Do you elicit long, fatigued groans when some regulars routinely send you clunkers (like, gulp, my past five entries)?

Well….. yes. And if you think some of those that are answered are bad, you should see the multitude of questions that are consigned immediately to the wastebin. We do try to include q’s from new visitors or people from unusual/exotic locations before those that write in regularly. That way, everyone gets a go but that does sometimes mean answering the odd mundane one.

Erm… can I have a ‘natural size’ poster of that ‘Hep kissing’ picture from the photo gallery, signed by her? I’d love to have such a beautiful lady in my room. Alan, you’re a lucky man 🙂

I recommend Kleenex super strong.

Actually you’re lucky that photograph doesn’t include a ‘plane on top of her head – it was taken minutes before we witnessed an aircrash and in fact, saved our lives…….. spooky.

What becomes of all the music people send you? Do you keep the somewhat interesting stuff for an occasional listen or is it box-basement fodder? How many CDs in the collection?

I keep everything. There are hundreds.

What is the average time you would take on listening to a Demo tape? Do you respond to all demo tapes or just those that you deem good enough for an answer? The reason for this is that I have recently compiled a demo tape of my previous years writing and believe that it is at a stage that is actually listenable. It’s in the vein of DM, Recoil and Mesh but hopefully different enough. The sound quality isn’t great but I think the actual quality of the songs is good. What I’m really after is some constructive criticism.

I always listen to whatever is sent to me, and I always respond but quite often I don’t know what people actually want from me. I’m not an A&R department and I’m not actively searching for artists / bands to produce or anything of that nature. It’s slightly embarrassing because most people seem to just want an opinion but I don’t presume myself to be an authority on what makes good music. My response is most likely to be one of encouragement rather than a major critique of the music and I have to be careful about the words I use when replying to fans regarding demos – I don’t want anyone to be offended because they’re not immediately contacted by Mute and offered a deal, nor do I want someone misinterpreting a nice comment and contacting a record company saying that I’ve endorsed them (unless I actually have of course).

Alan, I need some MAN help here. I’m trying to hook up with this girl and she still thinks about this other guy (Damn it). What do you think I should do to what you can say “win her heart”? Come on, your a pimp (well you were before 1993 (HEP)) hehehehe I NEED some good advice here. Maybe you can help me out to Hep. Some good WOman advice can always be helpful. 😉 PLEASE……………….

I don’t know – got any money? Have you tried sending her loads of badly written e-mails yet? Perhaps it’s your grammar and spelling she can’t stand;-)

How does one convince you to send those out-takes and experiments from your previous albums based on an unyielding desire to hear more from the world that is Recoil?

One doesn’t 😉

Are any of your press photos available anywhere? I think you look fantastic in them! (or does the camera lie?!)

If you would like to write to me and I’m in a good mood, I might send you a photo 😉

If I ask you very kindly in a nice letter, could I send you my ‘Unsound Methods’ booklet and would you be so kind as to sign it?

Yes of course.

Newly signed band wonders if Alan has any interest in working with / shaping bands first release. Band is fully budgeted and would love to record in England. No egos, love details, enjoy studio process.

Alan not really interested in working with others at present (Alan working on own material) but newly signed band is free to send demo to address below. Thanks for enquiring.

I am going to send you my demo tape but first I ‘d like to find out how many you have received from fans since Shunt’s doors opened? How do you estimate the music that people send you?

I’ve received many demos which obviously vary in quality. I prefer to hear music with a degree of individuality – that is, completely removed from DM or even Recoil.

What is your usual turn-around time in responding to people who send you snail mail?

I make a point of dealing with fan mail as soon after it arrives as possible but unfortunately I can’t be responsible for the postal service. If anyone else (especially if you’re in the U.S.) is worried that their letter didn’t get to me, drop an e-mail to the address and one of the Shunt staff will confirm when a reply was sent out to you.

Are you still receiving lots of demo-tapes? If so, how would you rate their quality at the moment. Have you ever got something where you thought “this is impressive!” or something you like listening to?

The majority of demos I receive are DM soundalikes but I actually prefer to hear something original and different – I’m more impressed when somebody sends me something that is a million miles away from DM. I always try to encourage people though, because I know what a personal thing writing music is and how deflating it can be when it’s just dismissed in your face.

How many things can I send you to sign?

You can send anything you want for me to sign but don’t get carried away 😉 I also can’t be responsible for things getting lost in the post.