BIMM Brighton Songwriting graduate Alex is the first to admit his music career has benefitted from the connections and contacts he made at the college.
When he joined in 2004, BIMM was a fairly new venture, but there was already a lot of hype about the place and for Alex it was a creative hub where like-minded people could meet, study, develop and collaborate in the one thing they all believed in; music. He concentrated on refining his songwriting and performance skills, starting various BIMM bands and collaborating with many up-and-coming artists.
Eventually Alex formed House of Hats – a Brighton-based folk quartet with tight, haunting harmonies reminiscent of Crosby, Stills and Nash and Fleet Foxes – along with two friends he met at BIMM, Noddy Al-Omran and James Kuszewski, and his brother Roberto on bass. In their first year, the band wrote and recorded over 40 songs, four of which became their debut self-titled EP. The band’s first live show in Brighton was a sell-out, and Alex had invited a city investor to the gig who was impressed by their tracks and live performance, investing £12,000 in their musical journey. As a consequence, House of Hats was formed as a business and became House of Hats Limited with Alex appointed as director.
Next came an amazing four years. The band played over 100 shows across the UK, the US and the Netherlands, including Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club, Cambridge Folk Festival and the Secret Garden Party festival, and recorded their debut album with Grammy Award-winning producer Pete Smith (Sting, The Police, Stevie Wonder, Spandau Ballet, Van Morrison, Cheryl Crow, Duran Duran and The Boomtown Rats). Business-minded Alex set up his own record label, Willow Walk Records, and secured a deal with Europe’s leading digital distributor to release the album worldwide. ‘This Love’ was launched to critical acclaim, receiving airplay on BBC Radio 2 and over 40 radio stations across the US, as well as gaining fantastic reviews across Europe and America including Q magazine, Acoustic magazine, Huffington Post and Uncut.
He’s also set up a regular live music event held at Komedia called ‘ The Harvest Sessions’ which aims to showcase Brighton’s finest singer-songwriters and acoustic bands. The event sees Alex directly using the enviable connections he gained at BIMM and is a regular word of mouth sell-out, featuring artists such as BIMM alumni Luke Sital-Singh, The Standard Lamps (fronted by ex-BIMM student Mike Wilton) and Jacko Hooper, yet another BIMM graduate.
Alex continues to write, record, promote and run his own label. More recently he’s acted as a music consultant for projects such as developing analytics for record labels, and advising firms on entering the music industry.