The creative mind has no doubt a natural gravitas to the cinematic quality of life; there is something altogether romantic that we cannot help but crave.
Inspired by timeless theatricality is singer-songwriter, Alex Lindner of Flood For The Famine, who, akin to Tom Waits, places himself in the dark corners of society for his art; writing and narrating stories from the underbelly of city nightlife. And it’s impossible not to be yielded by the vocally arresting quality of ‘Nine in the Morning’, and taken in by the layered depth of ‘Why We Fall’.
It was almost as though we had stepped back in time to the 20s at the Booking Office, St Pancras. Two dishes were placed in front of us, we glanced at one another, and back to the slightly apprehensive waiter. “Are these not for you?” “If they’re complementary?” jested Lindner.
He’s the charismatic character you could picture he would be off stage, with that balance of burning childlike curiosity. Lindner took a Maths and Music degree at the University of Edinburgh, and occasionally tutors A Level and GCSE students in Maths, not music, he adds, as “teaching and hearing someone play the same scale over and over again pretty much sucks all the life that music holds for me”. Maths just comes easy, and always has done for him, and as opposing as I thought the subject pairing would be, Lindner explains that it’s “all just patterns, either on paper or in the air, music and maths work in perfect harmony.”
He grew up in Malvern via South Africa to classical music teacher parents who encouraged his chorister upbringing. And as we begin to talk over his influences, it’s the classic American novel and it’s noir characters inspiration that interestingly comes full circle; Waits is his greatest influence, who in turn was inspired by Ginsburg, and Lindner himself has written a great deal of poetry inspired by the Beat poets.
His drive to write music is a compelling one, and I cannot help but be intrigued by his writing process and the literary connotations and connections with life as a performance, just as he references in his title track of his Waiting To Happen EP: “…And it was just waiting to happen. Sometimes we’re just actors in a play. And they tell us what to think. And they tell us what to say. Just let it play…”
He tells me: “I’m really interested in the forces that compel us to do what we do. We can fight with them, hide them, or learn to accept and embrace them. They’ll come out one way or another.”
And just as the Pre-Raphaelite painters observed the fallen women and their awakening, Alex looks to the fallen men who have hit rock bottom and are looking for their redemption and seeks out the excess “bringing out the neon of life, that is tragic, yet comic.”
There’s philosophical elements too, that we begin to tap into, and it’s not long before things go deep. It’s true how the pace of life we all lead has robbed so many of us the opportunity of seeing the beauty in not just the smallest of things, but everything. Less of us have the time to pause, think, and appreciate life. Suffice to say it is only through writing, especially poetry and music, that we are able to fully realise ourselves, and life itself. When you get there, you too, might find yourself taken in by the romance of it all.
Flood For The Famine’s debut EP: ‘Waiting to Happen’ is out next month.