Alex Carrie - Alumni

Course Studied: BA (Hons) Music (Production)

Year of Graduation: 2015

Top Career Highlights:

  • Over 5 million plays for track 'Evil Twin' on Spotify
  • Performing at Radio 1's Big Weekend, Lovebox and Pitchfork Paris festivals
  • Track 'Evil Twin' featuring on an Apple Watch 2 advert

Alex Carrie graduated from our Production degree in 2015, and with his band KRRUM was signed to label 37 Adventures just as they finished their study at Leeds Conservatoire!

Writing with Harrison Warke (Pop 2015) who also sings on the tracks, and performing live with Thomas Trueman (synths) and Charlie Webb (drums) who are also both Leeds Conservatoire graduates, KRRUM is a hugely collaborative project.

Going from strength-to-strength, KRRUM are regularly played on BBC Radio 1 by the likes of Annie MacHuw StephensPhil TaggartAlice Levine and Zane Lowe. Their track ‘Evil Twin’ hit number one on HypeMachine, have already got over 5 Million Spotify plays and charted in UK, US, Ireland, Canada and global viral Spotify chart. And their press coverage is as astounding – features on Noisy (Vice), Stereogum, Pigeons and Planes, Clash, Complex, Notion, The Beat, Fame Magazine. Sunday Times ‘Hottest Tracks’, and they soundtracked a British Vogue advert.
And they’ve written with Example, Indiana, Kloe, Chloe Howl and Nimmo.
We wanted to rewind a bit though, and find out what made Alex so driven from the outset, and carve such a well-structured career in the music industry.

What was your earliest musical experience?

I started out playing cornet when I was 9, which developed into me playing in local brass bands and later trumpet in big bands and Ska bands. I also started playing drums when I was 10, drumming with drum sticks on a biscuit tin until I proved I was going to maintain the hobby, when my parents bought me a drum kit! Not sure which they preferred hearing to be honest.

Who encouraged you to study music?

One of the people who encouraged me first to get more involved in music was my music teacher when I started secondary school, who let me join the school big band younger than I was meant to. He really pushed me to get better by throwing me in the deep end I guess, and then he suddenly disappeared. We found out later that he faked his qualifications to get the job and then disappeared when the school discovered what he’d done – a very bizarre introduction to music education.

By the time it came to studying music at Uni level there was just no other option that I considered, it was just what I knew I wanted to do.

What made you aspire to a career in music?

It’s difficult to say really. Music is what I’ve wanted to do for a long time and I guess my decision to follow a career in it was mainly based on aspiring to follow musicians and artists I’ve looked up to over the years.

I went to school with Drenge too who achieved a career in music whilst I was working during my gap years and I guess that might have spurred me on to really go for it, as these guys came from where I’m from and we did all the same stuff as teenagers.

Who’s your greatest inspiration?

Musically, I’d say it’s Justin Vernon from Bon Iver. Everyone has an artist that evokes more emotion in them than any other artist and his music has always had a profound effect on me no matter what project he’s involved in. His music is also completely unique and written and performed very creatively, which is inspiring to the way I work

Was there anything in particular that made you choose Leeds Conservatoire?

I was a big fan of Leeds as a city when I looked around and kind of made up my mind pretty quickly that I wanted to be there. The reason I picked it over Leeds Beckett was because I liked the idea of everyone at Leeds Conservatoire being there to study purely music and thought that would be pretty immersive and good for creativity.

What attracted you to the course?

The main reason I chose the production course at Leeds Conservatoire was because it seemed more creative and composition based than most other production/technology courses I looked at, which was very important to me. I’ve always been more interested in the production side of things than the technology aspect but the course covered some technology aspects, which I needed to improve on. It definitely delivered in that way.

What is your favourite thing about being a musician in Leeds?

I think Leeds is a city that really embraces its music scene. Live at Leeds and Beacons Festival are good examples of that, where they have big bands but also involve a lot of local bands, musicians at different stages in their careers. The scene doesn’t come across as exclusive either, which I’ve found in other cities. Bands and venues are pretty welcoming and it’s good to feel a part of things even if you don’t play in Leeds very often.

How would you describe the challenges and joys of living / studying / being a musician in Leeds?

It can be a challenge being based in Leeds when a lot of the industry is based in London, so the problem is more with having to leave Leeds. I do think industry people have an eye on The North at the moment and are happy to come and see whats going on if you make enough noise though.

Who would your dream collaboration be with?

Someone actually achieved my dream collaboration recently, which I’m obviously pretty jealous about. A producer called Francis & The Lights did a song featuring Bon Iver and Kanye West, in which he does choreographed dancing with them in the video – my ideal way to spend an afternoon.

Where would you most like to perform/record/have your music played?

Glastonbury is still my ultimate performance goal, as I’ve never been but have always wanted to and it’s just the highlight of live British music. Other than that I’m just really excited at the prospect of playing anywhere abroad I haven’t done that before. Visiting new places whilst playing my music is the dream.

What has your journey been like since leaving Leeds Conservatoire?

It’s been pretty surreal. We were lucky enough to get signed the month we finished our assignments and so since then it’s been mad to see our music go from just being heard by a small group of people to people Tweeting us saying they’re listening to it whilst driving roof-down through LA, and getting regular airplay around the world. It’s quite bizarre though to just experience what’s happening through a laptop. We’re basically still living a student lifestyle but writing our actual album instead of writing one for our college assignments!

How has your study at Leeds Conservatoire aided your career so far?

It was helpful to gain experience collaborating with lots of different people, which has prepared me for writing with and producing for artists as a job. Knowing how to judge sessions based on the individual you’re working with and get the best out of them. Also funnily enough dealing with lecturer feedback isn’t a million miles away from dealing with A&R and publishers!

What has been your greatest achievement?

More than anything I’m really happy with the music we’re writing and how far we’ve developed as a band. It’s still a better feeling than any when you write a song you know you’re really happy with, or you play a gig and you know you’re all happy with it because you worked hard to get it to that point.

Where would you like to be in five years? 

I’ll pretty much be happy if I’m still releasing albums and writing and producing for other artists. I don’t like to think that far ahead really. I think it’s just important keep your head down, keep working hard and the opportunities will come to you.

If you had one piece of advice for a prospective student, what would it be?

I’d say just make as much music as you can. It seems obvious, but there aren’t many other times in your life you can put 100% of your time into your passion, and regardless of anything else I think that makes the degree worth doing. 

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