Written, produced, mixed and mastered from his bedroom, ‘Not Your Friend’ is the latest release from BIMM London’s Alfie James. Take a listen, and discover more about the track below.
What was your inspiration when you began writing the track?
The inspiration for the track came about after a heavy weekend visiting my mates at uni up north. They’re the people you meet on those nights out then never again, yet we try our best to impress and put on a mask of someone we aren’t for those six hours or so. It’s a feeling that I think we all resonate with, whether we’ve observed it or put the mask on ourselves. The song was written by the time I was back in London and it’s the first song that’s almost fallen out of me.
Are there any artists that inspire you when writing?
I take inspiration from every artist I listen to. I love the different paths artists take to create imagery through their lyrics. For this song, in particular, the English band Easy Life and American artist Dominic Fike were direct inspirations. I admire their delivery and the storytelling a lot and have also released songs within this vein of topic. I loved the relatability that they created with it.
What is key to your sound and how do you make your music stand out?
I think with every song I approach it with the mentality of sounding better than my last. My production skills have vastly improved over the last 12 months and have found my signature sound through this.
“I feel it’s the imperfections that listeners unconsciously pick up on more than anything.”
What makes my sound stand out from my peers is my unique sound design and choices as I feel it’s the imperfections that listeners unconsciously pick up on more than anything. I find it so much more satisfying to create my own snare hit for example than to take a sample of one. FINNEAS is a hero of mine and a heavy influence on why sound design is key to originality.
How does your songwriting process work?
My songwriting process varies from a word or a phrase and builds around that. Alternatively, I freestyle the melody and cadence and let the words come second. In this case, I had the phrase “not your friend” in my head and built the crux of the story on that.
It was also the first time I’ve written a song before I’ve written the tune itself. Normally, I would produce the song whilst I write it so it was a different challenge for me to produce the track that also reflected the lyrics.
Describe your sound in 3 words…
Three words that describe my sound are: local, fusing and expressive. They’re very different and odd words I know but I’d say ‘local’ because I feel sonically and lyrically I draw from my surroundings and my hometown environment. ‘Fusing’ because I draw inspiration from so many genres and love to melt them together and see what comes out. ‘Expressive’ is pretty standard for any artist as music is an expressive art form; people connect with songs and artists through their willingness to be vulnerable and express that into the world.
How has studying at BIMM helped you develop as an artist?
In my short time being at BIMM, it’s taught me so much about the industry and being an independent artist as well as connecting me with such amazing, talented people who are on the same path as me. I have a much firmer grasp of what it takes to continue my development post-BIMM and the knowledge and confidence to believe in my ability to achieve my future goals. I have an ever-expanding web of peers that I collaborate with as well as socialise with that I wouldn’t have necessarily met if it wasn’t for BIMM.
What’s next for you?
What’s next for me is continuing to roll out consistent tunes for the rest of 2021 and growing my fanbase! I’m constantly learning more about how to present my music in different ways to my existing and new listeners so be sure to watch this space this summer.