Alex Evans

Hedi Slimane spotlights six emerging musicians

The Creative Director of Celine returns with his second Portrait of a Performer series, starring young and passionate musicians from across England.

JUNIOR COBBINAH

Cobbinah is the lead vocalist and guitarist of London-based indie band Malady.

Junior Cobbinah

What emotions do you go through when you’re on stage?

When it’s going well, a healthy mixture of euphoria, anger and sadness. When it’s not going to plan, mostly the anger and sadness, with a dash of shame to season the mixture. I miss not being able to hear my guitar or vocals in my monitor! 

What inspired you to form a band?

I’ve played in various bands since college, doing it is one of the only things that brings me joy that hasn’t been artificially induced. In regards to forming my own band, I was fairly disillusioned with what was going on when I was constantly going to gigs during the early days of university… there was an element of if you want something done, just do it yourself”. I’d be lying if I didn’t acknowledge that banging out karaoke every Wednesday definitely contributed to the naïve belief that I could be anywhere near a microphone, in public.

What’s a lyric which is close to your heart?

A recent one is why stop reading, when the page is about to turn?” from Energy Fleets by King Krule.

FLOYD MAGEE

Magee is the guitarist of the enigmatic post-punk outfit Bad Static.

What emotions do you go through when you’re on stage?

Part of me wants to be Sid Vicious, and to just mess up all the songs and backflip into the crowd and vomit everywhere, and the other half of me wants to be like Jimi Hendrix, or something, where you rip a huge solo and the whole crowd thinks you’re a god. The first gig I ever had, I went out on stage expecting crowds of girls screaming like we were the next Beatles, but when we started playing, my strings snapped and my mate’s amp literally started producing smoke; it was like we were in a terrible sitcom where literally everything goes wrong. That was a long time ago, and I suppose now the emotions I have on stage are just energy – it doesn’t really matter what kind of music you make, or what the emotions are behind it – if you don’t have energy you’ll be boring to watch, so I try and keep that in mind when performing. 

How does performance transform your personality?

You’re just really focused on the music. You’re not thinking about anything else you have going on in your life, the chores you have to do or anything like that. The only things on your mind are the people in front of you watching, and letting your energy completely loose whilst trying your best not to fuck up the songs.

What’s a lyric which is close to your heart?

Pain is brown, hate is white, love is black, stab the night” – a lyric that Homer Simpson sings in the episode where he forms the renowned grunge band Sadgasm. Although it’s obviously taking the piss out of bands like Nirvana, I think the satirical qualities that the lyric has, and the whole song in general has, makes it more resonant, and I think it translates the idle teenage angst that I felt for a long time into words quite well.


DANNY NEDELKO

Nedelko is the frontman of Bristol punk band Heavy Lungs.

Danny Nedelko

What emotions do you go through when you’re on stage?

A plethora of them. I find the performance quite visceral.

What inspired you to form a band?

A desperate desire for cathartic self-expression.

How does performance transform your personality?

The drummer in our band, George, once summarised that quite well when describing me recording vocals for our first EP. He said: Danny has taken off his person mask and is letting himself go.”


ALEX EVANS

Evans sings fronts the Leeds band Lumer.

Alex Evans

What emotions do you go through when you’re on stage?

If I’m perfectly honest I just almost black out when I’m playing and cease to really remember anything that I have just done. I guess I feel a lot of happiness and love towards the crowd who have turned up to see us, which is baffling even now. 

How does performance transform your personality?

I think, unfortunately, it is the main framework of my person. I live for making music and performing so I’d say it only adds fuel to the fire of my personality, as I believe you learn a lot about yourself when you are singing vulnerably to a room of strangers.

What’s the best poster you’ve ever had on your bedroom wall?

I used to have a spice girls poster when I was younger which I’d say to this day is a pride and joy of mine. However, I have Alex from Clockwork Orange on my wall at the minute. I was told recently it must be a psychopathic trait owning that poster above my bed but honestly I just wanted the protection of a fellow Alex with his ultraviolence”.


OLLIE DIXON

Dixon is a guitarist and vocalist in Bristol-based band Laundrette.

Ollie Dixon

What emotions do you go through when you’re on stage?

Performing often goes past so quickly that I don’t acknowledge my emotions. However, performing is certainly cathartic. The emotions I am feeling pre-performance are frequently the emotions that are released during the performance.

How does performance transform your personality?

Like all performance, playing music live necessarily involves theatrics, acting, some element that is put on”. However, performance is also a space to be authentic. Thus, performance presents one’s personality (albeit slightly exaggerated) to an audience. In this sense, I think performance can imbue one’s personality with theatrics but, likewise, one’s personality imbues performance with authenticity. 

What’s the best poster you’ve ever had on your bedroom wall?

Jim Henson’s Labyrinth original release poster.

HUDDIE HAMPER

Hamper is the guitarist and singer of The Shadracks, a three-piece rock n’ roll group from Medway, Kent.

Huddie Hamper

What emotions do you go through when you’re on stage?

A combination of loftiness, grandeur, nervousness and incompetence.

What inspired you to form a band?

Listening to 60s groups: The Beatles, The Troggs, The Kinks, along with all the garage rock compilations. Getting into 70s punk rock: Richard Hell, The Modern Lovers, Buzzcocks, The Damned. Having a father who is a musician, growing up with him making records and as a teenager watching him play. Splitting up with my then girlfriend. Wanting to do something, and thinking it might be a good way to meet people and impress some girls.

How does performance transform your personality?

Positively I think, but some people might disagree.


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