Interview: We Speak to Aloha Dead Ahead of Their Balcony Festival Performance

On Saturday a group of UK blogs and promoters including Joyzine will host Balcony Festival, with exclusive performances from ten fantastic bands in lockdown in aid of NHS Charities Direct.  London promoters Sonic Tonic have chosen Aloha Dead to play their stage at the festival, and they’ve spoken to the band about what we can expect from their performance.

Thank you for playing our stage at Balcony Fest in aid of NHS Charities, do you have any stories about the NHS you’d like to share?
Dead Aloha: Once upon a time, there was a Tory government. Then there was a major pandemic. The end?

What are/were your plans before all plans had to be shelved indefinitely?
Mr Aloha: We had some great gigs for April including a support slot for the legendary The Cravats, a performance at the famous Lynchian cabaret The Double R Club at Bethnal Green Working Mans Club and playing our friends Shattercones’ EP launch at SET (ed. Sonic Tonic presents gig!)

Our weekend off we had tix to The Road Kill records all-dayer, to see the wonderful Meatraffle. Living together does mean that we can try and keep the nightmare alive and get involved in events like this to disturb and delight music lovers in isolation.

What are your pro-tips for COVID-19 lockdown survival?  
Mr Aloha: Get creative, I forced myself to learn iMovie and cut the minimalist video for ‘Negative Space’ with about 3mins of footage in a day and a half. I think the lack of resources draws out a different approach.

We did a fun photo shoot for the Temple of Surrealism ‘Morbid Books’ and got involved in the isolation charity video for Meatraffle’s – ‘Oh Corona’.
I am currently learning a beautiful 1890 Hawaiian tango while I have the opportunity.

Dead Aloha: I still have to go to work. On my days off I like to get deeply shit-faced.

How do you think the COVID-19 is going to impact the music industry?
Dead Aloha: Small venues will struggle to come out the other side I think. People will – as with the NHS, and so many other things – gain a new found, hopefully not posthumous appreciation for it.

What’s the first thing you’re going to do once this COVID-19 jail time is over?
Mr Aloha: Hopefully play some gigs and try to find a label crazy enough to help us record an album.

Dead Aloha
: I’ve been forming more and more grandiose ideas about all the gigs/parties/holidays that await me on the other side. The reality is that I think by the time the restrictions are lifted I’ll settle for an ice cream from the ice cream man, and a hug from my mum and dad.

Your recent release, the otherworldly goodness of ‘Negative Space’ has a Lynchian feel to it but also springs to mind Lydia Lunch and Diamanda Galás, did they ever cross your radar while making it?
Dead Aloha: These comparisons are both huge compliments – thank you. The sound we were going for was a kind of Lynch-soundtrack-meets-lonely-sci-fi, though I seem to remember in retrospect having a bit of a hard on for the LL version of ‘Gloomy Sunday’ around the time of writing ‘Negative Space’, so perhaps subconsciously it was an influence?

What bands, current or otherwise would you recommend to us?
Mr Aloha:
One of the best live acts seen recently would have to be Pink Eye Club – for his naked raw honesty. And having the honour of supporting Meatraffle and The Fat White Family at the Windmill at the end of February was an amazing gig to finish on, in hindsight.

Today’s record selection;
Twin Peaks season 2 music and more is never very far from the turntable at the moment. Angelo Badalamenti is brilliant.
Jah Shaka- The commandments of dub (rough50) 1982
Keith Le Banc – Major Malfunction (WR 005)

Dead Aloha: I always say Andy Fairely whenever I’m asked. His stuff’s criminally underrated. The album System Vertigo is particularly spectacular. Current turntable favourites at Aloha HQ are a deliciously morbid 50s/60s country comp called ‘God Less America’, along with Orville Peck’s ‘Pony’. The superb Folk Lyric Records’ Hawaiian Steel Guitar Vol 1 & 2 compilations also deserves a mention.

A lot of people say aloha will never die, what would you say?
Dead Aloha: Those people have not heard Aloha Dead.

Interview by Neil Walsh
instagram.com/aloha_dead

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