Ali MacQueen – Interview

Interview with Pete Devine of Pete’s Rock News and Views (

PD: What type of artist are you? 

AM: Folk heart, indie head, rock soul…


PD: Tell us the brief history of yourself.

AM: I grew up in south Beds, played in bands for most of my teens, moved to Nottingham, formed a band, moved to London, had 2 brain surgeries in 9 years, wrote a lot of songs and never stopped going.


PD: Who are your musical and non-musical influences?

AM: Musically, a lot of Beck, Folk Implosion, PJ Harvey, Black Keys, but also a lot of 60s psych and Laurel Canyon folk, which then bleeds into modern day artists like Father John Misty or Willy Mason. Non musically, I get pretty inspired by going round art galleries, just to see things through someone else’s worldview. And then the lives of people I either know, meet briefly or perhaps see but never meet; it’s all inspiring thinking about what other people might be thinking or going through.


PD: What are your dreams and goals?

AM: I guess my goals are to get to a point where I can write music consistently, keep going into a studio, play live, release more records, be happy and also inspire others to not give up on their dreams. My dreams, well, I’d like to write tunes for other people, just to keep writing, recording and collaborating – that’s when I feel most alive.


PD: Who writes your songs, what are they about?

AM: I write all my own songs, but that’s not to say they’re free of input from others, whether it’s bandmates or JB Pilon – the producer I’ve been working with for a while. At the minute the songs are about escaping the confines and boxes that you’re put into. It can be so easy to just accept the way things are, and be content with that. My first track on Blagger’s Records, ‘Loretto, was all about that – I just reminded myself of what it was like to be back in my hometown of Dunstable. There wasn’t really much progression there for anyone, but in one sense, there was also no impetus for people to change anything. That’s also what my latest tune, ‘One of These Days’ is about.


PD: How do you promote your band and shows?

AM: Inevitably it’s mainly all about shouting about it on social, but trying to create original and authentic “content” is always best. I also try and keep it old school by trying to design psych-inspired posters from the late 60s for some gigs. I am lucky because I’m signed to a little indie so I do have some help with promotion in the form of Danny Watson, a well-trusted radio promoter. I’m also lucky because I have had a lot of solid support from a couple of radio stations, such as Janice Long on BBC Wales, Phoenix FM and Alternative MK. But there’s still no better promotion than playing live really – getting your music heard by new people and supporting similar bands is essential I think.


PD: What do you think about downloading music online?

AM: I’m not against it, I’ve found out about loads of bands this way, but it does affect artists in a certain sense, as it is harder for them to earn money purely from streams. Of course, it means they just have to be more creative and inventive in how they earn, but that’s a different pressure.


PD: What song do you wish you’d written and why?

AM: Neil Young’s Harvest Moon – I think it’s everything: lush instrumentation; simple lyrics, great melody and it’s got a universal theme, you know? A lot of people can relate to it.


PD: What are some of your pet peeves?

AM: People promising to do something and then not doing it. Abuse of power. Littering. Treating the world and others like shit. 


PD: What is your proudest moment in music?

AM: It was when I was at Metropolis Studios, and ‘One of These Days’ was being mastered by John Davis. He does the mastering for so many artists – U2, Damon Albarn, Primal Scream, Dua Lipa, Bat for Lashes, Noel Gallagher – and is a cool guy. I came out of the studios that day so proud that I’d got to that point.


PD: So what are you working on at the moment?

AM: At the minute I’m supporting the release of One of These Days, with a lot of live gigs and radio appearances. As well as that, the band and I are just working on new songs to play live. It’s good though; bringing in these half-formed ideas and building them into new ones with a real life to them.


PD: What music have you available online and where can we buy it from? 

AM: So Loretto and One of These Days are available on Spotify, Apple Music, iTunes, Amazon Music, Bandcamp and Soundcloud. You can obviously buy it from Bandcamp for a very small price!


Ali MacQueen links:
Band/Artist location – London UK
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