The Kaje talks pseudonyms to Alfie Ordinary

Portsmouth’s Antony Pothecary is just your average creative boy next door, while his alter ego is the geek chic popstar Alfie Ordinary. As alter egos go, we are more in the Dan Smith/Bastille ball park as opposed to the Miley Cyrus/Hannah Montana arena, but both comparisons work for the loveable acoustic pop musings that relate to teenage whisperings and beyond. Having stolen The Kaje‘s heart with his wistful “Facebook Song”, we did not hesitate in placing Ordinary in our Top 20 Acts to watch in 2012. With his latest double A-side, the irresistible “Wheetabix Song/Ticket Song” continuing his musical journey with a whimsical flair, we jumped at the chance to check in with Antony/Alfie to find out a little more…
For those who don’t know about Alfie Ordinary-can you quickly introduce yourself..

Hello I’m Alfie.  I write songs and play the guitar.  My dream is to be on the Eurovision Song Contest.  Every year we have a buffet in honour of it.

Alfie Ordinary is a pseudonym, why have you decided to create a character rather than use your real name?

Alfie kind of created himself.  He’s a big part of me, it was a long time before I was making music that people started calling me Alfie.  He kind of grew with me as I grew myself and it just felt right that Alfie makes the music because he deals with it much better.

How does Alfie differ from Antony?

Alfie is much more confident.  He can articulate himself better too (although Antony is very good at Scrabble).  But apart from that we are much the same.

Who would you say has inspired the Alfie Ordinary project?

It just kind of took off on it’s own.  I have been playing around with my guitar since I was 16 but didn’t really take it that seriously.  I played covers badly and wrote songs about old ladies and lesbians.  It all stopped when I went to University as I was surrounded by serious musicians and didn’t really think I could compete.  I plucked up the courage to play a gig two years later and Marcus Knight from Bob Presents… approached me and said he loved the “Facebook Song”.  It’s funny because I wasn’t even going to play it but the host of the evening used to be my neighbour and I played it to her one night after a few too many drinks.  Anyway we agreed to record it and the rest is history.  This is sounding more like a life story than an answer to a question.  If you want two names then it’s Marcus Knight and Leigh Stokes who both continue to inspire me and probably always will.

Comparisons in the industry are inevitable, if you could be compared to any artist-who would it be and why?
That’s a hard one.  I can tell you who I am compared to, but if you ask me who I’d like to be compared to then it’s a whole different fish.  Let’s say Andy Warhol for the time being.  That would be nice.
Your latest single is the double A-side “Wheetabix Song/Ticket Song”-can you tell us about each song…

Well “Wheetabix Song” is a bit cheeky.  I wrote it when I was younger and feeling a bit confident.  It’s talking about over indulgence, when something is sickly sweet you know.  “Ticket Song” is a more recent one.  I don’t know if you get this but I can’t stay in the same place for too long, unless it’s my bed.  I always have the craving to just go somewhere.  I have friends who get annoyed with me because I can’t make plans.  But it’s just what I like to do.  I guess it’s also a bit of a love story, cheesey I know, but when you find someone who will humour your unpredictability it really makes you smile.

“Wheetabix Song” was written when you were 18, how do you relate to the lyrics nowadays?

When I write songs, they always turn out to be like a letter.  They should all really start “Dear so and so…” So it’s kind of like reading an old birthday card or something.  There’s an element of nostalgia there but performing it now is more like paying homage to the way I felt when I was 18 and saying “Hey maybe you were right…”  But at the same time each song I write I try to make as timeless as possible.  Although they are all kind of personal I like to think that the simplicity of what I’m actually saying will remain relevant to me and the people who listen to the songs for a little while.

You are about to take your material on the road and to various festivals-tell us about Alfie Ordinary live…

Alfie gets a bit shy and tends to mumble.  Last year at Manchester Pride I wrote my set list on my arm and banged on about the weather a bit.  This year though I’m playing with a band so who knows what could happen.

Which do you prefer-writing, recording or performing?

You can’t compare.  I think it’s the transition between them I find the most interesting.  After you’ve written a song, you record it and then you get to hear it, suddenly this little song you wrote in your bedroom becomes a piece of music.  And then you’re on a stage singing it live and sometimes people sing along.  I still get a bit shy when I play my own songs because I’m always thinking “what if they are like ‘Shut up no one cares'”.

What tricks do you have up your sleeve for the live shows?
I’ve also been expanding my wardrobe, although I have lost my bear suit, which is a shame.  I was planning on basing my set on the teddy bear’s picnic but we might have to rethink that.  I’m still in love with balloons so you’ll probably see a few of those floating around.
Your YouTube account is overflowing with quirky covers-what to you makes a good cover?

I can’t stand when I see a musician doing a cover of a band or artist that they already sound like.  What’s the point?  Take something that is totally different.  Like Shirley Bassey’s “Get The Party Started” is great.  A pop song turned into an epic showtune.  That’s what I like to see.  Or when someone takes a pop song that seems quite light hearted and they strip it back to something quite beautiful.  Bastille’s “What Would You Do?” is incredible.

What song have you not tackled yet, that you would really like to?Either “Black Betty” or Reef’s “Place Your Hands”.  But first I’m going to do Yazoo’s “Don’t Go”.  I’m obsessed with that song at the moment.
With an EP already under your belt,is the next stop the album?

Yes.  I can’t wait.

Interview and Photographs by Jeremy Williams


1 Comment

  1. You’re very talented to pull all of this off 🙂

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