Who were the bands you first listened to growing up? Did the music your family/parents listened to have a big influence on you?
Alfie: As a youngster I had the world throwing Oasis at me and I loved it at the time, but finding things like Siouxsie and the Banshees records in my dad’s collection helped introduce me to more interesting music. Mum’s side of the family all being into most forms of punk helped a lot.
Jimmy: The 3 Albums that always stick out from childhood for different reasons would be the White Album, Kraftwerk -The Mix and Talking Heads - Little Creatures.
At what point were you first inspired to pick up an instrument? When did you start writing your own music?
Jimmy: Well I played trumpet for a bit when I was about 11/12 because my mate Jamie did and I copied him; I also had an acoustic guitar when I was even younger but I didn't know how to tune it. But what first inspired me to pick up an electric guitar was my brother in law Alex, when my sister started dating him I was about 15 and when I found out he was 'In a band' I was blown away! This will sound funny but where I lived there were no bands, people did karaoke or maybe played a bit of guitar. So in my head musicians and people in bands were like David Bowie or something and I hadn't given it much thought. As soon as I realized normal people could be in bands something went off in my head and that was ALL I wanted to do then... I started writing crappy songs immediately, but y'know I was just gonna be a guitarist for a long time; writing full songs on my own didn't come for a long time.
What were the first musical projects you got involved with?
Alfie: I was a frontman in a post punk band called the Skallywags based in Bethnal Green for a few years. We played regularly with Jimmy’s band the English Martyrs. We were all into our reggae and dub, basement parties and weed. Many a smashed glass filled dance floor. We've calmed down a lot now...
Jimmy: I would audition for a lot for bands, just stuff out the back of the NME when they used to do that and flyers on Denmark St. That was a tough time because you’re in a room with people who more often than not are a bit weird, playing awful music and you’re kinda committed to at least an hour of playing with them. That was a tough few years doing that. First proper band I joined fully were called The Dirty Pins, a kinda 77 punk band, I loved that but I wasn't writing and I was developing a taste, so when that died I started my first proper band with one of the other guys. We were called The English Martyrs- that time was great! That's how me and Alfie met through me being in that band.
Is your sound formed from having similar musical tastes or do you all bring different ideas to the table?
Jimmy: Yeah I guess me and Alf listen to different stuff when we ain't together but it's pretty rare that we'll disagree on something. Alf's definitely got his finger on the pulse more than me when it comes to new stuff and new bands, the only new bands I really see are ones we play with. I listen to Hawaiian and Country records mainly when I’m at home. I really love the lazy effortless sound of lot's of it; both genres are a massive influence on the Men's Adventures sound.
What were the defining factors that brought Men's Adventures together? How did the project get started?
Alfie: I opened up a pub in mile end called the Victoria about 5 years ago with the intention of putting bands on and having a base for both our bands at the time. Both bands soon split up and for the next year or so we all went our separate ways. I carried on putting on nights and got Jimmy in as sound man. Before too long we were sick of watching bands there and started writing together down at Jimmy’s in Peckham for a few months. The results can be heard on our Blood Brides EP. We played as a 2 piece for a few more months and occasionally brought in guests such as Fay from Savages. She hung around for a few gigs and then we got Chris [drums] involved. We've known Chris for years and just had a knack for listening to something and being able to play it straight away. Pascal [bass] I knew from some parties and was actually putting his current band on at the Vic. When they pulled out due to the band splitting up we approached him straight away. I think James was fucking one of my bar girls. That's how we got to know him. He’s got good rhythm! The defining factor in bringing us all together is out love for manly adventures though obviously
Jimmy: The defining factor was that me and Alf hadn't been in a band for well over a year and were depressed as fuck! I was doing sound at Alf’s pub and one thing led to another. We were slow out the blocks but you know good things come to those who wait. We had so many songs backed up and were desperate to play live...
Describe your writing and recording processes and set up...
Jimmy: Me and Alf talk a lot about themes, but the standard set up is that I will write a whole instrumental and Alf will add lyrics and a melody. Other times I will write the full song on my own and at times we collaborate on lyrics and melodies. I record and produce everything at home usually on an 8 track, with the exception of our Blood Bride EP which we made at Toe Rag studios.
How do you feel your music translates to live performances? How did you enjoy the A\Y/A show?
Jimmy: Well the live sound is different to our recordings simply because the recordings are just me and Alf and when we play live, we look and sound like a band, the guys all add their own little bits. I don't mind bands that sound different to their recordings; it’s a different experience when you see a band live to listening to their record at home. As long as it's still good, no problem! We really digged the A\Y/A show, Grass House were good and the crowd was amazing, one of my favourite shows we've done I think!
Alfie: We sing about love and sex and adventure in worlds far away. Stories of old and new. I think it translates as an escape to paradise or an adventure down a dusty path. And down the end of it is a beautiful woman. We all want that perfect woman and I'm sure they all want that perfect hero. So I'm sure if the crowd at your gig closed their eyes they might have lost themselves for a moment, but certainly not if they looked at us. No heroes here.