Q&A with Schmercuries nominee Alessi’s Ark


Over the coming weeks FFS will be submitting the same set of questions to the Schmercury nominees. Today, Alessi’s Ark’s Alessi Laurent-Marke addresses us by name, tells us about the importance of firsts and that she’d like to have a picnic with all of of our readers.

The Schmercuries is FFS’s best album prize (apart from there is no prize other than the glory of being deemed brill, ace AND skill by our lovely readers). You can see the nominated albums and vote for your favourite to win here.


Congratulations, you’ve been nominated for a Schmercury. How do you feel?
I’m very honoured Lynn.

What did you think of the Mercuries list this year?
I just had another look at the list and haven’t heard of a few of them and of the artists i have heard of, i haven’t yet given them a long enough listen.

Aside from your own, what’s your favourite album on the Schmercuries list?
I’m afraid i haven’t listened to all of the albums nominated but I do like the Leisure Society’s LP and Wildbirds & Peacedrums are something very special.

Are there any albums you think we’ve missed?
Unfortunately, there always seems to be beautiful music released that goes un-noticed and that’s not anybody’s fault…there’s so many amazing sounds out there! Neva Dinova’s You May Already Be Dreaming is definately one of my favourites this year if not First Prize. Argh! But second prize is a big tie… Heartless Bastards The Mountain and Whispertown 2000’s Swim.

What d’you think about panel prizes vs voted for by the fans?
Fans win hands down. Their ears and opinions are most important. I think more, if not all, awards should be voted by fans. Or as a compromise, if there are many awards to be won, at least have one or two awards fans can vote for.

What are your thoughts about Notes from The Treehouse? Are you happy with it and other people’s reaction to it?
Making the album was a very special experience and a time in life i will never forget. I think your ‘first’ anything is something you hold closely. It felt like it was quite a while ago that we finished putting the album together but the day it was released brought a big release of emotions. For those ideas and songs to be tangible and exist forever on record was a dream and it came true. Family, friends and the listeners i’ve met and heard from have said very warm words about the record. When you make anything at all, you understand from the get-go that it’s not going to be everybody’s cup of tea, just like you, yourself don’t love every painting,book,piece of architecture or album out there. You can only hope the album, or whatever it is that you’ve made, continues to keep those that have found it, good company.

What’s your favourite song on the album?
Hmmm… there are little details across the album that strike a chord with me and trigger off memories but, if I sit down and have a listen to The Dog, I still get shivers when Jake Bellows sings in the chorus. I’m still excited about how that song came together.

We’re pretty passionate about the album as a format. Do you think you would ever ‘do a Radiohead’ and eschew albums in favour of releasing a series of digital tracks as and when?
I’m not sure. A good balance between the two seems about right. I think it’s great to keep listeners as up to date as possible with new songs and ideas but I do also like waiting for my favourite artists to piece together the record they’re working on. It forces you to appreciate their older work until they feel ready to share their new songs with us all.

What’s your favourite album ever?
Ooooh that’s a tricky one!! Today, i’ll settle with Songs for Beginners by Graham Nash but i do love lots of albums. Tomorrow it might be On the Beach by Mr Young.

If we had all the money in the world to spend on an actual prize for the winning band, what would you like it to be?
An all day picnic in a park with all the listeners that voted. Everybody could bring their favourite treats to eat and an instrument to play.