Gimme Your Answers (Beyond the Stage): An Interview w/ Alex Oakley

Ever wonder what happens beyond the stage? Well we do. These roadies, managers, guitar techs, lighting directors, A&R, and even positions you may not have known about make the music you love come alive! So we spoke with guitar tech Alex Oakley to see what magic he pulls behind the scenes of our favourite bands!

AMBY: How did you first get into your industry?

AO: I was working in a TV shopping job and got a call from a tour manager at the very moment I was getting made redundant. He was offering me a uk tour. He’d got my number off of a band who I’d helped out at a gig a short time earlier. I’d been in bands, and worked in recording studios so I knew quite a lot of people and it was an area of work I knew id find interesting.

AMBY: Explain to people what you do.

AO: I am responsible for all things guitar related when a band tours. From plectrums to vintage guitars. I set up all the equipment in each venue and make sure everything works and sounds good every night, repair things that need fixing etc etc. Basically doing whatever is required to keep the guitarist I am working for happy. With Two Door I also play in a few of the new songs off-stage, and still do all the guitar changes so I’m usually quite busy.

AMBY: Which bands are you currently working with and which have previously worked with?

AO: Two Door Cinema Club currently. Previously, Paul Weller, Laura Marling, Bombay Bicycle Club, Maximo Park, Morcheeba, The Hoosiers, among lots of others.

AMBY: What is the craziest thing to happen to you while touring?

AO: Lars Ulrich asked me for a set list.

AMBY: What do you do for fun while on tour?

AO: It depends on where we are. We usually don’t do enough activities on Two Door because we all get on so well, it’s easy for hours to pass with everyone doing very little. Lately we’ve been conscious to make more effort to do things apart from sitting and drinking. So we’ve been to play crazy golf, done a lot of sightseeing, bowling, etc.

AMBY: What is the best and worst thing about your gig?

AO: Most of it is great. The worst is missing friends, family and events at home. And all of the travelling/time zones can be tiring.

AMBY: Which three albums changed your life?

AO: Too many to mention. Uuuuhhhhh… Guns N’ Roses Appetite for Destruction. Oasis Definitely Maybe. And I guess Maccabees Colour It In. That was my first tour and if that album hadn’t have been as successful, I’d have probably gone straight back to TV. Instead it sucked me into touring and I haven’t escaped since.

AMBY: Where is the best spot to eat on tour?

AO: I couldn’t name just one with the hundreds of cities we go. When we tour with catering, it’s there!

AMBY: And lastly, what’s something about you that nobody knows yet?

 

AO: I got offered to work for Babestation. If your last question was “biggest regret?” My answer would be; not accepting the job offer for Babestation.

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Thank you very much Alex, for giving me your answers!

Alicia Atout

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