The Refrain Interview: al-b

From kicking off his music career in the undergrounds of the metal scene, to singing over pop infused hip-hop, al-b has developed a sound unique to himself. Having played countless shows in the underground scene to performing on the punk staple that is Warped Tour, he has set his sights on a new era of music.

We had a chance to speak with al-b as part of our Refrain Interview series.

Refrain Music Blog: Thanks for taking the time to do this interview. You have a new single out now. Tell us about it? What’s it called? 

Thank you for having me! This song is called “my least favorite letter is u” is a reminder to myself that the only person I truly need in life is myself.

RMB: What’s the single about? 

It’ss about being self-reliant and just doing yourself. Don’t be afraid to cut out those toxic people in your life.

RMB: What’s the story on how it was recorded?

This is actually the first song I recorded as al-b, even though it’s my fourth release. It was recorded in the spare bedroom of my friend’s apartment down the street from my house. I went in and I told him what I wanted it to sound like and it took off from there. It just clicked instantly. Initially, it was just me on the track and when I sent it to my best friend she was like “this needs a feature and it’ll be complete”. She recommended her friend War Mothershed so I reached out and sent him the track. He sent back his verse within like 20 minutes, it was wild. The fastest I’ve ever seen anyone write a feature. I was amazed, I’ll never forget sending it to him and receiving his part in my email moments later.

RMB: Tell us a little bit about yourself. When did you start pursuing music?

I have always had a weird obsession and love for music. I started pursuing it when I was 18, doing covers in my room at my parent’s house and just releasing them on YouTube. I eventually formed a metal band and played countless shows and met so many people who I hold dearly. That eventually faded out and the need to create was still there so I started al-b.

RMB: Who are some of your biggest musical influences?

This question is always so difficult to answer. I love all kinds of music. Other than life, if I had to narrow it down to a few of my favorite artists, I’d say my biggest influences are The Cure, Depeche Mode, AFI, Coheed and Cambria, blackbear, Missy Elliott, and The Weeknd.

RMB: What’s the one thing you are most proud of in your career so far?

The thing I am most proud of is the connections I see being built around my music. Seeing people from bonds through my music is the best feeling in the world and it’s all I can really ask for. Oh and playing Warped Tour, that was pretty cool!

RMB: If you had to pitch your music to a potential fan in less than 10 seconds, what would you say?

If you like crying in the club then al-b is for you.

RMB: What’s one piece of advice you’ve gotten that you think everyone needs to hear or that has meant the most to you?

I care way too much about what people think of me. It is probably one of my biggest flaws and I am constantly battling it. I’ll never forget when my Mom told me that “people will like you for you if you are honest.”. She is completely right, people can tell when you are insincere and it is probably one of the worst things you be in music and life.

RMB: If you could go back in time, what’s a piece of advice you would give to a younger you?

Just be you. As a closeted kid growing up feeling insecure, unseen, and unheard, I tried to be who I thought others wanted me to be. I realize now I can’t be anyone other than me.

RMB: What’s coming up next for your musical project?

I am currently in the studio writing new material and have new music and content on the way! New al-b vibes coming your way.

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