Alex Neilson leader and drummer of the Trembling Bells originally comes from Leeds but is now based in Glasgow with his band . His musical prowess has allowed him to perform with a great number of band s and artists. He is likely most known for his collaborations with the prolific, multi-instrumentalist Richard Youngs and the elusive American folk/blues singer-songwriter Jadek. In forming Trembling Bells, Neilson brought in fellow band mates from his previous musical projects and they have been together since late 2008. The band channels the sounds of the late 1960’s psychedelia and folk era and create a brand new interpretation that we can easily understand today.
My great, great grand father was Jamaican
I love the music of the Incredible String Band
I don’t like hippies
What is the biggest inspiration for your music?
At the moment I am particularly inspired by Dennis Potter, El Greco, William Turner, Ovid, Aeschylus, Sophocles, Emily Dickinson, Monteverdi, Kanye West, Bob Dylan, Cornwall, Oxford, Carbeth, Yorkshire, Jesus Pobré. But it changes all the time.
How and when did you get into making music?
I started to play the drums at the age of 13 to avoid physics lessons at school and took to it as naturally as Christ took to the cross.
What are your 5 favourite albums of all time?
“Sinatra Sings for Only the Lonely” by Frank Sinatra. “Trout Mask Replica” by Captain Beefheart. “Take No Prisoners” by Lou Reed. “Rolling Thunder Review 1975” by Bob Dylan. “Love, Death and the Lady” by Shirley and Dolly Collins.
What do you associate with Berlin?
The Alt-Berlin and Rote Rose bars. The walls of the ancient city of Babylon in the Pergamon. Linden trees lining the site where the Wall once stood.
What’s your favourite place in your town?
The necropolis cemetery, Glasgow
If there was no music in the world, what would you do instead?
What was the last record you bought?
“Music of the Gothic Era” by David Munrow and the Early Music Consort of London.
Who would you most like to collaborate with?
David Munrow and Azelia Banks
What was your best gig (as performer or spectator)?
As a performer: Halloween at the Great American Music Hall in San Francisco with Bonnie “Prince” Billy. As a spectator: Chris Corsano and Paul Flaherty in Hasselt, Belgium
How important is technology to your creative process?
Do you have siblings and are they proud or jealous of you?
I am sand wiched between an older and a younger brother and they are both a seething ferment of contempt and jealous rage – both plotting my downfall at every moment of their waking lives. But I love them very much.
Alex and the Trembling Bells are touring with Mike Heron from The Incredible String Band . Check out the event.
Trembling Bells – I Made A Date (With An Open Vein)
Trembling Bells – The Bells of Burford (Live)
Trembling Bells – Waltz of the New Moon (Live)
Tara Darby | taradarby.com
| Interview with (name of the artist) by Digital in Berlin