UK house music has a new icon for 2020, and he’s from the little-but-lovely town of Desborough. Alfie Cridland is the DJ/producer taking it to ‘New Levels’. New Boots naturally took time to get to know him.
New Boots: How did you first get into making music?
Alfie Cridland: I have loved music forever, and knew that I wanted to do something with music for as long as I can remember. I was lucky enough to find my way from an early age, and started DJing at my school discos. I realised then that this was going to be my life, so I enrolled in a college course where I achieved an extended diploma in music technology. Along with three years at college and endless hours of working at home, I managed to progress my production skills. This was the start of the journey.
Who were your main influences in music growing up?
I remember as a child listening to the radio one night, trying to find the name of a song and the artist. I eventually found it and it was ‘I Need You’ by N-Dubz. Dappy was my greatest influence at that early age, along with Tinchy Strider, Tiny Tempah and Dizzee Rascal. When I turned 18 I flew to Magaluf and had my first experience of visiting the superclub BCM, where Danny Howard was DJing. This was incredible. I had been introduced to a totally new sound that was dance music. This blew me away, and opened me up to a whole new world of music genres. Living in a small town there were very limited nightlife opportunities, and I knew that I needed to travel to different cities and clubs in order to experience and get a feel for house and dance music. After experiencing the power of this live music I was then inspired to start creating this sound for myself, which has influenced my production.
No 5 on the iTunes chart; that must have been one hell of a thrill to achieve with your first single [‘Last Day In Paradise‘]. What were expectations, especially at a time when the clubs are closed?
Seeing my name at number 5 in the iTunes charts is unbelievable! From downloading music in these charts as a kid, to seeing my own name there, is surreal. It has, however, been a very weird time with clubs closed, as I would have loved to have been able to include my latest single ‘New Levels’ in my sets. I was confident that the song was good but was blown away to see the iTunes chart position, considering that there was no club exposure up to release. With the support of my record label, Perfect Havoc, we put out a preview of the track in the weeks leading up to release. Again I was blown away by the incredible response and positive feedback that I received. Let’s just say that my expectations have been exceeded!
How does a collaboration, for example with the Swedish guys on the follow-up smash ‘New Levels’, work in 2020? Lots of back and forth file sharing?
2020 has brought many new experiences for me. I have discovered how incredible the power of Zoom is, haha! Fortunately in this industry, and at these times, I am able to do the work from my home studio. With the help of hundreds of emails, voice notes, file transfers and Zoom, it was surprisingly easy to connect with someone from another country. So as great as it is to work with somebody face to face, with a bit of adapting, flexibility, determination and creativity, it’s been possible to get the job done professionally.
What are your DJ sets like? Are you chomping on the bit to get back out there?
That is a really easy question for me to answer. In my head, I’m out there already, I have never left the live scene. I am absolutely chomping at the bit to get back behind the decks, turning the clubs upside down again. I spend hours on end making my sets, with the aim of taking the whole club on a journey. I picture my set as a rollercoaster: with a combination of twists and turns in partnership with technical word play, live mashups, exclusive edits, and use of the microphone to engage the crowds. My favourite thing to do whilst I’m DJing is to watch the ravers. They are the most important aspect of the night, and I think that it’s crucial to read the vibe and adapt the set to the audience in front of me. My aim is for nobody to know what’s coming next; the element of surprise. I want to leave that club with the crowd wanting more and my set ringing in their ears, remembering my name.
What was the last album you bought/streamed?
The last album I bought was Smile by my friend Bru-C. After DJing for him multiple times in Zante I got to know him, and we now always support each other’s music. What a great album!
Are you the most exciting thing to ever happen to Desborough?
[Laughs]…. you’d have to ask Desborough the answer to that one!
What’s your burning desire to do in the future? What plans do you have that you can share with us?
The most immediate desire that I have is to get back to the clubs again and actually get to play ‘New Levels’ live! I am so excited to have recently been signed to Perfect Havoc. There will be more music to come and lots of exciting new projects on the horizon. All I can say is make sure that you keep a close eye on my socials, and expect a banging start to 2021!
‘New Levels’ is out now via the usual digital platforms