On the brink of the release of the first single from his first official album release, Ali Love is running late. As he arrives, the PR asks if he would like some tea. “Any chance of getting some alcohol?” he responds. Turns out he’s hungover from a party the night before. “You know I didn’t think that I’d be that hungover but sometimes you just are, aren’t you? I started on tequila then I moved over to mojitos.” He was out until 4am and woke up late. Last night he was out DJing with Jodie Harsh, the drag Queen and his affiliates.
Before his fall from grace, Love was touted as the future face of Old Street talent. He’s often pictured in a red and black striped vest with baggy trousers. This was a fair representation of his musical aesthetic then. His songs were simple, attention grabbing and catchy. Now, he is sitting on a grey sofa in a grey hoodie, a craftily ripped t-shirt, jeans and a beanie. His songs have taken a turn towards Italo-disco. He looks worn out, but not so edgy. He gazes out of the window at the East London. “I’ve got a hungover kind of chattiness,” he smiles. As the man who penned the anthem of summer 2007 – ‘K Hole’ – this is not the character you’d expect. His conversation runs off onto tangents, which he is very conscious of and apologetic for. He has ‘the fear’, as Lily Allen puts it.
The story goes that he was dropped from Columbia Records because he was hitting the clubs too hard and fell out with the staff as a result. He has since been signed to Back Yard Recordings, also home to the Gossip and Chromeo. He’s made himself busy writing the material for his upcoming album release with Luca C, who he holds personally responsible for reigniting his love of music. His new songs are either themed around drugs, sex, or the come down.
“Some of the new album sounds good. We’ve got a few things to sort out and to finish it up,” he enthuses. “We’ve got one last track to do. It is kind of finished, but this track just needs tweaking up a little. It’s this one called ‘Show Me’. Which could be really good. It’s kind of ridiculous. It is ridiculous. It’s full on. Some people will hate it. Some people will love it. It’s like an electronic Motley Crew. You know? It’s got that kind of vibe. Or ‘Foreigner’, or ‘Survivor’, or ‘Eye of the Tiger’, but more electronic.”
“Luke was living in the bedroom next door so I’d soak up a lot of what he was listening to. A lot of old Italian stuff. You know, new disco stuff. And we started writing songs. Cause I’d had a deal with Columbia, and it all went a bit tits up, so I wasn’t really that bothered by music and I was gonna take a break. Then all of a sudden I was writing songs again. We started writing songs in this attic – we had a really cool attic – and er, we’d got this pink neon love light. Everything came from this house in North Finchley really. You know, getting into music again. I’m really gutted I moved out really. I had to move out because the winters were really cold. I had to sleep in my tracksuit with my hood up, you know?”
He claims to have learnt his lesson and has decided to take his music more seriously than his partying this time around. “I kind of fell out with [Columbia] a bit. You know, I was partying too hard. I’d been broke for years and then I got a shitload of cash. Music was secondary to going out and having a laugh really, and that was detrimental for the gigs. I kind of learned a lesson really. To hold it together, to an extent. I just had to learn it in quite a funny way really.”
That he is currently suffering from last night does not bode well for this resurrection. What else did he learn? “Don’t do loads of pills before you have a massive gig in front of the entire music press of London.” He melancholically trails off. He prefers the recording process to performing. Which is unfortunate, given that only a very small margin of artists are commercially successful in this way. He explains that this stems from a dislike of turning art into a commodity. That he wasn’t musically trained, but worked it out for himself, doesn’t factor in. “There’s so much shame. So much shame. It was actually an industry guy who gave me this black MDMA. It was like this crystal shit and if you took one dab of it you didn’t know what was going on. Walked onto this stage in this massive warehouse just dribbling. I just didn’t know what was going on.”
Right now, he’s putting together the video for his next release, but is unsure of the name of his new album. “I think it’s going to be called ‘Love Harder’, tentatively, cause it just kind of rolls off the tongue. Another name was ‘Earth Issues’ because I quite like space.” The video for single ‘Diminishing Returns’ follows suit, taking the viewer through a pool of multicoloured inks to retro European styled dance blast. The album sampler is five tracks of club-friendly pop music, fashionably styled to slot in between indie and dance. Far from seeming jaded, (as you would expect from an artist dropped from the same record label as AC/DC for partying too hard,) the lyrics feature a cool selection of repetitive but perceptive musings on alternative East London club culture. It’s far from groundbreaking, but it’s got character.