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Introducing... Multi-skilled Alex Cornish

OPERATING with the same DIY aesthetic embraced by the pioneers of the musical movement that came to be known as 'indie', Alex Cornish is making music on his own terms.

A self-confessed "complete control freak", the Edinburgh musician's debut album was written, played, sung and produced in his bedroom – though the lack of major record label backing hasn't held it back any.

"I released my bedroom-recorded debut album on my own label last October and it went down surprisingly well, bearing in mind I'm doing everything myself," says Cornish.

He's being modest. Until The Traffic Stops, released last year, has provoked the kind of critical reaction that any major-label release would beg for.

This includes live sessions played for Dermot O'Leary on BBC Radio 2, Tom Robinson on BBC 6 Music and Jim Gellatly on XFM Scotland; a song played over the end credits of a Hollywood film and The Sunday Times' Hot Download Of The Week.

"One of my songs plays out the end credits to the Dan Myrick (of Blair Witch Project fame) film, Solstice," confirms Cornish, who started on classical violin and piano, and when he was 13 started to teach himself guitar and drums, picking up other instruments along the way.

It's a case of hard work paying off for the local singer-songwriter, who five years ago was living in London and stuck in a rut, playing in various "s*** bands that were going nowhere", doing showcases for major labels that "weren't interested", playing occasional session guitar and writing bits of music for TV.

"My dad's family are Scottish and mum and dad moved to North Berwick when I went to university, so I used to go up during the holidays," he recalls. "When I got fed up of living in London, Scotland was the natural place to go to, to see if I could get a new perspective on things," he adds.

His instincts proved to be spot on – within a month of moving to Edinburgh he had written and recorded the songs that make up his excellent album, Until The Traffic Stops.

"It was something about getting out of my comfort zone, although I actually felt immediately at home here in Scotland," says Cornish, who headlines at Cabaret Voltaire a week today.

"It opened it all up – the scope for what was possible, ie anything," he adds.

And he didn't stop there. He set up his own label, Bellevue Records, secured an independent distribution deal and put the album out himself. "I was stuffing envelopes and calling press and radio producers to try to get it played," he says. "No-one else was going to, because no-one else cared as much as I did."

Now, encouraged by the reaction to the album's initial low-key release, and with a team of like-minded music industry types batting for him, Until The Traffic Stops is soon to be re-released, with the title track coming out as a single on September 29.

"I wasn't looking for a major record deal, but there were some cool people in the industry offering to help, without wanting to take over," he says.

"There were limits to that box room where I recorded the album and I wanted to improve some things here and there, and now I have got the opportunity to do it."

&149 Alex Cornish, Cabaret Voltaire, Blair Street, Friday, September 12, 9pm, 7, 0131-220 6176; Until The Traffic Stops is released on Bellevue Records, September 29

 
 
 

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