Features - Interviews

This Ain’t No Picnic: An Interview With Alpha Male Tea Party


Alpha Male Tea Party are a three piece math rock band from Liverpool that have made a name for themselves with hard hitting off kilter riffs and an idiosyncratic sense of wit. The lads are about to set out on an Irish Tour in order to promote their latest album, Health, with shows in Belfast, Dublin, Galway, Cork and Limerick. Jack Rudden had the pleasure of chatting to the group’s guitarist, Tom Peters, about their latest release, the math rock scene and Abraham Lincoln before they hit the road.

Your five date tour kicks off on the second of May. What has compelled you to do a tour of our tiny island and are there any dates you’re looking forward to in particular?

That’s a good question that I can’t really answer. Why do we do any of this? We could be earning nice money working for a small engineering firm in St. Albans, have a German saloon and a 4 bed semi-detached townhouse each by now but instead we’re carrying really heavy things across the “globe” to make loud sounds at people. The mind is a curious thing. But honestly it’s because it was really great fun last time and we like having fun.

Your newest album, Health was released in June last year with the label Big Scary Monsters. What makes this album special in comparison to your previous releases?

I think this album is probably our most intense record. Although it sounds potentially cliche, there was a lot of external personal stuff happening in all three of our lives whilst we were writing this record and it comes through I think. In a lot of ways, it was a challenge for us to really connect a darker emotional element to a record in the way that we did, but it maps our development as a band and as people.

Droids, our last record, was a generally upbeat, bouncing, even joyful listen, Health feels more introverted and aggressive and I think we all felt that it was important to make sure that was a thread throughout. As a result, it’s perhaps not as ‘immediate’ a listen but it’s got a lot more depth and thought than previous records and that’s something we’re all really happy with.

The following is taken from your Bandcamp bio: “Alpha Male Tea Party are one of them bands from Liverpool that don’t sound like a band from Liverpool“. What does a band from Liverpool sound like?

I dunno, The Beatles?

According to a song title from your 2014 record, Droids, fans of Genesis enjoy eating houmous. What do fans of Alpha Male Tea Party eat?

Spaghetti, again.

Are you aware that you share a birthday with Abraham Lincoln, Charles Darwin and Gucci Mane? Do you relate to these people in any way at all?

I definitely consider myself one of the forefathers of the Free World. I also like beagles. I had to Google Gucci Mane, which proves how exceptionally closeted and white I am. I’m sorry to disappoint anyone.

You have cited Tera Melos and You Slut! as influences in the past. Do you have any other major influences?

I didn’t realise that. I suppose I better listen to some of their records… I don’t really know, I think in the earlier days of AMTP it was easier to work out what our lineage was, but now it’s a lot broader and we find ourselves listening to heavy music less and less. I think we’re just getting old. It’s funny though, we chat to our contemporaries about this quite a lot and it’s always surprising how many people in ‘heavy’ or ‘mathy’ bands would rather listen to Bowie‘s back catalogue or put on the latest Boards of Canada than listen to someone tapping in 15/8. I guess that’s just called ‘taste’ though. 

If you could have any musician living or dead as a fourth member of the band, who would it be and why?

I think it would have to be Mark E Smith, so he could inject some proper melody into our song writing.

The Irish & UK math rock scene has been booming over the last few years, with acts like ASIWYFA, Gallops and of course you guys gaining significant traction. Who are your favourite acts among the scene and are there any acts that math rock fans should keep an eye out for?

Well, we’re touring with Bicurious on this run and those guys are great, I’m definitely expecting them to do well although I have a slightly vested interest in that since I produced their last EP. We have some really good pals in Liverpool called Real Terms who are working on their first full length record and I know that it will be amazing and they will do really well. And then there’s Body Hound who are just incredible at everything.

The scene is great at the moment, there’s a lot of bands that are truly amazing that are bubbling away under the surface and I really hope they get to break through soon but I also think there’s a prescribed idea that this sort of music can never really find a wider audience and I find that frustrating because it feels like you’ve got bands like ASIWYFA and 65 Days Of Static etc. who have gone on to be massive but then it doesn’t feel like anybody else is moving up to fill the middle of the park spots and it can have a damaging/stagnating effect but I guess that’s a conversation for another time.

Alpha Male Tea Party play the following run of Irish tour dates next month, with support from Dublin-based math-rockers Bicurious:

Wednesday, May 2nd – Belfast, The Empire
Thursday, May 3rd – Dublin, The Underground
Friday, May 4th – Galway, Roisin Dubh
Saturday, May 5th – Cork, The Poor Relation
Sunday, May 6th – Limerick, The Kasbah

Alpha Male Tea Party also play this year’s Arctangent festival in Bristol (August 16-18).