“We don’t really fit into any scene,” says Sierra Alpha frontman Martin Goddard, “We’re just trying to make pop music, in the more classic sense of the word, whereas the bands ‘round here sound more alt. and indie, or in the case of Lostprophets et al, more American.”
On returning from trying his hand as a solo artist in the “Big Smoke”, singer and guitarist Martin Goddard found himself yearning to get back with a band. Having played in a covers band before leaving for London, Sierra Alpha came together through both old and new friends. Martin says he found himself excited to be starting with a new gang.
Formed just under two years ago, Sierra Alpha is the latest band to spring forth from South Wales. On paper, Sierra Alpha are an unlikely melting pot. Martin and bassist Stuart Davies, are self-professed suckers for singer-songwriters and classic pop, whereas guitarist Andrew Evans worships at the altar of guitar gods, drummer Simon Beecher is a metal head and Andrew Harries, keys, is a jazz and blues man. You would be forgiven for expecting such a wide-ranging collection of tastes to clash horribly, but the Alph’s seamlessly combine their influences, resulting in edgy pop-rock, lifting them into an entirely different realm to the latest slew of Britain’s Got Talented X-Idol ‘hopefuls’.
Having started with little intention of recording, the band have decided to take the next three months off, to rehearse further, write more songs and get themselves in the studio in both August and December.
Given the opportunity to collaborate with any musician or producer, Goddard says he’d love to work with Billy Joel or Rufus Wainwright, “sometimes you find an artist whose songs provide the soundtrack to your life,” he adds, “even though you’ve never met, their songs reflect what’s happening to you so perfectly. I’d love to work with a songwriter like that.” As for producers, Martin instantly names Kings of Leon and Crowded House knob-twiddler, Ethan Johns, “I’d love to record with somebody like that, to get that stripped back sound.”
When asked about the year so far, Sierra Alpha say they have found themselves pleasantly surprised by the level of success that has come their way, through little promotion. “For the first 18 months or so we worked locally to build our confidence. We rehearse for eight hours each and every week,” Goddard says. Such dedication has lead to the band finding themselves on over 25 different radio playlists, including BBC Radio Wales, Radio 1 and Xfm. Despite garnering such positive attention from most, Goddard says they were have accused of being too well rehearsed, something he considers to be back-handed compliment.
The band will take time out from rehearsing and recording to headline the Surface Unsigned Showcase at IndigO2 at the O2 Arena in September, before embarking on a tour throughout the UK in October. Having already crossed these Isles twice, and pulled crowds of over 200 as far from their native Llanelli as Liverpool, the band hopes to reach Scotland for a couple of dates on their autumn trek.
Looking beyond the end of this year, and into the next five, Sierra Alpha say they’d gladly play to larger crowds and sign deals, although their ten feet remain on the ground, Goddard humbly muses, “realistically, I’d be happy to be successful enough to make a living from making music. If somebody offered me £200 a week to write and record our own material, I’d snap that up.”