at the same time still had a soft spot for musicals! Today, I love everything from beats to rocknroll. I guess I’m a sucker for a melody which shows in the music I write. As far as wondering if my inspirations are still relevant; The mind is a cool thing, it keeps hooks and riffs from songs that have inspired you throughout your life and stores them deep in the back of your brain. Sometimes the part of a song that brought you particular joy, or created a particular type of emotions all those years ago, crops up in a tune without you realising. All of a sudden, there is is, and you’ve never noticed it before and you had no idea that you wrote it at the time. I think you try to emulate those who have inspired you, either consciously or unconsciously, so I guess what I’m saying is I think my inspirations are relevant no matter when in my life they came along.
What do you like to do when you’re not making kick-ass music?
I run a business called Well Happy with my business partner and bandmate, Janine. We provide health and wellbeing sessions to Businesses, Local Authorities, Schools and community groups, teaching stress reduction techniques, mind body science and awareness while increasing communication and the overall health and wellbeing of staff. Both Janine and I studied the sciences at University so we look at issues surrounding staff recruitment and retention and help to mange them using techniques that are scientifically shown to reduce staff turnover rates, decrease sickness rates and increase productivity and sales. I’m also a Reiki practitioner, teach ukulele lessons, and last but not least, I’m a mum. I don’t have enough hours in the day.
So you’re one of the coolest species of musician there is – the singing female bass-player: why this role?
It was a role that I kinda fell into. I was in a band years ago that was doing the usual rounds on the Glasgow scene. Unfortunately 6 weeks before a gig our bass player left and instead of trying to undertake the mammoth task of finding a decent bass player to learn all our songs in such a short time frame, I decided I’d give it a go myself. I’d messed about with bass for a short while in my teens and figured it wouldn’t take that much effort to change from just singing on a stage to playing an instrument and singing. I was wrong! But I continued with it anyway as I didn’t really have a choice! The rest as they say is history.
From the punkiness of Pablo Eskimo a couple of years ago you got involved in the rather different ‘The Well Happy band’ : why the transition?
It has always been a dream of mine to have a big band. I love the rawness of a three piece, but you can do so much more musically when there are more people involved. Another main reason was that I chilled out a lot after becoming a mum. I still love funk, punk, rocknroll, and I allow that to still be a part of my music making today, only now it has a happier twist. I also discovered Reiki a few years ago which opened up a whole new way of living for me. Pablo was all about the venting of angst and frustration. I found a new way to deal with that so the songs I wrote naturally became happier, though rocknroll, beats, punk and funk still all play their part in the Well Happy Band.
You have just finished an album, can you tell us about it?
Yes! The Little Album of Happiness was launched online on 20th April. It’s a 6 track album with tunes that will make you smile. I try not to keep to any one genre, so if you’re into genre hopping happy tunes that range from summer loveliness to down right rocknroll then I’m sure you’ll like this album. It originally started off a a 4 track demo, but on the day of recording we managed to get 6 songs recorded. And thanks to Tommy Duffin at 16 ohm studios the tunes sounded too good for it to be labelled as a demo, so it became a full blown album.
What was the recording process like with such a wide array of performers
It was lots of fun! And believe it or not, virtually stress free. As long as everyone has a clear understanding of what is to be achieved, and you possess the tools to be able to contribute to an environment that is calm, collected, focussed and happy (not many people find recording to be this way!) you can work with any amount of performers and get the very best out of them.
The real key to making the recording a success was found in the months preceding the recording though. People always respond well when they feel part of the vision and the best way to achieve that is to communicate that vision as clearly as possible. Once an understanding is reached and everyone gets on the same page, it allows each person to bring their own personality and charisma to that vision. What goes on inside your head can sometimes come out in the studio as a perfect copy, other times it’s completely new and brilliant! Keeping focussed yet open minded means you can get to your goal while letting other fantastically creative people help you along the way. The same goes for recording as rehearsing. Essentially, if you believe in yourself and the others around you, that’s when the magic happens.
What does the summer hold in store for Alaine & the Well Happy Band
For a band that’s only a year old, we’re already really busy! We’ve been booked for lots of festivals this year, some of which are Solfest, Argyll Gathering and Mugstock. We’ll be making an appearance or two at Eden this year as well. Well Happy will be hosting workshops throughout the festival and we always have an acoustic gig for the band outside our tent at certain times throughout the weekend. Our lovely pals at the Melodrome will be giving us some stage time too. Janine and I will be playing our first ever gig in Amsterdam in June too! We’re also grateful to be welcomed into the Yellow Movement so we have a few gigs booked throughout the summer with them as well. The Well Happy Band also feature in the Yellow Movement Documentary by Chris McG which will be released over the summer too. Essentially, I think I’ll be living out of my motorhome until September!