MANCHESTER based quintet Alias Kid are preparing for their debut headline tour ending in Manchester. Our entertainment reporter Rae Coppola caught up with frontman Maz Behdjet about rock and roll, stage invasions, and doing their bit for the homeless…
The self-proclaimed rockers, but publically acclaimed ‘new Oasis’, stepped up to the plate in 2013, adding to Manchester’s rich music scene history. The idea came about when two band members decided they needed to give their friends a reason to come out to the pub for a drink. Much to their surprise, they were signed by Alan McGee, joining the roster of Creation Management, by their third gig and their popularity sky rocketed.
Maz explained: “We did our first gig in front of about 10 people in Manchester and McGee said come down and play in Liverpool so we did. Then he came to watch us in Manchester and signed us.
“It was a risk since we weren’t seen as a fashionable band because the sort of music we do isn’t what you see in the charts, there’s a lot of drips in the charts.”
Their well-received debut album ‘Revolt to Revolt’ was released last May and since then the group have been working hard.
Alias Kid may appear to be influenced by McGee’s Oasis, but front man Maz is in fact a big John Lennon fan, and guitarist Sean O’Donnell likes The Sex Pistols. With the duo sharing the song writing duties, their sound inevitably becomes something completely new.
Commenting on being dubbed the latter, Maz said: “People that say it, say it as a compliment, but I think it’s a lazy comparison in some ways. Musically we’re not like them, but we are a Manchester band and signed with Alan McGee on Creations so I see where it comes from.
“It’s the same in anything, if a Manchester United player comes through and he’s a left winger, he’ll be called the new Ryan Giggs until he proves himself.
“Alias Kid have to prove they’re their own thing. That’s just the way it is.”
The five-piece are on the gig scene constantly, playing unexpected locations like Scunthorpe and Leister regularly, and building up a steady fan base from all their gallivanting.
Maz said: “There are a lot of bands who complain about travelling up and down and doing all sorts of gigs and I just think, don’t do it.”
Alias Kid have even supported some big names in 90’s music including; Happy Mondays and Black Grape, thanks to their connections with McGee.
McGee has a nationwide campaign called Musicians Against Homelessness with twin aims to raise funds for the homeless charity Crisis, and provide gig opportunities for up-and-coming bands. However, even before the campaigns launch, Alias Kid did their bit for the homeless.
Maz said: “When we were on tour with Black Grape we gave our guest list places away to people who donate to foodbanks. We weren’t known when we did it, but people did it and came over to say we’ve donated this much, and I’ve made friends because of it.
That in itself won’t change the world, but if enough people get behind it maybe it could.”
Now, the band are embarking on their first headline tour, and beginning to prove that they can live up to their manager’s claim that they could sell out stadiums.
When asked how it felt he said: “When you play on the Academy circuit supporting people like the Happy Mondays there’s a bit less pressure as they came for the headliners, but when you’re on your own people come to see you so you have to please them.
“The people who come and watch the gigs are the people who let you do this.”
Alias Kid are becoming known for their lively, slightly rowdy gigs, chaotic stage invasions and broken amps rife, as well as an onslaught of banter between band members. Their Manchester date is sold-out and set to be a good night with a 600 strong audience.
I asked Maz what people could expect from their shows, he said: “I think at one point the drummer is going to beat me up on stage because I give him so much c**p and he’s a big guy. I’m lucky he’s a nice lad otherwise it’d have happened loads of times.
“It’s never nasty, we just have a laugh, particularly on stage and then people come down and there’s a party after.”
There are three bands supporting Alias Kid on their UK Tour, and ever thankful Maz said: “Most people do what we do, it’s just that we were lucky to get this thing going with McGee, so we might as well give them a chance.
“There’s more rock and roll in the little toe of bands playing up and down the country in little venues than those playing in the charts.”
Alias Kid are currently working on new material that they’ll be dropping into the set lists of their upcoming shows to test the water, before eventually releasing their much anticipated album.
By Rae Coppola
If you didn’t manage to get tickets for their Manchester Club Academy date, you can catch Alias Kid at Kendall Calling and Party in the Pines this summer.